The pretty Kent village of Staplehurst is just nine miles from the County town of Maidstone. The two are connected via the old Roman road that is today’s A229. Staplehurst won the Kent Village of The Year competition in 2003.
The village is conveniently located as a base to explore the surrounding Kent countryside. Nearby visitor attractions include historic Leeds Castle, Sissinghurst Castle and gardens, Scotney Castle and Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest.
It was near Staplehurst on June 9, 1865 that a train from Folkestone to London was derailed while crossing a viaduct, several carriages plunging onto the dry riverbed below. Among the passengers was Charles Dickens, travelling with his mistress Ellen Ternan and her mother. After helping them both to safety Dickens went to the aid of several other passengers, some of them seriously injured. Ten people lost their lives in the crash and the event was said to have haunted Dickens for the remaining five years of his life.
Staplehurst’s most famous son is the surreal television comedian Harry Hill, who spent much of his childhood and teenage years in the village