Living in Ashford
Ashford Town Centre
As part of an on-going focus from Ashford Borough Council to develop Ashford town centre, the whole area has been transformed.
County Square is the place for all your high street brands and appealing independent and chain stores can be found the adjacent streets and within the council-owned Park Mall. Elwick Place will add more restaurants, a cinema and hotel right in the heart of the town.
Blending the traditional high street experience with modern lifestyle, you’ll be able to visit local, independent stores, restaurants and cafes, and enjoy a monthly farmers’ market.
There are seasonal activities for families, young people and culture lovers from Splashes of Summer events to the Ashford Snowdogs Arts Trail and the annual Create Festival! For more information on events in Ashford, visit Love Ashford.
The Council’s proactive attitude was praised by High-Street Minister Jake Berry and is being shown as an example of the Great British High Street revival.
Parks, lakes and riversides…Ashford has over 47 acres of open spaces across the town and its surrounding areas in the Ashford Green Corridor. Pick your park and explore the Kent countryside throughout the seasons!
If you’d rather spend the day by the water, then the Conningbrook Lakes Country Park is a great option for a day out.
You can also spend time in the Singleton Environment Centre, a unique space located next to 15 hectares of woodland, where you’ll be able to enjoy activities all year-round, as well as spot beautiful Kent wildlife around you.
Living in and around Ashford gives you the perfect blend of countryside and city life
Shopping in Ashford
Not only do we have a vibrant high street, but Ashford is also home to no less than three shopping centres, located in or right next to the town centre.
The Ashford Designer Outlet is a base for 80 luxury international brands such as Ted Baker, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, and will welcome 38 more stores in 2019 following a major expansion. You can make a day of shopping for branded clothes, bags, shoes and more, plus stop for a bite to eat in one of the outlet’s restaurants.
This Ashford Borough Council-owned shopping centre has been credited with the successful regeneration of Ashford’s high street.
If you fancy a more home grown shopping experience, visit the monthly Farmers’ Market, right in the High Street. From locally-grown fruits and vegs to arts and crafts, you’ll discover the best Kentish products.
Eating out in Ashford
Ashford serves up a tempting selection of pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Elwick Place, one of Ashford Borough Council’s Big 8 Projects, is bringing eight new restaurants to the town centre. Throw in a film at the cinema on the same site and you have the ideal family trip out or date night!
Some of the UK’s leading vineyards are located in the wider Ashford district. Producers including Gusbourne, Chapel Down and Biddenden Vineyards offer visitors tours and tastings, with some offering a full Kentish dining experience. It’s the ideal place to discover the local cuisine alongside a glass of English sparkling wine.
Arts and Culture
Ashford is developing a strong arts and culture experience.
The annual free Create Festival brings national and international acts to town and showcases local talent through concerts, theatre and comedy performances. The festival, which attracts thousands of visitors, has now grown to need four stages in its Victoria Park venue.
The town boasts a number of art galleries, exhibition spaces and live music venues, including Revelation St Mary’s. This local venue hosts comedy nights, intimate gigs by up-and-coming artists, and is the place to be if you want to discover the next big UK bands!
The Jasmin Vardimon Company, one of Britain’s flagship dance and theatre companies, chose Ashford as the location for its dance studio. Their space in the Stour Centre is a creative hub and a national centre of excellence. Their regular high-quality workshops initiate local residents and youngsters to the art of dance and choreography and ensure local audiences can take part in their inspiring work.
Alongside JVC, AΦE is another innovative dance company in Ashford, blending arts and technology in their projects, and offering immersive experiences to draw the public in their fascinating world.
Find more information about seasonal events, exhibitions and festivals on the Love Ashford website.
Ashford offers a wide range of activities including trampoline parks, skate parks and local leisure centres.
Flipout Ashford has seen an incredible response from the local public. Wall-to-wall trampolines, stunt area and foam pits… it’s a bouncing paradise!
Sk8side Ashford is the place for every Tony Hawkes-wannabe. There are mini-ramps. Quarter pipes, flat banks and funboxes to practise tricks, as well as an onsite shop for spare parts and set up their own boards.
The Stour Centre plays a strong part in the community life in Ashford, offering swimming pools, spin and fitness studios, spa facilities – essentially everything you need from your local leisure centre, and with good value prices too.
Another local sports venue is the Julie Rose Stadium, near Conningbrook Lakes which provides a gym, fitness classes and multi-games areas.
The surrounding areas
A base in Ashford means you’ll be just minutes from the old market town of Tenterden, which has been picked by the Guardian as a great place to live, or pretty villages including Biddenden, Appledore, Charing and Smarden. It’s also a fantastic place to visit at the weekend, with great cycling routes across Kent as highlighted by The Telegraph.
For more information on the surrounding areas, visit the Ashford and Tenterden website.