Welcome to 1. Maidstone Area Guide
If you are thinking to yourself; is Maidstone a nice area? Which is the best area to live in Maidstone? What is there to do in Maidstone? Is Maidstone a good place to invest in property? Is Maidstone expensive? Then you are in the right place. I will do my best to answer all these questions in as much detail as possible. Whether you are already living in Maidstone, or thinking of moving to the area, this area guide is designed for anyone who wants to know more about this historic town, the surrounding villages, and what it has to offer.
Where is Maidstone?
Maidstone is the county town of Kent and is approximately 32 miles south-east of London. It is linked to the historical city of Rochester and the Thames Estuary via the River Medway. The town has an approximate population of just under 175,000 as of 2020 and comprises post codes ME14, ME15, ME16 and ME17.
What’s Maidstone Like?
As well as a strong history in heavy industry like wool production, brewing and papermaking, the town is now a shopping haven with the relatively recent introduction of Fremlin Walk outdoor shopping centre, a plethora of high street shops, retail outlets and more shopping centres, plus an abundance of cafes, bars and restaurants appealing to the younger generations, and young families alike.
But shopping and socialising are not all Maidstone has to offer. Despite its modernisation and adaptation to a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, it still retains much of its traditional charm and historical architecture with winding narrow streets adorned with buildings that have their original classic Tudor frontages. And there are plenty of lovely places nearby to explore and attractions to visit, which I shall get to in this article.
Maidstone lies just off the M20 with junctions 5, 6, 7 and 8 all serving the town and the outlying villages for access to and from London and the Kent coastline. It also appeals to commuters with train links into London Victoria from Maidstone East in around an hour. The Arriva bus network operates services all around the neighbouring towns and villages, and into Medway and Tunbridge Wells.
Schools, Nurseries and Higher Education
Maidstone benefits from a fine selection of excellent schools with many of them achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating. Amongst them are Jubilee Primary School on Gatland Lane which is only a few miles outside the centre and is close to Barming and Maidstone Hospital. Allington Primary in Allington is also much revered and is situated in a wooded setting with lovely grounds. Benefitting from a two-tier educational system you also have access to a choice of grammar schools including Invicta Grammar and Maidstone Grammar School for Girls.
For families with younger children and parents looking to get back into work, there are several day care nurseries. One that stands out with a score of 9.9/10 from 119 customer reviews on daynurseries.co.uk is Pennies Day Nursery in Newnham Court Shopping Village. Whilst being a couple of miles north of Maidstone it is literally a stone’s throw from the M20 so perfect for anyone commuting to work by car via the motorway and is also on the number 9 bus route which takes just 15 minutes from the town centre. If you need something more central, then Hemsley House Day Nursery on Terrace Road might work for you. Also achieving a high score of 9.8/10 from 41 reviews on daynurseries.co.uk and being only a few minutes’ walk from Maidstone West Train Station for services into Strood where you can jump on the HS1 into London St Pancras, it is also a fine choice for commuters working in the capital.
Additionally, Maidstone is home to MidKent College’s Maidstone Campus on Tonbridge Road, and the University for the Creative Arts which offers pre-degree, undergraduate, postgraduate, and graduate diploma courses.
Most Popular Areas To Live In Maidstone
In no particular order the areas that seem to attract the most buyers are Allington, Barming, Bearsted, Weavering, Loose, Penenden Heath, Coxheath, Boughton Monchelsea, Sutton Valence, Lenham, Harrietsham, and Leeds. As of October 2020 the average house price in Maidstone is approximately £355,685 which is around £100,000 higher than the UK average, but still well over £100,000 more affordable than neighbouring Tunbridge Wells, and more or less on a par with sought after places like Canterbury and Dartford.
Things To Do In Maidstone
Maidstone has plenty to offer when it comes to activities at the weekends and during school holidays including Maidstone Museum, Kent Life and Mote Park to name just a few – and that’s before you explore just slightly further afield to places like Leeds Castle. Plus, it has a bustling nightlife with a huge selection of bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs, river walks, a choice of destinations for markets and country walks, plus shops galore and more!
On a weekend or evening when you are just out and about the town centre is a humming hive of activity. In the main you have all the usual clothes shops, food shops, toy shops and gadget shops you would expect to find in a town centre, and of course there are the banks, estate agents and other service industry regulars. Plus, a selection of cafes with artisan treats available, and traditional pubs like The Brenchley, Ye Olde Thirsty Pig, The Brickmakers Arms, and the Herbalist – many of which offer food as well.
If you’re looking for a night out check out the Lockmeadow Entertainment Centre which has a cinema, trampoline park, restaurants and nightclubs. For a more cultured evening you could head to the Hazlitt Theatre which hosts live comedy, live music and theatre. Head down to Riverstage and you can catch open-air performances including Proms in the Park, movie nights and Shakespeare plays.
If shopping is your thing there are a couple of shopping centres; Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre is an outdoor complex offering high street retail stores, banks, dining, and events throughout the year such as National Storytelling Week, Big Garden Bird Watch, and seasonal events. Across the river you also have a large Wickes, an Asda Living, The Range and TK Maxx.
You can’t go far wrong with a stroll around Mote Park and the lake there. You can admire the 450 acres of woodland and grassland, stop at the café for a caffeinated treat whilst the kids burn off any excess energy in the recently refurbished play area.
Maidstone Museum is home to approximately 600,000 artefacts and specimens from subjects including Ancient Egypt, archaeology, costumes and textiles, ethnography, natural history and biology, fine and decorative art, geology and much more.
Kent Life is a fantastic destination for all the family with a farmyard and nature activities including animal feeding and petting, a variety of shows in the all-weather Big Top, you can explore the Vintage Village, experience an abundance of magnificent aromas in the Kentish gardens, a train ride around the facilities, indoor soft play and outdoor bouncy castle, adventure play areas, donkey rides, pedal tractors, and Dotty’s Tea Room.
Once you have exhausted the bits on your doorstep Leeds Castle is just 5 miles from central Maidstone and is home to a stunning former Norman stronghold and 500 acres of picturesque countryside, woodland and wildlife in the immaculately kept grounds. As well as the intrigue of the history of the castle itself which you can learn about inside, there is lots for everyone to do including two adventure playgrounds built like wooden castles, several beautiful gardens to explore, a falconry with flying demonstrations, punting on the moat, the Black Swan Ferry, then there are zip wires, Tarzan swings, and rope bridges at Go Ape!, without forgetting Elsie the Castle Train.
All in all the area has much to offer whether as a destination for a day trip, to relocate in, or even just to make the most of if you’re already here.
For more information on other local places of interest check out the other articles on our blog page. Thank you for reading.