FAVERSHAM is a hugely popular old market town. The historic Market Place lies within a mainly pedestrianised conservation shopping area, and still has markets on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tudor and Georgian houses exude period charm, and Faversham Creek brings the sights and smells of the river. It was this navigable tidal inlet that earned Faversham its status as one of the Cinque Ports. The warships built here won it the further title of King’s Port. There are still some medieval warehouses left on its banks, though today it is the brewing industry that dominates – Shepherd Neame was founded here in 1692 and there are great pubs, including The Chimney Boy, The Bull and The Phoenix. There are barge races in summer and a hop festival in September.
Small, plain terraced houses sell for between £100,000 and £150,000. For more expensive property, the most sought-after streets are West Street and Abbey Street, which contain some of the oldest half-timbered buildings in Kent. They very rarely come on the market, but their current value is probably about £300,000 or more. People looking for new houses and flats should consider the new Whitstable Road development, with prices up to £250,000.
The villages around Faversham benefit from their proximity to such an attractive and popular town. Stretched along a valley bottom to the south-west is Newnham. The village is a conservation area with a population of 300, where everyone knows everyone. There are two pubs, the Tapster and the Old George, both serving excellent food. A two-bedroom weatherboarded cottage might fetch £145,000; a four-bedroom detached £295,000 to £330,000. Newnham’s big house is an interesting Tudor pile with two chalk fireplaces and decorative plasterwork in the form of tumbling leaves. It is privately owned.
Eastling, a mile from Newnham, has 14th- and 15th-century timbered hall houses and ancient weatherboarded houses scattered along country lanes. The cheapest two-bedroom weatherboarded house would be likely to cost around £150,000; a four- or five-bedroom house with paddocks £400,000 or more. The village has a pub and a church (with a yew tree reputedly over 900 years old), and a primary school with a toddlers’ group, but there are no shops. The village has a number of vigorous societies, but the character of the place has changed over the years as commuters have replaced agricultural workers. Two or three miles away is Belmont House, an 18th-century mansion set in fine parkland, which is open to the public.
Boughton village, a couple of miles east, has a charming main street lined with period houses, laced with a few shops and two good pubs. It has a complete cross-section of residents including quite a few commuters. A modern three-bedroom terrace would sell for £160,000. A larger four- or five-bedroom early Victorian house would be expected to fetch around £300,000.