Life in Maidstone
An inspiring mix of old world charm and modern entertainment, Maidstone has plenty to offer for those living and studying in the town.
Maidstone is the large county town of Kent, located in the South East of England approximately 35 miles from London. The town mixes modern convenience and entertainment with historic character; walking through the streets of Maidstone you can find plenty of evidence of its rich and colourful past, with many buildings dating back to the 15th and 17th centuries. Just one of the sites worth visiting is the beautiful Archbishop’s Palace. This was built in the 14th centrury for the Archbishop of Canterbury and hosts a traditional apothecary’s herb garden, which is open to the public. The town itself is set on the River Medway, which is ideal for water-based activities and attracts many boating enthusiasts.
Maidstone also provides easy access to a variety of recreational facilities; Mote Park offers a huge green open space at the centre of town – along with the thirty acre lake, its vast number of mature trees create a landscape of tranquil beauty. There are also numerous centrally located health clubs and swimming pools, many offering discounts to students, plus a cinema complex and bowling alley conveniently located in the centre of town.
If you like shopping then Maidstone is for you! There are several main shopping areas catering for all tastes and budgets: Fremlin Walk and the adjacent High Street offer a great mix of clothes shops, cafes, hairdressers and department stores, The Mall indoor shopping centre houses many of the UK’s best-known retail chains and the Royal Star Arcade hosts a variety of independent boutiques and designer shops.
Eating and Drinking
Maidstone is home to a wide variety of restaurants and you can quite literally dine around the world, with Indian, French, Italian, Thai and Turkish restaurants represented in the town. Whether you want a quick coffee, a snack or a 3-course meal you will find numerous lively cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from. Many of our students find weekend and holiday work in the town centre, so don’t be surprised if an ESO student takes your order! When it comes to pubs and inns, Maidstone and surrounding villages have few rivals. Town pubs tend to go for fun atmosphere, good food and a selection of beer, wines and spirits, while the countryside inns play on their rural charms.
Maidstone is famous for its excellent nightlife with thousands of people visiting the town each weekend to visit the nightclubs and bars, which open late and offer a wide variety of music and entertainment
The Lockmeadow Complex houses an 8-screen cinema, plus clubs, restaurants and bars within. And the Hazlitt Theatre offers a varied programme of live shows – its intimate ambience is a perfect venue for alternative comedians. Whether it’s music, comedy, drama or even the odd tribute band you like to see, the Hazlitt will be able to entertain you.
Sports and Fitness
If you like to keep fit or take part in sports there are plenty of gyms and sports clubs in the area that offer great team opportunity with many offering reduced rates for students.
Of course, the 17 acres of parkland on the campus are ideal for walking, running and ball games, particularly during the summer. Riding stables are within ten minutes walk from Boxley campus. You can also row or canoe along the river Medway or even sail from the nearby Upnor/Rochester Harbour.
Maidstone has excellent transport links both nationally and internationally. The train service to London from Maidstone East takes just 50 minutes and trains leave approximately twice hourly. High Speed rail links at Ebbsfleet and Ashford are just half an hour drive from the town, giving fast train links to London and across Europe. There is also easy access to the coast, the ports of Dover and Folkestone, and the Channel Tunnel, where you can travel to France in just 35 minutes. Gatwick, London City and Stanstead airports are all within 11/2 hours drive from the town.
Exploring Kent – the Garden of England
Being in the south-east of England, the county of Kent enjoys a warmer and drier climate than most of the UK and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors come in their thousands each year for Kent’s castles, vineyards and picturesque villages and to explore the 120 miles of accessible coastline; from the popular seaside resorts of Whitstable and Broadstairs to the wide open shores of Dover and Deal, Kent’s coastline offers something for everyone. Less than an hour from Maidstone lies Canterbury, dominated by its famous cathedral and renowned for its beautiful historic buildings. Museums and art galleries are spread throughout the city and Canterbury also has a good mix of department stores and smaller outlets. Leeds Castle, just outside Maidstone, is reputed to be one of the world’s loveliest castles and regularly hosts music concerts. Nearby Rochester, home to England’s second oldest cathedral, also holds festivals to celebrate its ties with the author Charles Dickens, and the county’s hop-picking heritage is marked each year at Faversham’s lively Hop Festival.
For further information on what Maidstone has to offer you may find the following website useful: