Kent (pronounced /kɛnt/) is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the River Thames estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of Medway. Kent has a nominal border with France halfway through the Channel Tunnel. Maidstone is its county town and historically Rochester and Canterbury have been accorded city status though only the latter still holds it.
Kent's location between London and the continent has led to its being in the front line of several conflicts, including the Battle of Britain during World War II. East Kent was named Hell Fire Corner during the conflict. England has relied on the county's ports to provide warships through much of the past 800 years; the Cinque Ports in the 12th–14th centuries and Chatham Dockyard in the 16th–20th centuries were of particular importance to the country's security. France can be seen clearly in fine weather from the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
Because of its abundance of orchards and hop gardens, Kent is widely known as "The Garden of England" — a name often applied when marketing the county or its produce, although other regions have tried to lay claim to the title.
Major industries in the north-west of Kent have included cement, papermaking, and aircraft construction, but these are now in decline. Large parts of Kent are within the London commuter belt. South and East Kent rely on tourism and agriculture. Coal mining has also played its part in Kent's industrial heritage.