Despite having driven past Faversham many times on my way to Kent’s beautiful coastal areas, the medieval market town and surrounding area, nestled deep in Kent’s North Downs, had never been on my radar.
So when I was invited to work with Kent Downs on their #findyourspace #ExperienceKent campaign, I jumped at the chance to highlight some of the fabulous things to do in the Faversham area and to promote a visit to the glorious Kent countryside.
This post is part of a paid partnership with Visit Kent and Kent Downs AONB. All content is based on my opinion of the places I visited.
This article may contain affiliate links. Please read the full disclaimer here.
Macknade Food Hall Faversham
Find Macknade at Selling Road, Faversham, ME13 8XF
My first stop of the day was at Macknade Food Hall, a family-run fine food farm shop in Faversham that has existed since 1847. Another store is in Ashford, and one is coming soon to Tunbridge Wells.
Macknade is a one-stop destination to buy the best local Kent produce from the Garden of England. The range of products is incredible. From sumptuous Kent fruit and vegetables to the local Kent honey and freshly baked bread, there is so much to choose from that you won’t be leaving empty-handed!
Macknade even has an in-house butchery supplying the finest local meats. Mouthwatering sausages are a real favourite with shoppers and meat marinades are made using produce from the farm shop ensuring the freshest flavours.
The wine and beer store was impressive, stocking over 90 wines from around the world and at home including bubbles from Kent and a huge selection of local Kentish beers.
The outdoor space at Macknade has a chilled vibe and offers an outdoor seating area and street food vans similar to what you would expect to find in London. I will certainly be returning to try it out one evening.
A Mouthwatering Breakfast at Macknade
I was fortunate to enjoy breakfast at The Cafe at Macknade. I’m a bit of a coffee connoisseur and was pleased that the flat white was served perfectly and had a real depth of flavour. I ordered cinnamon toast with added banana, and again it was delicious and a really generous serving.
Most of the produce used in the cafe is from local Kent suppliers, which makes eating at Macknade even more of a draw. From field to farm shop ensures that Kent’s farming communities are supported, and diners know exactly where their meal has come from. Perfect in every way!
Kent products at Macknade are interspersed with international delicacies. A recent addition was a Korean food section which is selling well. Also, unusual items such as red bananas from Ecuador are now stocked. As a banana lover, I was interested in finding out about the fruit’s medicinal value. All I can say is ask the greengrocer for more details!
Mouthwatering Kent Produce
Of course, I had to buy some goodies for myself before I left Macknade. I stocked up on honey from the North Downs, coffee from Margate, lemon curd with lavender from Wye and the most delicious pear and ginger juice from Maidstone. And for the man in my life – a selection of beers from Kent. Brewed in places like Romney Marsh, Whitstable and Tonbridge, it is great to taste beers produced near to home.
Buying honey produced locally to where you live can help ease hay fever symptoms and supports local beekeepers
Doddington Place Gardens
Find the gardens at Church Lane, Doddington, Faversham, ME9 OBB
Open on Wednesday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays. Entry prices are £9 for adults / £2.50 for children.
My next stop was Doddington Place Gardens, a 20-minute drive from Macknade. I had been invited to look around the sensational gardens and then take part in a short photography taster course.
Historic Doddington Place is a privately owned estate in Faversham that opens its gardens to visitors twice a week. It has been in the Oldfield family for the last century and many areas of the gardens have been lovingly restored by the current custodians.
My visit to Doddington Place couldn’t have coincided with better weather. The temperature was in the high 20s, the sun was shining, and the flowers were looking magnificent. Amicia Oldfield was my guide around the gardens. It was fascinating to hear about the gardens and the family history connected to this historic house in Kent.
There are many different areas to discover at Doddington Place Garden. From the formal borders packed with alliums and roses and the pond area in the Sunk Garden to the renovated Edwardian rock garden with stunning views across the North Downs. No wonder Kent is called the Garden of England.
Wandering the pathways took me to the Folly Walk and Spring Garden, with shaded areas to take a moment to escape the heat.
Amazing Clipped Yew Hedges
One thing that makes Doddington stand out from the crowd is the strange bulging shapes of the clipped yew hedges planted before the First World War. I immediately thought of Alice in Wonderland when I saw them and half-expected the Queen of Hearts to appear with her croquet stick at any moment!
Lucy, the head gardener, has cut small doorways in the hedge to allow children to step inside the undergrowth and play out their own magical fantasy.
As I was visiting in June, the Woodland Garden was awash with colour from the rhododendron and azalea trees. It was magical to wander through the dense woodland and listen to the birdsong.
After I had circumnavigated the gardens twice, I enjoyed tea and cake on the front lawn. But my day hadn’t finished just yet. I was meeting Paul Burgess from Through the Lens Experiences, who would give me some photography tips and tricks.
Doddington Place is listed as one of Britain’s finest Historic Houses and was once owned by the Croft family (of the sherry and port fame)
A Photographic Taster Experience at Doddington Place
Find Paul Burgess at Through the Lens Photography Experiences
Kent is full of fantastic activities to discover, and one of them is Paul’s photography experiences that are run throughout the beautiful Kent countryside.
Before we met up, Paul had asked me whether I wanted advice on capturing images on my iPhone or camera; I decided to use my iPhone. Paul gave me tips on how to frame subjects, and how to get close to a subject for maximum impact. Another tip was how to use things such as lines to guide a person’s eye to the subject matter.
Luckily Doddington Place had plenty of incredible subjects to choose from and I took quite a few shots on my iPhone using Paul’s tips.
Here are three of my favourites!
Through The Lens Experiences in Kent
If you are a budding photographer, then one of Paul’s photographic experiences in Kent may be just what you are looking for. His day courses include mindfulness in photography, a Kent brewery visit, a Kent vineyard visit and of course, walks in the Kent Downs. What more could you want!
Lighting is a key factor for capturing great photos and bright sunlight is a photographer’s worst nightmarePaul Burgess
I hope this post has inspired you to plan a visit to Faversham and the Kent Downs. After a turbulent year, it is good to support local businesses while discovering a new part of the country.
So next time you are heading from London on the M2 motorway, admiring the beautiful North Downs scenery, make sure to turn off at junction 7 for Faversham. You won’t want to miss one of the best towns in Kent.
Other things to do in Faversham
Kent Coastal Towns Near Faversham
Driving times from Faversham
Broadstairs – 20 minutes
Herne Bay – 25 minutes
Margate – 35 minutes
Kent Castles Near Faversham
Driving Times from Faversham
Dover Castle – 30 minutes
Leeds Castle – 30 minutes
Deal Castle – 40 minutes
Walmer Castle – 50 minutes