The trail is a free, family friendly, self-guided walk along ‘Watling Street’, an important Roman road, which runs through the historic heart of Sittingbourne. Many travellers have visited Sittingbourne over the centuries, including royalty. Today, many of the buildings that were used by them are still there, you just have to look up above the modern shop fronts, or down the side alleys at the backs of the buildings, to see them as they once were.
A leaflet will encourage walkers to discover the history of some of the main buildings, by finding pictures of 15 cats, which are displayed in the participating outlets’ windows. The cat connection comes from the story of Florence and Thomas Gisby, who lived in Cockleshell Walk in Sittingbourne around a hundred years ago. They owned cats, which roamed the town, and each cat had a favourite place to sit. Photos of the Trail’s cats now sit in the windows around the town. Walkers are encouraged to find them all and collect a sticker from Baileys Coffee Shop.
The ‘Historic Sittingbourne’s Cat Trail’ is available from The Heritage Hub, Baileys Coffee Shop and other participating businesses. The launch on 8th July will help promote the leaflet, and to let the wider community know about the town trail. The launch coincides with the town’s Artisan Market and additional stands will be found in the town, including the Cat’s Protection League and Sittingbourne Retail Association. The Forum Shopping Centre will be having a free craft table for children to be involved it ‘cat creative ideas’.
Participating venues are:
The Heritage Hub, Bengal Spice Restaurant, Hawkesford James Estate Agents, The Baptist Church, Bairstow Eves Estate Agents, Sittingbourne Library, Wishes Hairdressers, Popes Optician, Reaching People Though Music, Front Row Hairdressers at The New Century Cinema, Joe’s Men’s Hairdressers, The Old Forge War Time House, Sittingbourne Heritage Museum, St. Michael’s Church, and Baileys Coffee Shop are participating in the Trail.
The walk will take around half an hour, but will depend how quickly someone walks and how closely they want to look at the architecture.