Faversham, the brewer’s town
Along the old Roman road, between London and Dover, a short thirty minutes from the City of Canterbury, lies Faversham – the Oldest Market Town in Kent. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, Faversham has a rich heritage. By the mid-1900s it became the centre of the explosives industry, and manufacturing gunpowder for the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo.
The Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park gives a fascinating insight to the gunpowder era, all whilst absorbing the tranquil setting. This Green Flag park is home to a host of creatures, including birds and butterflies in the woodlands and on the lake, and is the perfect setting for a country walk (dogs are welcome) or bike ride.
There are more than 300 listed buildings in Faversham, many within the towns historic centre. Tudor houses and treelined streets, the iconic picturesque chocolate-box image England is known for the world over.
The high street is lined with gorgeous little shops, like the award-wining family run butchers of SW Doughty; the popular Jittermugs Coffee Shop; L.Jays Attic for fabulous vintage clothes; the bespoke jewellery store Barkers of Faversham; plus a plethora of high-end couture boutiques and antique shops.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a Public House that is not managed by Shepherds Neame; after all this market town is built around the renowned brewery. In an age where the pub trade is slowly ‘dying’ you will see no evidence of this in Faversham – a historic pub can be found on nearly every street.
The Shepherds Neame Brewery, Britain’s oldest brewers, produces some of Kent’s best-known ales. They offer a 2‑hour guided tours and beer tastings, which is a must-do.
Be sure to finish the day at one of the many Shepperd’s pubs. Top of the list is the Sun Inn – set within Faversham’s Conservation area. They have a ‘Brewery Tour’ offer, providing accommodation for two, a two-course dinner (you’ll not go wrong with their pie and mash), breakfast, and of course a brewery tour. The current price is £125.
Their selection of fine cask ales and friendly staff are exactly what you’d expect, but it’s also the pub food. The chef brings something else to the plate besides food. Perhaps it’s his own formula, which is about Faversham, its ales, and ingredients from fertile land, which culminates in rustic staples that arrive at your table with an aroma hovering over the plate, over the table. This is central heating for the soul.
Fleur De Lis Gallery – Heritage Centre and Museum
Providing a full history, from early iron-age settlements to Elizabethan times, this museum is housed in a 15th Century former public house. Victorian schoolrooms and kitchens, WW1 and WW2 displays, gunpowder facts, and ancient artifacts will take you on a historic journey through time. The Fleur de Lis involves you in Faversham’s heritage.
The Faversham Town Walks (a 90-minute guided town tour) also sets off from this location.
Written by JWR