It’s time for a change of pace, time to reclaim your free time, s-t-r-e-t-c-h your legs and re-establish that work-life balance. It’s time to relocate to Kent.
Do we have speedy rail links to whisk you into London in under an hour for that 9am board meeting? Of course. But do we also have beaches galore, four Michelin Star restaurants, tons of fresh local produce, countryside to explore and vineyard tours for when you fancy kicking back and easing into the weekend? Most certainly.
With 50 co-working spaces across the county, and the wonder that is working from home, it’s never been easier to make the move to Kent, and with Lonely Planet declaring Kent’s Heritage Coast the 4th best region in the world, there’s never been a better time to do it.
What's more, with our wide open spaces, outstanding schools and enough family days out to fill 18 years, Kent is the perfect place to raise a family...or even raise that puppy you've been dreaming of since lock-down.
Whatever it is you’re searching for, it’s here within our 3,700 kilometre square home, so read on and discover your change of pace and your new space.
Right, let’s get the practical bit out of the way, shall we? North Kent’s proximity to London makes it the perfect location to hop in and out of the city a few days a week, with HS1 links from Ebbsfleet to whisk you straight into St Pancras in 20 minutes. But for those days when you’re not working, there’s a whole lot more to celebrate than the area’s proximity to London.
North Kent is home to three Blue Flag awarded beaches on the Isle of Sheppey (pre-work swim, anyone?), the beautiful market town of Faversham (home to the Shepherd Neame Brewery and star of many an Instagram post) and a National Nature Reserve where you can actually spend the night…glamping in a gorgeous shepherds hut. So those are the things to make your city-dwelling friends jealous of your new-found space, but there’s plenty more besides.
North Kent is home to history, culture and festivals. In the town of Chatham you’ll find heaps of maritime heritage at the Historic Dockyard Chatham - you’re going to need a season pass to see all that this iconic attraction has to offer, while its marina boasts restaurants, fine dining and even Kent’s only grain to glass distillery, Copper Rivet. Nearby Rochester and Gravesend offer a taste of the Dickensian, with many of their buildings written into some of his greatest works…he certainly had a soft spot for Kent.
If you hadn’t guessed already, this area is known for its heritage. Our very own Gravesend is the resting place of Pocahontas, yes, that Pocahontas, Rochester’s cathedral stands tall as England’s second oldest, just across the road from the 12th century Rochester Castle. But it’s the region’s culture and festivities that really make it an exciting place to live. 50 free festivals swing through these North Kent streets every year celebrating everything from music, food and drink, to Dickens and chimney sweeps, while Gravesend is home to the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, standing proudly in the heart of the town’s Sikh community.
Have you heard of Canterbury? Check. Whitstable? Check. Folkestone? Check. Margate? Check. Deal? Check. Yep, all of those weekend break destinations are right here in East Kent. Relocate here and you could have the coast on your doorstep or the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canterbury Cathedral as your morning view.
We like to boast about transport links here in Kent, we really do. Under an hour from Canterbury to London by train, 35 minutes by Eurotunnel from Folkestone to France, 90 minutes from Dover to Calais…all wonderful. But honestly, while we love the ease of travel to London for work, in our free time we are far too busy discovering the latest brand new cultural experience in Canterbury, sipping Kentish wine by sunset on Folkestone Harbour Arm, or lazing on a hidden gem of a beach on the Isle of Thanet, to care. Afterall, those Southeastern trains travel far and wide throughout the county too!
Prepare for us to do some name dropping because East Kent is home to some pretty big icons, from the oldest cathedral in England, Canterbury Cathedral, and the long-standing fortress that is Dover Castle, to the cutting-edge Turner Contemporary in Margate and the spectacular Folkestone Artworks. But the one we know you’ll have all heard of is the White Cliffs of Dover. As part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, these chalk cliffs are part of the proposed cross-Chanel UNESCO Global Geopark which is set to form a partnership with our neighbouring protected landscape Naturel Regional des Caps et Marais d’Opale.
But where to live? Do you choose a cottage in Whitstable? A city centre home in Canterbury? A pad in Cliftonville, Margate, one of the top ten coolest neighbourhoods in the world according to TimeOut? Or a Georgian villa in Ramsgate (remember what we said about having space to raise a family) , near to the new Thanet Parkway Station, soon to offer highspeed connections to the capital? We can’t help you there, but we can say you’re in for an exciting search.
Just like Kirsty and Phil, we have one more place to show you to help inspire your relocation…West Kent. If you knew East Kent locations from the weekend breaks your friends take, and North Kent locations from the history books, you may just know West Kent’s locations from the labels of wine bottles…let us explain. West Kent is home to many, many vineyards. In fact, Kent’s Wine Garden of England has the largest area of vineyards in the whole of the UK. Fact. It’s thanks to our great weather and our rolling countryside – two more reasons your really need to look to Kent for your relocation. So, take the tours and sip and sample the wines produced in the place you could proudly call home.
You don’t have to be in Kent very long to find out that its residents are pretty proud of the area’s culinary credentials and sustainable local produce, just look at our friends Produced in Kent, with restaurants boasting 20 mile menus, farm shops shouting about local cheeses, and fishmongers stocking fish and seafood caught that very morning. It’s of no surprise that a drive through West Kent presents plenty a pastoral scene, with the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty peppered with orchards, hop gardens and oast houses. Pull up a chair in one of our cosy pubs, select a Kent-brewed craft beer, paired with a dinner of Kent produce and thank us later.
If you can tear yourself away from the food and drink, we’ll tell you about the area’s connections into London. You guessed it, they’re pretty good! Ashford’s high speed rail links whisk commuters to St Pancras in 40 minutes, vibrant Sevenoaks perfects that city/country balance with 20 minute travel to London Bridge and an area that’s 93% greenbelt. While Maidstone and Tonbridge offer rural towns and villages with all the convenience of cosy country pubs and easy rail links. As for Royal Tunbridge Wells, you can’t go wrong with a historic spa town that’s welcomed visitors for over 400 years, so prepare to want to lay down roots and take in those chic cafes, independent shops, bars and colonnaded walkways every weekend.
While lockdown pups are catered for with oh-so-many walks, we mentioned the two AONBs and Ashford’s 47 acres of open space, right? If you’re hoping to extend your family beyond the four-legged friends, Kent’s primary and secondary schools are excellent. Ashford alone is home to 49 good and outstanding schools, including two grammar schools, two independent schools and the impressive Ashford College…phew.
Are we leaving the best til last? It’s hard to say…but let’s just tell you that you could visit a different castle or manor house every weekend here if you fancied it. We can’t name them all, we just can’t, but the highlights reel has got to include Leeds Castle, the party castle that’s hosted nobility for centuries, Hever Castle, the home of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, Penshurst Place with its gorgeous gardens, Scotney Castle with its equally beautiful gardens, and Chartwell, the home of none other than Winston Churchill. Oooh, and if we could just throw in one more garden suggestion, Castle Farm Lavender Fields should be on every Kent-resident’s list come summertime- trust us.
So there you have it. Have we narrowed it down for you? Perhaps not. But hopefully we’ve inspired you to take that next step to becoming a fully-fledged Kent resident who paddle boards each morning, co-works or commutes with ease, and spends weekends strolling farmers markets, dining on food that’s travelled no more than 25 miles and celebrating all this and more at a local festival.