Kent is famously known as the garden of England. But for those of us who grew up in the North West of the county, Dartford to be exact, we know there’s a lot more to all the greenery…
1. Whenever you tell people in London you’re from Dartford, they assume it’s miles away just because it’s in Kent. You have to explain that we’re on the Kent border, that it’s only a 30 minute train ride from the capital, and a 10 minute drive into Essex.
2. Before Bluewater, Bexleyheath and Lakeside were the only decent shopping centres nearby. Dartford Priory Centre was hardly worth the bother, and don’t even get us started on The Orchards Centre!
3. Everyone used to get the 96 bus because it literally went everywhere.
4. Before it became Air and Breathe, you knew it as Zen’s. With its iconic sticky floor and happy hour Apple VK’s sold for £1, it was where everyone began their early nightclubbing years.
5. As a kid, you got all of your disco and party clothes from Tammy Girl. It was situated above Etam on Dartford high street. It was like a secret shop, and you felt so cool walking up the stairs to it.
6. You and your mates refer to it as Dirtford. But if any out-of-towners call it that, you’re so offended.
7. As a kid, you fondly remember days spent at White Oak Leisure Centre. And it was all about the flumes. Whale Whirler and Dolphin Glide were firm favourites, and Shark Shocker was for the real thrill seekers.
8. People always say you sound like you’re from Essex.
9. When you were a teen you looked forward to Dartford Festival and spoke about it at school like it was Glastonbury.
10. You remember when the Chinese restaurant Twin opened and it was the best thing ever. You had to go on a Friday night too, to listen to the live band. Then you’d moan it was too loud and you couldn’t hear yourself think over your sweet and sour chicken.
11. You were a regular through the Dartford tunnel and over the QE2 bridge into Essex. And just like your parents, you still moan about the rising toll charge. You remember when it was £1. Thank goodness for local resident tags.
12. It was the battle of the Grammar schools. Dartford Grammar and Wilmington Grammar were known for their rivalry and if you spotted an opposing uniform out and about, you’d give them ‘evils’.
13. The McDonalds ‘drive thru’ in Crayford was the place to get your lunch, after passing your driving test. Everyone would gather in the car park and hoot each other as they drove around.
14. You shopped in Peppermint and Priya Fashion and got your school shoes from there.
15. Nobody knows why Dartford Town Centre has so many Poundlands and 99p stores, and you just know another’s bound to pop up soon. We all love a bargain, but enough is enough.
16. The homeless guy who sat outside KFC was known as ‘Kevin,’ and he’d sing loudly as you walked past.
17. As a kid, the best and only place to have your party was at Action Stations in Thurrock, Essex. The giant cooling down Cola Cans were awesome, not to mention the steep slides, ball pools and giant spaceships you ate your party lunch in.
18. You remember when Bluewater first opened and loving that it was on your doorstep. Now you curse the horrendous traffic and parking when you attempt to go near the place at Christmas.
19. Still to this day, you’re not sure why Dartford library has a museum next door or what’s actually in it.
20. Kia Kebab was the best place to fulfill your drunken munchies.
21. Your first job was most likely to have been in a shop in Bluewater. You couldn’t walk into a store without seeing someone you knew working there.
22. You proudly tell people that Rolling Stones legend, Mick Jagger, went to Dartford Grammar School and now there’s a local fitness centre and a road named after him. Surely that claim to fame is enough to put us Dartfordians on the map!