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Kent's jewel in the crown is Thanet according to expert Clive Aslet of Country Life

By James Rose

Forget Devon, Kent is the nicest place on the planet. That's the view of Clive Aslet, editor-at-large of Country Life writing in the Telegraph.

He was hitting back at well-travelled supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who said the title should go to her home county of Devon.

And where is the best place in Kent according to Mr Aslet? He says it has to be Thanet.

Pugin's Church of St Augustine, Ramsgate
Pugin's Church of St Augustine, Ramsgate

Extolling the virtues of Kent, he tells readers: "I don’t need to spell it out, do I? Picture a half-timbered village, folded among apple orchards and hopfields – that will be Kent.

"Think of the loveliest of country houses – Penshurst, Knole, Leeds Castle… Kent again.

Leeds Castle. Pic by Les Willis
Leeds Castle. Pic by Les Willis
Lord Sackville's garden is a key attraction at Knole
Lord Sackville's garden is a key attraction at Knole
Penshurst Place & Gardens
Penshurst Place & Gardens

"Winston Churchill, with his unerring feeling for Englishness, loved Chartwell, looking over the blue remembered Weald.

"Then there’s the Channel. That slip of water didn’t just keep people out – though if you wanted a symbol of English fortitude, look no further than the White Cliffs – it was for centuries the highway that brought people here.

The White Cliffs of Dover
The White Cliffs of Dover

"Julius Caesar, St Augustine, both landed in Kent, the latter founding Canterbury Cathedral, which I was privileged to see by moonlight last month. Sublime."

Focusing in on east Kent, Mr Aslet adds: "Kent also has Ramsgate, where I am at the moment, having just visited the great AWN Pugin’s church of St Augustine.

"Pugin, an architect/designer who died at 40, built it himself, as well his home next door.

"He was on the way to building the abbey over the road when he expired – exhausted, blind, possibly syphilitic. It ought to be a World Heritage Site.

"Just as Miss Huntington-Whiteley is fond of Tavistock, where she grew up on a farm, I’m happy with my little corner of Kent.

"Take the rest of the county if you must - just leave me Thanet."

The KM Group's Thanet Extra newspaper has been running a We Love Thanet campaign to celebrate an area that is definitely on the up.

Editor Leo Whitlock said: "There is no doubting that Thanet, its towns and villages, are gorgeous.

"Beautiful coastlines combine with all that best about Kent's villages but most of all, Thanet is home to people who really care about where they live."

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