Before the arrival of the Romans in 49 AD, Brittonic settlements were not interconnected by roads and could probably be located by following the course of the river they were associated with, as most settlements back then were built near a water source for practical reasons. The Romans however had a different system and linked a number of Kentish settlements by building roads which would make it easy to access destinations across the whole county.
The Roman roads
The first roads built in Britain by the Romans maintained the logical scheme they used in their native country, and if there it was said that all roads lead to Rome, in Roman Britain all roads lead to London (Londinium at the time), which was established as the main municipality. The first three roads, which were developed simultaneously across Kent, linked London to the coastal settlements of Dover, Richborough and Lympne. Most of Kent's modern highways, such as the A2 , the A28 and the A257, were built following the pattern of the old Roman roads. Others were added to further facilitate travelling. The most renowned Roman road continues to be the one connecting London to Dover, which is referred to as Walting Street; nowadays, it juxtaposes with the A2 highway. The pathway itself actually existed prior to the arrival of the occupiers but had not been paved yet. It is remembered mostly for the Battle of Walting Street, which led to the defeat of the rebellion of Boadicea in 60 AD, possibly 61, by the Roman governor of the region, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus. The rebellion against the Romans, whose domination was oppressive and constrictive, remains as a symbol of sacrifice and courage and continues to be celebrated in present times.
At present, Kent's busiest and most prolific railway centre is the city of Ashford, which has held this status within the country for many decades. Its travel facilities include Ashford International Railway Station, which is connected to the Channel Tunnel. Kent's railway network developed during mid-to-late 19th century, as this type of service became more accessible and reached more destinations. Although all lines were later merged towards constituting a unified network under the administration of British Rail, to start with there were a few distinctive railways.
The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway (1830 - 1953). The first railway to be constructed in Kent stretched between Canterbury and Whitstable and first started functioning in 1830; it was a ground-breaking advancement in terms of public transport, as it was in fact the first railway ever to be used in Britain for passenger service. However it failed to prosper over the years and after several attempts to revitalise it, it was taken over by the South Eastern Railway. It continued to operate for many years, wholly or partially, until its definite closure in 1953.
The London and Greenwich Railway (1836/1838 -1845 ). Although the line officially opened in 1836, it didn't reach its final destination in Greenwich until 1838. It was remarkable for being the first elevated railway ever built in Britain. However, its history is not short of accidents, collisions and fatalities. In 1845 it was taken over by the more prosperous South Eastern Railway.
The South Eastern Railway (1836 - 1923). Originally projected to connect London with Dover, this railway expanded quickly and later took over the above-mentioned pre-existing ones, which were failing to cope financially. Although it was successful in expanding, its record shows a long list of accidents in which many people were killed. In 1923 it merged with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway to form Southern Railway.
The London, Chatham and Dover Railway (1859 - 1923). This line was designed to facilitate travelling back and forth between London and many areas of Kent, at a time when commuting had become common practice. It was commended for its excellent coordination system, which ensured no accidents took place, at a time when railway accidents caused by human error were fairly common. Nonetheless, it is also remembered for its lack of punctuality in the early days.
The South Eastern and Chatham Railway (1899 - 1923). The history of this railway network is quite unusual as it came into being through the unlikely association of two rival companies which had been in conflict for over four decades for complete control of the region. In 1899 they were both in a precarious financial situation and reached a compromise in order to avoid a likely ruin. After the merger, the newly formed line managed to effectively dominate the area for two more decades.
The Southern Railway (1923 - 1947). This railway was created through the unification of all railways in the southern region of England and operated until 1947 when all railways in the country were merged.
Manston International Airport
Established for military purposes during World War I and formerly used by the RAF, the small airport located within the municipality of Manston, in the District of Thanet, it was given its present name and function in 1989 (although it still preserves its status as an emergency landing site). Commercial airlines have been operating there ever since, particularly for holiday travelling.