A guide to eight of the best villages near Chatham, Kent

Posted 6 October 2014

Chatham is one of the three towns that make up the Unitary Authority Area of Medway in Kent. With a combined population of over 300,000, the Medway towns have grown into a vibrant commercial and social centre.

Chatham built its fortunes around its naval dockyard. Today, the Historic Dockyard keeps alive some of the old seafaring trades alongside new businesses and attractions including Dickens World, a multiplex cinema and many restaurants and bars.

The town boasts regular rail and bus commuter services into London and, sitting just off the M2 motorway, offers easy access to the rest of the Kent and the South East. Affordable house prices have made the area popular with those looking to move out of London, and the growing university complex, containing the Universities of Kent, Greenwich and Christchurch, attracts students, researchers and tutors from across the UK.

There are a number of villages near Chatham that offer an authentic Kentish lifestyle. 

Bluebell Hill

Bluebell Hill is a small village on the A229 Chatham to Maidstone road. Sitting at the edge of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the village is a resting place for those walking the North Downs Way and the Pilgrims Way. Buckmore Park circuit, popular with a young Lewis Hamilton and Prince William, is located nearby. 


With around 1,000 inhabitants, this pretty little village features a 12th Century Church, primary school, village shop and three pubs. Walter Burke, who was with Nelson when he died aboard the Trafalgar, is buried in the churchyard here.


Boxley is a delightful village on the southern slops of the North Downs, between Chatham and Maidstone. The area has much history and the remains of Boxley Abbey and the ancient parish church are popular with tourists to this beautiful part of Kent. The village has many thatched and timber framed homes, with a limited number of newer properties, a pub and the nearby Museum of Kent Life.


Bredhurst lies four miles south east of Chatham on the top of the North Downs. The thirteenth century St Peter's Church is set in woodlands outside of the village, and the Victoria primary school remains central to village life. The Hempstead Valley shopping centre is two miles from the village, and there are regular commuter bus services to London.


Burham is a pretty village just southwest of Chatham. Nightlife thrives in Burham, with a selection of pubs and restaurants on offer. With a bakery, local shop and garage, Burham retains a typical village feel, but benefits from its close proximity to Chatham, Maidstone the M2 motorway.


With a population of around 750, Hartlip is symbolised by the flint buildings lining its narrow tree-lined lanes, including many houses, the village school and the Parish Church. The Rose and Crown public house at the end of Hollow Lane provides food and drink for locals and visitors to this tranquil part of north Kent.

St. Mary’s Island

St. Mary’s Island (pictured) is a new "village" built on part of the old naval dockyard at the northern edge of Chatham. Literally an island, the community is accessed by a single lifting bridge. While the community is a new one, it has a range of local amenities and a 300 berth marina. Just a short stroll from the shops and restaurants of The Historic Dockyard and Chatham Maritime developments, the village has fast become the place to live in Chatham, with more new developments already in the pipeline.


Walderslade, three miles south of Chatham, was transformed after the Second World War from a small village nestled in the wooded slopes of the North Downs to a large suburb of Chatham. The village has a range of primary schools and two secondary schools, a recreation ground and village hall, and benefits from easy access to the M2 motorway. 

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