This is a SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "London Travel: a Guide to Great Day Trips." The complete app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of London, along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "London's Backyard."
A Delightfully Unpretentious Country Town
Located at the end of a tidal creek, the ancient port of Faversham has remained a delightfully unpretentious little town for over a thousand years. Relatively few tourists venture this way, but those who do are enchanted by its simple charms.
Settlements existed on this site since prehistoric times, with Faversham being mentioned in a charter of AD 811. It became a town of some importance during the Middle Ages, when many of its present structures were built. Along with Dover, Rye, and a few other towns, it was a member of the Cinque Ports confederation, owing allegiance only to the Crown.
Despite this heritage, the town is not another preserved relic of the past but a growing community with its own thriving industries. A visit to Faversham makes a refreshing change from the usual tourist circuit and can easily be combined with one to Canterbury.
Trains depart London's Victoria Station [VIC] at least twice an hour for the 77-minute ride to Faversham [FAV]. Return service operates until late evening.
By Car, Faversham is 49 miles southeast of London via the A3 and M2 highways.
Good weather is essential for this outdoor trip. A colorful outdoor market is held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The local Tourist Information Centre is in the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre at 11 Preston Street.
Annual events include a Classic Car Rally in May, a Hop Festival in early September, and a Carnival in mid-October. Ask at the Tourist Centre for current details, or check their website.
Commemorative plaques and viewpoint keys have been installed in the town, helping to bring history to life. An excellent guide to these can be downloaded from their website.
Faversham is in the county of Kent and has a population of about 18,000.
FOOD & DRINK:
Faversham is famous for its brewery, Shepherd Neame, which was founded here in 1698, is the oldest in Britain, and still makes what is called "real ale." Their Visitor Centre at 10 Court Street offers brewery tours on select days, T: (01797) 542-016, W: shepherdneame.co.uk. Advance booking is recommended. Two-hour tours with tasting cost £11.50 for adults, £10.50 for seniors, and £9 for children 12-17.
Some choice places to eat are:
FAVERSHAM KEBAB HOUSE
PHOENIX TAVERN & RESTAURANT
THE SUN INN
Touch photo in upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a DIAGRAM MAP. Touch that to remain on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left to enjoy more photographic views. NUMBERS on the map correspond to numbers in the text. NOTE that on this map north points to the left in order to conserve space.
[Names in BOLD FACE CAPITAL LETTERS are actually links to separate entries within the app to those attractions. These links do not function on this blog, nor are the photos and additional practical information posted here].
Leave the train station (1) and walk down Preston Street to the tourist office and museum. The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre (2) provides an excellent introduction to Faversham's past and present. The former 15th-century inn that houses it also contains the FLEUR DE LIS MUSEUM AND GALLERY.
Continue down Preston Street, turning left on Market Street. It was in the house at number 12 that King James II was held prisoner by local fishermen when he tried to flee the country in 1688.
In a few yards you will come to the Guildhall (3), a rather elegant Georgian building set atop 16th-century pillars. An open-air market is held under this on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Established in 1086, it is the oldest market in Kent, and a wonderful place to meet the locals. Note the interesting town pump at the rear.
Court Street contains many fine 17th- and 18th-century houses. Follow it to Church Street and turn right to the parish church of St. Mary of Charity (4), which has a particularly elegant, and very rare, crown spire. It dates mostly from around 1320, though the nave is mainly 18th-century, with one Norman bay. The grotesque misericords in the choir are among the finest in England. Other features unusual for a parish church are the aisled transepts and the 14th-century frescoed pillar. This is actually the second-largest parish church in Kent, and larger than some of Britain's smaller cathedrals. Stroll around the churchyard, then follow the footpath to Abbey Place, passing the 16th-century Old Grammar School.
The famous 15th-century Arden's House on the southeast corner of Abbey Place was the scene of a notorious murder in 1551, which became the basis for the first play in English to use a contemporary event as its theme. Published in 1592, Arden of Feversham is still in the national repertory.
Abbey Street is lined with well-preserved houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Turn right on it and walk down to Standard Quay (5).
Going past old warehouses, follow the creek until you come to a former warehouse, now beautifully converted to office use. All along here you will see old sailing barges, some of which are restored as houseboats, and which still take place in sailing barge races in the summer.
The sailing barge GRETA of 1892 may be chartered for trips by groups of up to 12; individuals can be fit in with groups if space permits. Make advance reservations at T: (07711) 657-919, W: greta1892. co.uk.
Now return to Abbey Street and make a right at Quay Lane. Cross the bridge by the brewery and walk out along Front Brents, from which you get a colorful view of the tiny waterway. Faversham's prosperity has always been closely linked with the creek, and 350 years ago it was England's main wool-exporting port, with busy trade to the Netherlands.
From here follow the map past the austere 12th-century Davington Church and down to Stonebridge Pond (6). Local streets opposite lead to the restored CHART GUNPOWDER MILLS (7).
Return to the pond and turn right on West Street. In a short distance this becomes a charming pedestrians-only street leading back to the Guildhall.
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