Residents of Victoria Gardens will benefit from the newly built primary school that forms part of the development. Wouldham All Saints CE Primary opened in February 2018 and is currently two-form entry, but this could increase to three-form entry in the future.
In addition, other well-regarded schools locally include Halling Primary, Snodland CE Primary, Burham CE Primary and St Marks CE Primary schools. When it comes to secondary education there are many options available locally, such as The Rochester Grammar School and Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, both four miles away, and The Malling School, five miles away. Holcombe Grammar School, Chatham Grammar School for Girls and Ford Pitt Grammar School can all be reached within 20 minutes by car. Maidstone, less than eight miles away, is home to a number of schools including Oakwood Park Grammar, Invicta Grammar, Maidstone Grammar and Maidstone Grammar School for Girls. Mid Kent College, which has campuses in Gillingham and Maidstone, offers a variety of apprenticeships, vocational and academic courses for post-16 students.
Chatham, five miles away, has a wide selection of well-known and independent shops, chain and department stores within The Pentagon mall and along High Street. Outlet centre Dockside, on Chatham waterfront, is home to a variety of fashion and leisure brands, attracting bargain hunters from across the county. Alternatively, head for Maidstone and experience a wealth of boutique shopping as well as mainstream retailers in The Mall and Fremlin Walk. The Royal Star Arcade, Bank Street and Gabriel’s Hill are hotspots for independent and specialist shopping, offering myriad opportunities to find that perfect gift. Retail parks include St Peters Wharf in the town centre and Newnham Court Shopping Village, off junction 7 of the M20. Further afield, Bluewater at Greenhithe has around 300 stores and is just 20 minutes’ drive from Victoria Gardens. All of these popular destinations boast a variety of cafés, bars and restaurants offering cuisines from around the world and everything from snacks to fine dining.
Set against a rural backdrop, yet with several towns within easy reach, the development is well placed to experience the many cultural and sporting amenities the area offers. Leybourne Lakes Country Park, which hosts regular family events and activities, and has several play areas, cycle routes and walking trails, is five minutes’ drive away. Within the park Leybourne Lakes Water Sports Centre organises classes in canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving and wind surfing. Larkfield Leisure Centre in Aylesford boasts three swimming pools, while Strood Sports Centre and Maidstone Leisure Centre both have sports halls, fitness studios, gyms and sports pitches. Learn to ski at Chatham Ski & Snowboard Centre, around 20 minutes’ away by car, or indulge in a few rounds of golf – there are several courses within 15 minutes’ drive of Victoria Gardens, including Rochester and Cobham Park, West Malling and Cobtree Manor Park.
In Chatham, the Historic Dockyard museum and heritage centre is well worth a visit, with workshops and exhibitions held there regularly. Step back in time at the medieval Rochester Castle, less than five miles away, or soak up the atmosphere of outdoor theatre and classical music at the majestic Leeds Castle, around 10 miles away.
Cultural highlights include the Brook Theatre in Chatham, and the Hazlitt Arts Centre in Maidstone, both of which stage professional and community theatre productions, dance, live music, comedy events and family entertainment. The Hazlitt is also home to Maidstone Film Society, which offers regular screenings of classic and world cinema. Multiplex venues in Chatham, Rochester and Maidstone show the latest movie blockbusters.
The new Medway river crossing, Peters Bridge, makes this location ideal for commuters travelling to London as it now links the community with the A228, which in turn links to the M2, around four miles away. The first new bridge over the river since 1963 also has a cycle lane and pedestrian pathways, shortening the journey to the villages of Snodland and Halling – and the nearest railway stations – to around five minutes by car. Regular services run from both to Strood (for connections to London St Pancras) and Maidstone. Ebbsfleet International is 20 minutes’ drive away for Eurostar trains to Paris, Lille and Brussels, and high speed services to central London.