A major town in the Garden County of Kent, Ashford has good shopping and entertainment amid lovely countryside...
Ashford town centre is a bustling place for local people. There are plenty of shops and a market, as well as ample parking, and it's easy to navigate around the town. The market itself dates back to 1243 when its charter was granted.
Part of the old town dates back to medieval times and you can visit shops and cafes located in the 'Shambles' area, also known as Middle Row, where traditional food shops were located. Many of the buildings are of Jacobean and Georgian style and have been well preserved.
The Borough Museum dates back to 1625 and covers local history including hop farming for beer. You can also visit the Agricultural Museum at Brook, run by the Wye Rural Museum Trust, which has a range of farming equipment and displays to show the development of farming in the area.
The National Heritage Trail has walks in the Ashford area as part of the North Downs, covering places close by such as Hollingbourne, Charing, Cuxton and Chatham, and the walks are well signposted.
It's easy to arrange car rental in Ashford before you travel and you can pick up your vehicle at various downtown locations. Alternatively, you can pick up at Gatwick Airport (LGW) or London City Airport (LCY), both of which are within two hours' drive of the town. To find the best price on car hire in Ashford, use TravelSupermarket's search tool to the left.
It's well worth considering car rental; Ashford gives you access to a range of things to see and do in the area...
There are many vineyards and hop farms you can visit in the area. The many oust houses dot the landscape and several have visitor centres. At Faversham you can do a brewery tour at Shepherd Neame and understand the importance of hops to the area. More recently, grape vines have been planted and brands such as Chapel Down at Tenterden offer tours of this growing industry.
Canterbury is accessible within 30 minutes. With its impressive historic cathedral, the oldest in England, and picturesque city centre streets to wander around, it makes a great day out. You can even take river tours on small boats to see the city from a different view point.
If you like the coast, you can also visit places such as Dover, Folkestone and Gravesend. There are great views and places to visit such as castles and museums. The Isle of Sheppey, Sittingbourne, Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs also make great places to visit for coastal walks and beaches.
Leeds Castle is one of the most picturesque in Britain, set on its own large moat with parkland all around. It was once a Norman stronghold and has been used by royalty (including Henry VIII) through the ages. There are many activities at the castle, as well as concerts in the grounds with the illuminated castle as the backdrop.
Maidstone is the county town of Kent and while it has many council offices and small businesses, it also has excellent shopping and eating. London is also within two hours' drive along the motorway, offering a huge range of attractions for visitors to the area.