Original article from Kent Live
Situated just outside of Maidstone, Aylesford is a hidden gem when it comes to Kent's villages.
The river Medway flows right through the heart of the village, and passes under an eye-catching archaic bridge.
Pubs, restaurants and even a hairdresser all line the street and there's definitely a welcoming atmosphere around the place.
Just outside the village itself, however, is a large industrial estate which hosts the likes of Waitrose.
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The huge lorries are constantly leaving their bases to transport good to stores across the South East
The unique contrast between the lively industrial estate and the tranquil village was one of the aspects that had interested me, but I'd never actually visited the area.
I knew that simply had to change, so I headed off to Aylesford to see what all the fuss was about.
Before I started my car, I faced the challenge of plotting where I was going to park.
Unfortunately, a common theme with small villages despite their beauty is the fact there is often a lack of car parks.
On my way through to Aylesford I stumbled across Cobtree Manor Park, a site which had plenty of parking and even a café.
The walk from this location took about 10 to 15 minutes before I reached the village itself, and the route took me through the industrial estate.
However, I don't think I quite expected what was to come next.
After walking a little further, I came to what was the base of the high street, and it almost seemed frozen in time.
Shops were based in archaic-looking buildings and the narrow meandering road through the heart of the village certainly didn't seem suitable for modern-day vehicles.
One moment in particular really captured the heart warming and welcoming spirit around the town as I passed the hairdressers.
I could see the hairdresser sitting outside the shop and as soon as she saw her customer coming up the road she gave her a big wave and greeted her.
After taking a left turn away from the main road, I began walking towards an open space.
I stood on the bank overlooking the River Medway and took in the stunning view.
The water flowed directly under the grand bridge, and many houses had decking along the bank to sit in the sun and enjoy the views.
I'd seen pictures before of the Aylesford bridge, but this was something else.
The sheer size of it was perhaps what I was most surprised by, and it perfectly reinforced the tranquil atmosphere in the village.
During my time spent observing the architecture and then walking across the bridge, I passed many people walking by and taking in the surroundings.
It was also a place many people paused to take a picture or two.
If you want to take a few snaps for Instagram, this is definitely the place to do it.
Aside from the difficult car parking, there seems to be something these pretty Kent villages have in common.
As you stroll through the village, it's difficult to miss a large church peeking over the top of some shops.
The church is situated on a hill, so I decided to follow the spire and try to find out how to get up there.
This seemed like a small-scale version of Goudhurst, where a church was also towering over the village.
Soon enough, I discovered some steps which led me up the hill and towards the church entrance.
As I turned to my right, I was absolutely amazed by the views.
I could see the top of many roofs in the village and even some way into the distance.
The view really was beautiful, and it definitely enhanced the sense that everything was within close proximity around the village.
Overall, I came away from my trip to Aylesford in awe of what I saw.
The centrepiece of the bridge with the water passing underneath was a beautiful sight, and there was a strong community feel around the area.
There was also a rather bizarre contrast between the lively industrial estate nearby and the tranquil village.
It most definitely is one of Kent's hidden gems and I will absolutely be visiting again sometime in the future.
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