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Ashford, Kent, England

Town of Ashford, Kent

Geographical position has been a dominant factor in Ashford ’s history and one which also looks likely to shape its future. There are different schools of thought as to how the name Ashford was derived. Records show that for several centuries the settlement or town in Ashford was known as "Essetesford". The 16th century writer Philpot believed that "Essetesford" stood for "ash trees growing near a ford", while Lampard, a 16th century local historian, suggested that it meant "a ford over the river Eshe or Eshet", which was the old name for the tributary of the River Stour which rises at Lenham. No one can be quite sure when the first settlement was made in the area. Roman remains have been found locally at Westhawk, and a road, built to transport iron ore from the Weald of Kent to the north Kent Coast, went through the town, roughly following what is now Kingsnorth Road and Beaver Road in South Ashford and Station Road and Wellesley Road through to Kennington.

It is believed that the town’s real origins lie in the ninth century when the country was invaded by the Danes in 893. At that time there were settlements at Great Chart and Appledore, and as the Danes plundered and raided these communities the inhabitants fled to the forests for safety. It is thought that many of the survivors settled either in nearby forest or in the "Royal Ville of Wye". As a reward for their services in battle a group of people are thought to have settled on land in what is now Ashford, given to them by the Saxon Lord.

Prior to the Norman invasion, it is known that part of Ashford was owned by St. Augustine’s Abbey at Canterbury, part belonged to King Edward the Confessor and part to Earl Godwin, the father of King Harold. After the Conquest, St Augustine’s retained its possessions, but the remainder was given to Hugh de Montfort, one of the Conqueror’s commanders, as a reward for his services in battle.

In the Domesday Book survey compiled by the Normans in 1086, Ashford is entered as having a church and two mills.

By 1600 Ashford was well established as an important and flourishing market town. Ashford was aided in this by its location, with roads to the port of Faversham and to Canterbury, Hythe, Romney Marsh and the Weald. Just as important was the number of large estates in the district owned by the nobility.

The town consisted of a small mediaeval gathering of buildings with the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin at its centre. Close by was the Six Bells, the Chequers and the Court House, a number of ale houses, shops, craftsmen’s premises and cottages. The present Middle Row was known as The Shambles and provided markets for fish, corn, meat, butter and livestock.

Down by the river stood the mill and the tannery. New Rents and St. John’s Lane were narrow ways out of the town and can still be seen today. The countless Tudor buildings made Ashford one of the most picturesque towns in the county and this little jewel was set in water meadows surrounded by ancient woodlands.

Over the years a number of factors have played a part in shaping the town, and many notable characters and organisations have their origins in Ashford.

Official Ashford Borough Council website

Ashford International Station - Eurostar


Ashford International Station is purpose-built station dedicated solely to Eurostar is situated in Kent and convenient for those living in the South East including South-east London, Sussex, Essex, Hampshire and Surrey. The state-of-the-art terminal offers:-

Close to M20 motorway

Parking for up to 2000 cars

Multi-lingual Customer Service staff

Bureau de Change

Cafes offering a range of food and refreshments

Parent and Baby room

Map of Ashford Kent Eurostar

Eurostar - Introduction

Eurostar is the fast rail service directly linking the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel. It started operating in 1994, providing city centre to city centre services.

With the opening of the new UK fast line on 28 September 2003 the fastest return journey times have been reduced by 40 minutes.  The fastest London-Paris journey time is now 2 hours 35 minutes, London-Brussels 2 hours 15 minutes and London-Lille 1 hour 40 minutes.

Eurostar runs up to 14 services to Paris and nine to Brussels daily. In addition, up to nine trains stop at Lille in northern France, and up to four services stop at Calais Frethun en route. Also, 14 trains call daily at the terminal at Ashford International , which serves as the principal passenger gateway from Kent.

There are direct daily services from St Pancras International and Ashford to the gates of Disneyland Resort Paris and, during the winter holiday season, Eurostar operates two services every week to Moutiers and Bourg St Maurice in the French Alps.

Eurostar also runs a direct service to Avignon in Provence on Saturdays during the Summer.

In addition, Eurostar offers connecting tickets to over 100 destinations across France, Belgium and the Netherlands. For example, Lyon can be reached in five hours from London and Marseille in seven hours. Brussels Midi is the gateway for the Netherlands with easy connections to Amsterdam (about six hours from London).

Eurostar offers a same day or next day parcels and collection service between London, Paris and Brussels under the name of Esprit Europe.

Eurostar's ticket prices vary to meet all budgets.  Leisure travellers enjoy the cheapest fares - with permanent lead-in short break fares from £59 return.

Since starting operations in November 1994, Eurostar has more than doubled the total number of passengers travelling (by air or rail) between London and Paris/Brussels.  Eurostar has checked-in over 50 million people since operations began.

In September 2003, Eurostar began carrying guide dogs on its services from London o Paris and Brussels.

To establish the Eurostar service, it was necessary to overcome significant rail network differences between the UK, France and Belgium. European rail networks primarily focus on domestic services, employing different technologies, for example, in power supply and signalling, as well as in commercial areas such as ticket distribution systems. Eurostar has successfully overcome all these obstacles, operating safely and efficiently across the three territories.

Eurostar: Setting new standards for international train travel

Eurostar has been at the leading edge of innovation in the rail industry, setting new standards for travel by train. It was one of the first rail operators to introduce business lounges, a loyalty programme, Premium First Class and meal inclusive tickets for first class passengers.

Eurostar has successfully built up a significant market share by offering a number of advantages over other forms of transport. These include:

Seamless city centre to city centre travel

Frequency of services

Greater punctuality in service than competitors

Comfort and space

Time efficiency - door to door journey times are faster than air

Cost competitiveness

Fast and convenient check-in. 10 minute check-in for Premium and Business First Class full-fare ticket holders.

Arrival in city centre, no queues, no baggage reclaim

Transparent and generous compensation policy, in the event of delay or cancellation

Benefits for regular users as part of Eurostar Frequent Traveller loyalty scheme, including free travel as well as offers from a range of exclusive partners chosen to give a flavour of Eurostar's destinations.

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