With its dynamic towns, quaint villages and stunning coastal scenery, Kent is a county full of undiscovered treasures. Located in the south-east of England, close to the busy capital of London, Kent offers a blend of rich history and modern excitement to both tourists and residents alike.
The friendly locals and visitors flock to the vast array of festivals held in the county every year, including the various genres of music festivals and the Kent Garden Show.
Here's a closer look at Kent culture and what it's like to live there:
Life in Kent's towns
Canterbury is the only city in the entire county of Kent but there are a plethora of small and large towns each with their own unique attractions and vibrancy. Canterbury started life as a small market town and is renowned for its historic cathedral, cultural heritage and educational opportunities.
To the west of the county is the spa town of Tunbridge Wells which offers a variety of restaurants and bars as well as a rich tapestry of shops, parks and historical cultural sites. Dover is a beautiful town on the edge of the North Downs Way National Heritage Trail, allowing locals to navigate endless miles of stunning landscapes.
A buoyant property market and affordable housing
From sprawling country houses to urban apartments, there is a home to suit everyone in Kent. You can choose a house by the coast, in one of the scenic villages tucked away in the heart of the county, or in one of the bustling towns. Wherever you decide to put your pin, you'll find that prices are more affordable than some of the neighbouring counties. With the average property price standing at £351,386 in 2021, significantly lower than the average of £513,997 in London, it provides an attractive option to London-based workers who want to commute.
A rich and varied history and culture to explore
One of the most famous stories in English history is that of Thomas Becket's demise in Canterbury Cathedral, and the cathedral itself attracts thousands of history enthusiasts. However, there are many other historical landmarks in the county including the county's famous Twin Forts, Hoo and Darnet, which proudly stand on the River Medway. Originally constructed in the 19th century to protect against invasions, they played a vital role as observation posts during WWII.
Older monuments also dominate the Kent skyline including Rochester Castle, which dates back to the reign of William the Conqueror and is a must-visit destination for anyone who enjoys Norman history. For music lovers, the castle also opens up its grounds in summer to host a series of vibrant concerts.
Gateway to Europe
Sitting on the coast of the English Channel, Kent facilitates easy travel from the county to mainland Europe. The Eurotunnel operates services from Folkestone to Calais that will speed you to your French destination in under an hour. There is also the option of the ferry service which allows you to appreciate beautiful views of the sea as you travel to the continent.
Fondly known as the Garden of England, Kent boasts more than its fair share of beautiful hidden gems. With endless stretches of expansive coastline that span the English Channel, the Straits of Dover, the North Sea and the Thames Estuary, Kent's 350 miles of coast offer a relaxing, rejuvenating destination to unwind and refresh.
The White Cliffs of Dover, immortalised by Vera Lynn's iconic 1940s song, are a designated Area of Outstanding natural beauty. Whether you're a tourist taking a day trip to the Kent coast or you are living in Kent, a visit to this stunning landmark is an excellent family day out. Inland, the Kent Downs are also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, perfect for nature enthusiasts, wildlife lovers and walkers to explore.
Vast educational opportunities
With 108 primary, secondary and special schools in Kent achieving a good Ofsted rating, and several more earning an outstanding rating, Kent offers an excellent education to its children. There are both state and private schools across the county, allowing a varied choice for parents.
There are several universities in Kent too, offering eclectic higher educational opportunities. The rich student life at these institutions and the broad and thorough education offered there is an attractive option for students. The University of Kent, Imperial College and Canterbury Christ Church University are all based in the county and provide a varied range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and diplomas.
Shop 'til you drop
Bluewater Shopping Centre is a shopper's paradise. With everything from designer clothes outlets to high street beauty stores, it is in easy reach of most Kent towns in less than an hour. As well as the varied shops, Bluewater also contains delicious restaurants, a cinema and even a trampoline park, meaning that a shopping trip can actually become a family day out.
Even the smaller towns and villages in Kent have a varied array of local amenities, such as local post offices and corner shops. One of the hidden treasures of the county is the small village of Chiddingstone where you can find the purportedly oldest shop in England in the form of the village post office. The Tudor-style store reportedly dates back to the 15th century and sells a variety of souvenirs and trinkets.
Excellent career opportunities
Kent boasts a buoyant economy with unemployment rates below the national average and plenty of local and national businesses on your doorstep. £18bn worth of goods and services are produced in Kent annually, plus it is the base for many large, national UK companies, such as P&O Ferries, Saga and Abbott Laboratories.
Even better, Kent offers a swift and easy commute into London, with Sevenoaks and Gravesend only 21 miles from the city and Dartford only 19 miles from Charing Cross. Ashford, Canterbury, Dover and Maidstone all benefit from the high-speed train service to St.Pancras, making them recommended locations for anyone looking to benefit from the relaxed beauty of Kent whilst still having the option to commute into the city of London.