Public Access alert,

Public Access is currently down for maintenance, please check back later.

Tourism and Heritage Strategy

Last updated on: 25-Feb-2021

9. Heritage and visitor attractions

Gravesham has a diverse range of heritage and visitor attractions within the following, at times overlapping ‘themes’:

Exceptional countryside and characterful villages

With extensive swathes of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the North Kent Marshes, including internationally important wetland areas; Kent’s most visited Country Park at Shorne Woods and others at Trosley and Jeskyns.

Sport and activity based visits

Cyclopark (national multi-sports centre),walking, horse riding, cycling, long distance footpaths – Saxon Shore Way, North Downs Way, weald Way and cycleways/Sustrans; future and new leisure facilities in the borough.

Heritage properties

Small cluster of National Trust properties including Cobham Mausoleum, Owletts and the Yeoman’s House and Sole Street.

Strong association with historic characters

Charles Dickens, living his last years at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham (1856-1870) and his links with Cobham, Higham and countryside; Pocahontas and Gravesend’s part in her story; General Charles Gordon and his influential time in Gravesend.

Faith based visits

The largest Sikh Gurdwara complex in Europe attracting visitors interested in the faith, the building, Sikh heritage and major festivals; historic church buildings, e.g. St George’s, Gravesend, St Mary Magdalene, Cobham and it's fine collection of medieval brasses; St Mary’s Lower Higham now in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Faith based visits

The largest Sikh Gurdwara complex in Europe attracting visitors interested in the faith, the building, Sikh heritage and major festivals; historic church buildings, e.g. St George’s, Gravesend, St Mary Magdalene, Cobham and it's fine collection of medieval brasses; St Mary’s Lower Higham now in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Defence related heritage attractions

Telling a story of the defence of London and the River over many centuries, including New Tavern Fort and Milton Chantry Heritage Centre, Gravesend Blockhouse, Woodlands Park Cold War Bunker Shornemead Fort.

A new generation of visitor experiences

Represented in Gravesend by The Panic Room – one of the first escape rooms in Kent and what is believed to be the largest cluster of rooms in the UK. Typically, registers as within the top 10 of fun and games attractions in Kent.

An emerging cluster of creative and performance spaces

Ranging from The Woodville to the new St George’s creative space, St Andrew’s and LV21 Light Vessel, with the potential to inspire the use of other spaces within Gravesend Borough Market and Gravesend Library for creative activity.

The majority of these are accessible on an infrequent basis, often seasonally, independently run, reliant on their operation by volunteers and predominantly noncommercial. Consequently, whilst they offer diverse interest to the visitor, they have a small scale economic impact on their own.

Greater gains to the visitor economy have taken place in recent years with the impact of additional more commercial attractions, such as the Panic Room and Cyclopark and those that by their sheer scale attract larger visitor numbers – Guru Nanak Durbar Gurdwara.

Ongoing challenge to collect visitor data from local businesses and organisations.

Greater co-ordination and promotion between these ‘attractions’ under specific themes and through co-ordination of openings for small groups and itineraries helps to overcome issues of infrequent opening. Establishment of the Gravesham Accredited Tour Guides and development of guided tours creates additional opportunities for group visits to overcome some of the weaknesses in openings. More can be done to generate income, train volunteers and to add value to a visit.

The London Resort proposals comprise the following:

  • A Leisure Core, comprising a range of events spaces, themed rides and attractions, entertainment venues, theatres and cinemas, developed in landscaped settings in two phases.
  • A ‘Conferention’ Centre (i.e. a combined conference and convention Centre) with a floor area of up to 11,000 m2.
  • A linked building hosting a range of eSports, video and computer gaming events, with a total floor space of up to 16,500 m2.
  • A Back of House area accommodating many of the necessary supporting technical and logistical operations to enable the London Resort to function.
  • This also includes a new access road from the A2 and arrival of visitors via the River. This Resort has the potential to dramatically change the nature of the visitor economy locally, subject to understanding the demand for staying ‘beyond the park’ and extending visits locally, if not only with friends and family in the area, which is an important aspect of visitors stays currently.

The following priority actions for attraction development have been identified during the strategy period:

  • Continue to encourage the opening of Gad’s Hill Place to visitors and steps being taken by the Charles Dickens Heritage Trust to open the building as a Heritage Centre.
  • Work with faith communities to provide hospitality and a welcome at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, St George’s Church, Gravesend and at other church and faith based venues.
  • Take steps to enhance the interpretation of Pocahontas’ story through working with St George’s Church and the St George’s Phase 2 town centre regeneration proposals. Recognise the growth and attraction of ‘experiential’ visits with themed guided visits/tours, a focus on culture, food and drink, river trips, sports tourism, etc.
  • Understand the implications of the London Resort proposals on the visitor economy and wider Gravesham economy.
  • Collection of data from local businesses and organisation in order to identify and understand our visitor markets better.

Feedback

Was the information on this page helpful?

Let us know