Come to Maidstone...
Published: Wednesday 12th Feb 2014
Written by: Carol Attwell
I’ve lived in Maidstone for almost 12 years now and I’d like to take you on a trip down memory lane with me. I’m a Kentish lass born in the coastal town of Broadstairs. When I met my husband we settled in Maidstone which was his home town.
Maidstone which was originally a Saxon Village that developed into a thriving market town in the 16th and 17th centuries. The town has manufactured many products including paper, wool and thread making and also brewing. The history of the town still shows through in today’s modern world.
There are many historic places to visit and I hope to take you through some on my journey. Maidstone is quite a compact town with the River Medway which runs right through the town. The beautiful Archbishops Palace, where I got married is on the riverside and Brenchley Gardens alongside the Palace was a perfect backdrop for my photos. Opposite the palace is the Old Carriage House and just nestled around the corner is the famous All Saints Church. Many of the streets in the town still look as if you were back in olden times, the famous Bank Street, Gabriel’s Hill and Earl Street to name but a few.
When I first arrived in Maidstone I went to visit Fremlins Brewery which was fascinating and stooped in the history of the town. The brewery is no more, having been replaced with a new modern shopping centre aptly named Fremlins Walk and has been cleverly designed in the shape of a horse shoe. Here you can shop to your heart’s desire, take time out with coffee stops and lunches in the many eateries available throughout the town.
A stone’s throw from the shopping centre you will find Maidstone Museum and the Bentliff Art Gallery. This was another of my visits in my quest to get to know the town. If you want to explore the town by boat you can do so. Moored in the centre of the town you will find The Kentish Lady river boat which offers a unique experience of the River Medway, as the river weaves its way through Maidstone there is history around every corner. This is the best and most relaxing way to see the sights with many historic places pointed out on route.
One of the most memorable places which I visited on my very first visit to the town when I was courting my husband. He took me to Leeds Castle which is also known as the “Loveliest Castle in the World”. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful mote, which offers many attractions and is open all year. The beautiful gardens, the magical maze that the whole family can enjoy. There’s a woodland walk and during the holidays jousting and other family favourites are on offer. The day I was there, I enjoyed the tour of the castle, spotting the wild deer in the woods and watching the famous black swans caring for their young on the mote.
Finally my favourite place of all and where I spend most weekends running and enjoying the beauty of this stunning place. The historic Mote Park which surrounds Maidstone and covers over 450 acres. The park is a very popular venue for sports enthusiasts, cycling and water sports. Mote Park has wooded areas which are perfect for children and dog walkers to explore. There is designated picnic areas if you just want to sit and enjoy the sunshine and watch the children play. The park offers plenty of seating around the waterside if you just fancy watching the swans, ducks and wildlife, or simply to take a breather and take in the surroundings during your walk.
Travelling to Maidstone couldn’t be easier, the town offers two mainline stations and frequent bus services that travel all over Kent. In fact why not make a weekend or even a week in the area, I can recommend some lovely places to stay, and maybe you can get to love the town like me.