Not technically a town but a large shopping mall in the heart of North East Kent, this still deserves an entry because it is surely the most chav-infested place on the face of the earth. Bluewater attracts the burberry-clad hordes not only from nearby Dartford and Gravesend but also from Medway, South East London and even Essex, where it is drawing the locals away from their own failing chav mecca, Lakeside.
Once you’ve fought your way through the traffic jams, through the acres of car parks and through the crowds of surly teenagers texting each other outside Marks and Spencers, you find yourself inside an eerie world that appears to be inhabited solely by chavs. It’s not unlike the mall in the original Dawn Of The Dead with chavs instead of zombies shuffling aimlessly around, making inhuman noises, looking for trainers and hoop earrings rather than human flesh.
The food court gives you an idea of what meal time must be like in a crowded prison canteen. Bluewater serves a wide variety of world cuisine, all squashed inside a cardboard carton and served with coke and fries. Even for fast food chain employees, the teenagers working here are truly foul-looking creatures and the thought of some of them making contact with your food is enough to take away your appetite.
Culture is available in the form of the multiplex cinema. On a recent visit, its 12 screens were showing a grand total of 5 films, all of them special effects blockbusters. The cinema usually has 3 or 4 staff members working at any one time, one of whom will be taking care of the mile-long queue for tickets and another dividing his or her time between serving popcorn and tearing tickets. Since the screens are on different floors, your 6-year old son won’t have any problems buying a ticket for Scooby-Doo 2 and going to see Kill Bill.
The shops sell everything a chav could want from cheap sportswear to expensive sportswear, from derivative chart music to unoriginal console games. The assistants are trained to pester you incessantly when you are trying to browse and to disappear or pretend to be busy when you actually want help.
Bluewater is served by the very finest public transport in Kent. Overpriced buses run at least every hour from nearby towns, or would do if they weren’t all stuck in traffic jams. South East Rail’s alleged train service calls at Greenhithe, just far enough away that you need to pay another two quid for two 3-minute bus rides.