County Town: Maidstone
Population: 1,587,200 (1999 figures)
Area: 1,442 sq miles/ 3,735 sq
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Maidstone, the county town of Kent, is situated in the heart of the 'Garden of England' and boasts a fascinating history, active retail centre and extensive leisure and entertainment opportunities, all set in a gentle landscape of beautiful countryside and charming villages. Located just an hour from London and with convenient road access, Maidstone is an ideal place for a day trip or an extended stay.

Despite many changes through the centuries, evidence of old Maidstone is still visible in the town today. The wonderful cluster of 14th century buildings including All Saints' Church, Archbishops' Palace and the College of Priests, and the Archbishops Stables are reminders of the town's long history as a centre of religion and government. Housed in a charming Elizabethan Manor, Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery is the perfect place to explore Maidstone's colourful past.

Why not enjoy a relaxing boat trip along the River Medway departing from the town centre and cruising through the Millennium River Park to the Museum of Kent Life, where you can discover the rich and vibrant history of the people who lived and worked in the county over the past 150 years.

Once a traditional market town, Maidstone now hosts a wide range of famous name and specialist stores within the Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre, The Mall, Chequers and the Royal Star Arcade are home to. Aside from the shops, the town offers numerous restaurants with something to suit all tastes, a multiscreen cinema, ten pin bowling, nightclubs, leisure centre and a theatre.

Situated in the heart of Kent, Maidstone is the ideal touring base from which to explore the surrounding picturesque villages and countryside. Leeds Castle 'the loveliest castle in the world' is just 5 miles from the centre of Maidstone.

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For more information contact:
South East Tourism - 0871 572 2475

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Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps. - David Lloyd George
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On this day:
Battle of Halidon Hill - 1333, Sinking of the Mary Rose - 1545, The Rosetta Stone Revealed - 1799, SS Great Britain launched by Brunel - 1843, Jeffrey Archer Jailed - 2001
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