One of the area's most famous landmarks is Leeds Castle, which with its moat and turrets looks every bit the medieval stronghold. Head inside, though, and you'll find interiors created by some of the leading architects of the 1920s and 1930s. As well as the castle itself, there are over 500 acres of gardens and parkland to explore, with a number of different activities on offer. The house is to the east of Maidstone, and can be reached via public transport.
Back in Maidstone, the town centre is dominated by two shopping centres: Fremlin Walk and The Mall, located on either side of the pedestrianised High Street and Jubilee Square. Both the centres and the streets around them offer visitors a mix of high street brands and independent stores. For some real bargains, try Maidstone Market - it takes place each Tuesday and Saturday in the Market Hall, and also spreads into the car park beneath the Lock Meadow Building.
If you're looking for culture and nightlife, close to the market buildings you'll find the Hazlitt Arts Centre, and there are clubs, restaurants and pubs throughout the town centre. Other attractions include the Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery, which houses a fascinating permanent collection as well as regular temporary exhibitions.