Herne was developed as the first landfall along the coast from Reculver. The medieval street pattern is still apparent today. The village grew slowly until the 18C when there was an influx of people. Wealthy families from Canterbury migrated to Herne to lead a healthier life near the sea. Herne became affluent at that time, as the nearby bay was an important outlet for trade to and from Canterbury and its hinterland; Herne village acted as the control for goods passing through from the bay to the city.
The village was the principal settlement and the parish of Herne reached all the way to the sea. Herne Bay as a separate town did not yet exist. The first foundations for the town now known as Herne Bay were laid as a result of this migration to the coast.
The village is centred upon the Parish Church of St Martin, which dates from the 14C, a large handsome structure consisting of three aisles and three chancels with a noble tower. The centre of the village today contains a wide variety of buildings dating the 14C to the present day and includes 31 listed buildings. These are still able to give the village a distinctive feel
Strode House was the main residence, set in a landscape park which stretched southward up the hill to the edge of Herne Common; much of the land towards Broomfield was part of the Strode Park Estate. Other principal buildings are the windmill, the former workhouse and Hawe Farm.
Herne windmill is a grade 1 listed building and is situated on high ground overlooking the village. It dates from 1789 and the mill house next door is of a similar date. In 1856 the mill had to be raised on a brick plinth by 17ft 9in. (5.41m) to catch the wind. The windmill is still a landmark, visible from the east and west and is a recognised seamark shown on nautical maps. Although no longer a working mill, since 1959, the sails do still turn and the former engine room now houses the parish office. Modern bungalows now surround the windmill and much of its setting has been eroded. The mill is looked after by a team of volunteers and is open to visitors on Sundays during the summer. There are spectacular views from the top.
In Herne village there is a post office, dentist, two pubs and a micro-pub. Some of the roads are still without footways, but many people feel this adds to the rural feel, although with the increase in traffic, safety is a concern.
There is a good local bus service and Herne Bay and Sturry railway stations are about 2 and 3 miles respectively, from the centre of Herne village.