Charming Charing, as it is so often called, is a pretty and engaging village that is at the top of most people’s lists when they are considering which rural area they would like to relocate to. A ‘South East In Bloom’ winner, Charing is located along the Pilgrim’s Way at the bottom of the North Downs, between London and Canterbury and is, according to residents both past and present, a wonderful place to live.
At first glance Charing looks very off-the-beaten-track, with its storybook good-looks and surroundings of lush green meadows, hills and fields… but the village is very well connected to the more populated areas of Kent, being linked by the A20, close to the M20, and having its own railway station between Ashford International and London Victoria via Maidstone – which makes it ideal for those who commute for work or study.
If it’s the epitome of village life you seek in your search for a new home, Charing should be your first choice. Brimming with picturesque cottages, and the remains of an 11th century palace that was used by the Archbishops of Canterbury, Charing was once a stopover place on the pilgrim trail to the shrine of Thomas a Becket. Today, with less than 3,000 residents and a well-resourced high street that includes convenience stores, a post office, butchers, fishmongers, antique store, and the Purple Patch Bakery, which offers a tempting array of hand-made chocolates, cakes and sweets, Charing might not be the location for you if you are intent on watching your waistline! However, lovers of history and architecture will feel right at home here thanks to beautiful buildings such as the 15th century vicarage, the beautiful half-timbered Peirce House and the 16th century Elizabethan Court.
Being one of the larger Kent villages, Charing has plenty of great places to eat and drink, and as a new resident you’re sure to find a new favourite to frequent! The Wagon & Horses is a family-run country pub serving traditional pub fare in cosy, family-friendly surroundings, with the added bonus of wonderful woodland walks accessible from the pub’s grounds. Or why not try The Bowl Inn? – a 16th Century free house situated on the Downs that features a sun terrace to enjoy on warm, summer days, and a large open fire to cosy up to in the colder weather. The pub offers award-winning local ales, home cooked dishes made from locally-produced ingredients and is absolutely bursting with charm and character – plus, kids and dogs are welcome!
Residents of Charing enjoy knowing that all the amenities they need are right here if they don’t want to travel further afield, and the presence of its medical centre only adds to the village’s self-sufficiency. There’s also Charing CE Primary School here, which is consistently placed in the top 20% of all primary schools in the country and is often praised by Ofsted for its hardworking and dedicated teachers and PTA. The school offers a supportive and nurturing environment that aims to enable children to fulfil their potential and make a worthwhile contribution to society. Charing CE Primary School offers lots of extra-curricular activities – particularly in the area of sport – where the pupils are flourishing.
If your eyes happened to light up at the mention of ‘sport’ – but you don’t happen to be of school-age, a move to the village of Charing is still going to be right up your street. Kent Gliding Club is just a stone’s throw away, and the village itself has its own bowls club, tennis club, a football club and a cricket club. If you want to combine your love of physical activity with the great outdoors and the area’s gorgeous surroundings, you might be interested to know that walking, rambling and running is popular here, in fact Charing holds an annual 10K running race and is a party to the North Downs Marathon and Half-Marathon. Cycling and horse riding is also popular in Charing, so it’s safe to say that whatever it is you enjoy doing in your leisure times, you can do it here in Charing.
Community spirit is one of the main reasons that people want to move to a village; there’s a chance to be a part of something special and inclusive that you often don’t find in many larger towns – and Charing village has it in spades. There is a thriving local business association along with many social and joining opportunities for residents of all ages and backgrounds. The village is home to a 100 year old Gardening Society, as well as an amateur dramatics society, The Charing Guild of Players, and even a Christmas lights committee, the Ladies of the Lights.
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