Name: Heritage and tourism
Description: Heritage and tourism
Skip to content Accessibility access to: Home page Accessibility access to: Accessibility

Heritage and tourism

Dartford has a rich and varied heritage and is home to Domesday churches and buildings with royal connections.

Historic Fire EngineThe "Borough of Dartford" Fire Engine

The fire engine known as "Borough of Dartford" was rescued from an uncertain future by Dartford Borough Council in late 2011.

Purchased by public subscription in 1939, ownership of the Leyland Fire Engine passed to Kent Fire Brigade following the nationalisation of the fire service in 1941. It was withdrawn from service in 1955, was fully restored in 1971 and has been kept as a museum piece ever since.

If you would like to know more or are interested in hiring the engine for a special event such as a wedding or fete, please contact 01322 343244 or Online: Contact the Heritage Team

Wall PlaqueBlue Plaques

Dartford Borough Council has its own Blue Plaque Scheme celebrating historical events and figures around the Borough.

Plaques include:

  • Martina Bergman Österberg - unveiled in February 2005 at North West Kent College, Oakfield Lane, Dartford
  • Jane Austen - unveiled on 5 October 2006 outside Boots the Chemists in High Street, Dartford
  • Dartford Football Club - unveiled on 11 November 2006 at the original site entrance to DFC's Watling Street ground
  • Richard Trevithick - unveiled on 17 March 2007 outside Royal Victoria & Bull Hotel in High Street, Dartford
  • Dartford Borough Museum - unveiled on 19 March 2008 at the original site of Dartford Museum in Essex Road, Dartford
  • Battle for Bull Centre - unveiled on 10 December 2008 at One Bell Corner, Dartford
  • Sir Hiram Maxim - unveiled on 8 July 2009 at Maypole Primary School, Franklin Road, Dartford
  • Sir Hiram Maxim/Baldwyns Mansion - unveiled on 19 May 2010 at Baldwyns Mansion, Calvert Drive, Bexley Park
  • The Rolling Stones - unveiled on 5 February 2015 on platform 2 at Dartford Station
  • V1 Flying Bomb, Carrington Road - unveiled on 22 March 2015 at 38 Carrington Road, Dartford
  • VOX Amplifier - unveiled on 14 February 2017 at 119 Dartford Road, Dartford
  • Hill View - unveiled on 24 July 2017 at Hill View, Temple Hill, Dartford
  • The Morning Star - unveiled on 10 November 2018 at 141 Church Rd, Swanscombe

The Manor Gate HouseManor Gate House

Following the dissolution of Dartford Priory, Henry VIII chose the site to construct a Manor House between 1541 and 1544 for his personal use. In 1545, this venue became one of the most politically important in Tudor England, when the Privy Council met here.

Anne of Cleves was given the Manor House after Henry's death in exchange as part of her divorce settlement and she lived there from 1553 until shortly before her death in 1557.

Elizabeth I retained the use of the Manor house but only stayed there on two occasions. Today, it is just the Gatehouse that remains. This is an historic building and the exterior is definitely worth a look. The interior is now used for offices.

The Manor Gatehouse is located on Priory Road in Dartford. DA1 2BJ

Swanscombe Skull Site

Three perfectly matching pieces of a 400,000 year old skull were found in Swanscombe in 1935, 1936 and 1955.

These pieces are amongst the oldest human remains ever discovered in Europe. Three commemorative stones mark the places where the fragments of the skull were found.

Thousands of primitive stone tools have been found on this site from third Acheulian period, as well as from earlier Clactonian culture, some of which are on display at the Dartford Borough Museum.

The Swanscombe Skull site is on Craylands Lane in Swanscombe.

Visit the Swanscombe Heritage Park website.

Churches

The Borough of Dartford is home to 11 churches that were included in the Domesday Book. One of the most interesting of these is Holy Trinity, located in Dartford town centre.

The oldest part of the Church is the lower section of the main tower which was built between 1050 and 1080. Following the canonisation of Thomas Becket, Holy Trinity became popular with pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.

In 1422 Henry V's body lay overnight at Holy Trinity for a requiem mass before continuing the journey to Westminster Abbey.

Sights inside the Church include a dramatic 15th century wall-painting of St George and the Dragon together with the early 17th century tomb of Sir John Spilman.

Tudor(ish) Trail

Kent Film Office have launched a trail which celebrates Kent's Tudor history and film connections.

For more information visit the Tudor(ish) Trail webpage or pick up a paper copy of the Trail booklet at the venues features in the Trail, visitor information centres or your nearest Kent library.

Last Updated: 16th November 2018 Print Link

Share Facebook Share Twitter