Now known for its cafés, restaurants, pubs, tea rooms, independent stores and monthly Farmers’ Market, the historic market town of West Malling owes its existence to a community of Benedictine nuns founded in the eleventh century. The numerous historic buildings include the Norman keep St Leonard’s Tower, the Prior’s House - once a residence for lepers - and the eighteenth century coaching Inn the Swan Hotel, as well as the Georgian high street.
West Malling Farmers’ Market, which has been a regular fixture since the Roman times, takes place on the fourth Sunday of each month in the High Street. Showcasing a selection of local produce, the market brings together meats, fruits, vegetables and cheeses as well as artisan breads and cakes.
It is best enjoyed followed by a hearty Sunday lunch in one of the nearby pubs or restaurants including the Farm House, an Elizabethan house offering modern European gastro food, and The Scared Crow, which is slightly off the beaten track and offers Mexican food alongside pizzas and steaks. The Bull Inn, meanwhile, specialises in real ale, and hosts an annual beer festival.
Manor Park Country Park is a short walk from the town centre and is a site of nature conservation interest. Ideal for a gentle family stroll, the park is full of native trees, squirrels, woodpeckers, nuthatches, blue tits and robins.