For other places with the same name, see Kent (disambiguation).

Kent is the most south-easterly county of England. It is popularly known as the "Garden of England" and its coastal areas are popular with visitors.

Cities, towns and villages edit

City edit

Towns edit

Villages and areas edit

 
St. Helen's Church in Cliffe

Understand edit

In the 5th-10th centuries CE, Kent was one of the kingdoms of the Jutes, although its name derives from one of the Celtic tribes of Britain, the Cantiaci. As the closest part of England to the continent of Europe (it is just 21 miles (34 km) from Dover to Calais), it has historically been the focal point for invasion attempts, and is traditionally the major embarkation point for travel to mainland Europe.

Due to the extensive agriculture, orchards and hop farms, Kent is part of what is known as the "Garden of England", a fact reflected in the new car registration plates - the letter representing Kent is "G" for "Garden" rather than "K" for "Kent".

At the eastern extreme of Kent lies the Isle of Thanet. There are three main seaside towns in the area: Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate. Once it was an island, but deposition over many years means it is now joined to the Great British mainland.

Get in edit

By plane edit

  • By public transport all the London airports have similar travel times to Kent, as you have to go into central London then head out again.
  • 1 Gatwick Airport (LGW IATA) is the closest by road, 30 min drive from Kent's western boundaries if the traffic is good, but by rail you change in London.
  • Lydd Airport, also fancifully called "London Ashford Airport", had flights to Le Touquet in France, but these ceased in 2018. The airport remains open to private aviation.
  • Lots of small airfields remain available for private light aviation, but don't wander across these crowded skies without authorisation.

By train edit

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in Great Britain

Kent has an extensive rail network, with lines running all along the coast and up through all the major towns and into London. The London terminus stations into which Kent rail services operate are Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Waterloo East, London Bridge, Blackfriars and St.Pancras International.

  Note: No Eurostar at Ebbsfleet or Ashford: Eurostar no longer stops at Ebbsfleet, Ashford or Calais-Fréthun. This will apply at least until Jan 2024.

Ebbsfleet and Ashford International Stations are railway stations which provide transport between UK and Europe. Several trains operate each hour direct to Ebbsfleet, Ashford and Paris, Lille or Brussels. Ebbsfleet is located on purpose developed land, with onsite car parking for over 9000 vehicles.

Domestic trains are operated by SouthEastern From London St Pancras to Ebbsfleet (typical journey time 15 – 17 minutes) and Ashford (typical journey time from St. Pancras being 30 minutes). The new high-speed trains on the St Pancras International routes have a full timetable. The high speed services have been further extended to Gravesend, the Medway towns, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay and stations to Margate and Ramsgate. An off-peak service operates via Gravesend and the Medway towns, terminating at Faversham. A high speed service is be offered to the Thanet towns via Ashford and Canterbury West, bringing the Cathedral city within an hour from London.

By car edit

  • From Junction 5 of the M25 the A21 leads to Hastings via Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.
  • From London, take the A2 arterial road from either London or the M25 Orbital motorway to Ebbsfleet.
  • The M20 leads from the M25 to Dover and Folkestone via Maidstone and Ashford.

By boat edit

Get around edit

By car edit

  Note: When there are major delays to cross-Channel ferry and train services, caused by exceptional circumstances such as bad weather or industrial action, the police instigate Operation Brock. The M20 is used as a queuing/waiting area for delayed lorries, meaning the coast bound carriageway is used for queuing lorries between Maidstone and Ashford. The other carriageway is converted to dual direction traffic with a demoralising 50MPH speed limit. Check before you travel with National Highways.

There are two main northwest-southeast motorways: the M2/A2, which serves Dartford, the Medway towns, Canterbury, and Dover, and the M20/A20, which serves Sevenoaks, Maidstone, Ashford, Folkestone, and Dover. Journeys along other axes are usually on smaller roads at a more sedate speed.

By bicycle edit

National Cycle Route 1 connects London, the Medway Towns, Canterbury and Dover. It is signed throughout although its quality is variable, with a mix of cycle tracks, quiet roads and a few off-road sections.

By bus edit

Most buses are operated by Arriva in West Kent, Maidstone and Medway, and Stagecoach in the eastern half of Kent. Both operators accept contactless payment. There are some routes into South East London from Bluewater and Dartford.

By train edit

A network of frequent train services is operated as part of the National Rail network by Southeastern. Times can be checked and journeys planned at the National Rail website. However the network is designed to get people to and from London, and journeys across the county can be more difficult. A rover ticket is available giving three days of off peak travel (after 9.30AM) in the county for £39.50 - buy it a station ticket office in Kent.

The county is also served by the High Speed 1 line, with fast services through Ebbsfleet, Ashford, Folkestone, Dover, and Canterbury.

See edit

1 Dover Castle. Castle in Dover    

2 White Cliffs of Dover. Spectacular chalk cliffs over which was fought the Battle of Britain in Dover.    

3 Hever Castle, south of Sevenoaks Edenbridge. - where Henry VIII spent his honeymoon(s).    

4 Leeds Castle, near Maidstone. - built in 1119 and held by six medieval queens.    

5 Scotney Castle. Castle near Tunbridge Wells.    

  • Sissinghurst Castle Gardens near Cranbrook - a garden designed by Vita Sackville-West around the ruin of an Elizabethan manor house.
  • Cathedrals at Canterbury and Rochester.
  • Knole House- in Sevenoaks - one of England's largest country houses with surrounding 1000 acre deer park.
  • Bedgebury National Pinetum near Tunbridge Wells - outdoor activities.
  • Finchcocks near Tunbridge Wells - music museum and Georgian manor house.
  • All Saints Church at Tudeley - church with all its windows decorated by Marc Chagall.
  • Chartwell near Westerham - home of Sir Winston Churchill from 1922 until his death in 1965.

6 Chiddingstone. village in the borough of Sevenoaks    

  • Penshurst Place near Tonbridge - stately home and garden.

Railways and Engineering edit

  • The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.
  • 7 Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, New Romney Station, New Romney, Kent TN28 8PL. Historical 15 in/381 mm 15 in (380 mm) gauge light railway with steam and diesel locomotives. The line runs from Hythe to the nature reserve at Dungeness. Full day tickets are available allowing visitors to stop at each station and explore. There is a museum and model railway at New Romney Station.
  • 8 Kent & East Sussex Railway, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6HE. Operates between Tenterden and Bodiam in east Sussex, passing through some very attractive countryside in the process. Free parking is available at Tenterden station for customers. There is also a museum at Tenterden station. Bodium Castle is a short walk from the station there.
  • 9 East Kent Railway, Shepherdswell, Dover, CT15 7PD. Sundays. Originally serving the Kent Coalfield which was closed in the 1980's. The line is just 4 miles long with various vintage (mostly diesel powered) trains. The site also has two miniature railways, a model railway and woodland walk. A cafe is available at Shepherdswell. Whilst much smaller than the other railways in Kent the cost is also about a third of the larger lines. It is ideal for families with young children.

Do edit

  • 1 War and Peace Revival (War and Peace Show), Maidstone Road, Paddock Wood, TN12 6PY (Hop Farm Country Park), +44 1258 857700, . 25th - 29th July 2023. The world's largest military vehicle show plus militaria collectors fair and living history re-enactments from the First World War to more recent conflicts. Held annually over several days, usually in late July. The revival hosts around 4000 military vehicles including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, armoured cars, amphibious vehicles, motorcycles, as well as light, medium and heavy military wheeled vehicles. The 2015 show attracted over 100,000 visitors during its five days.    
  • Watch cricket: Kent CCC play at St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury.

Eat edit

Despite the proximity to London, Kent still has extensive agriculture. Fruit grown in Kent (particularly apples and plums) can be bought all over the UK. If you want to take this seriously, visit the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale Farm, near Faversham.

Drink edit

  • Kent-based Shepherd Neame in Faversham is the oldest brewing company in Britain.
  • Wine: Kent has many vineyards, as the climate and terrain are similar to northern France. Some well-regarded examples are Simpsons near Canterbury, Chapel Down in Tenterden and Balfour near Tonbridge.
  • Cider is produced from Kentish apples by some companies. Biddenden near Tenterden is known locally for its cider and wine production.

Stay safe edit

Kent is generally safe and you are unlikely to experience any trouble during your visit.

Go next edit

  • East Sussex lies to the west, and Surrey and London to the north. France, The Netherlands and Belgium are just a short hop over the channel.
  • Bodiam Castle, Batemans, Pashley Manor Gardens, near the East Sussex/Kent border.


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