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The seaside town of Herne Bay on the south coast of the Thames Estuary is home to the world’s first free standing purpose-built Clock Tower built in 1837 and, until 1978, had the UK’s second-longest pier.

The town is becoming known for Herne Bay Festival, which takes place every August with ten days of free events including live music, workshops, walks, talks and family entertainment. On the first and third Saturday of every month, meanwhile, the United Reform Church opens its doors to the Herne Bay Farmers’ Market, which includes smoked products, bread and pastries, marshmallows, olives, vegetarian and vegan food.

One of the oldest buildings in Herne Bay is the eighteenth century inn, The Ship, which dates from 1385, and was a meeting point and watering hole for the small shipping and farming community as water was unsafe to drink. At this time passenger and cargo boats ran between Herne Bay and London, while boats carrying coal came down south from Newcastle. By the 1800s it was common practice to smuggle gin, brandy, lace, tea and tobacco in the area.