The pale green historic Faversham Guildhall stands proudly in the centre of the Market Square displaying a Union Flag fluttering on a bright sunny day.

Faversham, a charming medieval market town in Kent, UK

In Counties, Days Out, Kent, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Discover Faversham’s quays, brewery and ancient lanes

Gary and I live in Kent, and we’ve visited Faversham a few times over the years. And no, not just to frequent its historical brewery (though that is a good reason) but, also to stroll its ancient Chartered covered market, delightful lanes and winding tidal creek.

The pale green historic Faversham Guildhall stands proudly in the centre of the Market Square displaying a Union Flag fluttering on a bright sunny day.

Faversham Guildhall

However, today was a bit different, we’d decided that we weren’t just going to visit our usual stomping ground. We’d be more inquisitive and dig a little deeper into Kent’s oldest market town.

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A little bit of history

Faversham truly has some history, it dates from pre-Roman times and is mentioned in the Doomsday Book, as land owned by the King.
 
The picturesque town is located just off of the A2, which was an old Roman road connecting the Kent coast to London via the striking Cathedral city of Canterbury.
 
From the 11th-century, Faversham enjoyed the privileges bestowed on them from being one of the King’s Cinque Ports and was a limb of Dover.

Boats moored up alongside converted warehouses on Faversham Creek.

Faversham Creek

What I love about Faversham is that it is a genuine locals’ town, with residents coming and going, and just getting on with their day to day lives.
 
However, with over 300 listed buildings and so many of them are eye-catching half-timbered dwellings, it’s a town that shouldn’t be taken for granted. We even spotted one pub dating from 1409, The Bull Inn.

A close up of the historic Bull Inn in Faversham, that is said to date from circa 1409.

The Bull Inn c1409 in Tanners Street

Faversham was once renowned for its gunpowder mills and explosives factories in the UK. Its original gunpowder plant was built in 1573. Faversham continued to grow its factories over the following centuries and manufactured gunpowder to be used in the Battle of Trafalgar and Battle of Waterloo.
 
In April 1916 an explosion occurred in one of the factories, killing over 100 people. All the factories were closed by 1934, due to the impending threat of the Second World War.

It’s in the blood

I have to be honest here, I do also have a family connection with Faversham or more to the point with Oare, which is just north of Faversham Creek. My relatives on my father’s side had a farm in Oare for decades.  My Dad and Grandmother would regularly visit from Greenwich in London and spend time on the farm and also make the annual pilgrimage of hop picking.

A black & white picture of the Tubbs family hop picking in the the 1960's

The Tubbs family hop picking

An interesting read

If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".

You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.


Faversham Guildhall

Whether you visit Faversham on one of its bustling market days or when the lanes are quieter, it is a charming place to wander around.

A view of Faversham Guildhall in Market Place surrounded bu cafes, restaurants and pubs

Faversham Guildhall in Market Place

The stilted Guildhall is where you will be inevitably be drawn to, as it is so striking. The original Guildhall was built on this site in 1603. However, due to a fire around 200-years later caused by unruly celebrations for one of Wellington’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars, it then needed to be rebuilt.

A view of Faversham Guildhall from Court Street) with tables & chairs outside cafe's on a bright sunny day

Faversham Guildhall from Court Street

It was redesigned by Charles Drayson into the beautiful arched colonnade building you can see today.
 
It is in and around the sturdy wooden pillars and the well-trodden paving stones that Faversham Charter Market is held every week.

Faversham’s Markets

Faversham’s Charter Market is held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays every week, selling a range of local produce, collectables and other interesting items.
 
In addition, there are two monthly markets, ‘Best of Faversham Arts, Crafts’ and a ‘Food Market’ on the first and third Saturday of the month.


Faversham Antiques and Vintage Market is held on the first Sunday of every month, except September.

West Street, Faversham

If you can drag yourself away from the quaint Market Place, then head down West Street. This narrow pedestrian street is full of striking architecture. Centuries-old timber-framed dwellings lovingly cared for, charming homes with their overhanging upper levels all with so much character.

Diners sitting outside restaurants at the top of West Street in Faversham.

West Street, Faversham

Image

Looking up West Street

Looking up at the historic 14th-century pub  Sun Inn pub on West Street, Faversham

The Sun Inn 14th-century pub

Along West Street, you’ll find traditional butchers, charming local stores, galleries, cafés and the Sun Inn which has been welcoming patrons since the 14th Century.

The exterior of MB’s Food Hall along West Street in Faversham

MB’s Food Hall along West Street

Kent rural road trip

Discover Kent on a rural road trip, lush rolling countryside filled with orchards, vineyards, quaint villages and oast houses, so it makes for a perfick visit.

Shepherd Neame Brewery

Yep, Faversham is home to Shepherd Neame Britain’s oldest brewer since 1698. The Faversham Brewery has been family-owned since 1864 and pride itself in the local community that it supports.
The rear gate of the Shepherd Neame Brewery in Faversham, Kent

 Shepherd Neame, Faversham Brewery

The magnificent sailing barges that are dotted along Faversham Creek were once used to import the malt into their riverside wharves. Then they would transport the final product up to their inns in London. Before motorised transport became widespread, horse-drawn drays were used to move the Brewery's ales throughout Kent.

The Shepherd Neame Brewery visitors centre in a historic half-timbered building in Faversham, Kent

Shepherd Neame Shop and Brewery Tours

As you stroll around the streets and lanes of Faversham, you’ll be stumbling upon one of Shepherd Neame’s inns or alehouses around nearly every corner. Why don’t you pop in for a bite to eat and sample of their local seasonal ales?

Brightly coloured tables & chairs outside the Shepherd Neame owned Albion Taverna along Faversham Creek.

 Albion Taverna along Faversham Creek

Abbey Street, Faversham

Strolling from Court Street you effortlessly saunter into Abbey Street, this historical road is full of charming Medieval dwellings. Overflowing hanging baskets, passion-flower creeping through the hedgerows and half-timbered houses you’ll immediately fall in love with.

A medieval, half-timbered house on Abbey Street, Faversham, Kent

Medieval homes along Abbey Street

Globe House, a half-timbered building on Abbey Street with its flagstone paths and traditional street lighting.

 Ancient timbered houses forming part of Abbey Street

This little region of Faversham was once the home of Faversham Abbey, founded by King Stephen in 1148. The abbey itself was demolished in 1538 due to Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The beautiful Arden House on Abbey Street in Faversham, Kent

 Arden House once the outer gateway to Faversham Abbey

A bit more info?

If you like to find out more about Faversham, its festivals, market days and history, take a look at the Visit Swale website.

Standard Quay

Standard Quay was the captivating part of Faversham that we had never discovered before. As we strolled to the end of Abbey Street, which almost looked like we had come to the end of the line, we turned left into Abbey Road. This led us down to the quayside, and I was dumfounded.

The old brick Oyster Bay House on Standard Quay in Faversham, Kent

Oyster Bay House, Standard Quay 

I never realised that this Medieval Creekside quay was there and not only that, it had been transformed into a charming oasis to visit. For over 500 years Standard Quay was a bustling maritime port with sailors and sea merchants vying for business.

An old sailing barge moored next to the Oyster Bay House on Standard Quay in Faversham, Kent

Sailing Barge along Faversham Creek

Meadowlarks, a bric-a-brak store, in the quayside Corn Exchange, Faversham, Kent

Meadowlarks in the quayside Corn Exchange

Fast forward to today and the ancient Monk’s Granary and Victorian warehouses that would have witnessed the comings and goings of wool, oysters, hops, salt and grain, now have quayside restaurants, antique warehouses and local butchers and fishmongers.

An antique store in the Medieval Monk’s Granary at the Standard Quay, Faversham, Kent

 Antiques stores in the Medieval Monk’s Granary

It was incredible to see an area, which in more recent years had seen decline be renewed and utilised for small businesses. Although this is still working quay with boatyards in operation.

The Salt and Spice store on Standard Quay, Faversham, Kent

Salt and Spice along Faversham Creek

We will definitely be heading back to visit the fishmongers ‘Herman’s Plaice’ as the selection of seafood sounded delicious.

Kent coastal road trip

Discover 11 of Kent’s charming and historic coastal towns on a road trip. Uncover the delights of Broadstairs, Deal, Margate, Dungeness, Folkestone and more.

Around the town

Strolling around Faversham, there are so many interesting snippets of history, tales to be told and thought-provoking facts.
 
In the heart of Faversham town and in keeping with its surroundings is The Royal Cinema designed in 1936 by Andrew Mather. This lovely cinema has been saved a few times from the brink of demolition and now has a true quirky, old-fashioned feel to it as you step into the foyer. Apparently, it is one of only two Tudorbethan cinemas to exist today, the other is in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The unique, 1930's design, Royal Cinema in Faversham, Kent

The Royal Cinema

The impressive spire of St Mary of Charity Church, constructed mainly of flint in Faversham, Kent

St Mary of Charity, Faversham Parish Church

The historic medieval church in Faversham is St Mary of Charity, Parish Church. Its 18th-century spire can be spotted from some distance away. It is believed to be the second-largest church in Kent, which indicates Faversham’s importance during the Middle Ages.

The stone plaque to Sir Philip Neame, recipient of the VC and an Olympic gold medal and resident of Faversham, Kent

 Sir Philip Neame, recipient of the VC and an Olympic gold medal

I just have to give this astounding gentleman a mention, and if anyone’s life should be turned into a movie, then it should be Sir Philip Neame.

Not only did this man receive the Victoria Cross through fighting in the trenches in WWI. He went on to win an Olympic gold medal in Paris for shooting in 1924, he was mauled by a tigress in India in 1933. He then fought in the Second World War in North Africa, was taken prisoner of war in Italy in 1943.

In 1946 he was knighted and lived into his 90th year and died in 1978 in Selling, Kent. His medals and awards are held at the Imperial War Museum in London.

The brick-built Faversham Almshouses in South Road, Faversham, Kent

Faversham Almshouses

Along South Road, you’ll come across the delightful Almshouses. Originally built in 1723 for Six Poor Men, it was extended in 1863 and is still kept in immaculate condition today.
 
Other lanes to stroll around are Tanners Street, the west side of West Street to Stonebridge Pond. Also, cross over Faversham Creek at Bridge Road and take the riverside walk along Front Brents.

The view from the strangely named Front Brents across Faversham Creek to the converted warehouses

View from Front Brents across to Faversham

Check Faversham’s tides as the Creek looks so much better at high tide.
 
Faversham has so much to offer a visitor whether your heading for a day trip or staying overnight.

English Heritage

Maison Dieu, a 13th-century wayside hospital, is located just outside Faversham in Ospringe. This ancient flint timber-framed medieval hospital is believed to be the oldest village museum in Britain. Check opening times due to social distancing.
 
Click on the banner below to join and gain unlimited access to England’s fascinating past with your annual membership.

Would you like a little more?

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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