Essentially Kent

There’s a blooming lot more to the Garden of England

THINK of oast houses and apple blossom and you think of Kent. But though worthy starters, as are castles and cathedrals, there’s so much more to explore –not just the main attractions.

While Dover and Canterbury might literally be as different as chalk and cheese – for which the latter’s market is justly famous – both reflect the rough and tumble of history dating back to pre-Roman times.

It was to Kent, too, that William the Conqueror turned to with the county’s trade links to London and beyond. Chaucer built his cheeky tales around the pilgrimages to Canterbury, while the Medway towns with their maritime and military heritage bring a rougher, but delightfully rumbustious, edge with a host of free festivals and other fun events.

Rochester with its castle and cathedral is far too often under-rated, though beloved by Charles Dickens – witness its June and December festivals.

An exodus of creative talent to the coast, sparked off by the opening of the Turner Contemporary has seen Margate play host to one of the busiest arts centre outside of London.

(Header photograph – Heavy work: annual ploughing competition, Shoreham)