In thriving West Malling, a vibrant contemporary town teams up with a rich past - expect eye-catching architecture and tempting shops.
West Malling boasts plenty of restaurants, pubs, cafés and tea-rooms, while its range of individual stores and monthly Farmers' Market draw the crowds.
A community of Benedictine nuns was founded here in the 11th century, and the town features a wealth of appealing, ancient buildings. Highlights include the striking, Tudor, Abbey Gatehouse, an unusual, Georgian waterfall called The Cascades, and the magnificent, Queen Anne Went House.
Dating back to the 1550s, the Mill Yard Craft Centre now houses specialist shops and a charming tea-room. You can also explore the remains of St Leonard’s Tower, a tall, Norman tower-keep run by English Heritage, and the Church of St Mary the Virgin. This Norman structure sports a fine spire, huge tower, rare James II coat arms and 15th century brasses.
Also keep an eye-out for the bronze sculpture Hope, and its panels depicting the town's past. One shows the first ever recorded cricket match in 1705. It may even have inspired Charles Dickens - he visited the area while writing Pickwick Papers, with its famous match between All Muggleton and Dingley Dell.
Manor Park Country Park is just a short walk from the town centre. Full of native trees, squirrels, ducks, and swans, you might spot woodpeckers and nuthatches too. While at Leybourne Lakes Country Park you can head out on ranger-led activities, or dive, windsurf, sail and canoe.
The area is ripe for Time Team-themed explorations. English Heritage runs the Kits Coty sites, where a megalithic tomb features three uprights crowned by a huge capstone. The National Trust looks after Coldrum Long Barrow, an evocative, well-preserved, 3000 year-old burial chamber. Meanwhile, Addington Long Barrow is a Neolithic burial mound with around 25 surviving stones.
At Aylesford Priory, the Friars offers a fascinating insight into life within the centuries-old order of the Carmelites. And there's another local, Christian-based community: the Pilsdon at Malling helps people rebuild their lives after crisis.
Witness the stunning views from the top of the barrow.2.5 miles away
Three meadows nestling beside the River Medway. This is an edial loction to watch boats cruising...3.1 miles away
Kent’s premier heritage farm park will soon be launched into a new era with several developments on...4.12 miles away
A beautifully restored 17thC barn, now a visitor centre, with displays on Kent's wildlife habitats...4.51 miles away
Solar block of late 13th century knights' dwellings with a rectangular hall with chapel, raised...4.64 miles away
An exceptional regional museum set within an Elizabethan manor house. Special collections of...4.84 miles away
Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery is an exceptional regional museum housed in the gorgeous...4.9 miles away
Experience the thrills of high speed with sharp bends, head for Buckmore Park International kart...4.9 miles away
A 100-seater passenger boat offering 1 and 3 hour cruises along the River Medway. 1 hour cruises...4.91 miles away
Set in the peaceful beauty of a walled garden Downderry is the home of National Plant Collections...4.92 miles away
The Hazlitt Theatre & The Exchange offer a varied programme throughout the year.4.96 miles away
Maidstone Carriage Musuem is home to a unique collection of horse-drawn vehicles & transport...4.98 miles away
Mote Park has been a popular place to visit for both visitors and locals being a huge green open...5.69 miles away
London Golf Club prides itself on having one of the best venues in England at which, to host a...6.25 miles away
A collection of well-preserved Victorian oast houses, home to the Hop Story Museum and the famous...6.42 miles away
Built nearly 700 years ago, Ightham Mote has been described as ‘one of the most beautiful and...6.63 miles away