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The Cinque Ports - this unique federation of south east England Channel ports was the original force behind England's maritime power

The port of Faversham in 2024

Discover the Two Creeks Walk in Faversham

Today, the quiet charm of many of the Cinque Port towns belies their important role in the development of the nation’s seafaring and naval traditions. Some survive as working ports (Dover remains a major international transport hub), others, like Hastings, maintain their historic role as centres of inshore fishing whilst some such as New Romney, Winchelsea and Tenterden have been stranded well inland by the retreating sea. It is sometimes hard to believe that all were once amongst the most significant ports in England, and without the Cinque Ports 1000 years ago we might not be the country we are today.

All of the Cinque Ports today repay the visitor with fascinating glimpses of their colourful past, and almost by definition are amongst some of the most historic places in the country to explore. Each of the ports was represented at the coronation of King Charles III, one of the customs and traditions which continue to this day. A visit to each of the Cinque Ports will reveal glimpses of their fascinating history, and although each has its own unique charm, there is a strong common thread running through them all :- these ports provided the men and ships to defend England long before the Royal Navy, and enjoyed considerable privileges from the king. It is well worth taking the time to explore the Ports, and their incredible history.

Long before the towns were formally recognised as the Cinque Ports, around the time of the Normal conquest in 1066, the five original 'head ports' of Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich were busy fishing and trading centres.

Today the Confederation (now consisting of the original five ports and two ancient towns, together with the surviving limbs of Deal, Faversham, Folkestone, Lydd, Margate, Ramsgate and Tenterden) still plays an active part in the ceremonial affairs of state.  Places of honour are reserved for the Cinque Port Barons at Westminster Abbey during the coronations.  The Lord Warden is still installed in office with great ceremony at Dover.

The Cinque Port of Faversham

The Mayoralty dates back to 1292 with Mayors listed in the Guildhall which was built in 1574.

The Guildhall just a few minutes' walk away from the tidal creek, which in the 16th century became the leading port for the export of English wool.

Faversham is the only town in the UK whose leopard coat of arms is linked to the Royal Arms of England.

In 1847 the World's first high explosives were manufactured in Faversham.

Did you know?

The town if home to Shepherd Neame, the UK's oldest brewery.

The Chart Gunpowder Mills made powder for Nelson at Trafalgar, and Wellington at Waterloo.

Traces of a ruined Abbey, the resting place of Queen Matilda and King Stephen and the Maison Dieu founded by Henry III, attest to Faversham's link to royalty.

Enjoy a maritime walk along Faversham Creek 

For more on what to do and see in Faversham, contact the Visitor Information Centre on 01795 534542.

For more about all the Cinque Ports go to the dedicated website

The official tourism website for the Swale area North Kent.