Nayland Rock Promenade Shelter, a grade 2 listed Victorian/Edwardian promenade shelter in Margate, Kent (photo by Derrick Fusco). Why is it only right that Kent should be Europe's top tourist destination? See below...
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A Personal Note (Archive)
June 20, 2015
Lonely Planet has named Kent as Europe's top holiday destination. This is fitting because in many ways tourism began here. Up until the seventeenth century tourism was confined to the idea of pilgrimmage, with shrines playing the role of resorts. In Roman Britain shrines were often based around wells and springs. This idea took on a new lease of life in the seventeenth century with the rise of spa towns catering to visitors seeking health. One of the earliest and most popular of these spa destinations was the Pantiles at Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Tourist spots today will inevitably provide a souvenir shop selling items to commemorate your stay. This kind of merchandise was first developed in Tunbridge Wells during the late seventeenth century. "Tunbridge Ware" souvenirs were first made in the 1680s, and consisted of scenes of Tunbridge Wells etched onto wooden or metal plaques.
Following on from the fashion of taking water at spa towns, came the idea that health could be improved by bathing in seawater. Some of the earliest popular seaside resorts were created in Kent, at Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs. Londoners would take river boats down the Thames to these new resorts to enjoy the new tourism trend. During the early nineteenth century the number of people leaving London on steamers for Kent seaside resorts grew hugely. According to the historian of holidays J.A.R. Pimlott, in 1812 - 1813 there were 21,931 people travelling on the steamers to Kent. By 1835 - 1836 that number had increased to 105,625. These were the first working class holiday makers in the world, using money, leisure time and transport opportunties provided by the first industrial society.
It is fitting then that Kent should have returned to its central place in tourism.
Historical news for June
15th June 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of King John's signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede Meadow near Windsor Castle. 15th June sees 4500 guests taking part in a special event at Runnymede. Although all tickets for the event are now allocated, large outdoor screens will be provided at the site to allow other visitors to join in. A new commemorative art work by Hew Locke will also be unveiled.
2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill. His former home of Chartwell, now a National Trust property, is marking the event with a special exhibition. The exhibition displays personal items and documents which have rarerly been seen in public before. The exhibition runs 25th April - 25th July 2015.
An exhibition of salted paper prints, one of the earliest forms of photography, is currently being staged at the Tate Britain. Dating back to 1839, the fragility of these prints means very few survive, making this a rare opportunity to experience some of the world's earliest photography. The event runs 25th February - 27th June 2015. For more details go to http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/salt-and-silver-early-photography-1840
Meanwhile in Bradford, at the National Media Museum, the world's oldest photographic society, the Royal Photographic Society will be displaying 200 of its most historic images. The exhibition begins on 20th March, and runs until 21st June 2015. For more information go to http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/planavisit/exhibitions/drawn-by-light/about
Anniversaries for June
1st June 1967: The Beatles release Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
16th June 1967: The 1967 Monteray Pop Festival begins at Monteray Fair Ground in California. This three day concert would see the first major American appearances of The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ravi Shanka, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding.
19th June 1961: Kuwait declares independence from Britain, ending sixty two years of British influence.
23rd June 1757: British forces led by Robert Clive defeat the army of Sirajud Daulah at the Battle of Plassey. This victory allows the East India Company to annex Bengal.
24th June 2010: The longest match in tennis history finally ends at Wimbledon, after eleven hours and five minutes of play over three days. The final set alone was longer than the previous longest match.
27th June 1760: Cherokee warriors defeat British forces at Echoee Pass in North Carolina during the Anglo Cherokee War. This war would end in 1761, followed by a visit of Cherokee leaders to London. Their warm welcome in Britain angered American colonists, and become one of the grievances leading to the American War of Independence.
28th June 1969: Following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, New York City, groups of gay people begin rioting in the city.
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We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our information, but it is always advisable to check details of any visit beforehand using contact details provided. If you spot a mistake please let us know by contacting us.
Almost all photography on InfoBritain is by InfoBritain or by named contributors. All educational use is permitted, but copyright is reserved for commercial uses. Occasionally we have used copyright free stock images which are available for any use. A note will identify these images.
Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.