Known as the Garden of England, Kent is a gorgeous county filled with countless towns and villages – three of which are considered ‘royal’ towns and each with so much to offer. Kent is located in the South East of England and has everything from beautiful countrysides, stunning historic castles and relaxing beaches. Located in Kent, is a well known town, Ashford. Ashford is home to an international train station, many modern cafes, restaurants and bars, and independent shops. It is a great place to spend the day or whole weekend, whether it be a solo trip, with friends, family or as a couple – there is so much to do for everyone. Keep scrolling down to see how to spend the perfect day out in Ashford…
Relax in Coffee Shops & Tea Rooms
There are a huge number of coffee shops and tea rooms scattered across the town in Ashford, all with friendly faces and of course, great drinks! This is is a great way to kickstart your day, or somewhere to settle down for a break in between all of the excitement. Some lovely places to stop by include:
- Curious Brewery
- Lost Sheep Coffee
- The Beehive
- The Little Teapot
- Stag Coffee
Explore the Independent Shops
With the vast number of chain restaurants, shops and everything else you see in almost every town, it was a breath of fresh air to visit some of Ashford’s independent shops. I’d highly recommend stopping at a few during your day out in Ashford, the people in these shops always seem much happier, welcoming and passionate about their business – and this is something I love. There are many independent shops throughout the town such as music shops, clothing, arts and crafts and much more. One in particular is a MUST SEE when visiting Ashford and this is ‘Made in Ashford‘.
Made in Ashford is a local business that has been running since 2015 and is filled with gorgeous art and craft pieces. The shop is crammed with the most unique & homemade selection and is a great place to find a meaningful gift or a special treat for yourself. The shops provides the opportunity for small local businesses to sell their products within the shop, by renting a section of the shelf. There are currently (Oct 2019) pieces from 47 different creatives and business within this shop – so a huge variety of styles and designs! Made in Ashford also offer an exciting range of craft workshops at a very low price, so to be inclusive to everybody – so why not try something creative during your day out?!
Another incredible shop to visit is ‘The Beehive‘ which started in 2017 as a pop-up shop and is now operating in permanently on North Street, Ashford. As their motto states ‘From the Community, For the Community’, they really are a genuine, kind hearted business that gives as much as they get. The idea behind this shop is that people from the community can donate their old clothes that are still in great condition – a lot of these clothes are high-end and designer! Women who cannot afford clothing can be referred here through other services, and they can shop as normal, the only difference is the price comes to £0 when they take their items to the till – how amazing is that?! This offers opportunities so many people who otherwise may be discouraged, such as being able to wear formal clothes for job interviews etc! Not only is The Beehive a wonderful shop, but it is also a cafe! They serve lovely teas and coffees AND fantastic cakes which are ALL vegan!! They source their cakes by a local baker, ‘Floral Frosting‘, and they all look absolutely delicious.
Eat, Drink & Watch a Movie
Located in Elwick Place, Ashford is an amazing cinema that completely changes the way you experience movie nights. Picturehouse opened in December 2018 and every since has been a great hit, for many reasons. Picturehouse is not your typical cinema, as you walk through the doors you are immediately hit with a stunning red carpet leading you upstairs to the seating area where you can relax on comfy sofas and grab yourself some drinks and a bite to eat. This cinema has a real retro feel and is much more luxurious than the typical cinema you see nowadays. You can take food and drinks into the screenings and sit back with (oh yes) a glass of wine. What particularly stands out to me in this cinema is that the screenings are completely accessible to everyone. They run dementia-friendly screenings, autism-friendly screenings, events for kids and even baby groups, so no matter your situation, they are very accommodating!
take a stroll in the park
Amongst the vibrant high street of Ashford are a few pretty parks which are great for a winter stroll or even a summers picnic. During autumn, the leaves turn orange and red which makes the parks even more scenic. The most Central Park in Ashford is Victoria Park, which is very well maintained and colourful. There is also The Queen Mother’s Park, where you can enjoy a lovely walk down by the river, or Conningbrook Lakes Country Park which is just a short distance from the town centre.
enjoy a Brewery Tour
That’s right, you don’t have to the big city to experience a brewery tour – Ashford has your back! Curious Brewery is an incredible business that have created their very own beer that is available in many restaurants, supermarkets and retailers. Not only can you pop into their bar & restaurant, but you can also experience a tour around their brewery and a tasting session too! The bar & restaurant is very modern and classy, with records to choose from to be played throughout the building. Their are of course, is amazing, and after your visit, if you can’t get enough, you can always pop to their shop downstairs and purchase some more to take home!
I hope you have a lovely time exploring Ashford, let me know what you get up to!
As always, love Elise x
P.S. This blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Love Ashford, however all photos, experiences and opinions are my own and always honest.