Things to do in Dartford, Kent
Settlement in Dartford can be dated back 250,000 years to the prehistoric hunter-gatherers represented by Swanscombe Man. Pieces of human skull dating back to this time were found nearby.Romans engineered on Watling Street. The road ran from Dover to London. There are the remains of Roman villas along the Darent Valley and at Crayford, then called Noviomagus.
In 1086 Dartford Manor was recorded as belonging to the king and by the 12th century it was owned by the Knights Templar. A priory was established at Sutton-at-Hone where Dominican and Franciscan Friars cared for the sick.
In 1555 many protestants were burned at the stake including Christopher Waid, a local linen weaver. The event is marked by the Martyrs Memorial on East Hill.
The area was known for brewing ale and beer, lime burning and the fulling (washing) of wool. Sir John Spilman began his paper mill in 1588. During the Industrial Revolution the iron-making industry led to engineering workshops and later to vehicle production in 1906.
Present Day Dartford
Present day Dartford is a commuter town for London workers and is a major rail hub. It has around 86,000 residents.
The large chimney, one of the tallest in the UK, is part of the power station at Littlebrook.
Other buildings of interest are the public library, the Museum and the Orchard Theatre.
Things to Do Around Dartford
Sutton-at-Home is the site of the St John's Jerusalem Knights Templar property. This National Trust-owned piece of local history is a fascinating place to visit with a 13th century Knights Hospitallers' Chapel and a scenic moated garden.
The Holy Trinity Church makes an interesting place to visit. From this 9th century building a hermit would have escorted travelers across the ford. A royal wedding was performed there in the 13th century and choristers are now entitled to wear scarlet cassocks. In the graveyard is a brass plaque commemorating the burial place of Richard Trevithick who pioneered steam propulsion.
Bluewater Shopping Centre is Europe's largest retail and leisure destination with the best shopping, entertainment and restaurants in the area. It has 28 million visitors per year to its 330 stores and leisure villages.
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