Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > South East England > Kent
- For other places with the same name, see Kent (disambiguation).
The county council area does not include the Medway towns which are administered separately as a Unitary Authority, but form many purposes they are still considered to be part of Kent, and that is how they are treated here.
- Maidstone - the administrative capital
- Chatham - one of the Medway Towns
- Gillingham - one of the Medway Towns
- Rainham - one of the Medway Towns
- Rochester - one of the Medway Towns
- Strood - one of the Medway Towns
- Tunbridge Wells
Kent was originally 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 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.
- Gatwick Airport is half an hour's drive from Kent's western borders. It is linked by a 40 minute rail journey to Tunbridge Wells.
- Lydd Airport flights from Le Touquet in France.
Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.
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.
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.
- 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.
Major bus hubs around the county include, Maidstone, Canterbury, Chatham, Tunbridge Wells, and Bluewater. South East London can be easily accessed by bus from both Bluewater, and Tunbridge Wells, With routes to Woolwich and Bromley, respectively.
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 hourly fast services to London from most major stations.
- Dover Castle in Dover.
- The White Cliffs of Dover - spectacular chalk cliffs over which was fought the Battle of Britain in Dover.
- Scotney Castle near Tunbridge Wells.
- Hever Castle near Sevenoaks - where Henry VIII spent his honeymoon(s).
- Knole House- in Sevenoaks - one of England's largest country houses with surrounding 1000 acre deer park.
- Sissinghurst Castle Gardens near Cranbrook - a garden designed by Vita Sackville-West around the ruin of an Elizabethan manor house.
- Penshurst Place near Tonbridge - stately home and garden.
- Leeds Castle near Maidstone - built in 1119 and held by six medieval queens.
- Cathedrals at Canterbury and Rochester.
- Kent & East Sussex Railway operates between Tenterden and Bodiam in east Sussex, passing through some very attractive countryside in the process.
- Finchcocks near Tunbridge Wells - music museum and Georgian manor house.
- Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway- historical 15 in/381 mm gauge light railway with steam and diesel locomotives.
- The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.
- Bedgebury National Pinetum near Tunbridge Wells - outdoor activities.
- 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.
- Chiddingstone village in the borough of Sevenoaks
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.
- Kent-based Shepherd Neame in Faversham is the oldest brewing company in Britain.
- Kent also produces wine, with the vineyards in Tenterden and Lamberhurst probably the most well-established producers.
Kent is a generally safe area and you are very unlikely to experience any trouble during your visit.
- 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.