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Kent travel guide — Kent tourism and travel information

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about Kent

Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. The county town is Maidstone. Kent has land borders with East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London, and a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames estuary.

Other places in Kent include Canterbury, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Rochester-upon-Medway.

Kent is traditionally regarded as a picturesque rural county, but there is a Kent coalfield which was extensively mined in the past. The district of Thanet is one of the most disadvantaged areas in the south east of England. There is a nuclear power station located at Dungeness.

The Channel tunnel leaves England at Cheriton in Kent. It provides a rail link to and from France. There are airports at Headcorn, Lydd, Manston and Rochester.

Famous residents of Kent have included Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin. Sir Winston Churchill's home Chartwell is also located in Kent.

Although the Victoria County History for Kent is limited, an extensive survey of the county was undertaken over a 50 year period by Edward Hasted, himself of Kent, between 1755-1805.

Kent geography

Kent is the southeasternmost county in England. It is bounded on the north by the River Thames and the North Sea, and on the south by the Straits of Dover and the English Channel. The continent of Europe is a mere 21 miles across the Strait. The major geographical features of the county are determined by a series of ridges running from west to east across the county. These ridges are the remains of the Wealden Dome, which was the result of uplifting caused by the Alpine movements between 10-20 million years ago.

Erosion has resulted in these ridges and the valleys between. From the north they are: the marshlands along the Thames/Medway estuaries and along the North Kent coast; the chalk North Downs reaching heights of around 600ft; the sandstone and clay valley containing the River Medway and its tributaries; the Greensand ridge; the Wealden clay valley and finally the sandstone High Weald.

Probably the most significant geographical feature of Kent is the White Cliffs. It is here that the North Downs reaches the sea.

The Weald derives its ancient name from the Germanic word 'wald' meaning simply woodland. Much of the area remains today densely wooded; where there are also heavy clays the tracks through are nearly impassaable for much of the year. In medieval times the Weald was of national importance for two industries: the iron industry and cloth-making.

The River Medway is Kent's one major waterway. It rises near Edenbridge and flows some 25 mls (40km) eastwards to a point near Maidstone when it turns north. Here it breaks through the North Downs at Rochester before joining the River Thames as its final tributary near Sheerness. The river is tidal as far as Allington lock, but in earlier times cargo-carrying vessels reached as far upstream as Tonbridge.

Kent is sometimes known as the 'Garden of England' because of its agricultural influence, extensive orchards and hop-gardens. Distinctive hop drying buildings called oast houses are common in the countryside, although large numbers of them are now redundant and have been converted into dwellings. Nearer London, market gardens also flourish.

Kent was traditionally divided into West Kent and East Kent by the River Medway. They were subdivided into lathes, and then into hundreds and parishes. This division into East and West is also reflected in the term 'Men of Kent' for residents of Kent east of the Medway, whilst residents from west of the Medway are known as 'Kentish Men'. This derives from the ethnic differences between the Jutish settlement of the east of the county and the Saxon presence in the west. The two divisions of Kent had separate courts of Quarter Sessions (at Maidstone and Canterbury) until 1814.

Kent continues to be encroached upon by London. The area making up the present-day London boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham were part of Kent until 1889, and Bexley and Bromley were removed in 1965. Much of the north-west of the county is part of the London commuter belt.

The ceremonial county of Kent corresponds to the administrative county plus the Medway (or Medway Towns) unitary authority, created in 1998 when the then districts of Gillingham and Rochester were removed from the county.

Kent history

The area has been occupied since the Lower Palaeolithic as finds from the quarries at Swanscombe attest. During the Neolithic the Medway megaliths were built and there is a rich sequence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman occupation indicated by finds and features such as the Ringlemere gold cup and the Roman villas of the Darent valley.

The modern name Kent is derived from the Brythonic word 'Cantus' meaning a rim or border, being applied as a name to the eastern part of the modern county, and meaning 'border land' or 'coastal district.' Julius Caesar described it as Cantium, home of the Cantiaci in 51 BC.

The extreme west of the modern county was occupied by other Iron Age tribes; the Regnenses and possibly another ethnic group occupying The Weald. East Kent became one of the kingdoms of the Jutes during the fifth century AD and the area was later known as Cantia in around AD 730 and Cent in AD 835. The early Mediaeval inhabitants of the county were known as the Cantwara or Kent people, whose capital was at Canterbury.

Canterbury is the religious centre of the Anglican faith, and Augustine is traditionally credited with bring Christianity to the county and thus to England in 597.

Following the invasion of William the Conqueror the people of Kent adopted the motto Invicta meaning undefeated and claiming (quite wrongly) that they had frightened the Normans away, presumably in an attempt to defame the people of Hastings in neighbouring Sussex.

During the medieval period, Kent produced several rebellions including the Peasants' Revolt led by Wat Tyler and later, Jack Cade's rebellion of 1450. Thomas Wyatt led an army into London from Kent in 1553, against Mary I. Canterbury became a great pilgrimage site following the martyrdom of Thomas à Becket. Canterbury's religious role also gave rise to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a key development in the rise of the written English language and ostensibly set in the countryside of Kent.

By the seventeenth century, tensions between Britain and the continental powers of Holland and France led to increasing military build-up in the county. Forts were built all along the coast following a daring raid by the Dutch navy on the shipyards of the Medway Towns in 1667.

During the Second World War, airfields in Kent became well known playing a major part in the Battle of Britain whilst civilian settlements were often the recipients of bombardment and bombing from the continent.

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cheap flights to Kent

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Kent real estate

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Kent".

This city is also known as: Kent.

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