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Ashford is a town in Kent, in the South East of England.

Understand[edit]

It is thought that Ashford originates from a settlement that was established around 893AD, which became large enough to have a mention in the doomsday book, listed with a church and two mills under the name "Essetesford" in 1086. Ashford was designated a market town in 1243, and by 1600 had risen to become an important market town, primarily for livestock.

Ashford is in the centre of Kent, and was one of the first towns in Kent that drastically changed into a highly developed town with modern standards. Ashford International railway station was opened on 28 February 1996 and received trains from France terminating at Waterloo, London. Now trains terminate at St Pancras International in London. The town also has an airport with regular flights to France. The town's name is derived from "ash tree" and "ford" (meaning "river crossing").

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The main roads into Ashford are the M20, which runs from the M25 via Maidstone and on to Folkestone, and the A2070, which connects Ashford with Hastings in the south and the A28 to Canterbury in the north.

By train[edit]

International[edit]

Note: Ashford International Station is closed until 2022.

Eurostar high-speed trains running from Paris (Gare du Nord), Lille (Europe), Calais (Fréthun) and Brussels (Zuid-Midi) stop at 1 Ashford International railway station (AFK, QDH IATA). Passengers travelling by Eurostar to the UK from Paris (Gare du Nord), Lille (Europe), Calais (Fréthun) and Brussels (Zuid-Midi) stations undergo UK passport/identity card checks in France/Belgium before boarding, rather than on arrival in the UK. The UK passport checks take place after the French/Belgian passport/identity card exit checks in the stations. However, UK customs checks take place on arrival in the UK.

Passengers travelling to France/Belgium from Ashford International go through French passport/identity card checks in the station before boarding the train, whilst selective customs checks take place on arrival in France/Belgium following disembarkation.

Ashford International is also served by domestic trains from several major London stations (see below).

Local[edit]

Domestic trains to Ashford station are operated by Southeastern and Southern Railway from London St Pancras (typical journey time 35 – 37 minutes), London Cannon St, London Charing Cross, London Victoria Ebbsfleet, Dover Priory, Canterbury West, Ramsgate, and Margate. The high speed trains from London St Pancras cost significantly more than the slower trains from other London stations. The slower trains will take 80 minutes and stop at several intermediate stations.

Ashford International has onsite car parking for over 1000 vehicles.

By air[edit]

Ashford's closest airport is 2 Lydd Airport (London Ashford Airport) (LYX IATA). A small airport with its own airline LyddAir which offers charter flights.

The closest major airport is London Gatwick (LGW IATA), approximately a 45- to 50-minute drive away up the M20, M23 and M26. London Heathrow (LHR IATA) is 90-minutes away.

Get around[edit]

Map of Ashford (England)

By bus[edit]

Most services are run by Stagecoach.

A hire car is a good investment to explore the surrounding country. For example Canterbury is a few pleasant miles away and the "Park and Ride "bus service to the center of Canterbury is tremendous and saves many hassles parking.

By taxi[edit]

By mini coaches & minibuses[edit]

See[edit]

  • 1 Biddenden vineyards. For local wine and cider (very good and strong!)
  • 2 Willesborough Windmill, Hythe Road, Willesborough. open to the public at weekends. a white smock mill built in 1869 New Mill, Willesborough (Q7010396) on Wikidata New Mill, Willesborough on Wikipedia
  • 3 Ashford Green Corridor. A natural 'green' route through Ashford. Ashford Green Corridor (Q4804998) on Wikidata Ashford Green Corridor on Wikipedia
  • 4 The Agricultural Museum, Brook (Wye Rural Museum), The Street, Brook.
  • 5 Godinton House and Gardens. Godinton House (Q5576653) on Wikidata Godinton House on Wikipedia
  • 6 Woodchurch Rare Breeds Centre.
  • 7 Kent & East Sussex Railway. Operates between Tenterden and Bodiam in East Sussex, passing through some very attractive countryside. A one-day adult unlimited ticket costs £17. Bodiam Castle is at the end of the line. A trip on the train and a visit to the castle make a good day out. There is a pub at the entrance to the castle which provides good food, the castle's gift shop and a tea room. Kent and East Sussex Railway (Q3195297) on Wikidata Kent and East Sussex Railway on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • Hiking. The surrounding countryside, particularly the North Downs, are good for walking, with the Pilgrims' Way, North Downs Way and the Stour Valley Walk all in the area, catering for the long distance walker or the day-tripper.
  • Woodland walks. Ashford is surrounded by woodlands which are ideal for day walks. To the North East of the town you can find Kings Wood, Denge Wood and West Wood. Kings Wood is large and it is not unknown for people to get lost and require police assistance. All of these woods have free parking.
  • 1 Devil's Kneading Trough. A beautiful area on the North Downs and North Downs Way. It claims to have the best view in Kent, overlooking Ashford District. You can see as far as Beachy Head in Sussex. There is also an easy 1.5km walk to Wye Crown.
  • 2 Wye Crown. The crown is best viewed from a distance, however it is a good walk and is on the North Downs Way. The view over Kent is stunning.There is no car parking above or below the crown, so the best way is to walk from the Devils Kneading Trough (1.5km) or up hill from Wye following the North Downs Way (2.5km).
  • 3 Cineworld Cinemas, Eureka Leisure Park (near Junction 9 of the M20 motorway). 12-screen multiplex cinema. You can also find many restaurants here and a hotel. Short term parking in Sainsbury's car park, the other side of the motorway is possible.

Buy[edit]

Ashford is a hotspot in the southeast for shopping.

  • 1 Ashford Designer Outlet, Kimberley Walk, TN24 0SD (1 mile (1.6 km) from town centre via Station Road and Avenue Jacques Faucheux, adjacent to Ashford International Station (Eurostar side)), +44 1233 895 941, +44 1233 895 940, . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Covered shopping centre with 85 designer brand stores, running the gamut from Armani to Zwilling. A major expansion project was completed during 2019 which increased the number of shops and removed some of the more downmarket food outlets (McDonald's). £5 parking a day. Ashford Designer Outlet (Q4804999) on Wikidata Ashford Designer Outlet on Wikipedia
  • Tesco Crooksfoot Extra (just off junction 10 of M20). 24 hour. Supermarket.
  • John Lewis (Just off junction 9 of M20). Large out-of-town department store.

Eat[edit]

Ashford is well served by many different restaurants. A short walk around the town centre will find most varieties of cuisine.

  • Hoodeners Horse, The Street Great Chart, +44 1233 625583. Mexican English, cosy pub eaterie fresh food cooked to order and a range of real ales.
  • Pizza Express, 14 North Street, +44 1233 637700. Typical Italian, pizzas, pasta dishes and salads.
  • Mumbai Gate, Ashford Rd, Bethersden (on the A28, towards Tenterden), +44 1233 820280.
  • Trattoria Romana, 32 Bank St., +44 1233 638033. Italian food in a friendly atmosphere.
  • Paper Duck, 6-10 North Street, +44 1233 613813. Daily noon-3PM and 6-12PM. Oriental buffet restaurant with over 40 freshly prepared dishes to choose from, eat as much as you like. £5.80-10.80 per person.

Further out of town, pubs offer good food at reasonable prices. Wye also has some good restaurants.

  • [dead link] The New Inn, Canterbury Road, Etchinghill (jnc 11, M20), +44 1303 862026. A 16th-century coaching inn, village pub and highly popular restaurant. Fantastic reputation for fine cuisine, open seven days a week for lunches and evening meals. Terrific food, real ale, oak beams & cosy atmosphere.
  • [dead link] The Swan, A20 Charing (Maidstone side) (from roundabout in Charing, take Maidstone turn; other left after 100 m), +44 1233 712357. 3 restaurants in one: Thai, steak bar and sushi bar - all are highly recommended and reasonably priced. Well decorated in an unusual style. Booking is advisable at the weekend.
  • Plough, Stalisford Green. Particularly good country pub near Charing. Serves local produce, including local beers/cider.
  • Bull Inn, Bull Hill, Bethersden, +44 1233 820534.

Drink[edit]

Locally produced Biddenden wine and cider are high quality. The cider at 8% ABV is only sold by the half-pint in some pubs. There is no shortage of good pubs and bars although the best tend to be in the villages around the town.

There are many good pubs around the town.

  • Bar 27, 27 High Street. Very friendly bar with great food, nice interior and outside seating in Summer.
  • The County Hotel, 10 High St. A large Wetherspoons pub serving food and drink busy from Thursday to Saturday.
  • Riverside Inn, Torrington Road (opposite the Designer Outlet, off Asda roundabout then right into Beaver Road and then 2nd right again into Torrington Road), +44 1233 633404. Daily: food served M-Sa noon-9PM, Su 2-6PM. A 5-minute walk from the International Station this country-feel family pub has a reputation for homecooked food with daily specials and an extensive menu. Two beer gardens. Tuesday Steak Night and Wednesday Mexican Night.
  • William Harvey Inn, Church Rd, Willesborough (from Ashford town centre travel out along the A292, Hythe Road towards Hythe, with the Willesborough Windmill on your left turn right at the traffic lights in to Church Road). A 350-year-old traditional pub
  • The Hare & Hounds, Maidstone Rd (a couple of miles out of the town along the A20, heading towards Maidstone). An old pub
  • The Hoodeners Horse, The Street, Great Chart (in the village, near the A28 on the way to Tenterden), +44 1233 625583. Serving Mexican-style food.
  • The Flying Horse Inn, Boughton Lees (adjacent to the village cricket field in Boughton on the A251 heading towards Faversham). An old pub on the Pilgrims Way.
  • The Tickled Trout Public House, Bridge St, Wye (adjacent to Wye railway station and the River Great Stour). A busy country pub.
  • The Queens Head, Ashford Road, TN23 3ED (295 from Ashford International Station or on the A2070 Ashford Road), +44 1233 620769. 8AM-11PM. Local village pub just outside Ashford serving cask ales, home-cooked food. Breakfast, and lunches. Take-aways also available on bar food.
  • The George, The Street, Bethersden.
  • 1 Curious Brewery (Close to Ashford International Station). Ashford's first proper brewery. It has a restaurant on site offering gourmet burgers and similar fare.

Sleep[edit]

Camping[edit]

Budget hotels[edit]

  • 1 Premier Inn, +44 870 1977305. Orbital Business Park, Sevington.
  • 2 Travelodge, +44 1233 213000. Eureka Leisure park, near M20 junction 9. Just like every other Travelodge, but it is right next to fast food outlets such as Nando's, Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald's.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Ashford
LondonMaidstone  NW UK-Motorway-M20.svg SE  Folkestone/Channel TunnelDover
HastingsTenterden  SW UK road A28.svg NE  CanterburyMargate



This city travel guide to Ashford is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.