6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Fabulous Faversham

PUBLISHED: 16:31 21 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:12 20 February 2013

Laurence Young, manager of the Faversham Enterprise Partnership, gives a unique insight into a very special town currently undergoing a dramatic renaissance

Fabulous Faversham


Laurence Young, manager of the Faversham Enterprise Partnership, gives a unique insight into a very special town currently undergoing a dramatic renaissance. Laurence is ideally placed as our guide, since he was not only born and brought up in the town, but can also trace his roots back to the Faversham of 1250


Whats it like to live in Faversham?


I see Faversham as a magnet town because its so attractive. Theres a fantastic quality of life here and one of the great things about Faversham is that wherever you live, youre always near the place you want to get to. Its a real place, nothing fake about it, a working market town that never pretended to be anything else. From the town centre, if you walk in any direction for 10 minutes youll be in open countryside. Its such an extraordinary place that the extraordinary becomes ordinary!


Tell us about the town centre


With about 500 listed buildings of most eras (some medieval) theres a compact and semi-pedestrianised town centre. It is home to the worlds oldest brewery, Shepherd Neame, nearby Ospringe has the oldest museum in the country and Faversham has a glorious, colourful history. Theres plenty of good property of all types, with prices slightly below those of London, plus good schools and excellent transport links.


The town centre is notable for the wonderful green-painted Guildhall, with its pillared undercroft, and the grand Market Place is home to Saturday markets. Principal roads are Market and Preston Streets, Middle Row, Court Street, and East and West Streets.


Tell us about the recent changes


Thereve been plenty of recent physical changes, but also changes about the actual feel of the place. Its now perceived as a beautiful town, with fabulous countryside and great social assets. Despite the recession, our traders are resilient. For instance, weve recently become a mecca for antique hunters, with 10 splendid antique shops.


What about shopping?


Weve got all the major national retailers sitting alongside lovely individual niche shops such as Barkaways butchers, county famous Macknade Fine Foods, a tattoo parlour, fine hairdressers, art galleries and restaurants. So Faversham is tailor made for a great day out: you can buy some antiques, have your hair done, eat at a fabulous restaurant and soak up some history.


Places to see?


There are 16 recognised attractions, great country houses, the wonderful brewery Visitors Centre and Id say our museum is the best small-town example of its kind in the country. I love the boats on the Creek and theres a barge you can hire from nearby Whitstable harbour for a days sailing (Greta, Thames Sailing Barge, 07711 657919).


Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, incorporating the Tourist Information Office, a world-class museum and art gallery, 01795 534542


Shepherd Neame Visitors centre, with bar, shop, guided tours and beer sampling, 01795 542016


St Mary of Charity church, 01795 532592


Chart Gunpowder Mills, restored by the Faversham Society, 01795 534542


Royal Cinema Tudorbethan style, designed in the 1930s, 01795 591211


Faversham Creek fine waterway with old sailing ships


Nearby


Mount Ephraim Gardens, 01227 751496


Brogdale Collection, with the largest collection of fruit trees and plants in the world, 01795 536250


Doddington Place Gardens, 01795 886101


Maison Dieu at Ospringe the oldest village museum in Britain, 01795 534542


Oare Gunpowder Works and Country Park, 01795 417850


Belmont House and Gardens, with the worlds largest private clock collection, 01795 890202


What are the Food Trails?


These are eight official food-themed walks of up to about 10 miles, taking you to where the food is grown the orchards, hop gardens and fields, and leading from and back to the town, with selected pubs for convenience breaks.


We are generously sponsored by the Kent Downs and Marshes LEADER fund, who came up with 50 per cent of the support we needed for the Faversham Food Trails project we completed last year.


How about leisure activities?


Theres a society for almost everything from beer-making to badminton, including fishing, football and hockey. Faversham Pools is world class, theres a thriving am-dram scene and theatre facilities. Plenty of artists live here too, with lively arts societies and a fantastic arts centre.


Places to eat?


Nowadays we rarely eat out of town now because the cuisine here is just so good. Theres Reads Restaurant (01795 535344) and the Sportsman (01227 273370), both Michelin starred, plus the fabulous Three Mariners (01795 533633), as well as a vast range of curry houses and kebab houses, and terrific cafs such as Jittermugs (01795 533121) with its lovely home-made cakes, and gastro pubs such as The Sun (01795 535098), the Bear Inn (01795 532668), and the Carriage Restaurant (01795 531790).


Dates for your diary


19-20 May: Travel through time festival, a Classic Car Show in the town centre, with craft stalls, refreshments and childrens entertainment, and hundreds of historic cars.


1-2 September: Faversham Hop Festival, an annual family event commemorating the days of hop picking, with a variety of free live music and entertainment, including a Hoppers ceilidh.


In a nutshell


Faversham has marvellous architecture and its a very, very pretty town with an incredible history. Its a place where people can come for a lovely relaxing day, or alternatively, its a wonderful place to live: swapping a pressurised urban existence for a country idyll is practical, because of our transport links and fine facilities. Faversham is a microcosm of Kent it sums up the county for me and right now were having an exciting renaissance.


You can enjoy a splendid quality of life and overlying everything is this breathtaking patina of history. It really is an absolutely superb place to live.


Faversham Enterprise Partnership


The Faversham Enterprise Partnership is a not-for-profit company set up in 2004 with the support of local councils, businesses and communities to deliver economic and community benefit for the town and surrounding area. Staff are part time and in addition to Laurence theres Lucy Guthrie, Samantha Nye and Ima Rix plus volunteers.


TRADERS TALKING - West Street


Adrian Rowland


Adrian Rowland has run Past Sentence (01795 590000), a second-hand bookshop at 119 West Street, for the past eight years.


Non-fiction is the backbone of the company, says Adrian. We stock anything thats interesting or unusual. My customers are fantastic, plus we get a lot of discerning visitors who like to browse.


There a considerable number of highly literary people in Faversham what with our artists and creative types, its actually quite a cerebral town.


Peter Barrows


At 113 West Street is Barrows (07966 375572), an antiques shop run by Peter Barrows, which has only recently opened up, as has nearby Michel Andre Morin Antiques (07740 450 614).


Peter specialises in genuine French furniture and mirrors, plus architectural items, which he selects himself on his weekly run to France. Its exciting to see Faversham grow as an antiques centre, Peter says, And for me its so convenient, because getting to France is so easy.


I like everything about Faversham: the buildings, the people, the whole thing, and its just going to get better. My customers are such a positive, friendly bunch of folk, all kinds of people. The social side of Faversham reminds me of Hampstead.


GETTING THERE


Faversham is near the north Kent coast, just south of the Isle of Sheppey, close to junction 6 of the M2 and accessible via the A2 from the M25. There are twice-hourly trains to London and rail links to Canterbury, Dover and Ramsgate, and also Ebbsfleet, where you can take the High-Speed link to St Pancras or the continent.


Satnav postcode: ME13 8NS


More from Out & About

Enjoy a short urban walk rather than a country stroll this month, as we follow the course of the ancient Pent stream

Read more
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Try our pick of some of Kent's best boat trips: With everything from a wildlife spotting jaunt down the Stour to a jetboat adventure on the Medway, there's something for everyone

Read more
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Kent has many villages that exude historical charm and a traditional village atmosphere beloved by locals and visitors. Here we pick 10 of the prettiest to explore

Read more

Sandwiched between two of Kent's trendiest towns, this peaceful little seaside resort has been overlooked for years. It's time for Herne Bay to take centre stage

Read more

If you love being active and out in the fresh air, there are plenty of ways you can combine both with helping your community

Read more
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Walking through the delightful valley of Elham is an absolute treat. Enter an oasis of peace and quiet with a whole array of shops and pubs in Elham at the end

Read more

With its unique landscape, rich history and strong cultural identity, we take a look at the Romney Marsh and the towns of Hythe and New Romney

Read more

Put away your digital devices and get back to nature with a few nights under canvas and the starry night skies this summer

Read more

This popular coastal town offers everything from wild walks and urban art to regenerated spaces

Read more

Expert conservation work carried out at Knole over the past two years now means that its attics are open to visit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life