How to get there
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Getting to the South East Bus Festival is easy, whether travelling by car or public transport.
Kent Showground is located alongside the A249 to the east of Maidstone and between the M20 (Junction 7) and M2 (Junction 5) motorways. It has a very large car parking area and parking is free. There is an area for Blue Badge holders close to the pedestrian entrance from the car park into the event. If you need to park in that area please tell the marshals who will be directing cars through the car park.
A frequent free bus service running around the showground can be used to get from a bus stop close to the entrance from the car park to the vehicle displays, the main exhibition hall and the Heritage Transport Show.
A map of the area showing the location of the showground can be seen by clicking the 'Area map' button at the top of this page
For those using SatNav, the showground's Post Code is ME14 3JF.
Arriva runs half-hourly buses from Maidstone Bus Station (Stop H5) which stop outside the main entrance to Kent Showground. These are provided by Service 334 to Sheerness.
From Sittingbourne, Service 334 buses towards Maidstone pick up from the Bus Hub at the rear of the Forum Centre on St. Michael's Road, opposite the rail station. These run half-hourly and also provide direct links from Sheerness, Minster, Halfway, Queenborough Corner and Iwade.
You can see the timetable by clicking the 'Arriva 334' button at the top of this page.
If travelling from outside the Maidstone area by Arriva bus, you will find that an Arriva South East Day Saver ticket will offer good value for money. Click the 'Arriva tickets' button for more details.
Connecting shuttle bus
As there is now no bus stop opposite the showground, due to this having been taken out of use for safety reasons on this very busy dual carriageway, we provide, for those arriving from the Sittingbourne direction or travelling back to Maidstone, a free shuttle bus that will meet all Maidstone-bound Service 334 buses so that passengers can get to and from the show safely. They will make the connection at the Roydens Prestige Cars showroom bus stop on the A249 as that is the safest place for the shuttle bus to wait. This is the only bus stop at which the connection can be made.
Shuttle buses will leave the showground (just outside the main pedestrian entrance) at 1015, 1045 and then every thirty minutes at 15 and 45 minutes past each hour until 1715.
You can view the timetable (including details of which bus will run on which journey) here.
Admission to the event costs £12, except that children under 14 years of age are admitted free. You can save money by purchasing your tickets in advance from the Kent Showground website at £9 per person. Click the Heritage Transport Show icon at the top right corner of this page to see the ticket order form. You will be able to buy the tickets nearer to the date of the event.
To save time on arrival, please have your admission payment ready for collection or your advance-purchased tickets ready for inspection.
Free vintage bus service from Ashford
Preserved East Kent Leyland Leopard 273 AUF will operate free bus service X66 from Ashford International railway station, returning shortly after the event closes at 4pm.
The bus will leave Ashford International railway station (domestic side/Southeastern Railway booking office) at 09.20hrs, connecting with the 07.49hrs train from Eastbourne (via Hastings and Rye) and the 08.37hrs High Speed train from London St. Pancras International. It will then run either via the A20 to Bearsted /Nottcuts if pick-ups are required or direct via the M20 to Junction 7 and then via the A249 to the showground.
The return journey departs Kent Showground at 16.00hrs (or shortly after) and will run to Ashford International (estimated arrival time 17.20hrs) via the A249 (northbound), A2, Sittingbourne railway station, A2, Faversham (top of The Mall) and A251 to Ashford, if required for setting down, or via the M2 direct to Junction 6 and then via the A251 to Ashford, setting down at all bus stops on line of route where required.
Connections at Ashford International railway station are expected to be made with the 17.25hrs Marshlink train service to Eastbourne and the 17.43 High Speed 1 train to St. Pancras International.
Note the different outward and return routes due to the nature of the A249 road which makes the journey back to Ashford quicker via Sittingbourne rather than Bearsted and the A20.
Seats should ideally be reserved on this service (please state whether for outward and/or return journey(s)) by emailing BuckSheeBus1066@btinternet.com. Please include a mobile phone contact number with your reservation and state which train you will be arriving at Ashford on, if appropriate.
To save time on arrival at Kent Showground, please have your admission monies ready for collection (Adult: £12) - or your advance purchase admission tickets (Adult: £9).
The nearest rail stations are at Maidstone and Sittingbourne.
From Maidstone East station you can take a bus (Arriva Service 155) to Maidstone Bus Station from the bus stop at County Hall, located around the corner from the station entrance, or walk down Week Street and along King Street to the bus station (approximately six or seven minutes' walk). When you reach the bus station take Arriva Service 334 from Stop H5 to the showground. They run half-hourly and you can see the times by clicking the 'Arriva 334' button at the top of this page.
If you arrive at Maidstone West station, take Arriva Services 3, 6, 7, 8, 71, 71A or 72 to the Bus Station. They run frequently from the bus stop at the bottom of Rocky Hill which is across the road from the station. You can then transfer in the Bus Station to Service 334 to the showground.
For those travelling from the Kent Coast to Sittingbourne you can catch the 334 from the Bus Hub at the rear of the Forum Shopping Centre, located across the road from Sittingbourne Station. Due to the nature of the A249, alongside which the showground is located (a very busy dual carriageway with fast-moving traffic and a barrier along most of the central reservation), a free bus service connects with all Maidstone-bound Arriva buses at the Roydons Prestige Cars showroom to get you safely from that side of the road to the showground.
Train times can be found on Southeastern Railway's website by clicking the 'Southeastern' button at the top of this page.
For specific rail journey information telephone National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 or visit their website by clicking the 'National rail' button at the top of this page. There are some engineering works taking place in Kent and Sussex on the day of the bus festival so please check for details from National Rail Enquiries before you commence your journey. We are advised that there will be a limited service between London Charing Cross and Tonbridge, with most trains diverted to and from London Victoria instead, and all trains between London Charing Cross and Ashford International will also be diverted to and from London Victoria.
To save time on arrival at the bus festival, please have your admission monies ready for collection, or your advance-purchased admission ticket(s) ready for inspection.