museums and churches
A wide array of speciality museums and some of England's finest churches are waiting to be discovered.
History runs like a golden thread through Ashford and Tenterden. No surprise then that its museums, attractions and churches reveal a resonant past.
Walk into Ashford Borough Museum and walk back in time. Set in a 17th century schoolhouse, you'll still see masters' chairs, wall-set book niches, and schoolchildren's' graffiti on the wainscoting. Look out too for evocative displays on Ashford's railways, WWII defences and Prisoner of War camps.
The story of Kent's iconic oast houses is brought vividly to life at the Agricultural Museum, Brook. Prowl around one of these circular buildings to encounter hop presses, sacks, sprayers and carts. Then explore a huge 14th century, oak-framed barn full of horse-powered reapers, seed drills, wagons and ploughs.
A beautiful weather-boarded building houses the Tenterden & District Museum. Artefacts encompass archaeology, medieval shipbuilding and Victoriana. You'll also find explorations of the town's Cinque Ports connection and hop-growing, pottery and brewing pasts.
In the Woodchurch Village Life Museum an ancient barn and cart shed feature artefacts charting the settlement's story; from Bronze Age finds, via a Victorian carriage, to a map of the local WWII airfield. Expect to encounter everything from oral and family history to gramophone players and coins.
The quaintly quirky C.M Booth Collection of Historic Vehicles is packed with a superb range of auto-mobilia, including 11 buffed and gleaming Morgan 3 Wheelers, a 1920s Ford 'A', a 1904 Humber tri-car and a 1936 Bampton Caravan.
The Ashford and Tenterden area also boast some of England's finest churches. At Challock's 12th century, flint and ironstone church of St Cosmas & St Damian look out for the rare candlebeam, and the mid-20th century murals by John Ward and Gordon Davies.
St Mildred's in Tenterden boasts a striking 14th century tower. As does Mary's the Virgin, in Ashford. This multi-faceted space manages to be both an active church, and an awe-inspiring performance venue.
The broad, sweeping nave of Smarden's St. Michael the Archangel, topped by an intricate scissor beam roof, has seen the building dubbed the barn of Kent.
The 14, medieval, Historic Churches of Romney Marsh draw spiritual and architectural pilgrims. Appledore makes a picturesque touring base, where the 14th century St. Peter & St. Paul is home to a memorable flower festival each August Bank Holiday weekend.