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30 magical Kent towns and villages so beautiful they should be in a fairytale

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Original article from Kent Live

There may be plans for dozens of new homes and villages in Kent, but you're never far away from a beauty spot.

Venture out of the hustle and bustle of Maidstone or Canterbury and you'll find acres of land, narrow country lanes, large beautiful houses and as much privacy as you could ever need.

Some places you'll never have seen or even heard of – or be able to pronounce – unless you've travelled down the secluded, winding, single-track roads.

Read more: The garden towns, villages and housing estates springing up around Kent

Others are well renowned for their secluded beauty, so while you might not have seen them in the flesh you'll have certainly heard about their quaint charms.

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Once you set eyes on these places, we're willing to bet you'll want to move to at least one of them as soon as you can.

Alkham/Temple Ewell

Alkham

You will find the Alkham Valley and Temple Ewell on a long stretch of road between Folkestone and Dover.

The Alham Valley is recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and boasts ancient wooded areas, cottages and stunning views across large areas of countryside.

A few miles up the road is Temple Ewell, where you will find Grade II listed Russell Gardens and neighbouring country estate Kearsney Abbey.

Appledore

Appledore

A village lying on the edge of Romney Marsh overlooking the Royal Military Canal, Appledore is primarily a one street village lined with cottages and houses with pretty front gardens.

The village has a Post Office, village store, three pubs, and antique shops, along with many medieval houses and a 14th century church.

Aylesford

Aylesford

Meanwhile, near Rochester, Aylesford is a delightful village that packs tons of Kentish charm

Nestled on the scenic banks of the River Medway visitors and residents alike can take a stroll among the characterful almshouses and historic buildings as they soak up the traditional village atmosphere.

Here you can visit Kit's Coty House, a Neolithic monument of significant historical interest. The monument, made of large stones called "megaliths", leads to a tomb that could date back as far as 4000 BCE.

Bethersden

Bethersden

We couldn't really miss this stunning village a few miles out of Ashford from our list.

Bethersden has two pubs– The Bull and The George. It also has a beautiful church, built in the early 15th century, and a Baptist church.

It also has a small but very friendly community with a surprisingly wide range of leisure facilities.

Biddenden

Take a look around Biddenden – the beautiful Kent village a magnet for celebrities

A typical English village, set in the picturesque countryside near Ashford.

Latticed windowed weavers cottages stretch the full length of the high street, which is flanked on both sides by stone quarried long ago from nearby Bethersden.

The village is not just famous for its pretty streets but on the green stands an attractive sign, carved and painted by a local crafts man, of a pair of twins, known as the Biddenden Maids.

According to tradition The Biddenden Maids were twin sisters that were born in 1100, joined at the shoulders and hips.

The story describes how Elisa and Mary Chulkhurst who lived in this condition for 34 years, when one of them died.

The other, refusing, or more likely, it being impossible for her to be separated from her sisters body, died shortly afterwards.

Brenzett

Brenzett

Brenzett is one of the many villages that lie in the central area of Romney Marsh.

It is found about three miles west of New Romney and is populated by grand houses worth several hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The parish church is dedicated to St Eanswith and is located on the road to Brenzett Green, a remnant of the original A2070 to Hamstreet and Ashford which was rebuilt entirely in the 1990s.

Chartham

Chartham

The pretty village of Chartham, on the Great Stour river in the Kent Downs area of outstanding natural beauty.

It can be found four miles west of Canterbury on the A28, surrounded by open farmland and orchards.

The village has been a centre for paper making for more than 600 years and this tradition continues today.

The Church of St Mary, built in the 13th century, is next to the village green where traditional cottages sit alongside timber-framed Tudor properties and sympathetic modern houses.

The village post office, primary school and newsagents are in Shalmsford Street, a more modern area of 20th century homes to the south.

Chiddingstone

Chiddingstone Castle

Chiddingstone is a National Trust site and one of the oldest villages in Kent.

One of the best preserved Tudor villages in the country, step back and time and enjoy Chiddingstone's well-preserved historic buildings, cobbled pavements and its narrow main street.

The picturesque village is in the Sevenoaks district and is nestled near the River Eden.

Chilham

Chilham Castle is extremely picturesque

Tucked between Ashford and Canterbury in the valley of the Great River Stour, Chilham is one of the most charming villages in the Kent Downs.

Full of Tudor and Jacobean houses, Chilham is centred on a historic market square with the gates of Chilham Castle at one side and of the square and a 13th century church on the other.

Much of the village is designated a heritage conservation area, which has led to its use as a location in television and film.

Cobham

The Leather Bottle Inn, Cobham

Cobham can be found on the northern slope of the North Downs in the Gravesham district of Kent.

With an old picturesque village street and over 450 buildings, Cobham is known for its links to Charles Dickens who loved to walk from his home in Higham through Cobham Park to work through the story lines of his novels.

The Leather Bottle Inn pub was Dicken's local boozer, and even featured in his first novel The Pickwick Papers.

Today the pub retains the charm that no doubt attracted Dickens and houses a fine collection of Dickensian memorabilia.

East Langdon

The pond at East Langdon

East Langdon is a tiny village tucked between Dover and Deal – most have probably never heard of it.

Just off the busy A258 the village, which boasts a cricket club, an amazing play park, duck pond, village hall and post office, can be discovered.

Every year East Langdon bears witness to the breathtaking sight of toads migrating to the village pond.

Handfuls of volunteers take to the streets to aid the creatures across the road.

East Langdon is also a village surrounded by miles and miles of vast countryside, gorgeous woods and beautiful fields – meaning it's perfect for those who enjoy a long stroll with stunning scenary.

Elham

Elham Valley Way connects Canterbury to Hythe

Nestled in the heart of the inspiring Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Beauty, the historic village of Elham is truly one of the most picturesque in east Kent.

There is a wealth of public footpaths, bridle paths and cycle routes on the doorstep.

The village has a good range of amenities including tea rooms, primary school, doctor's surgery, two pubs, one containing a Post Office facility, two churches, a restaurant/coaching inn and thriving village hall, together with floodlit tennis courts.

Fordwich

Fordwich truly is tiny and beautiful

If you're driving around the pleasant countryside around Canterbury, you may find yourself stumbling across a hidden gem of Kent.

But don't blink too hard, or you'll miss it – it's Fordwich, the tiniest town in the UK.

Perhaps though, the one thing you couldn't say about it is that it's modest.

As soon as you enter the town you're hit with a sign announcing it's "Britain's smallest town". Just in case there's any debate.

So sure, Fordwich isn't technically a village, but it has all of the charms of one.

From the town hall – supposedly also the smallest in the UK – to the 16 century Watergate House, there are plenty of interesting things to look at.

And that's not least the stunning bridge over the River Stour, which is a delight to walk over and take photos of.

Godmersham

Godmersham

Godmersham is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, England. The village straddles the Great Stour river where it cuts through the North Downs and its land is approximately one third woodland,

Jane Austen, the 18th-century novelist often visited this village because of her brother, Edward Knight, who owned Godmersham Park.

You can also visit the 12th-century parish church here and walk on the road leading to a beautiful 17th-century bridge, where you can take a lot of pretty photos and watch some fish and sheep playing around.

Goudhurst

Goudhurst

Goudhurst is a delight with its village high street tumbling down the steep hill from the church to the village pond.

The village grew in prosperity in the 1330s, as Flemish weavers expanded from their base in Cranbrook to create the Kentish broadcloth industry

Their preference for drinking hopped beer, rather than the existing ale, led to the establishment of the Kentish hop industry, which shaped the agricultural landscape around the village, and provided a great many livelihoods in the area.

High Halden

High Halden

This beautiful village is on the A28 road between Ashford and Tenterden, three miles north of the latter town.

The expansive green is the perfect place to take stock of the village's breathtaking surroundings.

The large pub The Chequers on the Green, circa 1620, is known to have been used by smugglers and the various gangs such as the "Hawkhurst and Cranbrook gangs" that were active in the mid-18th century.

Ightham

Ightham Mote

Between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks lies the beautiful village of Ightham.

The parish includes the hamlet of Ivy Hatch. Ightham is famous for the nearby medieval manor of Ightham Mote, although the village itself is of greater antiquity.

Dating from around 1320, the building was described by Nicholas Pevsner as ‘the most complete small medieval manor house in the country’.

Kilndown

Shearnfold Oast, Church Road, Kilndown

Technically Kilndown is a hamlet and not a village but that only makes its quaint charm more inspiring.

It is nestled within acres and acres of gorgeous countryside and not too far from equally pretty Goudhurst.

And it is even home to one of the county's top restaurants, The Small Holding.

Matfield

Matfield

Matfield is a small village, part of the civil parish of Brenchley and Matfield, in the Tunbridge Wells borough of Kent.

It was awarded the title of Kent Village of the Year in 2010.

Its village green is the largest in Kent. Many of the houses surrounding the Green date back to the 18th century and several have the typical Kentish construction of timber frames with white weatherboarding.

The First World War Poet, Siegfried Sassoon, was born in the village.

Newenden

Newenden

Newenden was probably the first village in Kent and also the smallest one in the county.

The earliest reference to Newenden is in AD 791. During the medieval period, Newenden was a busy inland port for sea-going ships, but today is a small, pretty village which offers various outdoor activities.

You can explore the off the beaten track into the Wealden and Romney Marsh countryside.

You can also walk to the 18th-century Newenden Bridge where you can take a river cruise and visit the 14th-century castle of Nat Trust Bodiam.

Penshurst

Meet the evil witch at Penshurst

Penshurst is a small unspoilt village in beautiful countryside area known as The Weald of Kent.

It lies between two rivers and is famous for an ancestral home once owned by Henry VIII.

Old timber-framed buildings and converted oast houses afford interest to visitors but traditions such as cricket, still played on one of England’s oldest pitches, and the village fete are still very much part of the community today.

Pluckley

Munday Oast in Egerton Road, Pluckley

Famed for being the most haunted village in England, there is far more to Pluckley than just ghosts and gouls.

A traditioal Wealden village in the Ashford district, the village is blessed with many old, listed properties and was the film location for the popular television series The Darling Buds of May.

Tudeley, Capel and Five Oak Green

Tudeley

This group of three villages lie between three and five miles from Tonbridge.

Once the centre of the Kentish hop industry, the area boasts some of the most attractive wooded countryside in Kent.

Thousands of varieties of fungi, orchids and other flowers grow among the carpet of bluebells that fills the ancient woods and heathlands of Tudeley Wood each spring and summer.

The villages share a post office at Capel, and the village stores and Queens Head pub serve the residents of the new housing estates in Five Oak Green.

Upnor

Upnor

Upnor is a delightful waterside hamlet, three miles north-east of Rochester.

With its smaller neighbour, Lower Upnor, the village is home to many pleasure yachts.

Upnor Castle is built out into the river and was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I as a gun fort to defend her naval base at Chatham.

The pretty, narrow cobbled high street leads down from the castle and is lined with well-kept homes leading to the waterfront.

Sissinghurst

Sissinghurst is a small village near Tunbridge Wells which packs oodles of charm.

But the jewel in the crown of this stunning Kent village is probably the castle and its gardens – probably the most famous in the UK

Sissinghurst Castle Garden was created by Vita Sackville-West, poet and writer, and her husband Harold Nicolson, author and diplomat. It is among the most famous gardens in England and is designated Grade I on Historic England's register of historic parks and gardens.

The garden is designed as a series of "rooms", each with a different character of colour and/or theme, divided by high clipped hedges and pink brick walls.

Smarden

Timber framed house in Smarden

The enchanting village of Smarden was established around the 14th century, which is blessed with attractive historic cottages, a medieval church, and three pubs.

Its quiet simplicity and lush surrounding pasture land has seen it branded by some as the most beautiful village in Kent.

St Margaret's

St Margaret's, near Dover

Basking in the first light of the day, this isolated 'island' in the midst of the White Cliffs has at its heart the lovely seaside village of St. Margaret's-at-Cliffe and secluded cove at St. Margaret's Bay.

Experience “First Light” at the South Foreland Lighthouse. Breathe in history at the ancient church of St. Margaret of Antioch before following the valley down to the Bay and the Pines Visitor Centre and Museum. Opposite you’ll find the lovely Pines Garden, watched over by an impressive statue of Sir Winston Churchill.

The surrounding countryside is spectacular at all times of the year, offering an inspiring backdrop to a range of activities. Roam along the deserted coastline and get off the beaten track amongst the rolling green hills of the Kent Downs, or take in clifftop scenery and wooded valleys under pedal power. For a different experience why not saddle up and follow the green lanes and tracks for a perfect hack through the country.

Wickhambreaux

Wickhambreaux

To the north of Barham, and just five miles from the centre of Canterbury is the charming village of Wickhambreaux.

Thought to have been a settlement in Roman times, the village has a traditional feel with the church, rectory, manor house, inn and mill encircling the village green.

The Manor house was home to Odo, Earl of Kent and half-brother to William the Conqueror and later to Joan of Kent, mother of King Richard II.

The 500 villagers enjoy many activities in the village, including the cricket club and an active church community, and the tiny village school remains on its original 1869 site.

The Grade II-listed Wickham Mill stands over four storeys on the Little Stour River alongside the Old Stone House, while the Rose Pub, one of the few businesses left in the village, remains the hub of activities.

Wingham

Old oast house on Mill Road, Wingham Well

Just off the ancient coastal road, between Sandwich and Canterbury lies Wingham.

The stunning village offers a range of amenities including a doctors surgery, post office, village shops, the highly regarded public house/restaurant 'The Dog' and the popular Wingham Wildlife Park.

That's a hell of a list for a small village right?

Wye

The Wye Downs in the snow

Surrounded by hilly countryside, Wye is every rambler's dream.

The village itself features breathtaking views and buildings steeped in history.

The River Stour can be seen from the bridge and offers fantastic opportunities to spot wildlife.

Original Article