Moving to Kent or Essex? Nice places to live - places to avoid!

(41 Posts)
JudyPink Sun 29-May-11 22:54:55

Hello all,

Me and DP have decided, after much deliberation overdue quality/space V's rental costs, we're going to move from Central London and out towards Kent or Essex.

As we're originally from little market towns in the North East, we'd love to move somewhere with a village feel - but anywhere that is family friendly is a must really. As I say, we're not originally from London, but know London pretty well after living here for 3 years now, anywhere outside of London and we're clueless! We've had some recommendations of places to move to from friends and colleagues, but as we've not yet said we're TTC towards the end of the year, nobody really knows that we're after somewhere that would be suitable for an impending family! We can both easily get to work, on foot, from either Liverpool Street or London Bridge stations - so a direct rail to either of these stations is essential really. Depending on season rail costs, we have a rent budget of between £800-£1100 pcm for a house/bungalow/cottage with a min of 2 beds.

So Mumsnetters, do you have any suggestions on nice places to live in Kent and Essex? And places to avoid? I know that everywhere has it's rough or dodgy areas - but any definite no-go areas you know of would be very much appreciated! I've had a look through some old (2008 old!) posts on similar threads - but obviously, they're a little out of date now.

Much obliged! smile

caramelwaffle Mon 30-May-11 01:59:32



Not Jaywick!! grin Wivenhoe is nice...links from train station but just over an hour to London by train. Rents are approx £650-£750 for 2 beds.

wordsonascreen Mon 30-May-11 04:51:45

Terling is nice but may be a bit far out.

Billericay is very nice. We lived there for three years. Avoid Vange and Basildon. DH thought Vange was pronounced Von-Gay [poncy git]. Greys is grim too.
Caramel both are very nice villages, but neither has a railway connection and they are (or at least were) very expensive.

Bonsoir Mon 30-May-11 08:24:17

If you have the choice, I would go for Kent - there are lots of lovely villages on both the Charing Cross to Hastings and the Charing Cross to Ashford train lines and the massive advantage is that Kent is a grammar school area and there are lots of nice rural primary schools as well.

rubyslippers Mon 30-May-11 08:28:18

Places like Chingford, Epping, Woodford etc Are fine to get into London
Chingford has an over ground to get into Liverpool street and the others are on the central line

blabalalalablabla Mon 30-May-11 08:31:20

Coggeshall and Kelvedon (not to be confused with the secret bunker at Kelvedon Hatch) are both nice.
Colchester is good further up the line and Wivenhoe is lovely.
Essex also is a grammar school county so don't let that sway you to Kent!

confuseddotcodotuk Mon 30-May-11 08:48:43

I second madhatter (who must be familiar with the area I live! grin) That Jaywick is bad and Wivenhoe is nice. In fact, Wivenhoe is gorgeous, especially the end with the train station in it as it's right on the river smile I wouldn't recommend Clacton/Walton/Frinton though, Clacton is going down the bogs whilst Walton and Frinton are very much retirement towns now so they're nice but there isn't much going on iyswim?

Closer to London are the places near Chelmsford and Romford, lots of lovely little towns around and still on the main train line which takes you to LLS.

In Kent Badger's Mount is quite nice. Very near to Sevenoaks/Orpington but the nearest station is Knockholt which you'd need to drive too as it's a good half hour walk! There are loads of little towns around that area though which are all lovely and you're so close to London and to loads of larger towns (Sevenoaks, Bromley, Tunbridge Wells, Orpington, etc)

thingsabeachanging Mon 30-May-11 09:04:14

Pratts bottom! No seriously, apart from the fact I like saying it, it is a lovely village!

confuseddotcodotuk Mon 30-May-11 09:06:05

things: Is it? I never ended up visiting but always wanted to go when I was in Badger's Mount so I could have a photo of myself next to the town sign blush

JentlyDoesIt Mon 30-May-11 09:06:30

Oooh confused and madhatter you can't be a million miles from me either! Wivenhoe is gorge smile

There are some nice little villages around Colchester, such as Langham, Dedham etc, all within a few miles of Colchester station.

Kent is beautiful and where I would live by choice. Anywhere round Tunbridge Wells etc

tallulah Mon 30-May-11 09:12:29

Somewhere like this?

JudyPink Mon 30-May-11 09:43:06

Wow, thanks a lot all! I'll have to get on finaproperty and rightmove this morning to check out all these places.

I still cannot get over the fact that you can find a detached, 3 bedroom house with a garden and garage for £500 a month cheaper than we're paying now, for a 1 bed apartment in Islington, complete with noisey neighbours. London prices are absolutely crazy.

Thanks again, will let you know if we find anywhere nice today smile

wordsonascreen Mon 30-May-11 09:45:22

I'm sure Ingatestone has got a station I ended up drunk there once

Avoid Harlow and the other new towns. All horrible, and I speak from experience!

Portofino Mon 30-May-11 10:12:54

West Malling in Kent (and surrounding area) is lovely here and here and here

wordsonascreen blush my mistake, I was confusing Ingrave with Ingatestone.

giveitago Sun 05-Jun-11 16:57:03

Thorpe Bay is in Essex - two stops from southend. Good local school there but avoid avoid.

I'm from london but grew up there - massively snobby and they think they are it. Not so (my ds who is 5 also picks up on the chavviness) - but you might like it as the property is massively cheap - really fucking cheap (not that thorpe bay people like to think so). They have golf club, yatch club etc.

You might want to take a look at is to see.

Great local primary (for a provincial backwater). But be warned it's either grammar for secondary or sink school.
Just been back to visit granny - still hate it. But lots of people love it and it might be a fit. And the cheap property is amazing for the southeast.

natation Sun 05-Jun-11 17:03:06

Faversham has a market town feel to it. It is family friendly, we absolutely adore the open air and indoor pool complex right in the middle of town, sports centre at the Abbey secondary school. It also has a mixed sex grammar school called Queen Elizabeths. It is also not far from Canterbury for better shopping and facilities or the other way to Bluewater for shopping heaven. It's just over and hour between Faversham and London Bridge.

hocuspontas Sun 05-Jun-11 17:03:48

Are you saying Thorpe Bay is cheap? shock I grew up in Leigh-on-sea in the 60s and Thorpe Bay was the place you drove around with your tongue hanging out at all the palatial type houses. Am shocked!

giveitago Sun 05-Jun-11 17:19:18

Hocus - depends what you want -nice big fuck off house cheaper than you'd find in easter europe then fine. Golf club (we weren't members of) , nice yatch club (we weren't member's of) etc - it was great when we moved from london in the 1970's 0- really fucking great but then my parents
realised they'd made a huge mistake. No culture etc.

Many years on I live in the area we're from (in London) and ds loves thorpe bay - but when I go back I see people from my old school married to one another - it's the same old same old. Horrible.Even ds thought that this time it was a bit strange.

Like groundhog day.

But if you want the cheapest big fuck off house in the western hemisphere and a few good junior schools and a 10 min walk from a sludge beach then just go for it.

Leigh is far posher than thorpe bay. Much much better imo.

giveitago Sun 05-Jun-11 17:27:14

And I'm so convinced of my opinion I'd ask any thorpe bayers to argue the toss. But I don't think they could. It is what is it is. Cheapest property in the west. end of.Nowt else.

hocuspontas Sun 05-Jun-11 17:37:19

I suppose it never really had what you'd call 'soul'. Leigh on the other hand I thought was rocking but much more common! I actually grew up in Eastwood which was also a bit soulless.

giveitago Sun 05-Jun-11 17:46:00

Leigh rocks.

Thorpe bay - zero soul - zero culture - and given what I've seen makes me worry for local inbreeding.

Kent is better OP.

We know people in Tunbridge Wells- lovely place! Bit cliche, when you think of Kent, but worth considering?

Icoulddoitbetter Wed 22-Jun-11 20:57:32

Stock is nice and close to Billericay (which has a station). Not sure about rentals but I sure couldn't afford to buy there! Ingatestone looks pretty cute too.

You could move out along the Central Line, epping, woodford, loughton?

drcrab Sat 25-Jun-11 22:21:55

We live in Canterbury in Kent. Rental you're looking at between 800-1000£ for a 3 bed terrace near Canterbury west station which on the fast train will get you to St pancreas under an hour. We have friends who commute. Her office is in kensington. Lovely nursery near there too (busy bees). Very doable!!

I grew up in Chelmsford and live in Tun. Wells now. West Kent is definitely better than mid-Essex. Nice places in Essex when I was little: Ingatestone, Stock. The Easters (no train).

drummerboy1 Sat 21-Apr-12 23:38:48

Giveitago - you do protest a little too much, me does think! I love living in Thorpe Bay, with its gorgeous green and flower beds overlooking the seafront, Thorpe Bay Yacht Club providing hours of entertainment as I watch the sailors messing about in their boats to my left, to my right I can see Southend Pier (the longest pleasure pier in the world), oh yes Thorpe Bay Tennis Club and Thorpe Bay Bowling Club are also there to be enjoyed...lots of friendly, well-mannered people who open doors, drive courteously, smile, walk their dogs and like to chat...I'm afraid your multiple protestations make you sound just like one of those people who live in the Southend area and wish with all their mite that they lived in....Thorpe Bay!!!! Anyone who is completely confused about the merits of this little haven of civility in South East Essex please do come and have a look - Thorpe Bay has the most expensive road in Essex I do believe (Thorpe Bay Gardens on the Burges Estate) - I really can't imagine that all those who choose to live there are wrong.... Yes there may be some "snobs" but I have always generally found that it is the "green-eyed monsters" which make many people consider well-educated members of society to be snobs. The majority are no such thing, just decent individuals who are proud of their friendly, well-tended and well-cared for community, and who undertake various unsung charitable works. I am actually rather happy to live in Thorpe Bay amongst people with "old-fashioned" values and I suspect that is why the mention of Thorpe Bay to those who know the place often incites jealousy.

Leigh-on-Sea is also very nice but unfortunately some areas to the west of Southend are under the flight path from Southend's newly regenerated airport. It also has a lot of parking issues unlike Thorpe Bay. I detest parking at the best of times so Thorpe Bay is a better bet for me at least.

Also Thorpe Bay railway station is presently undergoing massive refurbishment (including a new upmarket restaurant) and is to be the flagship station on the C2C line into Fenchurch Street. (C2C is the most reliable line on the network I do believe - the journey takes around 50 mins from Thorpe Bay). So...Thorpe Bay is fine by me (and I am glad I had the benefit of a Southend Grammar school education too - woops, does that make me a "snob" in your eyes for saying that?)

leanora26 Mon 01-Oct-12 13:06:54

Hi :-)

I'm thinking of moving to Kent in November, from the West Midlands, where are the nice areas?


charlottehere Mon 01-Oct-12 13:17:22

Chelmsford and surrounding areas, some nice villages and good links to l'pool street.

leanora26 Wed 03-Oct-12 21:43:41

ok thanks. what areas are ,'not so nice?' :-)

ClaudiaWinklepants Wed 03-Oct-12 21:54:40

What about Rayleigh in Essex? It's on the Liverpool street line about 40 mins away. Cracking schools including 2 high achieving secondary schools, Fitzwimarc & Sweyne Park. Property reasonably priced too smile

sleeplessinderbyshire Wed 03-Oct-12 22:00:14

somewhere near Sevenoaks would be ideal (if you can afford the house prices).

purlywhite Wed 03-Oct-12 22:02:08

I'd avoid the Medway Towns, Rochester is ok but the others are a bit meh.

The Weald of Kent is beautiful, Canterbury is lovely, Maidstone's ok.

leanora26 Thu 04-Oct-12 15:23:29

Thanks guys!! Is whitsable nice?

DowagersHump Thu 04-Oct-12 15:32:16

Whitstable is nice but very overpriced compared to the rest of the area

leanora26 Sat 06-Oct-12 03:02:05


Trazzletoes Sat 06-Oct-12 04:03:04

I second (third?) Billericay/ Stock/ Ingatestone/ Chelmsford. Chelmsford has good grammar schools (biased!) and Billericay has 2 good comps, as well as some good primaries. Personally I wouldn't live much further out of London because I couldn't hack the commute. I used to work near Liverpool and was on about the 8.02am from Billers to get to work and walking out of the station on my way home at 6pm. But I obviously had a very 9-5 job!

Browners1974 Fri 11-Jul-14 08:59:05

Chav alert ....I don't think anyone can take an opinion seriously that is dotted with totally random expletives. When you say you lived in Thorpe Bay, I suspect you meant Southchurch. Thank god you moved away.

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