Ashford is a flourishing market town on the edge of the South Downs, and it is easy to see why Tenterden is known as the Jewel of the Weald.
Ashford is a flourishing market town on the edge of the South Downs, that offers the perfect blend of town and country. Tenterden, known as the Jewel of the Weald, is a mix of old and new in complete harmony, where there is plenty to experience and enjoy. Both the towns and the surrounding villages and countryside are full of cultural, historic sights and activities.
Surrounded by the Garden of England, Ashford’s history is rich and full, dating back further than its first record in the Domesday Book in 1086 when its size was impressive then for a medieval town. Its Market Town status, bestowed by Henry III, and its railway station in 1853 with a route from London Bridge all influenced its growth.
To learn more about its varied history, when restrictions are lifted, visit the Agricultural Museum Brook that, as its name suggests, highlights the area’s farming influence. Housed in a Grade I listed barn and a Grade II listed oast house, a reflection on Kent’s hop heritage, you can explore the changes in agriculture over the years. The Ashford Borough Museum further informs the town’s eclectic heritage and includes a 200 million year old dinosaur leg bone, as well as stories about the lives and exploits of a smuggling gang.
For theatrical events, St Mary’s Church has been a landmark for Centuries and delights audiences with a mix of music and entertainment at its Revelation venue. With local cinemas and galleries, the cultural and modern activities mix in harmony with Ashford’s rich and varied past. This can be seen with the Ashford World War I Tanksituated in the middle of the town, surrounded by shops, eateries, as well as a new cinema and lots more.
Parks, woodland and gardens are in abundance and are open and accessible now, such as the central Victoria Park, nearby Connington Lakes Country Park and the Kent Downs, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Whether it’s bike tours, walks in the many parks or leisure centres – there are plenty of activities for all to enjoy – many of which are reopening over the next few weeks.
Godinton House & Gardens, which dates back to the 14th Century, is one such attraction. With a range of gardens that host a variety of events. These include sculpture exhibitions, open air theatre and lots more activities in this wonderful setting.
Animal adventures are also plenty in Ashford & Tenterden. Visit the Rare Breeds Centre where little ones can enjoy petting and play areas, take part in pig racing and lots more. You can spend a night at the Big Cat Sanctuary and see the felines up close – but not too close! The Hawking Centre offers falconry experiences as well as archery activities. Theatres, windmills, museums, adventures including the Flip Out trampoline park means that all ages and interests are catered for in this Kentish town.
Plenty also to satisfy shoppers, with a range of shops, malls in the centre, and on the outskirts, the Ashford Designer Outlet which is full of clothing brands and retail outlets for many tastes and budgets.
Both towns and the surrounding villages and countryside are full of cultural, historic sights and activities.
Tenterden with its picture-postcard streets nestled in the beautiful Kent countryside, an area of outstanding beauty is a site to see in itself. Its wide tree-lined greens, its specialists’ shops, and historic attractions, including Smallhythe Place, a historic house and garden run by the National Trust, means you won’t be disappointed by a visit.
The Kent & East Sussex Railway has steam trains, Pullman Cars, and a museum, which comprises six stations. Hop on for a visit to one of those distinct areas of Kent. The Old Dairy Brewery and nearby Biddenden Vineyards underscore Kent’s food and drink heritage – the areas are bursting with vineyards and breweries for tours and tastings.