Rich river heritage, outdoor adventures and an AONB, all add to the appeal in this vibrant segment of Kent.
In Gravesend, Thames sailing barges, paddle steamers and yachts sail from the Gravesend Town Pier Pontoon. Make time to visit the magnificent Gravesend Gurdwara; Europe’s largest and finest Sikh place of worship where Gravesend’s Sikh community offers a very warm welcome.. Another must-see is Gravesend's Cold War Bunker, where a domestic fallout room, radiation monitoring post and public information film superbly evoke a clandestine, underground 1950s England, fearful of nuclear attack.
Gravesend is also rich in links to one of England's greatest Victorian authors. Hunt out the compelling Charles Dickens connections, Chalk, Shorne, and Higham Marshes. Then take a peek at Gad's Hill Place, where Dickens wrote Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Now a private school, it’s open on selected days and pre-booked tours.
Cobham Hall is an architectural gem. Here Elizabethan meets Jacobean, meets Georgian. Tours take in huge marble fireplaces, immense chandeliers and tales of Elizabeth I and Edward VIII. Next explore the quaint village of Cobham; popping into the Leather Bottle, for creative cuisine, atmospheric beams and more Dickens connections; the novelist wrote the Pickwick Papers here.
Nearby, the ancient forests of Shorne Woods Country Park boast orienteering and electronic treasure hunt trails; while Cyclopark sees you whizzing around skateparks, BMX tracks and mountain bike trails.
Just a stone's throw away from Gravesend you can enjoy superb shopping at Bluewater, billed as Europe's largest, most innovative shopping centre. Its vital statistics are impressive: 28 million visitors annually, 330 brands, 50 restaurants and bars and 13,000 free parking spaces. The western area of Kent is well connected too: Gravesend railway station has services to take visitors to and from Stratford International in 12 minutes and Central London in 24 minutes. Eurostar trains from nearby Ebbsfleet International Station reach Paris in just over two hours and Brussels in one and a half hours.
Accommodation highlights, just minutes from Ebbsfleet International, include the Gravesend Best Western Manor Hotel; the historic Clarendon Royal Hotel with its superb views over the River Thames; Hilton Dartford Bridge; and the boutique country house restaurant, hotel and spa at Rowhill Grange.
Discover more at www.visitgravesend.co.uk