Funstastic facts on Kent
- The first white roadlines were painted on the London to Folkestone Road at Ashford, in 1914
- The Lychgate at St Georges Church Beckenham is reputed to be the oldest in England and dates from the 13th Century
- Although he hated his time there as a boy Somerset Maugham had his ashes scattered at Kings School Canterbury
- St Edmunds in Dover is the smallest church in Britain still in regular use
- Matthew Webb, the very first person to swim the English Channel, left from Dover in 1875. It took almost 22 hours
- The worlds first aircraft factory was built on Sheppey by the Short Bros in 1909
- In 1909, in Kent, John Brabazon became the first Briton to fly. His flight last 500 feet!
- Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn spent their honeymoon at Shurland Hall, Eastchurch – just outside Sheerness
The family home of Sir Winston Churchill. Rooms are as they were during his lifetime and offer an insight into both his domestic and political life. Photographs, books and personal possessions, including his famous cigars, evoke his career, personality and family.
Museum and exhibition rooms contain displays, sound recordings and collections of memorabilia. See many of Sir Winston´s own paintings, and features created by Sir Winston in the garden including walls the lakes and ponds stocked with golden orfe.
Westerham, TN16 1PS
Miles of Mystery and History Beneath your Feet! Grab a lantern and get ready for an amazing adventure! Dark mysterious passageways hewn by hand from the chalk, deep beneath Chislehurst. Travel back in time on a 45 minute lamp-lit tour, with stories of Druids, Romans and Saxons. See the tunnels that were famous as a shelter during the Second World War, the Caves Church, Druid Altar, Haunted Pool and much more!
Caveside Close, Chislehurst, BR7 5NL
For over 2000 years, the site of Dover Castle has protected the stretch of English coast closest to Europe. From the Iron Age to the Atomic Age, the castle´s defences have grown to meet the changing demands of warfare. The keeps, built in the 1180s, contain displays devoted to the siege of 1216 and the arrival of the Court of Henry VIII in 1539. Hidden inside the White Cliffs of Dover is a fascinating and secret world: below, deep underground, are miles of tunnels.
Dover, Kent CT16 1HN
Hever Castle & Gardens
A romantic 13th century moated castle, and the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII´s second wife. Set in over 30 acres of gardens that include, an Italian garden, Rose garden and Tudor garden, also yew and water mazes, and herbaceous borders.
Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG
The Historic Dockyard at Chatham
Set in a stunning 80 acre estate, explore the world´s most complete dockyard of the Age of Sail and discover the hidden secrets of the yard that built over 400 ships for the Royal Navy, including Nelson´s flagship HMS Victory. Discover the dockyard´s wonderful Georgian and Victorian historic buildings and structures of the World´s most complete Dockyard of the Age of Sail. Also visit the `Road to Trafalgar´ exhibition, situated at the end of the Wooden Walls gallery.
Chatham, ME4 4TZ
Rising from two islands in the centre of a lake, this castle has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence for six medieval Queens of England, a palace of Henry VIII, and a retreat for the powerful and influential. The 500 acres of parkland is the perfect place for visitors to soak up 1000 years of history while enjoying the castle´s fine collections of tapestries, furnishings and antiques. Other attractions include a Dog Collar Museum, formal gardens, aviary, woodland walk and yew maze.
Maidstone, ME17 1PL
The Royal National Lifeboat Collection
Housed in an 1848 covered slip, see 17 history-making boats many of which were medal winners for bravery. From pulling-sailing lifeboats to the ´Blue Peter´ D class inflatables.
The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, ME4 4TZ
How about a visit to:
- Ightham Mote – this moated medieval manor has features spanning many centuries. A short distance away is Knole, here you can bring dreams of grand living alive in one of England’s great treasure houses.
- Hever Castle – walk in the footsteps of the Tudors through the real-life settings of the dramatic love intrigues of King Henry VIII. 2009 is the year of the 500th anniversary of his coronation as King and Kent will be celebrating in style. Discover how Anne Boleyn spent her childhood and find many artefacts unfolding her infamous romance with the King.
- Leeds Castle – rising from a lake in 500 acres of parkland, Leeds Castle is the epitome of elegance and a treasure house of furnishings, paintings and antiques dating back centuries.
- Deal Castle – one of the sturdy links in the chain of coastal fortresses built by order of Henry VIII, who feared invasion from France. A little further along the coast is Walmer Castle & Gardens.
- Canterbury is one of England’s oldest cities with a continuous history. The story of its sublime World Heritage Site – the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church – begins in AD 597 when St Augustine came to reintroduce Christianity to southern England.
- Rochester Castle – immerse yourself in the military might of Rochester Castle, among the best-preserved and finest examples of Norman building in the country. Then experience the peaceful atmosphere of England’s second-oldest cathedral – Rochester Cathedral.
- Cinque Ports – 14 towns, from Hastings in the west to Margate in the east. Each of the towns has a wealth of rich heritage and maritime traditions for all to discover with museums, medieval houses and landmarks, attractions, forts and castles.
Steam railways in Kent:
- Kent and East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent – one of the country’s finest example of a rural light railway. The line gently wends its way from Tenterden, ‘The Jewel of The Weald’ for 10 1/2 miles, through the unspoilt countryside of the Rother Valley to terminate at Bodiam Castle.
- Bredgar & Wormshill Light Railway, The Warren, Bredgar, Kent – a small narrow gauge railway with ten steam locomotives, but more than just a railway. Picnic areas, model railway
- East Kent Railway, Station Road, Shepherdswell, Dover, Kent – 4 mile round trip to Eythorne on vintage trains. Extended ride on miniature railway. Model railway carriage with 3 gauge layouts. Small railway museum. Buffet.
- Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, New Romney Station, Littlestone, New Romney, Kent – First opened to traffic in July 1927 as the ‘World’s Smallest Public Railway’ and now covering a distance of 13.5 miles from the picturesque Cinque Port of Hythe to the fishermans cottages and lighthouses at Dungeness.
- Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway, Kemsley, Sittingbourne, Kent – This is the 102nd year of steam operation on this unique line which was built for transporting the raw materials required for the manufacture of paper and, of course, the finished product.
- Spa Valley Railway, West Station, Nevill Terrace, Tunbridge Wells, Kent – a heritage railway linking Tunbridge Wells with the village of Groombridge (for Groombridge Place Gardens) calling at High Rocks. See 3 1/2 miles of Kent and Sussex countryside from a steam or heritage diesel train.
For more information on these and other places to see in Kent, visit www.visitkent.co.uk
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