On this page we try to give you, the visitor, a brief taste of the many places there are to visit in our wonderful county. Apart from our brief comments on the various places, we have, where possible, included links to give you more detail. We are sure there will be many places for your ‘Must Visit’ list. Good luck and happy holidays.
APPLEDORE: A delightful village through which runs a wide street of lovely old houses and shops flanked by green verges. Its church, which features a square battlement tower, contains many interesting items. Outside of the church is the ancient monument of Hornes Place Chapel.
ASHFORD: Ashford is a rapidly expanding town, with is modern and futuristic International railway station rising from the nineteenth century houses surrounding it. The High Street is the picturesque hub of this country town with some fine Georgian buildings. Just off the High Street is the church and churchyard, museum and tourist information centre.
AYLESFORD: Said to be one of the oldest continually occupied places in England,
This picturesque village is the place where England began. The battle of Aylesford in AD 455 between the tribes of Britain and The Jutish invaders resulted in the formation of the English nation. The old bridge is captured on many a picture postcard and there are many pretty places to be discovered. A visit to the old Priory is a must.
BIDDENDEN: On the green, the village sign depicts the Two Maids of Biddenden, Siamese twins joined at the shoulders and waist. Born around 1100 they lived for some 30 years and on their death left land to provide food for the poor. The village is centred on the High Street with pavements of ancient Bethersden marble and half-timbered buildings. There are antique shops, teashops, pubs and restaurants.
OXLEY: Boxley lies at the foot of the steeply wooded North Downs. With church, pub and manor house surrounding the village green it is the quintessential English village. The church, associated with the notorious Boxley Abbey, retains a chamber for viewing relics.
BROADSTAIRS: The family seaside resort is on The Isle of Thanet between Margate and Ramsgate. The tiny harbour nestles under tall cliffs and is busy with pleasure craft and fishing boats. Above, on the hills, are Bleak house and the Dickens Museum. The Dickens festival each year celebrates the novelist’s attachment to the place the folk festival week in August is one of the leading folk festivals in England.
BROMLEY : Whilst it has succumbed to the expansion of London , it remains an important shopping centre in its own right with its excellent rail connections for those who live in Kent and wish to avoid the hustle and bustle of the West End . Also boasts the fine Churchill Theatre, offering excellent shows.
Canterbury has so much to offer that a few words here can’t do it justice. A historic city and a place of pilgrimage, full of lovely old timber framed buildings from the 16th and 17th century. The heart of the city is the Cathedral – a must for any tourist. Other places to visit include the award winning Heritage museum, Roman Museum, the Canterbury Tales Centre, St. Augustine’s Abbey and the West Gate Museum.
CHATHAM: Situated on the River Medway, Chatham has a history of shipbuilding and was a royal dockyard up until 1948. Even today the dockyard plays an important part in the towns economy, as a major tourist attraction, with an impressive array of things nautical.
CHIDDINGSTONE: owned by the National Trust, Chiddingstone is generally agreed to be the best example of a Tudor Village in all of England and arguably the prettiest place in Kent. The main street has a variety of 16 and 17th century half-timbered houses and at the end are the wrought iron gates of Chiddingstone Castle. Just outside the village is The ‘Chiding Stone’, a natural sandstone outcrop that has come to be associated with the name of the village.
CHILHAM: A delightful village built in the 16th and 17th century around the most perfect village square in Kent, it has often been used for film sets. The passing of time has been good to Chilham and it retains a lovely ‘old world’ charm. Facing each other across the square is the church and castle, both well worth a visit. Buildings are a mix of gabled, half-timbered houses, shops and inns.
CRANBROOK: Once a small hamlet, Cranbrook began to grow in the 11th century and by the 14th century was the centre of the English cloth industry. Several old buildings date back to this prosperous time along with the church and the Cloth Halls. The town’s history can be traced with interest in Cranbrook Museum, itself a 1480 building. The name Cranbrook was derived from the crane birds that frequented the local stream.
DARTFORD: Standing on the Roman Watling Street that linked Dartford to London, Dartford is famous for its tunnel and bridge that takes the M25 under and over the river Thames.
Dartford is an historic market town, which boasts Holy Trinity Church with its medieval mural and Henry VIIIs Royal Manor Gatehouse. The Orchard Theatre and Mick Jagger Centre are leading arts venues. Twice weekly markets in the town centre complement the ultimate shopping experience at Bluewater and to the south are beautiful and very ancient rural parishes.
DEAL: A fascinating and friendly, mainly 18th century fishing town, full of narrow streets and delightful colour-washed houses. The town is home to the famous Royal Cinque Ports Gold Club. The seafront is one of the most picturesque in all of the South East and with its quaint alleyways, traditional fishermen’s cottages and old houses, the town is well worth exploring.
DOVER: England’s most popular cross channel port and often referred to as the ‘Gateway to England’. It is Dover, flanked by the famous white cliffs, from where many holidaymakers, be it by ship or through the tunnel, set out to visit France and beyond whilst others arrive to visit England. Although Dover was badly damaged in the 2nd world war, one of her two Norman Churches, St Mary’s, survived and the other St James’, stands in ruins. Dover castle stands on high ground to the East and dominates the town.
DYMCHURCH: A seaside resort with chalets, holiday camps and funfairs, enjoying a sandy beach and the diminutive Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. Dymchurch is the ancient capital of the Romney Marsh and its history can be traced from the Lords of the Levels museum. The church has a fine Norman doorway and welcomes visitors.
EDENBRIDGE : A small town by the river Eden . In its centre is Church House, a delightful group of timber-framed houses now used for community purposes. The church, which stands away from the main street, has an interesting wooden front cover.
EYNSFORD: One of Kent ’s picture postcard villages, set beside a narrow hump-backed bridge and ancient ford in the Darent Valley . Old timbered cottages and a narrow-spired church, group themselves beside the ruined 11 th century church. Just a short distance away can be found Lullingstone Roman Villa and Lullingstone castle.
FAVERSHAM: A superb small town thought by many to be the most pleasing in Kent is characterised by a wealth of timber-framed buildings, many of which are plastered and colour washed. In the market place, which is also the junction of three of the town’s oldest streets, stands The Guildhall, built in the 16th century and sits on a pillared arcade.
FOLKESTONE: A port and small fishing village since the Saxon times, the arrival of the railway in 1842 transformed it into Kent’s most fashionable seaside resort of the 19th century. The Lees, a wide and sweeping grassy promenade overlooked by genteel hotels, sits high on the cliffs and has a distinctly ‘Mediterranean’ feel.
GILLINGHAM: An industrial town with its existence due to the River Medway and was home for most of the workers in nearby Chatham Dockyard until it closure. There has been much recent regeneration along the riverside with a country park, riverside gardens and open-air-pool. Home of the Royal Engineers Exhibition.
GOUDHURST: From the parish church, a fine medieval building, at the top of the hill to the duck pond at the bottom, Goudhurst is a picturesque place that attracts a large number of visitors. Many buildings in the High Street are attractive tile hung, weather-boarded and timber framed.
GRAVESEND: Having a long seafaring history, Gravesend marks the point where ships take on board pilots for their journey into London along the River Thames. There is a foot passenger ferry across the Thames to Tilbury in Essex. The town has an old-fashioned daily market and museum.
HEADCORN: Headcorn is one of Kent’s larger villages although charming and full of interest. Some attractive half-timbered buildings, dating back to Elizabethan times and generated from the wealth of the cloth industry, flank the main street. The Shakespeare House and The Chequers are both fine examples.
HEARNE BAY: Once a fishing village, Hearne Bay was developed in the 19th century to attract The Victorian middle classes. It has 7 miles of beach and seafront – dominated by the 80ft clock tower which when built in 1837 was the tallest purpose built clock tower in the world.
HYTHE: The town was formally an important member of the Cinque Ports but the terminus for the narrow gauge Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The town is full of charm and old world atmosphere along the high street and narrow lanes with plenty to offer the visitor.
LYDD : One of the most pleasing towns in the county despite being marred by pylons from the nearby power station. Its parish church is one of the largest and most interesting in south-east England - well worth a special journey to see.
MAIDSTONE : Kent’s county town sitting on the banks of the river Medway. Maidstone has much to offer the visitor with lovely old buildings, the oldest of which are the 14th century Archbishops Palace, the church of 1395 and the 15th century Archbishops stables, now a carriage museum. A place for shopping too, with many famous named stores.
MARGATE: On The Isle of Thanet, Margate is the quintessential English seaside resort with long stretches of golden sand and safe swimming, the Dreamland amusement park, amusement arcades, promenades, Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal. For those wanting the quieter side, take a meander through pleasant streets of the old town.
MATFIELD: This is a charming village, the epitome of the country scene, with the large house, green and duck pond forming a picturesque group. Just outside of the village is Crittenden House, whose gardens are sometimes open to the public.
NEW ROMNEY: Until 1287 when a storm destroyed it harbour, New Romney was the most important of The Cinque Ports. Today the town is 1 mile from the sea. The town has many interesting examples of medieval architecture and was formally one of the wealthiest ports in England. Home to The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
ORPINGTON: Whilst on the very edge of suburbia, there are some lovely walks into the open countryside from here. There is little to that remind us that this is an ancient town, although the remains of Orpington Priory set in lovely gardens stands just off of the High Street.
OTFORD: village is clustered around a pond with the church tucked away in a corner. The chief interest lies in the ruined palace that stands in water meadows to the south of the church. Although only a remnant is left the impressive brick tower remains. There are many fine walks from here – along the Darent valley or up on the Downs .
PENSHURST: The village is often overlooked by visitors who tread the well-worn path to Penshurst Place, one of Kent’s most stately homes. This is a shame as the sleepy village is well worth exploring. Also nearby is one of the most modern vineyards in Kent.
RAMSGATE: A seaside resort with the bustling harbour and town dominated by St. Augustine’s Church and Abbey, built on the hilltop in 1850. The small circular harbour, built out from the eastern cliff coast of Thanet, is surrounded by Georgian terraces, with Victorian buildings along the front and the Royal Esplanade with its amusement arcades and the pavilion.
ROCHESTER: With a history dating back over 2000 years, Rochester is truly a place for the visitor. Dominated by its castle and cathedral – both of which are well worth a visit, Rochester is a bustling city best explored on foot. The partly pedestrianised High Street has changed little over the past century with mainly Georgian buildings. Rochester is closely associated with Charles Dickens; there is a ‘Dickens Festival’ each May/June.
ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS: The wells were first discovered in 1606 and the waters can still be drunk from the official dipper during the summer months. A lovely town surrounded by common land, which provides excellent walks and the High Rocks, recently restored, are well worth a visit. The town itself has much to offer the visitor. The Pantiles, a tree lined promenade in the heart of the town has shops first built in the seventeenth century, the art gallery, Museum and ‘A day at the Wells’ experience are all worthy of the visitors time.
SANDWICH: Renowned for the famous Royal St George’s Golf Club, it is a very pleasant and quiet little town, with small streets radiating out from Castle Market, the central square, with its Elizabethan town hall housing the museum. One of the original Cinque Ports it now stands 2 miles inland after the silting up of the River Stour.
SEVENOAKS: Set beside the glorious Knole park and Knole House, Sevenoaks is an attractive town with many 17th to 19th century buildings. The old part of the town stands slightly apart from more recent developments and comprises the church, manor house, school and almshouses.
SHEERNESS: A seaside resort and dockyard town overlooking the point where the River Thames meets the River Medway, Sheerness makes a fine base for exploring the Isle of Sheppey. The Promenade with its gardens and amusements overlooks the busy Thames estuary.
SITTINGBOURNE: Visit Sittingbourne, a modern market town with a maritime heritage. Meet the bronze bargeman in the High Street or visit the sailing barge museum to learn more about the seafaring past. The busy high Street has wide variety of shops and the parish church, which dates mainly from the thirteenth century, provide quiet and tranquillity.
SMARDEN: Boast more than 100 listed buildings . With its fourteenth-century church tucked away behind some of the most attractive timber-framed houses in the Weald, this is an ideal village in which to study and admire medieval architecture.
TENTERDEN: At the heart of Tenterden is the beautiful old church of St. Mildred, whose records date from 1180. One of the most charming towns in Kent with a wide tree lined high street and with a wealth of old buildings dating from the 15th to the 18th century. The town has many fine inns and eating-places. Home of the Kent and East Sussex railway.
TONBRIDGE: Straddling the river Medway, the town grew from times before the Norman Conquest. It is a pleasant town dominated by the 13th-century gatehouse of a Norman castle demolished in the Civil War. Whilst not a pretty town, there are attractive 18th and 19th –century buildings and it has lovely open spaces near to the High Street bounded by tributaries of the Medway.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS: See Royal Tunbridge Wells
WESTERHAM: The village, with its sloping green, is full of interest and charm. At one end is the delightful Squerryes Court , whilst at the other is Quebec House, once the home of General Wolfe. Just a few miles away is Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill.
WESTGATE-ON-SEA: Westgate-on-sea offers a huge expanse of ‘Blue Flag’ sandy beach and the chance to go hunting in rock pools. There are lifeguards on patrol, toilets, beach cafes and a promenade to walk off all that ice cream. Good selection of local shops and f ree parking is available in the road all along the seafront.
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WEST MALLING: This large village with wide High Street is the only village in Kent to have three Norman towers. There are plenty of fine old buildings with many scheduled for architectural interest. Anglican nuns occupy St Mary’s Abbey, built around 1080. At the end of the High Street is Manor Farm Park, a wonderful place to stroll round on a sunny day.
WHITSTABLE: On the Kent coast, this little town has great charm. It is famous for its oyster fishing and there is a well-established oyster festival each summer. It has a 7-mile shingle beach and a harbour devoted to yachting and fishing.
WYE: This charming old market town, has, since 1892, housed the Agricultural College of the University of London. Many of the College buildings are medieval and the town boasts lovely Georgian houses as well as a 15th Century church. The 18th-century Olantigh Hall is a venue for popular music festivals.
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