Welcome to the historic market town of Cranbrook

Welcome to the historic market town of Cranbrook

By David Hodgkinson

Cranbrook - Capital of the Weald

With famous attractions nearby, plenty of accommodation and events running throughout the year, Cranbrook in the Weald of Kent is the ideal destination for both a short break or long vacation.

Known as the 'Capital of the Weald', Cranbrook is a pretty settlement with a medieval layout of streets and alleys. Many buildings date from the 15th century through to the 19th century.

Things To Do in Cranbrook

Arguably, one of the greatest attractions is the windmill. The Union Mill is probably Cranbrook's most famous landmark because it is one of the most superior smock mills in the UK and amazingly, still in working order.

Open days offer an outstanding insight into the area’s heritage as well as a magnificent view from the sails over the fields and parish.

The wealth from its days as a centre for clothweaving is still evident in the splendid old buildings. Since Cranbrook was the Capital of the Weald, then it had to have a cathedral. 

And it did, and still does. The Parish Church of St Dunstan known as the ‘Cathedral of the Weald’ stands in the corner of the main town holding an enviable position overlooking the Weald countryside.

A huge church, it has “the clock mechanism [which] was the prototype for Big Ben and the organ contains parts originally designed for use at The Crystal Palace.” (from On the Wealden Church Trail leaflet).

More curious facts on Cranbrook's fascinating history are at the Cranbrook Museum, an historical artefact in itself.

The museum building is a 15th century wooden structured cottage, which is an ancient method of construction in England. Take time to visit this little known attraction and sit in the classically appealing garden.

The internationally renowned Sissinghurst Castle Garden is nearby. This is just one of the National Trust properties in the vicinity defining Cranbrook as an opportune country base for exploring the castles and gardens of the area.

Shopping in Cranbrook

Today, Cranbrook has over 60 intriguing individual shops, simply the best for browsing.

Independent gift shops, jewellery, kitchenware, specialist country clothing shops, vintage clothing, furniture and home accessory boutiques appeal to all but the most cynical of visitors.

When refreshment is required the local cafés offer a welcome seat, food and beverages for watching the world go by on the ancient pavements.

Have you always fancied going to an auction? Every month an auction takes place at Bentley’s Fine Art Auctioneers. They deal in furniture and jewellery as well as fine art, a fun experience to be had whilst on vacation!

The farmer’s market is also on once a month under cover so no excuses not to amble into the octagonal Vestry Hall where it is held. Built in 1859 and complete with buttresses, it is a peculiarly interesting sight to see.

What's On In Cranbrook

You must try to visit when the October Apple Carnival is on.

The streets are closed off to vehicles and lively local festivities showcase local produce and local talent.

The two yearly Literature Festival held at the end of September for two days is a splendid success attracting the likes of Gyles Brandreth, Sarah Raven, Julian Clary, Vanessa Nicolson (Vita Sackville-West’s granddaughter), and children's writers Brian Moses, Ali Sparkes and Dave McKean.

Look out for all this in the coming year in our Event listings.

More live entertainment can be sought out at the Queens Hall Theatre. This company has a refreshing perspective since it is off the mainstream trail.

The George Hotel on the corner of the High Street puts on occasional live music, jazz, folk or rock.

This hotel is a very elegant spot in which to dine and stay plus you’ll be in Royal quarters as Elizabeth I deigned to visit in 1573!

If you decide to stay in a hotel in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Cranbrook is a pleasant 40 minutes’ drive or bus ride away.

However, do not dismiss the welcome from the Bed and Breakfast accommodation.  Generally in idyllic spots for enjoying the tranquillity of the countryside, not to mention the tasty breakfasts and advice from your local host, spoil yourself with the comfort of a B&B.

You can find out more details about Cranbrook and the surrounding area by downloading a copy of the ‘Cranbrook Shopping & Heritage’ leaflet and ‘In and Around Cranbook’.

Try before you buy, as they say, and take a virtual tour of Cranbrook by clicking the video below:

Tags: Cranbrook, Cranbrook Town, Cranbrook Town Kent

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Number of items: 108

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  1. Add Original Cottages to your Itinerary

    Original Cottages

    Quality Assured Agency Visit England

    Cranbrook

    Gorgeous cottages in glorious locations.

    Price

    Guide Price from £204.00 to £1,635.00 Per unit per week
  2. Add Cranbrook Art Show at the Vestry Hall to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Art Show at the Vestry Hall

    Cranbrook

    The Cranbrook Art Show will be returning for it's 26th year at the Vestry Hall this November

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

  3. Cranbrook Literature Festival

    Cranbrook

    Two days of books, reading, writing and the celebration of the written word.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

  4. Add Maytham Cottages Bed and Breakfast to your Itinerary

    Maytham Cottages Bed and Breakfast

    4 Visit England Stars 4 Visit England Stars 4 Visit England Stars 4 Visit England Stars 4 Visit England Stars Guest Accommodation

    Cranbrook

    A pretty Grade II Lutyens cottage situated in the peaceful hamlet of Rolvenden Layne. Ideal for numerous National Trust sites, gardens, vineyards, coast.

    Price

    Guide Price from £55.00 Per person (breakfast included) to £90.00 Per room (breakfast included)
  5. Add Late Night Christmas Shopping in Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    Late Night Christmas Shopping in Cranbrook

    Cranbrook

    Late Night Shopping Event in Cranbrook on Friday 8th December

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

  6. Add Cranbrook Union Mill to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Union Mill

    Type

    Windmill

    Cranbrook

    The tallest surviving smock mill in the British Isles, measuring 72 feet to the top of the cap.

  7. Add St Dunstan's Church Christmas Fair Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    St Dunstan's Church Christmas Fair Cranbrook

    Cranbrook

    A festive Christmas Fair at St Dunstan's Church, Cranbrook

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

  8. Add Cranbrook Apple Carnival to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Apple Carnival

    Cranbrook

    Come and enjoy the eccentric delights we have to offer you this 12th year.

    Type

    Carnival

    Dates

  9. Add Christmas Farmers Market in Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    Christmas Farmers Market in Cranbrook

    Cranbrook

    Christmas Farmers Market in Vestry Hall, Cranbrook

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

  10. Add Cranbrook Museum to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Cranbrook

    A 'must' for every visitor to the Weald.

  11. Add St. Dunstan's Church Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    St. Dunstan's Church Cranbrook

    Type

    Church / Chapel

    Cranbrook

    Cathedral of the Weald.

  12. Add Christmas Farmers Market in Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    Christmas Farmers Market in Cranbrook

    Cranbrook

    Christmas Farmers Market in Vestry Hall, Cranbrook

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

  13. Add Weald Sports Centre to your Itinerary

    Weald Sports Centre

    Type

    Leisure / Swimming Pool

    Cranbrook

    High quality sporting facilities to include swimming pool, sports hall, fitness studio, exercise studio and creche.

  14. Add The Queen's Hall Theatre to your Itinerary

    The Queen's Hall Theatre

    Type

    Theatre

    Cranbrook

    Providing entertainment in the heart of the Kent Weald.

  15. Add Late Night Christmas Shopping in Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    Late Night Christmas Shopping in Cranbrook

    Cranbrook

    Late Night Shopping Event in Cranbrook on Friday 8th December

    Type

    Markets

    Dates

  16. Add Guys & Dolls at Queens Hall Theatre, Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    Guys & Dolls at Queens Hall Theatre, Cranbrook

    Waterloo Road, Cranbrook

    Cranbrook Operatic and Dramatic Society are putting on Guys and Dolls, the Musical Fable of Broadway with such popular songs as, 'If I Were a Bell', 'Luck Be A Lady' and 'Sit Down, Your Rockin the Boat'.

    Type

    Theatre/Drama

    Dates

  17. Add St. Mary's Church Goudhurst to your Itinerary

    St. Mary's Church Goudhurst

    Type

    Church / Chapel

    Cranbrook

    The church on the hill above the village.

  18. Add The Quo Experience at Queen's Hall Theatre to your Itinerary

    The Quo Experience at Queen's Hall Theatre

    Waterloo Road, Cranbrook

    "The Quo Experience" is not just another Quo tribute band...it is an "experience" - an ongoing chance to experience 50 years of hits from Britain's singles chart band of all time - Status Quo!

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

  19. Add Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May

    Cranbrook

    Come and join in this street festival in beautiful Cranbrook, celebrating everything and anything that grows!

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

  20. Add Bramley & Teal Holiday Cottages to your Itinerary

    Bramley & Teal Holiday Cottages

    Town Centre, Cranbrook

    Holiday cottage agents

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