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This article is about the English county of Kent. See also Kent (disambiguation).

Status: Ceremonial & (smaller) Administrative County
Region: South East England
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 10th
3,736 km²
Ranked 10th
3,544 km²
Admin HQ: Maidstone
ONS code: 29
- Total (2002 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 7th
425 / km²
Ranked 1st
Ethnicity: 96.5% White
1.7% S.Asian

Kent County Council
Executive: Conservative
Members of Parliament
Julian Brazier, Paul Clark, Michael Fallon, Roger Gale, Damian Green, Michael Howard, Stephen Ladyman, Robert Marshall-Andrews, Archie Norman, Chris Pond, Gwyn Prosser, Hugh Robertson, Jonathan Rowland Shaw, John Stanley, Howard Stoate, Ann Widdecombe, Derek Wyatt
  1. Dartford
  2. Gravesham
  3. Sevenoaks
  4. Tonbridge and Malling
  5. Tunbridge Wells
  6. Maidstone
  7. Swale
  8. Ashford
  9. Shepway
  10. Canterbury
  11. Dover
  12. Thanet
  13. Medway (Unitary)

Kent is a county in England, south-east of London. The county town is Maidstone. Kent has land borders with East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London, and a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames estuary.

Other places in Kent include Canterbury, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Rochester-upon-Medway.

Kent is traditionally regarded as a picturesque rural county, but there is a Kent coalfield which was extensively mined in the past. The district of Thanet is one of the most disadvantaged areas in the south east of England. There is a nuclear power station located at Dungeness.

The Channel tunnel leaves England at Cheriton in Kent. It provides a rail link to and from France. There are airports at Biggin Hill, Headcorn, Lydd, Manston and Rochester.

Famous residents of Kent have included Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin. Sir Winston Churchill's home Chartwell is also located in Kent.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Cities, towns and villages
3 Places of interest


The area has been occupied since the Lower Palaeolithic as finds from the quarries at Swanscombe attest. During the Neolithic the Medway megaliths were built and there is a rich sequence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman occupation indicated by finds and features such as the Ringlemere gold cup and the Roman villas of the Darenth valley.

Kent was originally one of the kingdoms of Jutes in England (see Kingdom of Kent), although its name derives from one of the Iron Age tribes of Britain, the Cantiaci. As the closest part of England to the continent of Europe, it has frequently been the focal point for invasion attempts, and is traditionally the major embarkation point for overseas travel.

Probably the most significant geographical features of Kent are the White Cliffs of Dover and the short water gap to the European continent, the Straits of Dover, that they overlook. Near these landmarks is also the current entrance point to the newly constructed Channel Tunnel by rail to France.

Strategic as this area is, it should therefore come as no surprise that portions of several decisive military engagements of world history were fought in the vicinity of the Straits. Key actions in the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the air Battle of Britain in 1940, for example, were contested at this point of access to Europe.

Kent is also the site of Canterbury, the religious centre of the Anglican faith, and see of St. Augustine of Canterbury and St. Thomas a Beckett. The role of the imposing cathedral there as a focus for pilgrimages during the Middle Ages also gave rise to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, a key development in the rise of the written English language.

Because of its agricultural influence, extensive orchards and hop-gardens, Kent is sometimes known as the 'Garden of England'. Distinctive hop drying buildings called oast houses are common in the countryside.

Kent was traditionally divided into West Kent and East Kent by the River Medway. They were subdivided into lathess, and then into hundredss and parishes. This division into East and West is also reflected in the term 'Men of Kent' for residents of Kent east of the Medway, whilst residents from west of the Medway are known as 'Kentish Men'. This derives from the ethnic differences between the Jutish settlement of the east of the county and the Saxon presence in the west. The two divisions of Kent had separate courts of Quarter Sessions (at Maidstone and Canterbury) until 1814.

Kent has been historically encroached upon by London. The area making up the present-day London boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham were part of Kent until 1889, and Bexley and Bromley were removed in 1965. Much of the north-west of the county is part of the London commuter belt.

The ceremonial county of Kent corresponds to the administrative county plus the Medway (or Medway Towns) unitary authority, created in 1998 when the then districts of Gillingham and Rochester were removed from the county.

Cities, towns and villages

Hollingbourne, Hythe

Places of interest

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