Welcome to Maidstone
Our area guide to Maidstone offers a brief overview of the area, its attractions, properties, schools, history, council tax and public transport links.
Covering the ME14, ME15 and ME16 postcodes, Maidstone is Kent's county town and it's brimming full of places to go, sites to see and has an interesting history. There's a vibrant arts community, parks, the River Medway and a market, all just a stone's throw away from some of Kent's most glorious countryside. While Maidstone town centre itself is a hive of retail and leisure activity, the surrounding villages - including Downswood, East Farleigh, Barming, Allington and Penenden Heath - make for semi-rural idylls, attracting families, young professionals and retirees.
Being Kent's county town it's no surprise that shopping facilities are in abundance. The High Street itself, plus neighbouring Week Street and Fremlin Walk, are home to some of retail's biggest names. The Mall Chequers is Maidstone's biggest indoor shopping centre, although you'll also find the Broadway shopping centre on the other side of the River Medway. For independent and boutique shopping, head for the Royal Star Arcade, Bank Street, Gabriel's Hill, the Market Buildings and St Peter's Wharf. If you're still searching for the perfect bargain, head for Maidstone's twice weekly market or one of the many farmers' markets that take place across the area.
A good first stop is the Maidstone Museum in the town centre. Set in an attractive Elizabethan manor house, the museum is home to some weird and wonderful exhibits and also incorporates the Bentlif Art Gallery, the Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum and the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment Museum, making it an excellent day out for history buffs. Maidstone Millennium River Park is a wonderful 10km stretch from the Teston picnic site through Maidstone's historic centre and on to Allington Lock. Moat Park is another Maidstone favourite, with 180 hectares of multi-use public space making it one of the biggest parks in the South East. Look out for two children's play areas, a BMX track, a skate park, a model railway, pitch and put, sports pitches, a water sports centre and fishing opportunities. Moat Park also runs a full programme of events, including the ever-popular summer concerts. Maidstone Leisure Centre is a beacon of sporting excellence, with five swimming pools, a two storey state-of-the-art fitness suite, sports hall and children’s soft play area. The Lockmeadow Centre is Maidstone's go-to place for entertainment, with an 8-screen cinema complex, bars and restaurants, a nightclub, a gym and space for the Lockmeadow Market.
Maidstone Food and Drink
You're never far from a refreshing tipple or stunning plate of food when in Maidstone. Highlights include The Bull - a 17th century pub with fantastic views over the Weald - and The Mulberry Tree, a contemporary public house serving acclaimed food. For lighter bites, head to the Living Café, where the chefs create tasty dishes using the best of Kent produce. The Brenchley is an independent pub on Jubilee Square, serving food and drink under an unusual glass domed roof. For more refined dining, head to The Windmill, where celebrity chef Richard Phillips is now in charge of this Grade II listed establishment, or try the 16th century Soufflé restaurant in the Maidstone village of Bearsted, with its private dining options and extensive wine cellar.
The town has a long history, with archaeological finds dating back to Mesolithic and Neolithic times, notably at Kit's Coty and the Countless Stones. Maidstone also served as a popular route for pilgrims due to its position between London and Dover. The Romans, followed by the Normans, made their mark on the area with road building and quarrying but it was on and by the banks of the River Medway where most of the activity took place. Maidstone was granted its first market charter in 1261 and this was followed by a borough charter in 1549, which allowed Maidstone to be called a town.
Maidstone Property market
Property prices are rising in Maidstone, according to online portal Zoopla. The last year has seen prices rise over 6%, and in the last 3 months alone the value of the average house in Maidstone has risen by £150 a week. Many families are drawn to Maidstone due to the town's excellent grammar schools, so it's no surprise that plans have been submitted for 5,000 new homes in a 'garden suburb' on 350 acres of farmland in south east Maidstone. The Maidstone villages of East Farleigh and Loose are home to some outstanding £1 million+ homes, while Wyatt Grove in Barming, Penshurst Close in Weavering and Hayle Park in Tovil are just some of Maidstone's current new build developments. As well as mansion-size houses and brand new dwellings, Maidstone also offers period properties, post-war homes and some recently-built apartments that offer low-maintenance living.
Maidstone Council Tax
The latest council tax charges for Maidstone can be found here:-
The town covers a large geographical area, so the choice of schooling is wide and varied. Educational facilities include:
- Madginford Infant and Junior School
- St Michael's Church of England Infant School
- Thurnham Church of England Infant School
- Allington Primary School
- Roseacre Junior School
- Sandling Primary School
- East Farleigh Primary School
- Loose Infant & Junior School
- St Paul's Infant School
- Brunswick House Primary School
- Senacre Wood Primary School
- Hunton Church of England Primary School
- Palace Wood Primary School
- East Borough Primary School
- Park Way Primary School
- St Francis' Catholic Primary School
- North Borough Junior School
- South Borough Primary School
- Holy Family RC Primary School
- Greenfields Community Primary School
- West Borough Primary School
- Archbishop Courtenay Primary School
- St Michael's Church of England Junior School
- Bell Wood Community Primary School
- Tiger Primary School
- Molehill Copse Primary School
- Tree Tops Academy
- St John's Church of England Primary School
- Maidstone Grammar School
- Invicta Grammar School
- Oakwood Park Grammar School
- New Line Learning Academy
- The Maplesden Noakes School
- St Augustine Academy
- St Simon Stock Catholic School
- Valley Park School
Maidstone Hospital is on Hermitage Lane and is the main health facility for ME14, ME15 and ME16.
Maidstone Transport Links
Maidstone can be access via junctions 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the M20, making it easily accessible from London, Dover and Ashford. The town has two railway stations: Maidstone East and Maidstone West. The connections to London are exceptional and encourage many Maidstone residents to commute into London. Maidstone West is on the high-speed line to St Pancras via Stratford and Ebbsfleet, taking just 49 minutes to reach central London. Maidstone East is connected to London Victoria and London Blackfriars, with journey times of around an hour. Bus services in and around Maidstone are fast and frequent, connecting the centre to the outlying villages and neighbouring towns.
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