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Maidstone

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England : South East England : Kent : Maidstone
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Maidstone [1] is a town in Mid-Kent, in the South East of England.

Understand

Straddling the river Medway, Maidstone [2] is the economic, administrative and agricultural centre of Kent. For many years the major employment in the town was provided by the agricultural markets, insurance brokers and the toffee factory to the south of the river. Nowadays, however, many residents use Maidstone as a base to commute into London, or are employed within the retail, administrative or service sectors within the town.

Get in

By air

The nearest major airport is London Gatwick Airport, which is 42mi/67km away.

By car

Maidstone sits just alongside the M20, which connects the M25 with Folkestone and the Kent coast. The A26 runs west to Tunbridge Wells, and the A229 heads north to Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester, and south (joining the A21) to Hastings.

Be warned - the centre of Maidstone is dominated by a complicated and sometimes frustrating one-way system.

Parking can be a problem if you do not know your way round, but it is recommended that you park in either The Chequers Center car park that is in the town center located in King Street, opposite the Bowling Alley. The entrance to this is up a ramp with a height barrier bar.

Maidstone Park & Ride operates Monday to Saturday; there is no service on a Sunday. See the Kent County Council Park & Ride website.

By train

Maidstone has rail links to London, Chatham, Ashford (for the Eurostar) and Tonbridge (via Paddock Wood).

Fare and timetable information is available from South East Trains, tel. 08457 484950.

Get around

By bus

Arriva is the bus company that operates in Maidstone. Timetables and fares are available on their website. Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.

By taxi

If there is a large group of you, then it may be easier and cheaper to get a taxi from one of the local taxi companies, as Maidstone's bus service is not the cheapest!

  • Payless Taxis: +44 (0)1622 661234 (24 Hour)
  • Cavalier Taxis: +44 (0)1622 754000 (24 Hour)

See

  • Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, St Faith's Street, ME14 1LH, [3] Open M-Sa 10AM-5:15PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Free. A municipal museum with a wide ranging collection in 20 or so rooms. The local history collection on the ground floor gives an introduction to the recent history of the town. 3 rooms house a small art gallery.
  • Maidstone Carriage Museum - The Tyrwhitt Drake Collection, Mill Street, ME15 6YE. Open summer only (was closed in Mid-May).
  • All Saints Church, Mill Street, ME15 6YE, [4] Fine church rebuilt in the 14th century. Open M-Th 10AM-4PM, Sa 10:30AM-12:30PM May to September. The Archbishop's Palace next door is worth a look from the outside - it is now the registry office.
  • Museum of Kent Life, Cobtree, Lock Lane, Sandling, ME14 3AU, [5].
  • The Hazlitt Theatre, Earl Street, ME14 1PL, 01622 758611, [6].

Do

Buy

Eat

  • The Oak on the Green, +44 (0)1622 737976, A restaurant/pub situated next to a large cricket green in a small village just outside of Maidstone called Bearsted. The staff is friendly and helpful. At times, like most successful venues, it can be a tad busy and as such, service can be a little slow. The food is primarily Mexican based. The fajitas are fantastic, and come in either steak, chicken or mixed. It is belived that vegetarian options are available. Other recommendations are Stuffed Jelepeno Peppers and Fajitas (normally shared by two people). start at £12.00, beer about £3.00.

Drink

Sleep

Get out

Other places of interest in the Maidstone area

Leeds Castle
  • Leeds Castle, near Maidstone, tel: 01622 765400, e-mail: enquiries@leeds-castle.co.uk, [7]. Described by Lord Cornway as "the loveliest castle in the world". Admission £12.50 for adults (£10.00 - gardens only), £9.00 for children (£6.50 - gardens only).
  • The Hop Farm Country Park, Paddock Wood, tel: 01622 872068, e-mail: info@thehopfarm.co.uk, [8]. 10AM–5PM, Daily except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Once a working hop farm, it now offers a wide variety of attractions and events. Admission £7.50 for adults, £6.50 for children.
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