Well after reading the other two reviews for Dartford, I thought I would jump to its defense.
I have lived in Dartford for 13 years, I moved here from Peckham when I was fifteen. My parents wanted to give us a better standard of living and I can certainly say that compared to my friends who still live there, they have achieved it.
I know from what people tell me that Dartford is nowhere near how wonderful it used to be and that some areas are in desperate need for regeneration but lets focus on some of the positives.
The Orchard theatre, a thriving theatre right in the middle of the town, it attracts many shows and has a great line up throughout the year.
Central park - Park attendants and gardeners work year round to make this park a beautiful environment for the community to use, the flowers always look stunning, there is plenty of grass areas to run around and have picnics, the huge play area is fantastic for children of all ages, they is a new water splash park opening in July 09. There is a basketball court, skate park and newly opened outdoor gym.
If you go under the tunnel at the bottom of the park, you will arrive at some of the prettiest lakes around with plenty of fishing spaces and benches to sit and watch the world go by.
Sports - Dartford has some of the best sporting venues in the country, Princes Park is one of the country's most sustainable sports stadiums and the best stadium in non-league football. Dartford Judo Club is the first purpose-built, state-of-the-art world class Judo facility in the UK and has been named as an official training area for the 2012 olympics.
Dartford is also home to the Harriers athletic club, The Kent Ravens rugby club and Dartford district swimming club.
Culture - Dartford has one of the most beautiful librarys I have seen, It is a grade II listed building of outstanding architectural merit and is a main feature of the town.
We have a museum which has different displays and exibitions throughout the year.
There is the Dartford festival which is a busy, fun place to be, last year Jason Donavon and Chas and Dave were the headliners brilliant free entertainment.
Schools - Dartford has some of the best schools in the country, many people come to live in Dartford for this reason alone, this is why when all over the country house prices were falling, Dartford house prices were and still are steadily increasing.
I could go on and on about the beautiful things we do have in Dartford, admittedly you have to look past the chavs and toot shops whibut ch unfortunately Dartford has in abundance to find them, but they are there and I think that they are really worth looking for.
I feel I must write a short op on this jewel of north-west Kent having just read an email from an old colleague of mine. More of that later! What can I say of Dartford? Basically, it's near Bluewater. That's about the only thing going for it. Oh, and I work there, at the world famous Dartford River Crossing, as an attendant in the world's biggest car park - the M25. Mick Jagger comes from here and now has a performing arts centre named after him at the local boys' grammar. I think it has more pound shops per hectare than any other European town except for maybe Bucharest. There is no cinema, no bowling alley, one nightclub (Zen's), loads of pubs and two shopping centres as well as Bluewater. There is a theatre, The Orchard, which does have a good reputation for the occasional good show ( I saw Bill Bailey there a couple of years back who was brilliant) but that is it. My mate? He lives in Nuneaton and works for a major international firm of engineers. He was sent to Dartford to work on the Glaxo Wellcome site. He was there for 4 days before he had a chance to go elsewhere which he leapt at. This was six months ago. Where did he want to go which was so much more appealing than Dartford? Siberia. I rest my case, m'lud.
Dartford, why did my parents decide to settle here? I lived in Dartford for 23 years and still wonder why I didn't leave the moment I was 18. There is very little to commend itself to anyone planning a visit here. But if you are planning a trip to 'Historic Dartford' (why do councils insist on putting up these ridiculous signs?) here are my key attractions. * Bluewater - easily accesible from Dartford and a splendid shopping centre * Mount Pleasant - historic graveyard with memorial to christian martyrs * Wilmington & Bexley - pleasant villages on outskirts of Dartford * Dartford Library - very nice stained glass roof * Dartford Park - check those rose bushes (and other perennials) * London - only 40 minutes from Dartford * Sevenoaks - nice village only 30 minutes from Dartford You may see that I'm casting around for the positive, and most highlights involve leaving Dartford. I'm not really sure why you would be contemplating a trip here but it really is a town whose youths hang around at the Iceland carpark. Best avoided!