This town on the Kent and Surrey border has been called the ‘gateway to Kent’, with a rural heritage, historic buildings and big annual events…

1 Historic town

Set at the crossing of the River Eden, along the old Roman road between London and Lewes, this ancient town in the rural borders between Kent and Surrey has been a centre for leather-making, livestock rearing and iron smelting over the centuries. And in 1279 it was granted a charter for a weekly market by Henry III. It’s no surprise then that you can still see Tudor buildings and centuries-old inns in the pretty town centre. The Old Eden pub is one of the oldest in Kent, having served ales since the mid-1300s and the High Street also sports the only surviving inn sign in Kent to span a main street – the sign of Ye Olde Crown. To top it off, the courtyard off the High Street where the local town council is based looks as though you’ve stepped back in time. You can explore the town’s long history at the small but highly regarded Eden Valley Museum (, itself based in a medieval farmhouse in the centre of Edenbridge.

Great British Life: Edenbridge is well-known for its bonfire nightEdenbridge is well-known for its bonfire night (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto/howtogoto)
2 Spectacular fireworks
Even if you’ve never been to Edenbridge, the chances are that you’ll have seen it mentioned in the headlines once a year. Its annual bonfire event is so hugely popular that visitors flock from near and far to see the torch-lit parade, the huge bonfire and the spectacular display of fireworks. What’s garnered all the press attention over the years is the local bonfire society’s decision to choose a different ‘celebrity guy’ every year – with Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Harvey Weinstein having been among its victims. Kept a secret until the last minute, it’s one of two 10-metre effigies set light on the night, held on the nearest Saturday to Bonfire Night. This year, after a string of cancellations due to COVID, it’s back with lots of big bangs on 5 November itself. A fun, family event with its roots in an ancient tradition, it’s one of Kent’s biggest bonfire festivals, with carnival floats, marching bands and fairground rides at the Recreation Ground.

Great British Life: The Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul in EdenbridgeThe Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul in Edenbridge (Image: Sevenoaks District Council)
3 Country walks
As the name suggests, this town is set on the banks of the little River Eden, and public footpaths run along the river at certain points. Crossing fields and woodland, it was once used to power the town’s mills but now it’s a haven for wildlife and popular with walkers and anglers. You can stroll past an old wartime pillbox and combine it with a reflective stroll through the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s. There’s also a 15-mile Eden Valley walking route for serious walkers (visit and from here you’re within easy reach of other popular walking spots like Crockham Hill and Limpsfield Common.

4 Photo archives
It’s a little-known fact that Edenbridge is home to one of the country’s biggest and best photographic archives. A vast collection kicked off with the work of local photographer John Topham in 1975, TopFoto now also includes the collections of George Douglas, Graham Keen, filmmaker Ken Russell and many more. Containing many millions of images, it licenses them to brands and businesses all over the world and specialises in mid-century photography. And just so the public can visit and see some of this incredible archive themselves, its EVE Gallery ( holds regular exhibitions. You can even buy prints for your own home there.

Great British Life: Edenbridge Town CouncilEdenbridge Town Council (Image: Sevenoaks District Council)
5 Well connected
It’s not its biggest claim to fame but there’s something to be said for the fact that Edenbridge has two train lines. And while they’re not exactly close together or handy if you’re wanting to switch from one to the other, it does mean you can head off in two different directions from this small town. While Edenbridge Station is on the Tonbridge to Redhill line (and from there on to London) the Edenbridge Town Station is on the Uckfield to Croydon line (with another option for London). Whichever way you look at it, it’s pretty well connected for a small rural community.

Great British Life: Hever Castle was once the home of Anne BoleynHever Castle was once the home of Anne Boleyn (Image: Hever Castle and Gardens)
6 Fit for a Queen
One of Edenbridge’s neighbouring villages is so well-known that visitors flock to it from all over the country, if not the world. It’s the home of the magnificent Hever Castle ( and its fame is due to the fact it was the family home of a past Queen of England – Anne Boleyn. The Bullen family, as they were originally, lived in the 13th-century castle throughout the long courtship of Anne by King Henry VIII, and visitors can see both her bedroom and the room the King would have stayed in during his visits. Bought and extended by the millionaire businessman William Waldorf Astor in the early 1900s, it now boasts the grand Italian gardens he designed and the large lake he commissioned to be dug out by hand. There’s plenty to see and experience here, with jousting in the summer, family events and the on-site Festival Theatre putting on open-air shows, but at this time of year it’s warming up for its Christmas season. There’s nothing like seeing the castle decked out in its finery, with open fires crackling and hundreds of Christmas trees dotted around the place.

Great British Life: Have you been to the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show?Have you been to the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show? (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Jeremy Stenuit)
7 Agricultural show
Each summer the people of Edenbridge and its neighbouring town of Oxted in Surrey celebrate with a traditional country show. Dating back 185 years, the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show ( is held over the August bank holiday at the Ardenrun Showground in nearby Lingfield and features horse riding, dog shows, displays of vintage farm machinery and plenty of livestock to admire. It’s a huge event showcasing farming life, rural life and the finest food and drink from across the counties. It even includes a vintage car show and a children’s section with popular fairground rides. Something to look forward to for next summer.