The county town of Maidstone was already established by the time the Romans arrived in AD 43, attracted by its situation on the River Medway, allowing easy trade with other towns. It developed into a central market town to the agricultural industry of the surrounding orchards and hop fields.
Known for its numerous small breweries at the end of the nineteenth century due to the river acting as a useful means of transport and the water for beer production, Maidstone is still home to Goacher’s brewery, which uses traditional methods to produce ales using whole Kentish hops.
Maidstone is also the centre of a network of Farmers’ Markets in the immediate area including those in Aylesford, East Farleigh, Headcorn, Lenham, Sutton Valence and Yalding. The county town also hosts Maidstone Market every Tuesday and Saturday from 7am until 1.30pm in the car park under the Lock Meadow Building. Stalls cover a wide range of products from fresh fruit and vegetables to domestic items.
Situated between Dover and London, Maidstone was a main route for pilgrimages and has a rich history of battles, witches and industrialists which can be re-discovered through fascinating points of reference such as the Archbishops’ Palace, All Saints Church, the College of All Saints, Corpus Cristi Hall, Maidstone Town Hall, the Carriage Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery. During the Middle Ages Maidstone hosted fairs, and over the years it has attracted trades including dyers, stonemasons, shoemakers, tailors, blacksmiths, carpenters, butchers, brewers and bakers.