See Kent through history
Inspire your family with a journey to England’s past
Wednesday 07 May 2014
The iconic chalk of the White Cliffs of Dover is formed from the shells of minuscule sea organisms.
DO IT: Take a wild walk along the White Cliffs to South Foreland, a Victorian lighthouse, then head to Dover Castle to explore the bastion that has guarded the English Channel for almost 2,000 years.
The Romans invade Britain; their main entry point is near modern-day Sandwich, on the East Kent marshes.
DO IT: Get a sense of Roman power at Richborough Castle, which they built on the site of their initial invasion. See the stone walls of the ancient fortification.
Augustine lands at Ebbsfleet and establishes Christianity. In 604 a Saxon cathedral is founded in Rochester by King Ethelbert; the first Bishop of Rochester is Bishop Justus.
DO IT: Find out more about Rochester, England’s second-oldest cathedral, on a themed trail or audio tour.
Robert de Crevecoeur begins constructing a Norman fortification on an outcrop in the River Len. It becomes Leeds Castle.
DO IT: Trace almost a millennium of history at Leeds, then punt on the moat, brave the Underground Grotto and go wild at the Knight’s Realm Playground.
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered at his cathedral; the city becomes an important pilgrimage site.
DO IT: Enter the magnificent cathedral: visit the site of Becket’s shrine in Trinity Chapel and stand where the priest was slain.
Wealthy merchant Sir John de Pulteney desires a country estate within a day’s ride of London; he begins building Penshurst Place.
DO IT: Admire medieval Penshurst, a perfectly preserved fortified manor. Roam the Elizabethan walled garden, view the 15th-century tapestries, get lost in the maize maze and explore the Toy Museum.
Chaucer writes The Canterbury Tales, salutary stories of pilgrims progressing to Becket’s shrine.
DO IT: Make a mini pilgrimage at The Canterbury Tales attraction, which brings Chaucer’s medieval misadventures to life.
Hever Castle, built in the 13th century, is inherited by Thomas Boleyn; his daughter, Anne – future wife of Henry VIII – grows up here.
DO IT: Run around Hever’s glorious grounds and mazes – and look out for Anne herself, who supposedly haunts the River Eden bridge.
Chatham, on the River Medway, becomes the principal base of the Royal Navy.
DO IT: Discover over 400 years of maritime heritage at Chatham Historic Dockyard, from its Tudor beginnings to its Cold War submarine.
The Civil War’s Battle of Maidstone takes place; the Parliamentarians win. In 1649, it is the Mayor of Maidstone who pronounces the death sentence on Charles I.
DO IT: Visit Maidstone Museum, which chronicles county life as well as hosting family-friendly events. Entry is free.
Charles Darwin dies at Down House.
DO IT: Be inspired at Down, where Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species. Visit his study, stroll his gardens and follow the interactive multimedia tour, narrated by David Attenborough.
Over ten days in May, the Dunkirk Evacuation (codenamed Operation Dynamo) is masterminded from the tunnels at Dover Castle.
DO IT: Immerse yourself in the drama at Dover Castle’s Operation Dynamo experience – state-of-the-art effects and real film footage combine to bring the dramatic events to life.
The German Luftwaffe and RAF fight out the Battle of Britain over Kent as Hitler seeks to gain control of UK skies.
DO IT: Kent’s fascinating Battle of Britain Museum houses relics recovered from over 650 crashed aircraft.
For more information on planning your visit to Kent, explore http://www.visitkent.co.uk/
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