It’s a little-known fact that two Rolling Stones met and bonded over music at Dartford train station back in 1961, kick-starting the rock’n’roll revolution. Life in Dartford is a little more sedate than being in a rock band, but there’s still plenty to do! History buffs and nature lovers have lots to explore, including the 16th century Tilbury Fort, the well-preserved Roman ruins at Lullingstone and several impressive stately homes and gardens. There are a number of modern attractions too, including the Bluewater Shopping Centre, the 5th-biggest mall in the UK (boasting a 17-screen cinema, trampoline park, diving school and crazy golf course), plus the raw speed and emotion of Brands Hatch, one of England’s most revered racetracks. Our hotel in Dartford is well-placed to take in all the action, alongside all the best bars, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants in the region.
Things to do in Dartford
Take a spin around Brands Hatch by day, then saunter to the cinema, to take in the latest Hollywood blockbuster at one of the biggest cinema complexes in the UK! For a touch of class you could opt to round off your trip with a visit to the Orchard Theatre. As The Jam once sang, ‘that’s entertainment.’
There are shopping centres, and then there’s the Bluewater Shopping Mall, the fifth-largest shopping centre in the UK, which attracts nearly 30 million visitors each year. In total, there are over 300 stores, 50 cafés and restaurants and a vast 17-screen Showcase cinema complex. Opened in 1999 and just a mile east of Dartford’s town centre, Bluewater isn’t so much a shopping mall as a leisure destination, featuring a trampoline park, winter garden, adventure park, nature trail, several distinct shopping regions and 13,000 free car parking spaces. The mall is open daily until 9 pm (5 pm on Sundays), with several bars and restaurants open until 11 pm.
The other retail option is to head over the River Thames towards Purfleet and into Lakeside. This large out-of-town shopping centre is home to over 250 stores, including flagship stores from Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and Primark, plus more than 50 cafés and restaurants, a bowling alley and soft play centre. As the name suggests, Lakeside also has a lake and a PADI certified diving school.
The closest airport to Dartford is London City, with the 20-mile journey taking around 40 minutes by car or taxi and about 30 minutes via train with one change. The relatively small international airport is serviced by British Airways and FlyBe with regular departures across the UK and Europe.
The other option if you’re flying is Heathrow, the largest and busiest UK airport with over a thousand departures each day. The 50-mile trip will take just over an hour by car, with the fastest public transport option being a combination of the train and the underground. Another option is to stay the night before you travel at one of our hotels near Heathrow airport.
Dartford Railway Station is in the centre of town and a major transport hub with direct lines to Kent, Luton and various London stations. The four-platform station comes with a café, toilets and newsagents plus a taxi rank and on-site parking.