Your guide to Tenterden
Visiting Tenterden? Find out what this Cinque Ports town has to offer, from shopping to eating and even locomotive fun
Tenterden – often referred to as ‘The Jewel of The Weald’ is a picturesque town in the borough of Ashford, with a rich history. In the 13th century it was an important wool trading centre, and in the 14th century neighbouring Smallhythe was instrumental in building wooden ships.
While the area is no longer on the coast, there’s still plenty to see and do – the pretty, tree-lined High Street is the heart of the town and boasts Kentish brick houses, charming shops and a wealth of history to be discovered.
BEST FOR: FAMILY FUN
KENT & EAST SUSSEX RAILWAY
Originally opened in 1900, the Kent & East Sussex Railway still serves the line between Tenterden and Bodiam with steam and diesel locomotives. The scenic trip is a must if you’re in the area, and the railway hosts plenty of events throughout the year, including 1940s weekends, Thomas the Tank Engine themed events and much more.
BEST FOR: SHOPPING
THE HIGH STREET
Tenterden’s High Street is packed with gorgeous shops, and there’s a plethora of boutiques to discover. Start at one end and spend the day moseying along, finding quaint antique shops, hidden fashion boutiques and inspirational interior outlets. Make sure you walk along each side of the High Street too – you don’t want to miss anything!
BEST FOR: COFFEE
If there’s one thing Tenterden isn’t short of, it’s coffee shops, but some of the best can be found in Sayer’s Lane (a pedestrian street leading from the High Street to Waitrose). Whether you’re heading for a post-gym caffeine kick or a mid-morning Mocha, there are some delightful cafes well worth visiting.
BEST FOR: VIEWS
ST MILDRED’S CHURCH
Tenterden is surrounded by beautiful countryside, rolling hills and stunning scenery, but one of the best ways to see everything it has to offer is by climbing the tower of the iconic St Mildred’s Church and viewing the town and surrounding landscape from up high.
BEST FOR: LOCAL PRODUCE
If you’re visiting Tenterden on a Friday then you’re in for a treat – the High Street and Market Square are lined with stalls selling everything from locally crafted artisan breads to organic meat and fresh flowers. Also on Friday mornings in the church hall, the country market takes place, where you can pick up eggs, plants, baked goods and much more.
After working up a sweat in a spin class at Tenterden Leisure Centre, head on over to Bluebell Coffee House where you can indulge your sweet tooth with a stack of delicious pancakes (or go for the healthier option of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon instead). You can even take your dog – and in summer month’s there’s outside seating where you can watch the world go by.
Hear it through the grapevine…
Just outside of Tenterden in Smallhythe you’ll find Chapel Down – the biggest producers of English wine in the UK. Take a trip there in the morning and enjoy one of their guided tours (where you’ll also get a tutored tasting of some wines), then head to The Swan for lunch – the onsite restaurant, owned by the I’ll Be Mother group offers fine dining options in a contemporary setting overlooking the spectacular countryside.
Spend an evening…
Tenterden’s home to a whole host of eateries and you can’t go far wrong in any of the pubs that line the pretty High Street. Many also have live music nights featuring local bands, or if theatre’s more your thing, the Sinden Theatre at Homewood school often has comedy nights and other productions well worth a see.