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Would You Consider a Staycation in Maidstone?

13 The Mallows “Cosy Retreat”

By Nessy WriterPublished 4 months ago 5 min read
Photo taken by Author

In this economy, many of us are probably now considering holidays a bit closer to home. Covid definitely also had a hand in making the idea of a “staycation” more normalised. If you’re in the UK and considering where to go this Summer, feel free to join me in this review of our stay at 13 The Mallows in Maidstone. Amongst my friends, the staycation has actually been somewhat of an annual tradition. Every Summer, one of my closest friends hosts a weekend away for her birthday somewhere in the UK.

Summer is definitely the time to do it, and usually we arrange and book it at the start of the year. Last year (apologies for the delayed, retrospective write up, thanks ADHD), the group that could come was far smaller. Over the years we had evolved from a yurt, to glamping in a field, to little pods in a Cherry Orchard, to a house in the country that had a pool. This year it would be a smaller house we were sharing in Maidstone.

By Dan Gold on Unsplash

Previously I’d hitched a ride with one of the girls in the group who were driving. This came in handy when all our trips had previously been in the middle of nowhere. Gates to be opened onto fields and dead ends did feature. I no longer have a car. Let’s say there was an accident, that harmed no one, but crushed my car like an old cola can along with my desire to drive for the foreseeable future. For anyone else who either doesn’t drive, can’t or doesn’t own a car, Maidstone is a great choice. Our rental was a manageable walk from both Maidstone East and Maidstone West Stations, an easy train ride from London.

Photo taken by author

The area is definitely one to consider for the Summer if 2024 is the year you want to plan ahead for a staycation experience. Blue skies and blinding sunshine blessed our peaceful trudge. The journey to our little house was a pleasant one. We first walked through a town centre where you could get all the essentials down to a path following the bend of a glistening, lazy river. When we arrived, the curving driveway was easy to walk but admittedly was a bit tricky for those of us who did in fact drive. One small win for the car avoiders. There was a code given to retrieve the key in a little box on the side. This was great because we didn’t all have to arrive at a certain time or wait around for someone to let us in. This was our first stay where there was no host to greet us, though self-catering was the norm and pitching in is part of the experience.

Photo taken by author

The house had been optimistically advertised as having a “river view”. This was true…from the driveway… from a distance, not the house. The house itself was a bit odd. It still had Easter decorations up despite our summer visit. The superstitious part of me wondered if this was akin to the bad luck brought on by leaving your Christmas decorations out for a bit too long. The back garden was a bit overrun, instead of grass we had a sort of Astro turf and a rusty bench swing that squeaked but caught the sun for most of the day.

We had a barbecue which wasn’t clean and home to cigarette butts. We put instant barbecue grills on top of the tray, so its purpose was creatively achieved. The Birthday girl’s love of a fire was not quenched on this trip unfortunately. If I’m candid, whilst I loved a burning fire, I did not love the hot sparks that her enthusiasm for growing the fire made fly. As you can tell, I enjoy harvesting the positives. We were missing a few things, toilet roll, dish cloths, bin liner, which wasn’t great. We had a comfy living room with a TV but a remote that didn’t work. A pleasant dining room that we didn’t use.

Photo taken by author

Despite these minor setbacks, all you need is your friends to have a truly great time, no matter where you are. Overall, the house, whilst not the best we’d seen, was clean, tidy and fit for purpose. With drinks flowing, music playing and conversations expanding, laughter filled the air of our little troupe. It was as the evening rolled in and we were drawn indoors that we realised the tv was useless what with the unusable remote. I fell asleep on one of the girl’s arms before sensibly taking myself upstairs to collapse on my single.

Photo take by author

We boiled through the night and hangovers were pending the morning after. This made the following day's plan ever more attractive. It promised the cooling effects of the famous, surprisingly blue waters of St. Andrews Lake. This unexpected oasis was only a short drive away. The place deserves a full and thorough review on its own so please do stay tuned for that! It was the highlight of our trip and definitely worth a visit all on its own.

Photo taken by author

We were joined by the group of girls who couldn’t stay over this year at the lake. Some girls had massages and the rest of us hit the water. After hilarious exploits via paddleboard and kayak (to be reviewed separately so stay tuned), we returned to the house to continue the frivolity and cook up a storm together. Whilst I was always normally on clean up duty rather than cooking, I bravely volunteered to do the salad and promptly cut my finger. There’s a reason I am usually on clean up duty. Pleasantly exhausted and well fed we settled into a circle outside. The garden was on a slant so some close calls were to be expected during such enthusiastic and inebriated discussions. Leaning back on the garden chairs was not the wisest of moves.

Feeling adventurous and with the sun dipping ever lower, we decided to venture out to that “river view” we had been promised. With glasses in hand, we reached a gorgeous view it must be said. The water turned into liquid gold, mostly undisturbed. We joked with passersby and soaked in the glory of this beautiful evening. Reflecting on the beauty of sisterhood and enduring friendship.

Overall, it was a really fun stay and worth it for a little getaway on a budget. Which brings us to….

Cost Breakdown:

By Philip Veater on Unsplash

For the rent of the cottage split between the 4 of us plus the budget for food and supplies the cost was: £150 each

It was an extra £20.20 to rent a paddleboard at St. Andrews Lake for an hour which I thought was fair.

Final Thoughts:

The beauty of girls’ trips like these and the benefits of a staycation are a true and wonderful feeling of sisterhood and safety where everyone feels included. People with children and other responsibilities could still join without staying over and didn’t feel like they needed to miss out.

To conclude, I don’t think we’d return to the Mallows, but I do think there is plenty to find in Maidstone for an easy and fun get away.



I hope you enjoyed this review, any hearts appreciated if you did! Do let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to review or would be interested in hearing about. Stay tuned for my review of St. Andrew's Lake!

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About the Creator

Nessy Writer

A freelance writer of all sorts sharing it out with the world. Poetry, prose, advice, reviews and travel writing.

If you want to show your support and see more please follow me on Twitter: Nessywriter

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