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10 reasons to love Faversham

PUBLISHED: 13:54 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 09 September 2019

The striking Guildhall on stilts in Market Square (photo: Manu Palomeque)

The striking Guildhall on stilts in Market Square (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

With its important history and a reputation for fine food and drink, let's find our way around Faversham

1. History hit

The little tidal creek that connects Faversham with the Thames Estuary was once so wide and deep that it was navigable by large cargo vessels. The town flourished as a seaport, trade brought wealth and it was incorporated into the Cinque Ports as a 'limb' of Dover.

It was the heart of the brewing industry, as well as brickmaking, the 17th-century wool industry and gunpowder production, which thrived here between 1874 and 1919. Much of Faversham's architecture has been protected, thanks to its large conservation area, with many fine Tudor and Georgian buildings.

Look out for the Guildhall on stilts in Market Square and the excellent Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre.

2. Up the creek

Considerably smaller than in its heyday, its commercial port long gone, Faversham's creek now welcomes pleasure vessels, but there are a few historic tugs and barges to see at Standard Quay.

Walkers are drawn to the creek, and there is a wonderful route passing the remaining boatyards and joining up with the Saxon Shore Way. The paths run across the marshes, famous for their birdlife, and pass near to ancient Davington Priory.

Quirky shops abound in Standard Quay (photo: Manu Palomeque)Quirky shops abound in Standard Quay (photo: Manu Palomeque)

3. Eat local

There are dozens of good cafés, restaurants and pubs to choose from. Try Read's Restaurant, Posillipo, The Carriage Restaurant at The Railway Hotel, The Yard, The Sun Inn, Cosgrove's, Moonlight Café, The Albion Taverna, the café at Creek Creative and Havishams Coffee House. Away from the town centre, The Hot Tin café and events venue is a real gem, set in a converted Victorian flatpack tin church, and don't miss Macknade Fine Foods, one of the south east's leading food halls. Wild Bread Bakehouse won the best independent food and drink retailer category in our 2018 Kent Life Food & Drink Awards.

4. Bearing fruit

As the 'Garden of England' it's no surprise that Kent is home to the National Fruit Tree Collection. Based at nearby Brogdale, it's one of the world's largest collections of fruit trees, with acres of plum, apple, cherry and nut trees to explore. Annual events designed to celebrate the different fruits from our region, as well as guided tours, fruit tastings and education events, include the Japanese Hanami Festival, with picnics held each spring to enjoy the cherry blossom, the upcoming Pear Day (15 September) and national Apple Day (19 and 20 October).

5. Quirky quay

A stone's throw from the High Street is one of Kent's prettiest places to eat, drink and shop - all while taking in some of Faversham's maritime history. The historic barns and warehouses at Standard Quay now house lots of small businesses, including The Furniture Barn, Aladdin's Loft, The Butcher of Brogdale, Salt & Spice, Rigger's Gallery, Meadowlarks, Victoria Grace Bridal and the Secret Garden Café. One is now home to the Cambria Thames Barge Exhibition.

The creek today makes a very desirable place to live and play (photo: Manu Palomeque)The creek today makes a very desirable place to live and play (photo: Manu Palomeque)

6. Georgian gem

Belmont House isn't as famous as some others we could mention, but this Georgian gem with its stunning gardens is well worth seeking out. Commanding impressive views of the Faversham countryside, it has been home to six generations of the Harris family and the enormous clock collection of the 5th Lord Harris adorns the rooms of the house today. Explore the kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouse and pinetum.

7. Main events

There is always something going on in Faversham and this time of year sees the town's biggest annual celebration take over its streets. The Faversham Hop Festival (31 August and 1 September) remembers the traditions of hop pickers, when seasonal workers would celebrate the harvest each year with a huge party. Today the town puts on entertainment, live music and a beer festival in their honour. And don't miss the Faversham Food Festival (13-15 September).

8. Beer's big name

Kentish brand Shepherd Neame is the country's oldest brewer. Founded in 1698 and still based in the town where it all started, the brewery is known for its excellent ales and lagers, including Spitfire, Bishops Finger and Whitstable Bay. Its Court Street visitor centre is based in a restored medieval hall house and offers tours of the busy working brewery, tastings and a range of special events.

9. Back to nature

Blow away the cobwebs with a walk at Oare Marshes Nature Reserve. Managed by Kent Wildlife Trust and covering more than 71 ha of marshland north of the town, it has all the hides, scrapes, freshwater dykes and saltmarshes that attract migratory, overwintering and breeding wetland birds. Or visit nearby Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park, on the former site of one the area's famous gunpowder factories. Now a Green Flag park with woodland, wetlands and open glades, there is also a visitor centre telling the story of its gunpowder manufacturing history.

10. Ancient markets

The town was granted a charter by King Kenulf in 811AD and the market, the oldest in Kent, is still an important attraction. Known as the 'market town of kings' thanks to its connection to King Stephen and his wife Matilda, who founded the abbey that was once at the heart of Faversham, the town still holds a traditional street market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It's been joined by some modern counterparts too, with the Faversham Antiques and Vintage Market on the first Sunday of each month and the excellent Best Of Faversham arts, crafts and artisan food market.

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