|Homes sold in the last 12 months||330||529||345||579|
|Average house prices||£140,506||£257,544||£386,128||£198,946|
Kent's county town is just over 30 miles south-east of London. The River Medway cuts through it, linking it with Rochester and historically the lifeblood of Maidstone's trade.
Once a centre for heavy industry, the local economy has changed over the years to focus more on lighter and service industries.
Property in Maidstone ranges from three-bedroom semi-detached cottages to five-bed family farmhouses to manor houses. There are also period houses and barn conversions, especially in some of the villages just outside the town, along the M20 corridor, and these are in hot demand.
The A20 runs through Maidstone while the M20 skirts it to the north. The M2 and A21 are not far away.
Train links are also excellent, with three stations in the area and two trains per hour from Maidstone East to London Victoria, even off-peak. The short journey time of under an hour makes commuting to the capital a realistic option.
The river has long been used for houseboats and pleasure trips rather than commerce, but it is still a vital part of the town's life, and for many years there has been a river festival over the last weekend of July.
With 15 secondary, 23 primary and two special schools in the area, there's plenty of choice. Two of the secondary schools were awarded Business and Enterprise College status, while Maidstone is also home to girls' and boys' grammar schools.
Ranked one of the south east's top five shopping centres, Maidstone is sheer heaven for retail therapy lovers. Check out the Mall Maidstone and Fremlin Walk, which opened in 2006.
The Lockmeadow Centre houses a multiplex cinema, restaurants and clubs offering some of Kent's best nightlife, and the town's market square, while Hazlitt Arts Centre offers events ranging from comedy to music and theatre.
History buffs will be in their element. A stroll around the pedestrianised town centre reveals treasures like the 14th century Archbishop's Palace, where the Archbishop of Canterbury resided until 1538, while the Church of All Saints is reckoned to be one of the country's biggest.
To get a feel for what rural Kent was like in the past, visit the Museum of Kent Life at Cobtree, while Leeds Castle is just one of many local attractions and days out - it's been dubbed "the loveliest castle in the world."
So, for a slice of life in the Garden of England, there are countless reasons to make a beeline for Maidstone!
Source acknowledgement: House price data produced by Land Registry
This material was last updated on 01 May 2015. It covers the period from 03 January 1995 to 31 March 2015.
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