Tenterden Things to Do

  • St Mildred's - interior
    St Mildred's - interior
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  • Gate of St Mildred's
    Gate of St Mildred's
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  • Churchyard of St Mildred's
    Churchyard of St Mildred's
    by iblatt

Most Recent Things to Do in Tenterden

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    Kent & East Sussex Railway

    by iblatt Updated Nov 10, 2012

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    Kent & East Sussex Railway
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    On this touristic rural railway you can make a pleasant ten and a half mile trip from Tenterden through the countryside of the Rother Valley, ending at Bodiam Castle, a medieval gem managed by the National Trust, which is well worth a visit.

    The line was opened in 1900 to serve the local farmers of the Rother Valley. In 1954 it closed, for commercial reasons. It re-opened in 1974, "thanks to a small band of volunteer enthusiasts", as the local sign reads. It is still staffed mainly by volunteers.

    The Kent & East Sussex Railway has restored Victorian coaches and locomotives, some of them steam engines and some heritage diesel ones. The ride can surey be a highlight for families with kids.

    At the Tenterden Railway Station you can also find the Colonel Stephens Railway Museum. The train passes near the villages of Rolvenden and Wittersham, then crosses the river Rother (and the border between Kent and Sussex), stops at Northiam and then reaches Bodiam Castle.

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    High Street

    by iblatt Written Nov 10, 2012

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    High Street before festival procession
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    The one main thoroughfare of Tenterden is High Street. Between East Cross (on the Ashford Road) and the West Cross, it is very wide in its central part, as befits an ancient busy marketplace.

    High Street is lined with some historic buildings from Elizabethan and Georgian eras, from tiny wooden-beamed cottages to grand Victorian townhouses.
    The Tenterden Gateway on High Street serves as library and tourist information office.
    There are many shops and several restaurants, hotels, pubs and bars along the street.
    During the annual Folk Festival the street is transformed, with Morris men dancing on the pavements and the procession marching all along the street.
    You can't visit Tenterden and not stroll along this historic street.

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    Smallhythe Place

    by iblatt Written Nov 7, 2012

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    Smallhythe Place, near Tenterden
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    First, imagine Tenterden in Medieval times: It was actually a port town, on a river which connected it to the sea, 12 miles away. The river has since silted up, and Tenterden is no longer a port, but this house is a relic of that period: Smallhythe was then a famous shipyard, between the 13th to 16th centuries, where royal ships were built for kings Henry VI and Henry VIII. Smallhythe Place was then the port master's house.

    Later, for 250 years it functioned as a working farm. The most prestigious chapter in its history was in the Victorian period, when it was the home of Victorian actress the home of Ellen Terry,
    who transformed the house. In 1929, one year after her death, the barn was fitted as a theater seating an audience of 80.

    The house is now managed by the National Trust, and you can visit the house and the theater museum created in it.

    When we tried to visit the house was closed, but we were still impressed by the exterior: an ancient half timbered house with a very romantic fairy-tale look.

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    War Memorial

    by iblatt Written Nov 7, 2012

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    War Memorial, Tenterden

    This white obelisk is set on a green patch on High Street, near the town center.
    It was first erected to commemorate the soldiers who fell during World War I.
    Later, the names of those who fell in the Second World War were added, and then of those who died in the Korean War and the Falkland War.

    It made me stop for a moment of reflection when I was walking up High Street to watch the Folk Festival procession.

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    St Mildred's Parish Church

    by iblatt Updated Nov 3, 2012

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    St Mildred's imposing tower
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    The tower of St. Mildred can be seen from everywhere, a proud example of 15th century architecture. This was the time when Tenterden was at the peak of prosperity, and the size of the church building reflects this prosperity. St. Mildred herself was an abbess of the royal Kentish family in ancient times, soon after the introduction of Christianity to England. The church we see today had its origins in the 12th century; the chancel is probably the oldest part and dates to about 1200. Other parts date from the 13th to 15th centuries, with some Victorian additions.

    When we visited this Anglican church it was nicely decorated for the harvest festival, with fruit baskets and some vegetation. A notice board displayed children's paintings for Queen Elizabeth's jubilee, some elaborate and some naive.
    Visiting the church I especially like the old entrance gate and the stained glass windows.

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    Town Hall

    by iblatt Written Oct 13, 2012

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    Town hall during the Folk Festival
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    The Town Hall is located in the center of High Street, but it does not stand out among the other houses lining this central thoroughfare. In fact, if not for the sign saying "Town Hall" you would be hard pressed to guess that this is it.

    The Town Hall was built in 1790. There is a Georgian Assembly Room on the first floor
    with boards stating the names of all the Bailiffs and Mayors since 1449

    During the annual Folk Festival there are Morris men and tap dancing shows in front of Town Hall. During the festival procession we saw the Mayor and dignitaries watch the parade from the Town Hall balcony.

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  • Kent and East Sussex Railway

    by Mariajoy Written Oct 14, 2007

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    Great fun for kids and families, the K&ESR is a popular excursion for visitors who want to see the Kent and East Sussex countryside from a good ol' fashioned steam train! Trains depart from Bodiam, Northian and Tenderden but please check the website for details. They also hold special events, Christmas dining, Thomas the Tank Engine weekends, that kind of thing. It's very quaint and very English so I guess if you are visiting in the area and want to experience train travel of the early part of the last century then this is exactly what you are looking for!

    You can take the train from Tenterden, and alight in Bodiam for a picnic in the grounds or at the pub, then hop back on the train. A delightful Sunday afternoon trip!

    Or you can buy a platform ticket at Tenterden for £1 and just have a wander around looking at the old steam trains (it lasts for a year so you can come back again and again if you really wanted to!)

    There is a little gift shop here too.

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    Smallhythe Place

    by Kettleman Updated Mar 18, 2006
    View of the house and barn from the road way
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    Just to the south of Tenterden is the home of actress Ellen Terry. Miss Terry was a major player on the English stage in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

    Her house is one of the few remaining from when Smallhythe was actually a port and dates back to the 16th Century.

    In the garden there is a barn that dates back further that was converted into a theatre and over the years it has been used by various societies to keep the tradition of theatre alive.

    Throughout the year there are different activities and events taking place both in the theatre and in the garden.

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    Full steam ahead!

    by Kettleman Updated Jul 27, 2005

    Steam trains depart Tenterden on the Kent & East Sussex Railway regularly during the summer and on special occasions throughout the year.

    The line runs from Tenterden through the Kent countryside and ends up at Bodiam Castle. The return trip takes the best part of two hours. See website for timetable and fares.

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