Welcome to the historic market town of Cranbrook

Welcome to the historic market town of Cranbrook

By David Hodgkinson

Cranbrook - Capital of the Weald

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.

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.

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 stately homes and 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, vintage and designer clothing, specialist country clothing shops, 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.

One can 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.  Located 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: 156

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  1. Add The Vineyard to your Itinerary

    The Vineyard

    Lamberhurst

    English pub / bar serving locally sourced food

    Type

    British

  2. Add The Great House to your Itinerary

    The Great House

    Hawkhurst

    Pub / Bar

    Type

    Restaurant

  3. Add St. Mary's Church Lamberhurst to your Itinerary

    St. Mary's Church Lamberhurst

    Type

    Church / Chapel

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

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

    St. Dunstan's Church Cranbrook

    Type

    Church / Chapel

    Cranbrook

    Cathedral of the Weald.

  5. Add Biddenden Vineyards to your Itinerary

    Biddenden Vineyards

    Type

    Vineyard

    Biddenden

    Biddenden Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard in Kent, established in 1969. It has grown to 23 acres, producing White, Red, Rosé and Sparkling English Wines. The vinyard is also known for producing cider and pressed juices. <br /><br />The vinyard and shop are open to visitors all year…

  6. Add UK Electric Bike Hire & Tours to your Itinerary

    UK Electric Bike Hire & Tours

    Type

    Cycling

    Biddenden

    Why not try an electric bike, zipping between vineyards or maybe stop at an iconic castle or a world-famous garden?  Our routes take you along the  quiet lanes of the Weald of Kent, passing oast houses and Wealden hall houses, farmsteads and ancient woodland.  You can stop at a village pub for…

  7. 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.

  8. Add Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest to your Itinerary

    Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest

    Type

    Forest

    Goudhurst

    Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is a magnificent place for healthy outdoor activities.

  9. Add Bewl Water to your Itinerary

    Bewl Water

    Type

    Lake / Reservoir

    Lamberhurst

    Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.

  10. Add Cranbrook Museum to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Museum

    Type

    Museum

    Cranbrook

    A 'must' for every visitor to the Weald.

  11. Add Sissinghurst Castle Garden to your Itinerary

    Sissinghurst Castle Garden

    Type

    Garden

    Cranbrook

    Famous, stunning gardens set in the remains of a large Elizabethan house amidst the unspoilt Weald countryside.

  12. 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.

  13. Add Scotney Castle to your Itinerary

    Scotney Castle

    Type

    Garden

    Lamberhurst

    Not one but two houses! Victorian country house and ruined 14th century moated castle set in one of England's most romantic 'picturesque' style gardens.

  14. Add Cranbrook Union Windmill to your Itinerary

    Cranbrook Union Windmill

    Type

    Windmill

    Cranbrook

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

  15. 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.

  16. Hawkhurst Fish Farm

    Add Hawkhurst Fish Farm to your Itinerary

    Hawkhurst Fish Farm

    Type

    Fish Farm

    Hawkhurst

    Carp fishing for the family with a choice of 7 lakes, cafe and pottery.

  17. Add Kino Cinema Hawkhurst to your Itinerary

    Kino Cinema Hawkhurst

    Type

    Cinema

    Hawkhurst

    Kino is the UK's first purely digital cinema with the full HD experience.

  18. Add Hole Park Gardens to your Itinerary

    Hole Park Gardens

    Type

    Garden

    Rolvenden

    15 acres of spectacular gardens and woodlands. Spectacular bluebell wood.

  19. Add Happy and Glorious to your Itinerary

    Happy and Glorious

    Cranbrook

    Family run gift shop in Cranbrook selling exclusively British made products ranging from cushions and candles to stationary.

  20. Add Roosters Pet Shop to your Itinerary

    Roosters Pet Shop

    Cranbrook

    Pet Shop

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