Cranbrook is an enchanting small market town that exudes old world charm. The large stone Church known as “the Cathedral of the Weald” testifies to the wealth of the town in the 14th Century when fortunes were to be made in the wool trade. Between St Dunstans Church and the Union Windmill are the pretty streets of weavers cottages that now house individual shops and cafes including Cocolicious, where you can enjoy local wines and homemade cupcakes, and Spice that sells a tempting array of scarves, bags, candles, soaps and other gorgeous accessories.
When the trains came to Cranbrook in the 19th Century, mainly bringing hop pickers from London to harvest the hops, they brought a number of artists who established a Colony in the town. Chief amongst them were Thomas Webster and Frederick Hardy. They shared a Studio in the High Street and produced romanticised images of the countryside which they sold to rich industrialists in the Midlands. Another of their members was J C Horsley, famous for inventing the Christmas Card in 1843.
A quaint Museum in a restored 15th Century building has a room devoted to the Cranbrook Colony but to see their work you must visit the Art Gallery in Wolverhampton which houses a substantial collection. Cranbrook is also famous for its School founded in 1518 - old boys include the astronaut Piers Sellars and the comedian Harry Hill.
During the Napoleonic Wars, a very fine windmill was built to produce bread for the soldiers stationed at Romney Marsh. It has been beautifully restored as a treasured landmark in the town dominating the skyline.
Want to find out more? Visit our guide here to discover more about holidaying in rural Kent .