Kent is a county in the south of Great Britain, sometimes referred to as ‘the garden of England’. The seaside towns in Kent benefit from slightly warmer and less rainy weather than the rest of the UK due to their favourable southerly location and the fact that a large proportion of the land borders the sea.
The area between Canterbury and Dover is known as Thanet, or the Isle of Thanet. Although no longer an island, Thanet was once separated from the mainland by a wide river which has now become an area of marshy grass which still occasionally floods. Evidence of Stone Age and Bronze Age settlements has been found on the Isle of Thanet, proving that the area has been inhabited for thousands of years. Now it is home to around 128,000 people.
Due to its coastal setting, Kent and the Thanet area has long been the landing place of immigrants and invaders through the centuries. As such, the area is steeped in history and offers wonderful cultural sights and opportunities to learn about the ancestors that made the area what it is today. Mediaeval buildings are easy to find, as are Viking, Roman, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian attractions and activities.
Canterbury Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the UK and is situated close to several historically important ruined churches and abbeys which comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many walks and tours are available to enable visitors to learn about the rich heritage of Kent and the Thanet area.
Various locations on the Kent coast have been favourite holiday destinations for famous English people through the ages, and their popularity has only increased since the invention of rail travel and improved transport links; Kent was the first place a steam passenger railway was built, enabling coal to be transported to ports and onto ships.
Local towns and villages have hundreds of years of maritime history which is proudly celebrated in local museums, and the fishing industry has played a huge part in the development of the region. Fishermen still work off the coast of Kent as they have for hundreds of years, and many of the most popular dishes in local restaurants are based around seafood. The oysters which are farmed off the Whitstable coastline were the reason the Romans originally visited.
The Thanet area of Kent is made up of several towns which are closely located and can easily be explored on foot. The breathtaking coastline around Thanet stretches for 26 miles and features the iconic white cliffs of Dover. The cliffs themselves hold many secrets, such as a network of bunkers and a hospital used during the second world war, and are in a continual state of erosion as they are largely made of soft chalk. Transport links in the Dover area are excellent, with easy access to rail services, roads, ports and the Channel Tunnel Eurostar train service to mainland Europe.
From the cities of Canterbury to the ports and seaside retreats of Margate, Broadstairs, Dover and Ramsgate, Kent is a wonderful county to explore. It’s also a great base for your holiday in the south of England.