Faversham is a treat for lovers of historic buildings. Some 500 in the town are listed by English Heritage, most in its 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. Many of the timber-framed buildings there then are still here 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 are 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 1148. 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 and Victorian 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 branch-line station building.
You'll want to see the handsome Guildhall, part-Elizabethan, part-Regency. Faversham and Davington parish churches are both Grade I listed (the latter founded in 1153) while Chart Gunpowder Mills, the oldest of their kind in the world, are scheduled as an ancient monument.
Just as rewarding are the surrounding villages, many virtually 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.
There's also 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 then there's New York (but we'll let you look for this for yourself!).
When you need a break visit one of the local pubs or restaurants. Many 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.
The menu on the right gives a taste of some of our fine buildings.
There isn't room on this site for detailed accounts of all buildings featured. Further information can be found in published books, some on sale at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre, 10-13 Preston Street, and others available through your local public library.