Straddling the river Medway, Maidstone 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.
The nearest major airport is London Gatwick Airport, which is 42mi/67km away.
Maidstone sits south of M20, which (with the A20) connects with London, Ashford & Folkestone. The A26 runs west to Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells & Brighton, and the A229 heads north to Chatham, and south to Hastings.
Town Centre Car parking - recommended that you park in The Chequers Centre car park (east end of Town Centre, enter from Padsole Lane or King St).
Town Centre Coach parking at A249 Sittingbourne Rd.
Maidstone Park & Ride operates Mondays to Saturdays; there is no service on Sundays. See the Kent County Council Park & Ride website.
Maidstone has direct rail links to London, Bromley S, Ashford International (for Eurostar) and Tonbridge (via Paddock Wood).
Fare and timetable information is available from Southeastern Railway, tel. 08457 484950.
Various bus companies provide local bus services in and around Maidstone.
- Arriva provide most services
- Nu-venture provide more countryside services
- stagecoach provide services to Ashford
Paper timetables can be obtained at the Visitor Information Centre at the Town Hall in the High St; the web link is http://www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk
Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.
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!
- Streamline Maidstone: +44 1622 750000 iPhone App or Textbooker available
- Cavalier Taxis: +44 1622 754000 (24 Hour)
- Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery, St Faith's Street, ME14 1LH. Open M-Sa 10AM-5:15PM, Su 11AM-4PM. 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. Free.
- 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. Open M-Th 10AM-4PM, Sa 10:30AM-12:30PM May to September. Fine church rebuilt in the 14th century. 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.
Kent Flower Show - In July, one of the largest agricultural festivals in Britain
Kent County Show - in July, there is a large county show at the Kent Showground in Detling.
- The Mall, ☎ +44 1622 691130. The Mall is a large shopping centere in Maidstone containing a variety of shops
- The Oak on the Green, Bearsted Green, ☎ +44 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 believed that vegetarian options are available. Other recommendations are stuffed jalapeño peppers and fajitas (normally shared by two people). Prices start at £12.00, beer about £3.00..
- Lockmeadow, Maidstone. Lockmeadow is an entertainment centre in Maidstone town centre. It contains bars, restaurants nightclubs and a cinema.
- Travelodge Hotel - Maidstone Central, St Peter's St,, ☎ +44 871 984 6034.
- The Black Horse Inn, Pilgrims Way, Thurnham, ☎ +44 1622 737185.
- Tudor Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club, Ashford Rd, ☎ +44 1622 734334.
Other places of interest in the Maidstone area
- Leeds Castle, ☎ +44 1622 765400, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Near Maidstone. 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).
- Hop Farm Country Park, ☎ +44 1622 872068, e-mail: email@example.com. The, Paddock Wood. 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.