The Friars

A very short distance from the picturesque village of Aylesford, The Friars, a Carmelite Priory founded in 1242, can be a very peaceful retreat – it all depends on the timing of your visit.

The Carmelite Friars were forced to leave in 1538 due to Henry VIII's dissolution of monasteries, friaries, convents and priories in England, Ireland and Wales but returned in 1949 and set about restoring the ruined priory.

Today, there are chapels for prayer, gardens to explore or relax in, a tea room and restaurant, pottery and shop. The Carmelites also offer many events during the year.

We have visited twice now. Once as a stopover on a hike, the second as a day out on a Sunday. We found the latter very busy with coach loads of visitors. The day was noisy with rude 'pilgrims' that thought nothing of dropping litter. Disrespectful to say the least.

Free to park and enter, time your visit and it's a special place. I loved the plaques depicting the crucifixion along the Rosary Way, while the Peace Garden is aptly named.

The Friars, Aylesford