Local good places to eat
We are often asked by our clients to recommend some good local places to eat. We are lucky to be so close to Maidstone town centre where there is just about every kind of eatery you could ever want within walking distance. Here are a few of our personal favourites with a short description of each to help you, whether you are just looking for a family-friendly bite to eat or a very special romantic meal for two:-
The White Rabbit is part of the Vintage Inns chain, which provide good, hearty, large-portioned English and Mediterranean dishes (everything from traditional pub fair to delicious sea food) and a large selection of fantastic desserts. They have plenty of tables indoors and out, so you rarely have to book. It is family friendly, with kindly staff, however if taking children it may be wise to take along colouring books or something to entertain them as at busy times there can be a slightly long wait for food. Very reasonable prices for the portions/quality. Lots of comfy sofas and armchairs as well as the usual table service. We recommend the Eton Mess for pudding.
Bill's is part of a relatively new, urban chic chain, with incredibly delicious food - usually modern and tasty twists on old favourites but a whole mix of cooking styles. The chefs here know how to mix flavours and use really good, fresh and quality ingredients that has rarely left us disappointed. During the day, expect a family friendly, upbeat vibe, but in the evening they light the candles and the whole ambience becomes a bit more intimate and romantic. Fabulous food. Good service. Nice, down to earth atmosphere.
Artemis is our local authentic Greek restaurant. Don't be fooled by the fairly low-key decor, the food is gorgeous - just like being on holiday again. The best fish dishes we've ever tasted - especially when they have the sea bream as a special. It can be busy in the evenings so worth booking ahead if Greek is your thing.
Even the paper napkins are gorgeous here. Even the toilets are gorgeous here! The decor is the most ostentatious and fun in the whole of Maidstone, and the food is imaginatively presented and delicious. If you time your visit right they also have bookable events such as music nights and cabarets. Something a little different and special for a couple who want to push the boat out a little.
Our local award-winning Thai restaurant. Fabulous for quick and affordable (and very tasty) set lunches, and bookable for fantastic evening banquets. Good service, incredible flavours. Try the Thom Yam Gai soup!
Places to Stay
Fancy making a weekend of your visit to Rockabelly Lifecasts? If so, here are a few local hotels and B&Bs that we've heard good things about:-
Smart, modern traveler's lodge with a large pool and gym. Our clients who have stayed here have commented that rooms can be quite hot in the warmer months, but that the hotel is well kept and pleasant.
Part of the Vintage Inns chain. Comfortable, homey, friendly and good value for money. Four minutes walk from Rockabelly Lifecasts.
For something a little special, we recommend staying at these converted oast houses in one of the Roundel Rooms that comes with a massive jacuzzi bath big enough for two! About 15 minutes drive from Rockabelly Lifecasts.
Our local, beautiful castle offers many different types of accommodation for all different occasions, but by far our favourite and definitely the most memorable local place to stay are the medieval 'Knights Glamping' pitched tents in the castle grounds. This is in a different league to any camping you've ever tried - with four poster beds, your own little stove - perfect to keep you cosy and to toast marshmallows on, faux fur bedding, twinkly lights, a fantastic BBQ and firepit area (and secret cottage kitchen if it happens to rain), along with free access to the castle and its grounds for the duration of your stay. A night here can feel like a week's holiday. Romantic, fun and very special.
Air B&B offers a whole range of fabulous local accommodation for all different budgets. One of our favourites is this one - big enough for the whole family to stay, a place with real character. Only six minutes walk from our studio and 2 minutes walk from Maidstone East Station.
Local places of interest to visit
We thoroughly recommend the grounds, even with young children as there is plenty to entertain - from the aviary, to the fantastic maze with a magical grotto in the centre, a new children's play area and just plenty of space and greenery. We don't personally rate the inside of the castle much, unless you're really into castles, as much of it seems dedicated to showing off the possessions of more recent owners and not nearly enough space dedicated to the Henry VIII era which suits the castle better. The grounds also contain a Go Ape tree top adventure and Segway experience which can be booked privately.
Only about 25 minutes away is one of the world's most beautiful safari parks, filled with many animals (all extremely well-kept and satisfied - which is illustrated by their fantastic breeding success in the park) all of whom are endangered species. The grounds themselves are utterly beautiful, especially in bluebell season, and even in busy times it can feel like you're alone there as there's so much space and wilderness to roam around in that it never feels crowded or that you have to push and shove for a look at an animal like with other zoos. There is also a beautiful mansion house and gardens for those who like English history, often with art exhibitions. It's one of our favourite places and is worth going to even without the kids in tow.
Yes we are about 40 minutes from the nearest coastline, but you can travel to any of Kent's fantastic beaches within about an hour. One of our favourites is Folkestone for its Artists Quarter, and the bronze lifecast handprints that line the wall of the railway station. There is a fabulous children's outdoor adventure playground and several beaches to choose from - both sand and shingle. Another of our favourite beaches is at Broadstairs - typical Kentish charm, great ice cream shops, really safe and family-friendly sand beach. Or for Florida style sand dunes and miles of gorgeous white sand beaches try a little further along the coast into East Sussex and the beaches of Camber Sands near beautiful Rye.
We're only a stone's throw from both of these fantastic cathedral cities; brimming with history and character, the best fudge shops in Kent, boats and punts to rent, quirky little shops and galleries and great places to eat.
Millennium Park, Cobtree Manor Park & Mote Park - A few minutes drive away are these three fantastic parks which are great for a few hours with the kids. The Millenium Park has several themed areas targeting different age groups, and hosts wonderful open air events at different times of the year. Mote Park has had substantial regeneration - with the most wonderful free playground for kids of all ages, a mini (ride-on) steam train in the summer months on Sundays, and a leisure centre with swimming pool, taboggan slides (for kids), and a large soft play centre inside. Cobtree Manor Park is a favourite for woodland explorers, horse riders and dog walkers and sports a new children's play area, sculpture trail, and visitor's centre. If you are very lucky you may even find the secret animals graveyard hidden in the trees left over from what used to be Maidstone Zoo. Or for an even closer park, we have the lovely Pendenden Heath children's play area at the top of Boxley Road (just head up the hill and turn right at the cross roads and then left into the carpark).
The Rare Breeds Centre - Middle of nowhere about 40 minutes drive from Rockabelly, but well worth seeking out. You can really interact with the animals here, and get involved in all sorts of other fun activities for the family.
The Hop Farm - Entrance is currently fee, and you pay for activities once inside. You can really spend a whole day here and not get bored. Choose from drey rides, adventure playground, children's farm, indoor softplay, exhibitions, bouncy castle, crazy golf, and special themed events at school holiday times. Sadly it seems the former crown jewel of this venue which was possibly the worst and funniest wax work museum of all time seems to have closed now. But there are plenty of other activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Bluewater - For those coming without children, who want to shop shop shop, this massive shopping centre is unrivalled in the South East.
London - Our capital city with something for everyone is only 50 minutes away by train or 45 by car on the M20.
If you require any further information or suggestions to help make your visit to Rockabelly Lifecasts or your stay in Kent more memorable and special, please let us know and we will help in any way we can, from providing local taxi numbers to connecting you with other local businesses that can fulfil your every need.