Archbishops Palace

The present day Archbishops’ Palace was formerly known as the manor of Maidstone and described in the Domesday Survey as land held by the Archbishop of Canterbury at “Meddestane”.

The manor of Maidstone was given to the Archbishops by Rector William de Cornhill in 1207 to be used as a resting-place for Archbishops travelling between London and Canterbury and is inked to Palaces at Charing, Otford and Croydon.

The buildings surrounding the Palace, the Archbishops’ Stables to the east and ‘the gatehouse’ (Tourist Information Centre) were probably used as a mill and lodgings for the Archbishops’ staff of accountants, butlers, cooks and clerks.

Visitors are welcome to browse through the Palace when the historical meeting rooms are not in use. The neighbouring Apothecary’s Garden is open to the public from 1st May to end August Wednesday afternoons only. The Herb Garden is open every Wednesday until the end of September.

In the 14th Century Archbishop Courtenay swept away the original Saxon church St.Mary’s and built All Saints. It’s believed to be one of the finest examples of the ‘English Perpendicular Style’.

The high wall at the back of the Palace shows a sloping recess with a boarded window about 12 — 15 feet above the ground. Local Legend reveals this was once a dungeon and its most famous occupant was John Ball, ‘the mad priest of Kent’. His refusal to accept or conform to the established social order, resulted in the Archbishop of Canterbury sentencing him to life imprisonment for sedition.

He was sprung from jail in 1381 during the ‘peasants revolt’ — a protest at the poll tax introduced by Chancellor Sudbury — who was also Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ball was seen as a natural ally because of his beliefs and rousing sermons for the removal of the Pope and Archbishops acting as the clarion call to the masses.

On the 14th June the rebels marched on London and although King Richard II was sympathetic to their demands his advisors had no intention of meeting them. Realising this the rebels stormed the Tower of London the only people in history to have done so.


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Maidstone Borough Council is part of the Heart of Kent Consortium

Maidstone Borough Council is part of the Heart of Kent Consortium – a co-operation between Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Sevenoaks District Council.

Each area has unique visitor attractions and accommodation and the aim of the consortium is to join these together to create a destination – The Heart of Kent.


To find accommodation in the Maidstone area click upon the preferred type of accommodation to link through to the Heart of Kent web site.

The tourism industry launched a new set of quality assured accommodation standards for hotels and guest accommodation in September 1999. The English Tourism Council, the AA and the RAC now all inspect against the same standards.

This means that ratings awarded to any establishment will be the same regardless of which organisation carries out the inspection. All of the Heart of Kent hotels and B&B;’s listed in the Heart of Kent have either been inspected or have applied for inspection.

To request an Accommodation Holiday Guide – please click here and complete your details.

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Getting to Maidstone

Whether you will be arriving by road, rail, air or sea, Maidstone – Kent’s County Town – is undoubtedly excellently placed and easy to access wherever you are travelling from!

Maidstone Maps

To find a Street in Maidstone:

Want more information?

The Maidstone Town and Country Pocket Guide includes local maps and travel information, along with details of Maidstone’s attractions.

Travel Information

By Car: 

From Dover, Ashford International Station and the Channel Tunnel via the M20 motorway. Maidstone is accessed from junctions 5, 6, 7 and 8.

From London and the rest of the UK via the M25 and M26/M20 motorways. Maidstone is accessed from junctions 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the M20.

Michelin Routefinder

Distances from Maidstone
TownDistance (miles)Distance (km)


Why not save the hassle of finding a parking space in town by using the award-winning Park & Ride service?  To find out more visit Digital Maidstone

By Rail:

Maidstone town centre is easily accessible through its two railway stations:

Maidstone East:

London / Ashford services: If arriving at Maidstone East turn right at the station exit into Week Street and you are in the Town Centre.

Maidstone West:

Gatwick / Strood services: If arriving at Maidstone West turn right at the station exit, walk down the hill and over the bridge into the High Street. This useful link may help you to plan your trip:

By Sea:

Maidstone is situated closely to the Channel Ports – useful links are listed below :

Eurotunnel –

P & O Stena Ferries –

Sea France Ferries –

By Air:

Gatwick and Heathrow airports have regular flights to and from all other UK airports as well as an extensive range of international destinations. Both airports are easily accessible to Maidstone.

Distances from Maidstone
Gatwick Airport41 miles66 km
Heathrow Airport66 miles107 km
Stansted Airport60 miles95 km


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