It was founded in 1855 as the Ashford & Alfred News and General Advertiser and was Kent’s first penny paper after the abolition of stamp duty on newspapers in 1854. It adopted its present title three years later – initially as the first element of the title (the Ashford & Alfred News, Kentish Express, Hythe Gazette) from June to November 1858, then as a suffix for just one issue (Ashford & Alfred News, Kentish Express, Hythe Gazette) and finally on its own.
It’s now published by the KM Group (formerly the Kent Messenger Group) from editorial offices in Ashford.
Until October 2013 there were four editions:
- Ashford & District (the main edition, covering Ashford itself and most of the rest of the circulation area)
- Folkestone (Folkestone and Sandgate)
- Hythe and Romney Marsh (for the south of the circulation area)
- Tenterden (for the south west of the circulation area)
However, on 16 October the KM Group launched a new hyperlocal weekly tabloid, the Folkestone & Hythe Express, on sale in and around those two towns.
The two remaining editions come out on Thursdays. E-editions (by paid subscription) of both are also available via the website.
There’s also an associated weekly freesheet, the Ashford Extra.