Ashford (England)Kent, in the South East of England.
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 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").
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.
Eurostar high-speed trains running from Paris (Gare du Nord), Lille (Europe), Calais (Fréthun) and Brussels (Zuid-Midi) stop at Ashford International railway station (QDH). 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).
All international trains depart from St Pancras International railway station in London. Trains operate each hour direct from St Pancras International via Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International stations, operating frequent train services to Brussels, Calais, Paris, Disneyland Paris, Moutiers, Avignon, Lille and Bourg St Maurice.
Domestic trains to Ashford station are operated by SouthEastern Railway and Southern Railway to London St Pancras to Ebbsfleet (typical journey time 35 – 37 minutes), London Cannon St, London Charing Cross, London Victoria and coast bound Dover Priory, Canterbury West, Ramsgate, Margate.
Ashford International also has train links to London, Canterbury, Tonbridge, Dover, Folkestone and Hastings.
Ashford International has onsite car parking for over 1000 vehicles. Fare and timetable information is available from South East Trains, tel. +44 8457 484950.
By airAshford's closest airport is (London Ashford Airport) (LYX). A small airport with its own airline LyddAir which seems to only serve Le Touquet and Champagne.
The closest major airport is London Gatwick (LGW), approximately a 45- to 50-minute drive away up the M20, M23 and M26.
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.
AFM Private Hirephone: +44 1233 333500
Arrow Taxisphone: +44 1233 666666
Blue Line Taxisphone: +44 1233 666123
United Taxisphone: +44 1233 666999
Xpress Carsphone: +44 1233 666699
By mini coaches & minibuses
Biddenden vineyardsFor local wine and cider (very good and strong!)
address: Hythe Road, Willesborougha white smock mill built in 1869
Ashford Green CorridorA natural 'green' route through Ashford.
address: The Street, Brook
Kent & East Sussex RailwayOperates between Tenterden and Bodiam in East Sussex, passing through some very attractive countryside. A one-day adult unlimited ticket costs £11. 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.
HikingThe 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.
address: Eureka Leisure Park12-screen multiplex cinema.
Tesco Crooksfoot ExtraSupermarket.
John LewisLarge out-of-town department store.
Hoodeners Horsephone: +44 1233 625583address: The Street Great ChartMexican English, cosy pub eaterie fresh food cooked to order and a range of real ales.
Pizza Expressaddress: 14 North StreetTypical Italian, pizzas, pasta dishes and salads.
phone: +44 1233 820280address: Ashford Rd, Bethersden
Trattoria Romanaphone: +44 1233 638033address: 32 Bank St.Italian food in a friendly atmosphere.
Yeung'saddress: 6-10 North StreetOriental 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.
phone: +44 1303 862026address: Canterbury Road, EtchinghillA 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.
address: A20 Charing (Maidstone side)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 Innaddress: Lees Road, Brabourne LeesA country pub. Good food and service.
address: Stalisford GreenParticularly good country pub near Charing. Serves local produce, including local beers/cider.
phone: +44 1233 820534address: Bull Hill, Bethersden
There are many good pubs around the town.
Bar 27address: 27 High StreetVery friendly bar with great food, nice interior and outside seating in Summer.
The County Hoteladdress: 10 High StA large Wetherspoons pub serving food and drink busy from Thursday to Saturday.
Riverside Innaddress: Torrington RoadA 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 Innaddress: Church Rd, WillesboroughA 350-year-old traditional pub
The Hare & Houndsaddress: Maidstone RdAn old pub
The Hoodeners Horsephone: +44 1233 625583address: The Street, Great ChartServing Mexican-style food.
The Flying Horse Innaddress: Boughton LeesAn old pub on the Pilgrims Way.
The Tickled Trout Public Houseaddress: Bridge St, WyeA busy country pub.
address: Ashford Road, TN23 3EDLocal village pub just outside Ashford serving cask ales, home-cooked food. Breakfast, and lunches. Take-aways also available on bar food.
The Georgeaddress: The Street, Bethersden
address: Steeds LaneFollow Romney Marsh Road through Kingsnorth and turn left into Steeds Lane. 3.7 miles from Ashford.
Dunn Street FarmHead North-West along the A20 and then right to Westwell. 4.9 miles from Ashford.
Travel InnOrbital Business Park, Sevington.
TravelodgeEureka Leisure park, near M20 junction 9.
address: Canterbury Road
phone: +44 1233 713333address: Maidstone RoadBasic rooms. Although on its own out of the town in the countryside the motorway unfortunately runs close by so always traffic noise. Small gym, friendly staff.
address: Canterbury Road
address: Simone Weil AvenueSimone Weil Avenue, near M20 junction 9.
phone: +44 1233 213000address: Boughton AluphAn old manor house that must be seen. It is expensive to stay, but lunch is available by booking for £10 for 2 courses or £15 for three.