Ashford is a town in Kent, England. It lies on the River Great Stour at the south of the North Downs which is about 61 miles south east of central London. At the time of the 2011 census, the population was 74,204. Ashford gets its name from an Old English word which meant a ford near a clump of ash trees.
Ashford has been a market town since the 13th century, and a regular market still takes place there. It has been a communication hub for many years and stands at the centre of five railway lines which have been there since the 19th century. The town grew as the construction of the railways contributed to employment. The international passenger station is now a European communications centre, and new lines run between London at the Channel Tunnel via HS 1.
The town has been in plans for expansion since the 1960s. A shopping centre, named County Square, was opened in the late 1980s as an extension and redevelopment of the Tufton Centre. The award winning Ashford Designer Outlet was built in 2000. The Templer Barracks at Repton Park have also been redeveloped.
A popular local landmark is St Mary's Church, which was built in the 13th century and expanded in the 15th. The church not only host worship but also entertainment. Ashford also has two grammar schools, named the Norton Knatchbull School, established in the 17th century, and the Highworth Grammar School for Girls, established in 1904.