See Kent through history

Inspire your family with a journey to England’s past

 

70,000,000 BC

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.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/white-cliffs-dover/

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/south-foreland-lighthouse/

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/dover

AD 43

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.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/richborough

597

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.

http://www.rochestercathedral.org/

1119

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.

http://www.leeds-castle.com/home

1170

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.

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/

 

1338

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.

http://www.penshurstplace.com/

1387-1400

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.

http://canterburytales.org.uk/

1505

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.

http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/

1558

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.

http://www.thedockyard.co.uk

1648

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.

http://www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk/

1882

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.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/downhouse

1940

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.

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/dover-castle/wartime-tunnels/operation-dynamo/

1940

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.

http://www.kbobm.org/

 

For more information on planning your visit to Kent, explore http://www.visitkent.co.uk/


 Visit Kent

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