There’s nothing like heading to the countryside for some fresh air and to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway, you’d want to go to Maidstone – a hidden gem in southern England. It’s easy to get there from London, and the area has a plethora of nice neighbourhoods and lovely attractions to visit. 

Whether you want to explore the ruins of the past, spend the day amongst nature or enjoy a first class gin tour and tasting, Maidstone’s sure to have something for you. Below, we’ve curated a list of some of the best things that you can do by heading to Maidstone for the weekend. 


Spend the day at Leeds Castle 

Daffodils at Leeds CastleWhen you’re at Maidstone, you definitely have to visit Leeds Castle. It’s set in 500 acres of Kentish Parkland and was once the private property for six of England’s medieval queens and is currently an incredibly popular and most visited historic building in the UK. The castle just celebrated its 900th anniversary in 2019 and also has plenty of events throughout the year from the Festival of Flowers to the Christmas Market. As you visit the castle, you'll learn more about its fascinating history and admire the design of the various rooms. 

After you’re done exploring the castle, challenge yourself at the Leeds Castle maze, walk through the stunning gardens or have fun playing Adventure Golf. If you’d like, you can also choose to stay at Leeds Castle’s luxurious bedrooms or even do a bit of medieval glamping, the choice is yours! 

Try some Gin at the Maidstone Distillery 

The Maidstone Distillery is set in a gorgeous building that's been lovingly restored. While there, you can choose to go on a distillery tour or learn more about gin at the guided gin making experience. At the distillery tour, you’ll start with a delicious George Bishop gin and tonic before heading into the experience room. There, you’ll learn more about the history of distilling, the processes, and have a tasting of the various spirits. 

During the guided gin making tour, you’ll get to create your very own bottle of gin, how neat is that? Have a drink at the bar, and head through to the experience room where you’ll learn more about the distillation process. Then, use the distillery’s very own miniature stills and design and create your own spirit over the course of the next two hours. It's a fantastic experience and a great way for you to create a recipe that suits your personal taste. 

Stay at Gorgeous Accommodation 

There’s lots of great accommodation that you can stay at while you’re visiting Maidstone. The Potting Shed is one such accommodation that consists of six uniquely themed bedrooms. This unique bed and breakfast also uses solar powered energy for an eco-friendly stay. All ingredients are also locally sourced, and it’s the perfect place to escape for a weekend hideaway. 

Location wise, the bed and breakfast is close to Leeds Castle and the North Downs Way. There’s also both a pub and restaurant on-site so you can grab a refreshing glass of beer or have some exceptional food. Additionally, there’s a garden at the bed and breakfast that you can stroll through and every comes with a private patio that has a garden view. In the morning, select from either continental or a la carte breakfast options that’s a great way to start your day.

Visit the Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery

Maidstone Museum

Formerly the Chillington Manor, the Maidstone Museum is a great place to take a look at a range of art and antiquities. It has a good mix of collections from decorative art to Japanese art and even Edo-period woodblock prints. Other things that you’d get to see at the museum include an Egyptian Mummy along with a chair that once belonged to Napoleon. 

Have a Delicious Meal at Frederic Bistro 

While there’s plenty of delicious food at Maidstone, don’t miss dining at this rustic bistro that serves French provincial food. Everything at the bistro is made with fresh seasonal produce and ingredients. The Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on certain days of the week and you’d need to make bookings in advance as this spot is extremely popular. 

Some items that you can expect to enjoy at the bistro include braised rabbit leg, a lamb chop cassoulet and fresh sea bass along with a range of other dishes for an unforgettable dining experience. 

Spend some Time at Kent Life 

Kent Life, old chapel

This open-air museum spans 28-acres and is a working heritage museum with plenty to explore for a fun day out. Start by wandering through the Vintage Village with homes that were a part of Kent’s rural past. Then, head to Kent Owl Academy to marvel at these beautiful creatures. While you’re there don’t forget to also say hello to the meerkat family. 

Other great things that you can do at Kent Life include strolling through the ornamental herb garden at Kentish Gardens, get lost in the apple orchards, or explore the two farmhouse gardens in the area. Kentish Gardens also has the last coal-fired Oast house that’s perfect to learn more about the traditions of hop picking. Before you leave, don’t forget to explore the shops around the area and visit the animals that are housed in historic outhouse barns. 

Immerse Yourself in Nature at Mote Park 

If you want to relax and take it easy, head to Mote Park. The area has expansive open spaces with lush greenery and a lake that you can hire boats from. It’s a great place to head to for a picnic, or have a fun day out with some outdoor sports such as football or cricket. 

There’s a wide range of recreational activities that you can do at Mote Park from having fun at dino golf to scaling the climbing wall. If you’re hungry, there’s also a cafe in the park for hot food and drinks. 



Above, we’re just scratching the surface of some of the things you can do at Maidstone. There’s plenty more that you can do from enjoying a glass of wine at Hush Heath Winery to grabbing a drink at a country pub. It’s truly the best way to get away from the hecticness of everyday life and unwind at the tranquil countryside. 

Related

Leeds Castle
Castle / Fort
Leeds Castle early morning sunrise.

Set in 500 acres of Kentish parkland, Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous; and in the 21st century, it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.

Kent Life - Heritage Farm Park
Museum
Child with a goat at Kent Life Heritage Farm Park

Kent Life is a vibrant and fun destination with whole host of family friendly attractions across its 28 acre site, offering a great day out for everyone. Whether you want to learn about Kent history, get up close with farm animals, or simply burn off some steam, this is a great place to be. Each season brings something new and exciting things to the farm, so whatever time of year you chose to visit, there is always something different to discover.  Kent Life features the only working coal-fired Oast House which is fired up in the autumn for drying hops and the traditional process of beer making begins. There are also lots of family friendly farm animals, play and picnic areas, a wonderful vintage tea room and historic houses and buildings

The Maidstone Distillery
Distillery
The Stills, the history and the tasting room at Maidstone Distillery

Maidstone Distillery is now fully open with tours, tastings, and workshops.

Maidstone Museums
Museum
Samurai armour at Maidstone Museum

Maidstone Museum is an exceptional regional museum housed in the gorgeous Chillington Manor, an Elizabethan manor house. Come and discover the hidden gems in the collections, which boast a rich and impressive variety of historical objects, fine art and natural history.

Mote Park
Parkland / Woodland Garden
Mote Park in Autumn

Mote Park is an award-winning park with 450 acres of mature parkland and a 30 acre lake, providing a wide range of recreational activities. Featuring a children's play area, and a miniature railway.

The Potting Shed
Bed & Breakfast
Bedroom at The Potting Shed

Six uniquely themed bedrooms in the heart of Kent. Step out of the every day and into an immersive eco-haven, with living roofs, solar powered energy and locally sourced food and drink, right on your doorstep. Perfect for a weekend hideaway or an unforgettable countryside retreat. Close to true Kentish delights such as Leeds Castle and the North Downs Way and set in the grounds of our welcoming pub and restaurant, our rooms offer extraordinary design finished to an exceptional standard.

Frederic Bistro
Bar
Frederic's restaurant interior and wine shop

We are a rustic café-bistro serving French provincial peasant food – everything is cooked from scratch using fresh seasonal produce and ingredients.

Balfour Winery
Vineyard
Friends on Balfour Winery Balcony

The deck will be open for sharing platters and wine. The self-guided vineyard walks will also be available.

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