museums and themed attractions
Kent's museums tell centuries-old stories with imagination and flair
At family-friendly Kent Life, a Vintage Village is packed with historical buildings, ranging from a Victorian farmhouse to WWII cottages, via oast houses and hoppers' huts. Kentish gardens and a working farmyard ensure the heritage has a muddy-boot, animal-smell edge too.
History is also fun at The Canterbury Tales, where Geoffrey Chaucer and his pilgrims regal you with tales of love, romance and dastardly deeds on a sensory-rich journey from London's Tabard Inn to Canterbury's St Thomas Becket shrine.
The stunning maritime collections at The Historic Dockyard Chatham also include the treasure trove that is No.1 Smithery. This world-class collection has been brought together by the Dockyard, the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum; expect unique artefacts and top-notch art.
At delightful Quex Park, the Powell-Cotton Museum, delivers a fascinating insight into the world of the eponymous Victorian explorer, through African and Asian tribal weapons, costumes and animal dioramas.
Canterbury Roman Museum takes you down to the level of the Roman town, revealing reconstructions, house remains and mosaics. The Canterbury Heritage Museum boasts Anglo-Saxon treasure, a Stephenson railway engine and the real Bagpuss. Hands-on delights include an archaeological dig and writing in Viking runes - you can sniff medieval poo too.
At the Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery, 660,000 artefacts and specimens range from a 2700 year-old Egyptian mummy to Japanese decorative art. Chiddingstone Castle, now a fully accredited museum, houses fascinating Egyptian, Buddhist and Japanese collections amongst many more. While at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, state-of-the-art exhibition spaces showcase treasures including Anglo-Saxon finds and Dutch stained glass.
Dover Museum explores Roman Forts and Saxon jewellery, and showcases the world's oldest seagoing vessel, the Bronze Age Boat. And history comes with a big bang at Faversham's Fleur de Lis Museum - it reveals the town's gunpowder industry days through 100lb powder barrels and audio-visual displays.