Faversham is a small historic market town in Kent a few miles from Canterbury. There are 500 'listed' (protected) historic buildings to admire and photograph, many medieval and timber-framed.

Faversham is easily accessible by rail and road. It is a few minutes from the M2 motorway and trains run every 30 minutes from both London Victoria and London St Pancras. Faversham railway station is close to the centre of the town and within a few minutes' walking distance of the Market Place. 

The Market takes place every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and sells a wide variety of goods, including local produce. It is the oldest in Kent, going back to before 1081.

Faversham has many pubs, most 'listed' buildings and none spoilt by 'theming', serving good quality real ales, many from the town's own brewery Shepherd Neame and local micro breweries.

The selection of good-quality restaurants has increased in recent years particularly with the Michelin one-starred Read's Restaurant with Rooms in an 18th-century manor house on the A2. Good traditional food, at very reasonable prices, is available in many pubs.

A good time to visit Faversham (book accomodation in advance) is during the Hop Festival that takes place on the first weekend of September every year. This is popular family event, with lots of free street entertainment, with live music to suit most tastes.

Other popular annual events are the Classic Car Show in the town centre in May, the Secret Gardens event on the first weekend of June and last weekend of July, the Open House event (the oldest of its kind in the UK) on the first three Saturdays in July, and the evening Carnival, the only after-dark one in Kent, in mid-October. The Christmas Lights, run by voluntary effort, are among the best in Kent. 

The Open House event offers an opportunity to visit around 25 historic buildings not normally open to the public. Included is usually the original Elizabethan Grammar School of 1587, now home to the town's three Masonic Lodges, and one of the oldest buildings anywhere in the world to be in Masonic use. Sometimes featured is the 15th/16th century Arden's House, where Thomas Arden was murdered at the instigation of his wife Alice in 1551. The crime hit the national headlines and was immortalised in the play Arden of Faversham (1592), the first 'docudrama' in the English language, still in the repertory, and thought to be at least in part by Shakespeare, who often visited the town as an actor.

Faversham is a corporate member of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, formed in the 10th century to avert attacks by the Danes and other possible invaders. Till recent times it was important as a commercial port, and at Standard Quay on its picturesque Creek, close to the town centre, you can see photogenic sailing barges of the kind that plied up and down to London and across the North Sea to France, the Netherlands and the Baltic till the 1950s. These have been privately preserved by their owners and still take part in traditional sailing barge races.

Faversham Parish Church of  St Mary of Charity, by a whisker, is the largest parish church in Kent, bigger than some smaller UK cathedrals.   Mostly from the early 14th century, it has a well-disguised Georgian nave. There are splendid medieval misericords and a 13th-century column painted with scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. Davington Priory Church, about 10 minutes' walk from the town centre, and overlooking local beauty spot Stonebridge Pond, dates from 1153 and is in attractively austere Romanesque style. The Roman Catholic Church of of Mount Carmel in Tanners Street houses the beautiful national shrine of St Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases. It attracts many pilgrims from all over the world.

On the southern fringe of the town are Brogdale Orchards, home of  the National Fruit Collection, the largest  of its kind in the world, with (for example) over 2,000 different apple cultivars. Visitors are welcome. This is the 'hottest spot' in the UK, with a record shade temperature of over 101 deg. Fahrenheit reached in 2003.

One of the town's charms is that so many facilities are within a few minutes' walk of the Market Place. The Royal Cinema, 'Tudorbethan' in design, is actually in the Market Place, and is one of the few big-screen movie-houses left in the UK.  Showings are every day. Close by are the swimming pools, one open-air and heated, for summer use, and one indoor, and both well-equipped.

Country walking in the area is a delight - you can pick up free leaflets at the Fleur de Lis (below). The countryside is varied, beautiful and unspoilt, as are the picturesque villages and woodlands. The open sea, and beaches, are not far away. There's a pay-per-round golf course, with a restaurant, at Boughton (3 miles east).

A good place to start a visit is the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre in Preston Street, with a Tourist Information Centre and excellent local museum, all run by Faversham Society volunteers for the good of the community. Here also is a good local-interest bookshop where you can buy maps, guides and books about the area and Kent in general. It is open all the year round from 10 to 4 daily (10 to 1 on Sundays). Guided town tours start here from April to October inclusive at 10.30 on Saturdays.

Another Museum worth visiting is housed at the Maison Dieu, Ospringe, on the main A2 in Ospringe Street (the village street), 20 minutes' walk from the town centre. The building dates from the 13th and 16th century and features Roman and other material found in the vicinity.  Also staffed by Faversham Society volunteers, it is open at weekends from April to October inclusive from 2 to 5.

Nearer the town centre (12 minutes' walk) are the Chart Gunpowder Mills, the oldest of their kind in the world, and rescued from the jaws of the bulldozer, and then restored, by the Faversham Society. Admission is free, at weekends from April to October inclusive from 2 to 5.

Close to the Market Place is the Shepherd Neame brewery, the oldest in the UK, going back to the 16th century (though its traditional 'founding' date is 1698). Here in a 15th-century building is a splendid visitor centre where you can start a tour of the brewery and sample its brews (if you wish) before you leave.

A couple of miles N of the town, on the banks of The Swale (which separates mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey), is the Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, run by the Kent Wildlife Trust, and of international importance for its bird-life.

For more information visit www.faversham.org