Ashford is an ancient town in Kent that’s undergone impressive development and expansion in recent years. It’s only 15 miles from the coast, yet excellent transport links mean that the capital city (and even Europe) is within easy reach. The town is surrounded by gorgeous villages steeped in history, and there’s picturesque rolling countryside right on the doorstep.
Ashford International train station is just outside the town centre and has fast services into London, taking just 40 minutes, making this an excellent place for commuters. Ashford International also has access to the Eurostar. London Gatwick is the closest airport when travelling further afield, and it’s about an hour away. Stagecoach buses run through the town, taking locals to nearby towns and villages.
There are plenty of good schools in Ashford, making it an ideal place for families. Great Chart Primary School is one of the local schools that’s been rated outstanding by Ofsted. There are several secondary schools in the area, including two grammar schools; The Norton Knatchbull School (for boys) and the Highworth School for Girls. Ashford College is for over 16s in the town centre.
Ashford’s high street has a great collection of shops, and there are also three shopping centres nearby, with plenty of options for all tastes and budgets. Ashford Designer Outlet has luxury brands at discount prices, including Michael Kors, ARMANI and UGG. The County Square has all the names you’d expect to find in city centres, including Next, New Look and Waterstones. Park Mall hosts something different, with interesting independent boutiques, such as Jane’s Boutique (ladieswear), Bare Bazaar (a plastic-free food store) and Emporia Fabric & Craft.
There are many pubs, cafés and restaurants in Ashford, including The Old Mill (a cosy pub near the river) and Riverside Inn (with a riverside garden). Just outside Ashford International train station, you’ll find the award-winning Curious Brewery, serving their own beers and ciders alongside some great food. Local restaurants include Amici, a family-run restaurant serving classic Italian food, and The Conningbrook Hotel & Restaurant, which uses local suppliers to source fresh, local produce. Ashford has multiple cafes in and around the town centre, such as Stag Coffee and Café Madeleine.
Healthcare is well provided for by local GP services, pharmacies, and Ashford Hospital.
Eureka Business Park is just off the M20 Junction 9 and has easy access from London. It has multiple well-known restaurants, a large Cineworld Cinema, and Bannatyne Health Club & Spa.
Visit Eastwell Manor Champneys Hotel and Spa for a bit of pampering in the middle of some stunning countryside. You could explore Godinton House & Gardens, or visit the Grade II listed Willesborough Windmill.
There’s plenty of rolling countryside to enjoy around Ashford as it’s right on the doorstep of Kent Downs, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.