It is named after the valley of the Ebbsfleet River, which it straddles. Although a small part of the site in the east, lies within the borough of Gravesham, Ebbsfleet Valley primarily sits in the borough of Dartford.
The name Ebbsfleet is an artificial creation of seventeenth-century antiquaries, partly inspired by the name of Ebbsfleet in Thanet, 75km to the east.
Much of the land is brownfield and was formerly used by industry; having been previously owned by the APCM, Blue Circle and most recently by Lafarge. The new community is planned to have a population of 40,000. Ebbsfleet International railway station was opened in November 2007 and provides services to Continental Europe on High Speed 1. Domestic services to St Pancras railway station in central London are operated by Southeastern.
There will be a trial by BT of a fibre network in the Ebbsfleet valley, potentially offering the highest speed internet connection to home users in the United Kingdom, with the exception of Ashford in Kent. It has been confirmed they will be offering speeds of 100Mbit/s which will transfer TV, Broadband and Telephone via optical fibre. Businesses and residents of the area will be given a new telephone dialling code, 01987, though the small number of users who already have numbers allocated from the neighbouring codes (01322 or 01474) will be able to retain them.<ref name="phone">Template:Cite web</ref>
The Ebbsfleet River is of great historical importance in English history and prehistory, and much archaeological excavation has taken place here over the years. Quarrying here has revealed signs of extensive occupation some 100,000 years ago: flint knapping was carried out here, the remains of a straight-tusked elephant have been found. Distinctive pottery from the Neolithic age has been discovered; such pots give their name to an important sub-culture of the period.
Belgic Britons, in the late Iron Age have left behind traces of their culture. Prior to the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in this area, archaeological work undertaken at Ebbsfleet found an Anglo-Saxon mill. The river, which is fed by eight natural springs at Springhead (Template:Lang-la), was held sacred by the Celts who settled in the area around 100 BC. They were followed by the Romans; their Watling Street passes through the site, and a villa has been excavated.
Many of the local chalk quarries were started by the Romans, possibly for cement manufacture and flint. The quarries were later expanded, in line with the industrial revolution, by Joseph Parker and others. A large flooded quarry, Sawyer's Lake, can be found nearby.
The football team Gravesend and Northfleet FC changed their name to Ebbsfleet United F.C. in the summer of 2007. Another move to promote a sense of identity in the new town is a planned landmark, which when built will be 50 metres high (twice as high as the Angel of the North) and is intended to be visible from road, rail and air. However, in June 2012, the project was stalled by a lack of funding.