Kent TN30 6AN
The picturesque little town of Tenterden in south-east England is an ideal base for exploring the pretty Weald of Kent and the ancient Cinque Ports of Rye and Winchelsea.
Tenterden is only 12 miles (19 km) from the region’s commercial centre of Ashford with its mainline rail service to London and International Channel Tunnel Terminus.
The High Street is very attractive with historic houses, shops, restaurants and pubs separated from the carriageway by wide expanses of tree-lined grass verge. In the heart of town is the medieval St Mildred’s church with its pinnacle tower.
Tenterden is the sort of place where you are likely to come across Morris Dancers performing outside the pub simply because it is the day after Christmas or a Bank Holiday Monday. You don’t need a Tourist Festival to experience a bit of tradition.
It is hard to imagine that 700 years ago the lowland country below Tenterden was tidal estuarine coast. Ships sailed up the rivers to discharge cargoes from Europe and the small towns beside the sea were fortified to defend England from attack. Over the centuries shifting shingle banks caused the sea to retreat and the low lying land began to flood, submerging the little towns.
Tenterden was a ship building port when the surrounding marshes were under the sea and ships docked at Smallhythe. Visitors to the town will notice many of the houses have wooden ‘clinker’ (also known as lapstrake) upper storeys, just like the side of a ship. Eventually the marshes were drained making them suitable for the grazing of sheep and so the rich wool industry was born.
Hops for beer, grapes and cider apples are all grown locally
The upland Weald became the orchard of England, growing apples for cider and hops for beer. The countryside is peppered with the distinctive hop drying kilns called oast houses, some of which have been turned into B & B accommodation. Grapes are now grown around Tenterden and Tenterden Vineyard Park is home to the award-winning Chapel Down wines.
Within a couple of miles are many charming villages such as Biddenden, Smarden, Pluckley, Hothfield (close to Godinton House & Gardens), Woodchurch and Great Chart. Down every little lane you will find something to catch your eye. The 1991 TV series ‘The Darling Buds of May’ based on H E Bates’ short stories captured this idyllic countryside beautifully.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden, created by Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West is close by. Across Romney Marsh are the seaside villages and shingle beaches of Hythe, New Romney, Dymchurch and the remarkable Dungeness Shingle Bank.
The narrow guage Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway services all these coastal towns and hamlets on a regular basis.
Further east along the coast are the Channel ports of Folkestone and Dover. The ancient cathedral town of Canterbury is also close by. To the west is Hastings and Battle Abbey & Battlefield, the site of the famous 1066 Battle of Hastings.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Agoda here: External LInk
Kent & East Sussex Railway
Tenterden itself is the starting point of the heritage Kent & East Sussex Railway, a very popular attraction. The railway runs via Rolvenden across the marshes to its terminus at Bodiam. The magnificent medieval Bodiam Castle which is entirely surrounded by a watery moat is only a 5 minute walk away from Bodiam.
Great Dixter Medieval Manor
Another lovely attraction in the area is the beautiful half-timbered medieval manor house, Great Dixter House & Gardens at Northiam.
Make the Tenterden TIC in the High Street your first stop to book your accommodation (if not already done), and collect maps and details of everything there is to do and see.
Contact & Further Information
Tenterden Town Website External LInk
More information about the Ashford area is available at:
Ashford Borough Council/ Visit Ashford & Tenterden External LInk
The following excellent local website has very good "Getting to Tenderden' directions - Web: Tenterden 'Getting There' External LInk
Google Maps - Tenterden