Tourist Information in Kent
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Kent Tourist Information

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It's a simple matter to cross over to Europe from Kent, so it's no wonder that Britain's prime fruit-growing region has attracted invaders heading in the opposite direction for many centuries. Julius Caesar landed here in 55 BC. The Saxons, led by Hengist and Horsa, arrived in the 5th century. St Augustine and his missionaries disembarked in 597. And a few hundred years later it was the turn of the Vikings.

This land of rolling hills, wooded valleys, vineyards, windmills, orchards, oasthouses, castles, gardens and stately piles offers visitors not just the chance to get away from the stress of daily life but also to travel through time to re-evaluate England's remarkable past.

Astonishingly, Kent has more castles, stately homes and gardens open to the public than any other region. And with a coastline studded with sandy bays it is not merely home to the timeless White Cliffs of Dover but also to two towering cathedrals at Canterbury and Rochester. They have each stood for more than a millennium.

Jutting out of the British Isles in the south east, Kent is a county of mysterious marshes and breathtaking countryside alongside medieval towns and idyllic seaside resorts. Hard to believe that it is just a stone's throw from London. The Romans built elaborate villas and centrally-heated public baths here, leaving the county with fascinating ruins as well as one of its most famous arrow-straight roads, Watling Street, which is still in use.

Kent has seen much great naval activity and you can discover over 400 years of maritime history at the Historic Dockyard at Chatham which was established by Henry VIII. Both Sir Francis Drake and Admiral Sir John Hawkins lived and worked in Chatham while a certain young man named Nelson began his illustrious naval career here.

The coastline is dotted with defensive structures, from castles to early 19th century Martello towers (circular gun forts designed to thwart Napoleon) and in the south are the Cinque Ports, set up in the 11th century to provide the bulk of the English navy's ships in exchange for trading privileges.
    Kent Slideshow

One of the Home Counties, Kent is a chief fruit-growing area, though vineyards flourished here long before the famous hop gardens and orchards earned the county the title ‘Garden of England'. The Pilgrim's Way footpath follows the long ridge of the North Downs which cross the north of the county.

In the south, sheltered by the Downs, lies the Weald, famous for pretty little towns and villages, hop gardens, oasthouses, cosily-welcoming pubs and the stark, cattle-grazing areas of Romney Marsh.

Kent is a ‘first class' cricket county and has the distinction of having played (against Surrey) in the earliest county cricket match on record – in 1709. It is also the location of one of motor racing's best-loved circuits, Brand's Hatch, near Lamberhurst, while Bewl Water is a nationally important water sports and angling centre. Touring this county takes the tourist over a landscape encompassing both the ancient and the modern. The historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, for example, was one of the most fashionable places to stay in the 18th century.

Meanwhile, the National Trust runs properties as diverse as Chartwell, former home of Sir Winston Churchill, and Tenterden known as the "Jewel of the Weald". In the County Town of Maidstone you will find the Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery containing the remains of the town's oldest resident, a skeletal iguanodon.

Castles include Tonbridge Castle, Hever Castle, the world-famous Leeds Castle – which rises from two small islands in a lake surrounded by parkland – and the ruins of the moated Scotney Castle, which has one of Britain's most romantic gardens.

Although history is all around – Faversham, for example, was visited by both Elizabeth I and Charles II while Henry VIII honeymooned with Anne Boleyn at Shurland Hall on the Isle of Sheppey – all the main towns have distinctive flavours due not simply to their inherited past but also to modern shops, eateries, pubs and mainstream attractions. Not bad, you might think, for a county with the oldest documented place name in the British Isles. 

IMAGES: Kent Tourism Alliance

White Cliffs Walk
Reculver Towers
Oasthouses Orchards
Scotney Castle


Tourist Information Centres

18 The Churchyard, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1QG
Tel: 01233 629165   Fax: 01233 639166

Dickens House Museum, 2 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs, Kent, CT10 1QS
Tel: 0870 264 6111    Fax: 01843 861232

Sun Street, opposite the Cathedral Gate
Tel: 01227 378100   Fax: 01227 378101

Motorway Service Area, Junction 5/6 M25, Westerham, Kent, TN16 2ER
Tel: (Eastbound) 01959 565063   Tel: (Westbound) 01959 565615

Town Hall, High Street, Deal, Kent, CT14 6TR
Tel: 01304 369576

Dover Museum, Market Square, Dover, Kent, CT16 1PH
Tel: 01304 201066   Fax: 01304 241186

Stangrove Park, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 5LU
Tel: 01732 868110

Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, 13 Preston Street, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8NS
Tel: 01795 534542   Fax: 01795 533261

Harbour Street, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1QN
Tel: 01303 258594   Fax: 01303 259754

10 Parrock Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1ET
Tel: 01474 337600   Fax: 01474 337601

12 William Street, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 5EJ
Tel: 01227 361911   Fax: 01227 361911

HYTHE - (Summer Only)
En-route Travel, Red Lion Square, Hythe, Kent, CT21 5AU
Tel: 01303 267799   Fax: 01303 261161

Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1TF
Tel: 01622 602169 / 01622 60251

12-13 The Parade, Margate, Kent, CT9 1EY
Tel: 0870 2646111   Fax: 01843 292019

NEW ROMNEY - (Summer Only)
Magpie, Church Approach, New Romney, Kent
Tel: 01797 364044   Fax:01797 364194

17 Albert Court, York Street, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9DN
Tel: 0870 2646111   Fax: 01843 585353

95 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1LX
Tel: 01634 843666   Fax: 01634 847981

The Guild Hall, Cattle Market, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9AH
Tel: 01304 613565   Fax: 01304 613565

Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1LQ
Tel: 01732 450305   Fax: 01732 461959

Crown Square, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE3 3AT.
Tel: 01322 614660   Fax: 01322 666154

TENTERDEN - (Summer Only)
Town Hall, High Street, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6AN
Tel: 01580 763572   Fax: 01580 766863

Tonbridge Castle, Castle Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1BG
Tel: 01732 770929   Fax: 01732 770449

The Old Fish Market, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 5TN
Tel: 01892 515675   Fax:01892 534660

7 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1DB
Tel: 01227 275482   Fax: 01227 275482


Useful links

Botany Bay Beach - info and photos about the beach and kiosk

Explore Kent - Download free publications; view an interactive map of all of the county’s Public Rights of Way; and search for country parks and open spaces, and walking, cycling and riding routes. An events calendar and latest news section will keep you up-to-date with all of the news from Kent County Council’s Countryside Access team.