Dartford Station

What’s Dartford Famous For

Dartford Station

Dartford Station – where Mick Jagger first met Keith Richards (Image credit)


18 miles south-east of Central London lies Dartford, the principal town in the Borough of Dartford. Londoners always assume that, because Dartford is in Kent, it is many miles away. Since it’s located on the border, however, you only have to take a half hour long train ride to get there.

Dartford has a lot going for it, including an Olympic judo centre, the UK’s biggest shopping centre in close proximity, and a sizeable wildlife area. Dartford, incidentally, also produced a sizeable number of world-renowned musicians and artists. Keep reading to learn more about what makes this special town so famous.


Near the town centre of Dartford lies Central Park, a versatile outdoor community space that hosts the annual Dartford Festival in July. This beautiful attraction has formal gardens, playgrounds for children, a skatepark, and fresh-air fitness equipment. It also has ornamental displays of more than 45,000 plant species.

To the south-west of Central Park in Dartford Heath, a haven for fauna and flora alike. Here, you’ll find birds, insects, critters, as well as an abundance of flowers, including honeysuckle and foxglove. Dartford Heath covers a whopping 361 acres and has 4 accessible and conveniently located car parks.


To the west of Dartford is Bluewater, one of the most exquisite shopping centres in entire Europe that have won many international awards since it opened 12 years ago. Located in Bluewater are John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, and House of Fraser. Between these stores are three shopping malls that are filled with lifestyle and family stores, restaurants, and a 13-screen cinema.

Here, you will also find the Rose Gallery, which consists of a collection of high-street retailers and fashion retailers. To complete this picture of shopping and lifestyle perfection, Bluewater also has a boating lake, golf course, and a discovery trail.

Rolling Stones

One of the most notable things Dartford is famous for is that it’s the birthplace of Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The Mick Jagger Centre at the Dartford Grammar School is a platform for Dartford-based music and arts. HRH Duke of Kent, Mick Jagger, and Jerry Hall opened the facility in 1998.

The Mick Jagger Centre consists of two halls, both equipped with sound and lighting equipment, a professional recording studio, as well as rehearsal rooms. Here, you’ll also find a Music Technology Suite, a visual arts suite, and a dance drama room.

Orchard Theatre

This 1000-seater theatre is the epitome of local and international entertainment, complete with a circle restaurant. Here, you can see productions with the likes of The Wizard of Oz and Fame the Musical.

Dartford Museum

Dartford is famous for having the first modern museum in the country. The Dartford Museum is estimated to attract around 8,000 visitors per year. Exhibits of this museum include finding from Anglo-Saxon cemeteries and objects from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. In the museum, there is also a well-known display of the Dartford Warbler, one of two bird species that were named after a British Town.

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Dartford Festival

What’s On In Dartford

Dartford Festival

Dartford Festival 2013 – The Neville Staple Band (Image Credit)

What’s on in Dartford?

Dartford is a town that is abuzz with countless events throughout the year. Many of these events are free for residents and visitors to attend. These events are great for getting the local community together and they also show visitors what Dartford is all about. Let’s take a look at events that are you and your friends and family can attend.

Guided Walks

There are lots of guided walks taking place at local parks that are sure to be a treat for your family.

The Minibeasts ‘n Kids at Darenth Country Park is an August walk to show kids all the different animals that live in the park.

At Brooklands Lakes, there is a batt watch that promises to be interesting! Remember to bring your torch and leave your dogs at home.

In October, the Mushroom Mania guided tour in Dartford Heath is something to look forward to. During this guided tour, you and your family will learn more about the different types of fungi that grow there.

Dartford Festival

This annual festival takes place every July in Central Park. There are many ways you can get involved in this spectacular event. This festival serves as a platform for performers all over the country and it is also an opportunity for vendors to generate some cash.

The festival is a huge cultural event that many people all over Kent, and even the country, look forward to and attend every year. If you are in town during July, make sure that you don’t miss it.

Summer Sizzler Activities

These activities take place during the summer holidays to provide some wholesome entertainment and learning experiences for school kids. The Dartford Borough Council manages these activities and they are well-known for stepping things up a notch in terms of entertainment and educational value.

The Summer Sizzler Activities include the Junior Parkrun, holiday camps, Mrs. Roundabout and Back-to-Front, and Kick Up Sports. There are tons of other physical activities for kids of all ages from toddlers to teenagers. These activities are incredibly comprehensive and include everything from mobile wall climbing to plant pot decorating.

Central Park Cinema Nights

This popular event in Central Park was sold out in 2018. Be sure to keep your eye out for the next one so you don’t miss out on what is sure to be an unforgettable night.

To make the most of your Central Park Cinema Night, bring your friends and family as well as a blanket and a picnic basket and enjoy a classic film under the stars in the tranquillity of the park.

There a slight chance that tickets will be free for Dartford locals, so makes sure that you are standing ready next year.

Bandstand Concerts

These free concerts are brought to you by the Dartford Borough Council and take place every Sunday afternoon from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Henry Wellcome Bandstand in Central Park. Make sure that you bring a blanket or chair. You will be able to buy refreshments from the Central Park Café.

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Dartford Crossing

Where To Eat In Dartford

Dartford Crossing

The iconic Dartford Crossing (Image Credit)

Nothing beats a pleasant dining experience with good company. If you are wondering where you should go for a good meal in Dartford, keep reading. Today we will be taking a look at the best local places to eat in town.

Fighting Cocks Pub & Riverside Restaurant

This eatery and pub cater for the entire family with its beautiful garden and large play area and a petting zoo for kids. The food is delicious and professionally prepared and served by a well-trained staff. While you enjoy the food and company, you also have a beautiful view over the garden and nearby river.

Whether you are looking for a place to celebrate a birthday or simply for a nice family get-together, the Fighting Cocks Pub & Riverside Restaurant in Horton Kirby is perfect.

The Chequers Darenth

This pub in Darenth is conveniently set up with dining tables as well as a sizeable bar for patrons who just want to enjoy a drink. There is also a beer garden. The barmaids are friendly and the pub food is delicious. If you arrange with management, you may even bring your dog to your table.

If you are looking for a casual pub that has a pleasant atmosphere and tonnes of personality, do yourself a favour and pay the Chequers Darenth a visit.

Sedir Restaurant

A lovely Turkish Restaurant situated in Lowfield street that serves tasty food that has been meticulously prepared. The dishes have a very authentic Turkish taste, so if you are in the mood for something different, give this restaurant a try.

To add to the Mediterranean atmosphere, you can enjoy traditional live Turkish performances on some nights. You also get a complimentary bread basket and a small serving of olives.

The Malt Shovel

This place really steps things up a notch when it comes to delicious food. Their specialty is their Sunday roast, which seems to a favourite amongst their clients. The pub’s atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the staff is incredibly friendly. If you find yourself near Darenth Road, do yourself a favour and pay them a visit.

Richie’s Diner

American style diner that serves a wide range of delicious dishes. They specialize in meals such as hot dogs and burgers. This doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t take the visual appeal of their dishes seriously. Each plate is a masterpiece and, for a moment, you’ll think that your eyes have taste buds of their own.

Tapas Revolution

This list wouldn’t be complete without a Tapas joint. The Tapas Revolution in Bluewater is known for their efficient service and delicious food. This restaurant managed to create a unique Spanish experience. Their food is fresh and tasty and they offer a wide range of authentic beers and wines that pair well with the food.

If you are looking for a relaxed evening of socializing, delicious food, and a warm and comfortable setting, give the Tapas Revolution a try. The staff is friendly and you will be sure to get the best service, even on busy nights.

Also remember to check out our heating, plumbing and gas services here

Dartford Market

All About Dartford Market

Dartford Market

Dartford Market (Image Credit)

Dartford’s Thursday and Saturday market are a 50-year old tradition that is now organized by the Kent Farmer’s Market Association. This farmer market plays a prominent role in the sale of local products and is a big event in the community’s weekly calendar.

The market attracts thousands of visitors every week as the vendors’ merchandise is typically regarded as high-quality and valuable. For many stallholders, the market is also a prominent source of income. This local marketplace is special to the locals and many buyer-seller relationships have formed over the years.


There is a wide range of products that stall holders sell every week. These products are mostly fresh produce that includes things like fruit, olives, soup, and vegetables. You will also be able to buy chutneys, jams, preserves, plants, meat, honey, as well as cakes and other baked goods

The products you can find at the market are not limited to consumables only. You will also be able to buy leather products like handbags and purses as well as toys for children, clothing items, and things like daisy blinds.

At the Dartford market, you can also get something to eat while you enjoy the music of the occasional performer.

Value to the Local Community

To many locals, the Thursday and Saturday market play an integral part of their daily existence. They rely on the market for a part of their weekly groceries and as a way to get out and interact with other people in their community.

The community enjoys a tremendous benefit from the market as they are able to get hold of products that are fresher than the ones they can buy at their greengrocer. They also see the market as a reason to get out of their homes and enjoy the atmosphere and sights and sounds of the market.

Value to the Sellers

The Dartford market provides local seller and product suppliers with the opportunity to interact with the clients on a personal level. As stallholders, they have to rely on the essence of salesmanship to present their products in the most favourable manner. It is also a way to build personal relationships with their regular buyers and to gain their loyalty.

Many sellers, especially the ones on the process of going commercial, make use of the market to find out how customers perceive their products and to identify the levels of demand for their products. Here, however, they can get the opinions straight from the customer’s mouths instead of having to make use of online polls and surveys.

Why You Should Visit the Dartford Market

What is an everyday occurrence for locals can be a once in a lifetime experience if you are visiting Dartford. The market has something for everyone and you will be sure to enjoy a pleasant and vibrant atmosphere.

If you are visiting for a limited time, make sure that a visit to the market is high up on your list of places to visit. Be careful not to blow all your money!

While you’re here, remember, if you need a Dartford plumber, please give us a ring on 01322 788418.

Vaillant Boiler Pressure Going Too High

Vaillant Ecotec Pressure Too High

Vaillant Ecotec Pressure Too High – note silver vessel inside the boiler on the right. This is the expansion vessel.

I had a job to do today on an older Vaillant Ecotec combi boiler.

The system pressure kept going really high when the heating was on. But when the heating cooled down, the pressure went really low and caused an F22 fault.

What Causes Boiler Pressure To Go Really High

This is a common fault on Vaillant Ecotec boilers and is caused by the expansion vessel losing its charge.

From the factory they’ve got a 1 bar charge, but over time they lose it, which causes the pressure dramatically to rise when the heating is on.

How To Fix It

The good news is it’s a simple job to fix.

On this one, I just drained the boiler (not the whole system) and put a track pump (like a bike pump) on the expansion vessel valve and recharged it to just over 1 bar.

See pic below:

This is the expansion vessel that loses charge. I pumped it up from the Schrader valve to solve the problem.

I then just refilled the boiler, vented it and tested the system. It’s a nice easy job that shouldn’t take more than an hour.

What Else Can Cause This Problem?

Split Expansion Vessel

If you have another brand of boiler and not a Vaillant, there’s a chance that recharging the expansion vessel may not fix the problem because the vessel has split internally. If this is the case, you would need to replace the expansion vessel, not just recharge it. This almost never happens on Vaillant boilers though.

Faulty Filling Loop Letting By

Other causes of the pressure going too high on a Vaillant Ecotec are the boiler’s built in filling loop letting by. This is the part of the boiler that lets you top up the system pressure if it goes down. Sometimes these valves don’t close properly and keep letting water in the boiler.

This over pressurises the boiler giving similar symptoms.

Need any help or advice about your boiler?

Please get in touch here. I’ll be happy to help!

Days Out In Dartford

Days Out In Dartford

If you are spending time in Dartford, you may well find that there is too little time to get to everything this vibrant town has to offer. With a little planning, however, you can make sure that you and your family make the most of your days in Dartford.

Let’s take a look at the some of the places you can visit for an unforgettable time.


If a theme park is your cup of tea, don’t miss out on this ongoing festival. Dreamland has something for everyone, especially when it comes to the rides. If you are feeling adventurous, head over to the disco-themed Retro Roller Room, a skating rink with music and vibes from yesteryear.

If you have kids, pay a visit to the Octopus’s Garden where they can explore beach huts, arts and crafts spaces, and vast playrooms. For hungry people that want to get off their feet, there is an array of restaurants and cafés to meet everyone’s tastes.

Pirate Cove Adventure Park

This outdoor park with its pirate theme has more than enough entertainment value for the entire family. The highlight of Pirate Cove is the 18-hole mini golf course with high-end landscaping and manicured greens. This mini-golf course was designed to keep everyone in the group engaged and having fun.

For the adrenaline junkies, there is an aerial assault course that involves a set of physical challenges high up in the pirate ship rig. Don’t worry, though – you will be securely fastened!

On a more serene note, you and your family can paddle around the lake with pirate pedal boats that are big enough for the whole family.

If you are visiting Dartford with your kids, Pirate Cove Adventure Park is a must.

Rainham Marshes

Rainham Marshes is perfect if you and your companions love the outdoors. Central to Rainham Marshes is their visitor’s centre with ample views over the marshes and its wildlife. This centre also consists of an array of award-winning environmentally-friendly features.

To get closer to the birds and other wildlife, you can venture out on the wheelchair-friendly boardwalks that extend throughout the reserve, totalling around 2km. Visiting this reserve promises to be a memorable and learning experience.

Remember to keep an eye out for the events that take place here every now and then.

White Oak Leisure Centre & Treasure Island

If you want to show your kids an exhilarating time in Dartford, be sure to pay a visit to White Oak Leisure centre. Here, there are tons of water-based and dry land activities that your family will remember for time to come.

The main attraction is three water rides. These include the Whale Whirler lazy river that is 122m long, the faster 94m long Dolphin Glide, and the adrenaline-surging Shark Shocker with its free-fall plunge.

White Oak also provides the ultimate in health and fitness. There are a wellness gym and exercise studio as well as a multi-purpose sports hall, squash courts, and a martial arts facility. If you get hungry, you can visit their health food café.

Need a plumber in Dartford? Get in touch with us right here at Thames Boilers!

No Power To Your Boiler? These Checks Could Fix It

If you’ve got no power to your boiler (or even your timer and thermostat), I can help you.

heating engineer looking at boilerThere are a few reasons why you may have no power to your boiler. Some you can check and fix yourself. For the other’s, you’ll need a gas safe registered heating engineer to do them for you.

So let’s start with the checks you can do yourself.

Checks You Can Do If You Have No Power To Your Boiler

1. Check your fuse-board (also called a consumer unit)

Your fuse board is what controls the electricity to your property. One of the fuses may have tripped which would cause your boiler to lose power.

Lots of fuse boards look like this one in the picture. When the switch is pointing down, it means that circuit is off. When it’s pointing up, it means it’s on.

So if there’s no power to your boiler, one of those switches may be pointing down. If you flick it back up, it may restore power to you boiler and fix the problem.

If you don’t know where your fuse board is, you can look near the entrance of your property. They’re usually installed quite high up, like this one in the picture. If it’s not there, it’s usually in the cupboard under the stairs.

Open the flap and look for a fuse pointing down in the off position. Lots of modern fuseboards have each circuit labelled, like the one in the picture. You can see the “water heater” fuse that supplies the boiler is pointing down, which means it’s off.

If you flick it up to the top position, you will restore power to that circuit and may put power back to your boiler.

2. Check your boiler fuse isn’t blown

You can check this by finding the switch that turns your boiler on and off.

Most likely, it’ll be next to your boiler – or very near by. If it’s not there, look in your airing cupboard where your hot water tank is (if you have one). It should be in that cupboard somewhere.

Remove the fuse by levering out the fuse holder with an electrical screwdriver or similar non-conductive object (don’t use metal kids!), then taking the fuse out.

Your fuse should look like this and be rated 3 amp (3A). You can replace this fuse with a new one to see if that solves the problem of your boiler having no power.

Tried both of these checks and still no power to your boiler?

Here are more checks a good heating engineer can do:

3. Check the boiler’s internal fuse (or fuses).

Most boilers have at least one built in fuse. Others can have 3 or 4. If you have no power to your boiler and have tried the first 2 checks, the next thing to do is to check the boiler’s internal fuses.

As a homeowner, this check – and all the other checks except 1 & 2 – are not safe for you to do. So you will need to find a local Gas Safe Registered heating engineer to do them for you.

Boiler fuses look a bit like this and can sometimes blow for no reason, other than age. Once your heating engineer has changed the internal fuses, they will need to test your boiler to make sure it doesn’t blow any fuses again.

If it does, it means something faulty in your boiler or heating system is making the fuses blow.

4. Check the boiler’s circuit board

If all the fuses are ok, but there’s still no power to the boiler, it’s likely that the circuit board on your boiler (also called the PCB) is faulty. If this is the case, your heating engineer will need to replace it with a new one. Sadly, this isn’t usually a cheap job as circuit boards can cost between £80 and £250 depending on the boiler you have – plus your heating engineer’s labour.

Important note: Sometimes another faulty component in your boiler will cause the circuit board to break. The usual suspects are pumps, fans, and mechanical timers. When these fail, they can pass excess current around your boiler’s circuit board, overload it, and break it.

So make sure your heating engineer tests these components before fitting the new circuit board.

5. Does your boiler keep blowing new fuses?

If it does, there’s probably a faulty component on your heating system that’s short circuiting. The most common are either the pump, the boiler’s fan, or a mechanical timer clock. With some testing, a good heating engineer should be able to isolate the cause of the problem.

Would like me to help you with your boiler problem?

If you would, and I cover your area, please do get in touch. I don’t charge a call out fee, and will be happy to give you a fixed price quote to solve the problem.

The number to call is 01322 788 418 or email hello@thamesboilers.co.uk

Thanks for reading and I hope you can get your problem solved without too much trouble!

Vailant Ecotec F28 Fault Code

Vaillant Ecotec F28 Fault Code (Cause and Solution)

F28 Error Code On Vaillant Ecotec Combi Boiler

Vailant Ecotec F28 Fault Code

Today, I had what seemed like a pretty standard callout to a Vaillant Ecotec Plus 831 combi boiler in Greenhithe. It was showing an F28 fault code.

This code means that the boiler tried to light unsuccessfully 3 times in a row. It does this as a safety measure to stop a dangerous mixture of unburned gas building up in the boiler.

Common Causes Of Vaillant Ecotec F28 Faults

No Gas

Yes, one of the most common reasons for your Vaillant to show an F28 code is because there’s no gas to your property. Reasons for this include gas works on your road, someone accidentally turning off the gas at the meter, or credit on a prepay gas meter running out.

If you have another gas appliance (like a gas hob or gas fire) you can try to light them. If they don’t light, it means there’s no gas to your appliances. So the problem isn’t with the boiler, it’s with your gas supply.

Faulty Spark Electrodes

Spark electrodes are a bit like spark plugs in a car. They create a spark near the burner and light the gas when the boiler turns on. These can crack or lose continuity which will stop them from making a spark and lighting the gas. This will create an F28 fault.

Broken HT Lead

The lead that connects the spark electrode the boiler’s circuit board (also called PCB) can also break. Again, this will prevent the electrode from making a spark, which will stop the boiler lighting and cause an F28 code.

Gas Valve Fault

This is more of an issue on more recent Ecotec’s from about 2012 onwards. Their gas valves seem to fail more often than on the older models. I (or any other good heating engineer) can test to see if the gas valve is opening at the right time by doing a simple pressure check.

So what was caused the problem?

On this particular boiler, I changed the spark electrode because it was in such poor condition, but it wasn’t the cause of the F28 fault.

The cause was the spark generator on the circuit board (PCB) – see picture.

Vaillant Ecotec PCB

You can see the spark generator as the grey plastic square on the right hand side of the PCB.

This was only working occasionally, so most of the time the boiler wouldn’t light, but sometimes it would, which made it quite hard to diagnose.

You can replace just that part of the PCB, you need to replace the whole thing.

To help save the customer some money, I bought a reconditioned one from a boiler pcb reconditioning specialist, which saved them about 50% on the price of a new one – and it still comes with a 1 year warranty.

This solved the problem instantly (and saved the customer about £100 on the cost of a new PCB).

Would you like me to fix your F28 fault?

Vaillant Ecotec Plus 831 Combi BoilerIf you would like me to fix your Vaillant F28 fault and I cover your area, please do get in touch.

It won’t cost you anything for me to assess the problem. From there I can give you a fixed price quote to do the job, then all you have to do is say yes or no. Easy. So why not call today? The number is 01322 788418

Honeywell Smartfit Programmer

Honeywell Smartfit Programmer Replacement

Can You Replace A Honeywell Smartfit Programmer?

Honeywell Smartfit ProgrammerHoneywell Smartfit was billed as the “next big thing” in the mid 2000s. It was a heating controls system where you plugged in all the components and they just worked, without extensive heating wiring skills.

Smartfit used data cable to connect everything up and used Honeywell’s proprietary language for all the components to communicate. The downside of this was that if any part of the Smartfit system failed, you’d need to replace it like-for-like, so you were locked-in to their system

A bit inconvenient you might think, but all well and good.

Yes, until Honeywell decided to discontinued their Smartfit range.

And that’s what I came across the other day.

My customer in Grays had a Honeywell Smartfit Programmer that stopped working, but I couldn’t get a replacement through the usual channels.

So what are your options?

Option 1: Take your chances on Ebay

This is what I did for my customer. We managed to source a direct replacement programmer that was brand new, but it was very expensive (£160).

This is only a temporary solution because the old stock that’s floating around will eventually be bought up and installed. You, however, might get lucky and find what you need for a decent price.

Option 2: Replace your whole heating control system

Heating programmer mounted on the wallSounds a bit drastic, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s the only way to truly future-proof your system.

It’s not a small (or cheap) undertaking, but as prices of secondhand Smartfit components rise, it may be the better long term option.

Honeywell recommend the “Sundial RF2 Pack 3” as a Smartfit replacement kit. This kit consists of a 2 channel programmer (for heating and hot water), a wireless cylinder thermostat and a wireless room thermostat. The wireless thermostats make installation easier and cheaper because you don’t need to install new cables for them.

Bear in mind that you will also need to replace your motorised valves too. You will either have 2 x 2 port valves (called an S-Plan system) or 1 x 3-port valve (called a Y-Plan system). Your local heating engineer or myself can advise you on which system you have.

So to buy all the parts you need to replace your Smartfit system will cost between £290 and £390, plus the labour of a heating engineer to carry out the installation, which will be between £200 and £300.

This is quite a pricey option, but when individual Smartfit components are selling for £150+ each on Ebay, it may be cheaper in the long run.

More Help With Honeywell Smartfit Problems

If you would like more help with your Smartfit control problems, please call me on 01322 788418. I’ll answer any questions you have – and talk you through your options.

L2 Fault On Ideal Logic Combi Boiler

Ideal Logic Combi Boiler L2 Error Code

Today I had a callout to a boiler repair in Dartford. It was an Ideal Logic Combi boiler showing an L2 fault and it wouldn’t reset.

An L2 fault code means there is an ignition problem with the boiler.

There are several components that can cause an L2 fault including:

  • Flame sensor
  • Spark generator
  • Gas valve
  • Spark electrode

… to name the most common.

Get Your L2 Fault Repaired For A Fixed Price

Call today to get your L2 fault assessed for FREE and repaired for a very reasonable fixed price, which includes a 12 month warranty.

Call For Free Assessment

(North Kent, South Essex, & East London Only)

After carrying out some diagnostic work, I traced the problem to the spark generator. It wasn’t creating the spark needed to light the boiler, which was causing the L2 fault.

I replaced it and the boiler was back to working as normal.

How much does an L2 fault code cost to fix?

It depends on the company you deal with and their rates.

But as a rough idea, this spark generator should be about £35 at the time of writing.

Labour should be no more than an hour to install, plus any call out/diagnosis charge.

What does it look like?

Here’s a picture of the spark generator I replaced:

ideal logic spark generator

So if you have a similar fault, please get in touch and I’ll do my best to help you!

Are you a heating engineer?

Chances are you’ve found this page because it was high up on Google.

This wasn’t a lucky mistake. I did this on purpose and it’s paying off.

Like you, I’m always looking for better, cheaper ways to get work. Ranking high on Google for the right keywords is a great way to do this – and something I’ve learned how to do myself.

I’m starting to do this for other businesses as well as mine.

So if you’d like me to help you get your website showing up on the search engines, please drop me an email – hello@thamesboilers.co.uk.