Discover Eynsford’s ancient history and take a paddle in the ford
When Gary and I recently visited the village of Eynsford in Kent, it was like strolling down memory lane for both of us. Separately as children, we were taken to Eynsford by our respective parents to the quaint, historic village.
Although at the time, I don’t believe it was the charming, characterful architecture that was luring us in. It was most certainly the fun to be had at the riverside ford.
Today when I see Eynsford through the eyes of an adult, I see a picture postcard setting with a charming medieval hump-back bridge straddling the River Darent. However, as a child, I couldn’t wait to run to the ford and splash my feet around and venture under the dark narrow bridge to discover what lurks beyond.
How to get to Eynsford
By Train - You can catch a train from London Victoria to Eynsford Station, which takes around 45 minutes. Eynsford Station is about ½ mile (800m) from Eynsford village centre, so about a 10–15-minute walk.
By Car - Eynsford can be easily accessed from the M25 (jct. 3) and M20 (jct. 1). There’s a free car park in the centre of the village opposite St Martin of Tours Church.
The ford at EynsfordDon’t forget to bring your fishing net
Eynsford country charmIn the heart of Darent Valley
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Eynsford CastleExplore the rare stone curtain
Just off the central High Street in Eynsford by the village hall is Eynsford Castle. This rare surviving early Norman ‘enclosure castle’ was constructed in the late 1080s by William de Eynsford.
As centuries passed and its inheritance was disputed over, Eynsford Castle fell into disrepair and ruin. Although there are significant sections of the impressive stone curtain wall that can still be seen.
Eynsford Castle is now managed by English Heritage and is one of their sites that is free to visit and so peaceful to stroll around. You can see wonderful views of the Darent Valley and beyond.
Nearby Eynsford is the Lullingstone Roman villa, which was constructed during the late 1st century. The Roman Villa is also managed by English Heritage, and there is a charge to visit.
Hiking the Kent Countryside
Eynsford’s picturesque High StreetDiscover the beautiful flint cottages
The main route through Eynsford can get a little busy at times but don’t let it distract you from its quaintness and charm. It truly is a village that has stood the test of time.
Eynsford’s population has grown over the years; however, it still feels like it retains a strong sense of community. Norman’s traditional family butchers and Rafferty’s Village Store certainly look like they could divulge a tale or two.
Escape for a few days
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After a day exploring the Kent coast and its many historic castles enjoy one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.
The legacies of William de EynsfordHe certainly made a name for himself, in more ways than one
In the centre of the village is the Church of St Martin. It was built during the 11th & 12th-centuries out of local Kent flint and stone. Various parts of the church were then continually added to over the centuries.
You know me, I never miss an opportunity to have a wander around a churchyard.
The land of Eynsford was given to one of William the Conqueror’s Norman Knights (Unspac), once William of Normandy was crowned King of England in 1066.
Unspac’s son (Ralf) proceeded to have Eynsford Castle and the St Martin’s Church built and named himself William de Eynsford out of respect for his King.
Where to stay
The thirsty villagers of EynsfordHave a choice of four inns
The four pubs and inns at Eynsford are The Castle Hotel, originally named the Harrow Inn and first mentioned in 1829. It was later owned by Elliott Till of Eynsford and was a teetotaller; he decreed that only one alcoholic drink per person per day was to be served. The brewery was not happy with this decision and took him to the high court. The Castle Hotel is now a Shepherd Neame pub.
Just a few doors down is The Five Bells Inn; the earliest record of this building is 1745. The Five Bells serves the local community in a relaxed atmosphere. In the winter months, you can enjoy an ale around their wood-burning fire.
At the other end of the High Street heading south out of the village is The Malt Shovel. This welcoming timber-framed old inn offers a selection of local beer and serves food seven days a week.
The charming and often bustling riverside pub in Eynsford is The Plough Inn, located nearby the ford along the River Darent. A wide selection of cuisines is served at The Plough; you’ll be spoilt for choice, but make sure you save room for a scrumptious dessert.
Eynsford’s bohemian lodgersThe composers E.J. Moeran and Peter Warlock
Things to see and do nearby Eynsford
Within a short distance of Eynsford, there are plenty of other attractions and activities to keep you occupied. Here are a few that you may enjoy.
Eynsford Castle - English Heritage (Free entry)
Lullingstone Roman Villa - English Heritage
Lullingstone Castle & The World Garden
Lullingstone Country Park
Eagle Heights Wildlife foundation
Farningham Wood Nature Reserve
Darent Valley Path
Castle Farm - Lavender Farm (seasonal)
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