Located in the extreme south-east of England, Kent is one of the Home Counties – in other words, one of the counties that surrounds London. Greater London is on its north-western boundary and the Thames Estuary lies to the north where the county is at its most industrialized, particularly around Dartford.
The Straits of Dover are the gateway to Europe which means that the M20 motorway acts as a sort of umbilical cord between London and the channel ports of Dover and Folkestone, but generally speaking, the more you move away from the influence of the capital the more rural the county becomes.
A large part of the county was given over to fruit growing and the cultivation of hops – and why it earned itself the nickname of ‘The Garden of England’.
Hop-picking holidays for Londoners may not be as common as they once were, but the countryside is still pleasant with the Kent Downs and High Weald being two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Londoners also took their annual holidays on the Isle of Thanet (which is no longer an island) to traditional seaside resorts like Margate, Broadstairs, and Ramsgate;
The Medway towns of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham have joined together to become a Unitary Authority with a combined population of 277,865 (2011 census). Maidstone, although it also sits on the River Medway, is not included and is Kent’s county town.
Maidstone may be the county town, but historically speaking, Canterbury has the most to offer. It was the first place in England to be re-Christianized and its magnificent cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Being so close to the continent, Kent has not only been the gateway to Europe but also the gateway from Europe. From the Roman invasion in 43 A.D to the Battle of Britain in 1940, and the influx of (legal and illegal) migrants and refugees today, Kent has been at the forefront of keeping England safe from its enemies, but also a welcoming point of entry to its friends.