Business owners: it’s time to swap the high overheads for the high-life. Find the space to grow your business.
From the lifestyle you and your employees can enjoy, to the high-speed rail links and transport to Europe via Eurotunnel and The Port of Dover, Kent offers the ultimate work-life balance, and that’s before we’ve even covered the support our partners at Locate in Kent can offer.
Offering free business advice and support with everything from sourcing the best local talent, to seeking funding opportunities and searching for the property to suit your business, with their Make the Move to Kent campaign having already supported thousands of businesses with their relocation, Locate in Kent couldn’t make finding your space any easier. With key sectors in food and drink, manufacturing, life sciences and creative and digital, it’s time to discover why Kent is the perfect base for your business’s relocation or expansion.
What's more, with vineyards on our doorstep and hundreds of fantastic team-building experiences, from gin making to surfing on offer, Kent is the perfect place to get your team back together for an away day. Team meeting in a brewery, following by a tour and tasting, anyone?
First up on the location scouting tour is North Kent, a thriving region that encompasses a university campus in Medway, connectivity to London via Ebbsfleet International in Gravesend, and the blend of coast and countryside found on the Isle of Sheppey and Faversham (we’re all about that work-life balance, remember).
Starting with the universities, Chatham in Medway is home to the Medway Campus, a state-of-the-art campus that’s part of a unique partnership with the University of Kent, University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University. With a whole pool of graduates specialising in science, engineering and technology to choose from, finding the right recruits for your business couldn’t be easier in North Kent. Plus, with plenty of research and outreach programmes on offer, local businesses can benefit from a wealth of knowledge sharing opportunities.
North Kent’s leading research facilities can also be seen in nearby Sittingbourne at the Kent Science Park, a purpose-built laboratory and office space that’s seen Nobel Prize winning discoveries, making it the go-to location for companies in biotech, agri-tech and beyond.
Nearby Rochester is home to the University for the Creative Arts, offering businesses in the creative and digital sector the ultimate pool of talent. While the area’s role in the innovative Creative Estuary project, a 60 mile stretch of the Thames Estuary that’s being transformed into one of the most exciting cultural hubs in the world, makes a move here an even more enticing prospect.
But we know you’re not just moving for the business prospects in Kent, as good as they may be, Kent’s rhythm offers that elusive blend of inspiring down time and rewarding work time. Make the move to North Kent and your weekends can be spent wandering the cobbled streets and markets of Faversham, sampling the local produce and delights found at local institution, Macknade, or making memories on the blue flag beaches of the Isle of Sheppey. Countryside and coast is in abundance here, with National Nature Reserves and even the National Fruit Collection of Brogdale making those rural pre-work wanders and morning swims oh-so achievable.
East Kent is where you’ll find the historic city of Canterbury, the beaches and bays of Whitstable, Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, the White Cliffs of Dover, the creative hub of Folkestone and the UK’s only desert, Dungeness. Yes, you’ll no doubt have heard of East Kent’s top spots for a weekend break, but it’s also a perfect spot to take the ultimate break and move your business.
In addition to its cobbled streets and awe-inspiring cathedral, Canterbury is of course home to the Canterbury campuses of the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, a pool of fresh talent that’s keen to get to work in your business. Beyond this, the city is the ultimate spot to bring clients and showcase your new location, with innovative office space within the nearby Fruitworks co-working hub, and quick transport links into London.
Sandwich is home to Discovery Park, a rapidly growing location that’s regarded as a key part of the UK healthcare sector. With a strong network of tenants from the life sciences sector, its excellent facilities attract the most innovative companies, large and small, making it the ideal location for your business. What’s more, with the opening of the new Thanet Parkway Station in December 2022, travel to London can be made from here within as little as 60 minutes.
Folkestone is home to the Creative Quarter, attracting businesses to its 115 studios and offices and rapidly growing art and design community. Here you’ll find fellow musicians, web developers, artists and designers set up within the Quarter’s retail, office and studio space, making the area a hub for both international and former London-based businesses. While the area’s seaside hub of creativity is a draw for business, its seaside location and vibrant arts scene makes it an attractive spot for visitors, with Folkestone Harbour Arm becoming a cultural hotspot.
It should come as no surprise that with Kent’s foodie reputation, East Kent is home to Thanet Earth, the biggest greenhouse development in the UK, covering 90 hectares and producing vegetables for Britain’s biggest retailers. With its expanse of rural landscapes and innovation within the food and drink industry, Kent is home to some of the sector’s most state-of-art facilities and businesses.
Offering yet more blue flag beaches, coastal castles, vibrant cultural hotspots and story-book city streets, it’s safe to say a move to East Kent will put weekend plans back on the agenda.
Our final location is West Kent, a rolling landscape of vineyards, farmland and pretty villages stretching from the buzzing hub of Ashford with its HS1 links (your London-based friends and colleagues will be here in no time), and Maidstone, Kent’s county town, across to Sevenoaks and Tonbridge and Malling with their easy connectivity to London, and Tunbridge Wells with its beautiful Wealden villages and Royal Tunbridge Wells at its heart. Spa towns, rural retreats and vineyards, that’s the weekend taken care of, so let’s take a look at what this area has to offer your business.
With its swathes of farmland stretching across the region, temperate climate, and rich chalk soil, it’s no surprise Kent is renowned for its viticulture, home to the Wine Garden of England and the largest area of vineyards of any UK county. West Kent boasts many of these award-winning vineyards, from Chapel Down and Gusbourne, to Biddenden and Balfour Winery. In addition to Kent’s shining reputation as a producer of some of the finest sparking wines in Europe, NIAB EMR in East Malling is internationally recognised for its innovation and research in commercial horticulture, standing as the UK’s largest horticultural research complex.
Ashford has been making the headlines lately as the location for Brompton’s global headquarters, a multi-million pound development that plans to marry its values around sustainability and Ashford’s surrounding landscapes and transport links, to create 4,000 jobs within an area rich in biodiversity. But Ashford’s prospects don’t stop there, with the forthcoming Newtown Works set to place the area on the map for film and TV production in the UK. The media village will host film studios for the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video alongside space for freelancers and SMEs, making this one of the most exciting creative locations in the county.
As one of the most filmed locations outside of London, it should come as no surprise that Kent is also home to Maidstone TV Studios, one of the UK’s largest studios and post-production suites. The county town is also known as a manufacturing hub, with 370 companies spread across a range of industrial parks, including the 20/20 Business Park and Parkwood Industrial Estate, each just a short distance from the M20 and its links to London and the coast.
We mentioned West Kent’s pastoral landscapes and prospects they offer businesses within the food and drink sector, but it’s not only those businesses who benefit from the area’s rich soil and wealth of local produce. Businesses based in Kent are spoiled with the range of fresh local food and drink, be it for entertaining clients or catering events, and no one knows these local producers better than our partners at Produced in Kent. Based in Ashford, the organisation is dedicated to promoting our fantastic foodie businesses and supporting them with advice and services, maintaining Kent’s gourmet reputation.
So there you have our range of locations, each offering something different to businesses looking to make the move. But before you go heading off on your property search, we recommend taking a peek at all that Kent has to offer you and your employees – trust us, we’ve got a whole lot more to share.