In Faversham, a treat is in store for lovers of historic buildings. About 500 in the town are listed by English Heritage, most of them in the very large conservation area.
In streets such as Abbey Street, Court Street, Tanners Street and West Street, you'll have no difficulty in conjuring up images of how the town looked 400 years ago. So many of the timber-framed buildings that were there then are still there now, and in good shape. As an actor, Shakespeare visited the town, and if he were alive today he'd feel quite at home! Faversham has cared for its heritage like few other towns.
In English Heritage's exclusive Grade I and Grade II* categories come some special treasures, such as a pair of medieval barns at Abbey Farm and Arden's House in Abbey Street. All three were once part of Faversham's Benedictine Abbey, founded by King Stephen and his wife Queen Matilda in 1147. Arden's House has the further claim to fame, or infamy, of having been the scene of a notorious murder in 1551.
If your taste is more for something a bit later, don't worry. There are plenty of Georgian buildings to admire. There are quirky ones, too, such as a church that was once a cinema and before that a school; a water-tower that's now a private home; and a stone-built entrance lodge that looks for all the world like a Victorian wayside station building.
You'll also not want to miss the handsome Guildhall, part-Elizabethan, part-Regency; Davington Priory, founded in 1153; and the Chart Gunpowder Mills, oldest of their kind in the world, and scheduled as an ancient monument.
Just as rewarding are the surrounding villages, virtually all unspoilt. Rivalling ancient churches as landmarks are oast-houses, with their distinctive cones. Wealden hall-houses, built as luxury homes for successful farmers in the 15th century, survive in scores - and are just as comfortable as they ever were. Mansions such as Georgian Belmont and Victorian Mount Ephraim have fine grounds and command enviable views. Village greens (often known as "forstal" or "lees" in this part of Kent) are pictures of calm and contentment.
Again there's the quirky - Dunkirk's Second World War radar tower, scheduled as an ancient monument;
Ospringe's Maison Dieu, a 13th-century priest's house, now a museum; a thatched 18th-century lodge at Hogben's Hill designed in rustic style; and New York (but we'll let you look for this for yourself!).
And when you need a break, why not visit one of the local pubs or restaurants? Almost all are historic buildings, listed in their own right. Evoke the past in cosy medieval pubs with inglenook fireplaces or in friendly restaurants with Elizabethan panelling or Georgian cornices.
Use the menu on the left for a foretaste of some individual buildings.
Please note that on this site there is not room for detailed accounts of all buildings featured. Further information will be found in published books, some on sale at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, 10-13 Preston Street, Faversham, and others available on loan through your local public library.