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To be considering a move to Kent / Chichester but no idea which one? :(

(46 Posts)
Mixedupmind Sun 13-Apr-14 07:49:11

Can anyone please advise?
I'm new to this site, confused to the max and would love some outsiders opinions.
I currently live on the outskirts of sw London.
Obviously, loud, fast paced life with expensive rents and good schools.
Our son is due to start his school nursery this year however for the last month I've felt that it might be better for all of us to just get out now before he starts reception next year.
A slower, friendlier, greener happy childhood is what I'm imagining, little villages where people know each other, smaller schools that aren't all heavily over subscribed.
BUT I don't drive so would need to be able to get to a town and will the children be travelling back to London all over again when it becomes time to find a job etc.
Half of me thinks I'd be hugely benefiting them by making the move now, the other half thinks maybe I'm hindering them.
Has anyone done it?
And does anyone live in either area above that can shed some light?
Much appreciated!

Goodadvice1980 Sun 13-Apr-14 07:54:01

I can recommend Kent! Chichester is nice but a bit touristy in the summer and quite pricey for the nicer areas.

ElvisJesusAndCocaCola Sun 13-Apr-14 07:55:40

Some parts of Kent are v picturesque, v well connected for London, v middle class, v expensive... Others are much less like this, so it really depends where you choose.

Sorry that's not v helpful - can you narrow kent down a bit?

Minnieisthedevilmouse Sun 13-Apr-14 07:56:17


slartybartfast Sun 13-Apr-14 08:00:26

i imagine kent has a better commute?
have you looked into that?

Mixedupmind Sun 13-Apr-14 08:12:16

Commuting doesn't matter
My husband works for himself and I will be at home with the 2 little ones for the forseable.
Chichester im familiar with as my brother lives in felpham the only thing putting me off is the lack of good schools and apparently the rise in crime over recent years.
Also friends keep harping on about anywhere near a beach is a breeding ground for drunks / addicts??
Kent I have no idea with, a friend lives in ashford and another in tonbridge wells but neither have children so bought there as cheap and easy commute not for nice schools / better life for children sad

AuroraSim Sun 13-Apr-14 08:12:52

Kent has a much better commune. Loads of green space, historic towns, but like everywhere has it's place to avoid. Like gillingham, and rainham. Rochester's lovely. Got request buses too x

slartybartfast Sun 13-Apr-14 08:20:29

i dont think there is veyr much wrong with chichester

Mixedupmind Sun 13-Apr-14 08:33:08

Would you all agree these places are better than London to bring up children?

slartybartfast Sun 13-Apr-14 08:34:59

i think you need to have a car if you are not in london.

and there are pros and cons to both places

Eastpoint Sun 13-Apr-14 09:02:25

Chichester is lovely and has loads going on, theatre, art house cinema, normal cinema etc. Good buses/trains but not commuter trains, more train to Brighton/Portsmouth. I agree with the other posters saying being able to drive yourself is good/vital outside London. The supermarkets are on the outskirts of the city and so you need to plan more.

FusilliJerry Sun 13-Apr-14 09:09:35

I'm near chichester, and have lived there too. It is lovely, but is one of the most expensive in terms of rent/ house prices - it was in the top ten of affordability comparing prices to wages places.
There are cheaper surrounding places though. I think wherever you decide, look at the long term affordability of where you are and what the schools are like. Chichester is expensive, but if you are used to London rates, probably cheaper than that. If you are renting now, would you like to have a mortgage in the future, and could you get enough to buy in the town you want to be?
I live near the sea, no drug/drunk problem that I know of! Certainly not any more than your average place, I would say.
perhaps go and stay for a long weekend in a few places, to get the feel of a place, then research a bit more the ones you like the feel of?

Mixedupmind Sun 13-Apr-14 09:17:47

Thankyou for all your replies
Will be buying in about 5 years when my mother retires and gets a payout
So looking at renting for that time
We currently pay £960 for a 2 bed terraced house with a patio garden out the back so from what I've seen we would be looking at a 3 bed with a big garden for that price
I guess it's the unknown I'm afraid of, whether the kids will be travelling back anyway and I've just made it harder for them.
But then I look at the secondary schools they will be attending which are close to Croydon ( mainly purley way as catholic ) and that terrifies me.

JamNan Sun 13-Apr-14 09:42:43

We moved out of London to a village in East Sussex. Very glad I did it for the schools and DCs. The housing around the good schools in T Wells is very expensive and I'd recommend going further afield in Kent or East Sussex, maybe even as far as the coast.

I don't drive. The public transport system is fairly good if you have to rely on buses and trains but it's usually only one every hour. Look at OFSTED reports to find a good school. You need to think carefully about how they will get to school once they are in secondary school and sixth form college. Most schools in East Sussex have buses that pick up students from surrounding areas in term time (I don't know about Kent). Also think how they will get home if they do after-school activities. Look on the trains and buses websites to see the routes they cover. Arriva, South Eastern trains.

On the downside, village life can be claustrophobic because everyone knows everyone's business and it can be cliquey. Crime does happen. Jobs are often minimum wage. Local food shops are sometimes expensive and poor value. But life is nicer. I love it.

Valdeeves Sun 13-Apr-14 09:45:09

Someone I know has just moved to Thanet Shells and they are raving about it. They say the commute takes the same time as it did when they lived in London. Nice beach, cheaper housing etc.

BarbaraPalmer Sun 13-Apr-14 09:57:23

i grew up in one of the grotty bits of Kent, of which there are plenty

you need to be aware that Kent still has selective education, and the quest for grammar school places starts very early indeed nowadays. I wouldn't move to an area with a selective system, but am aware that this is a big draw for lots of people.

Mixedupmind Sun 13-Apr-14 10:04:03

Does that mean there are no state secondaries?

slartybartfast Sun 13-Apr-14 10:05:14

i believe that So many families aim for the grammars, i worry about the rest of the state education in kent. but that could be unfounded.

Mixedupmind Sun 13-Apr-14 10:21:43

Oh god this is an awful decision to make sad
Maybe better the devil you know after all

Nancy66 Sun 13-Apr-14 10:30:11

Chichester is lovely. Could easily live there. Maybe it's worth spending a weekend down that way exploring the surrounding villages?

Don't really know Kent - have a friend in Faversham though, which is a nice place.

wontdoitnomore Sun 13-Apr-14 10:42:29

take a look at the dymchurch website,
just perfect for all ages.
Been here for 17 years, beautiful and safe.

Beautiful beaches as you walk the children home from school.
Beautiful countryside parks.
Excellent motorway links, Eurotunnel,
Not far from Canterbury.
Reasonable house prices.
The best move you could ever make (in my opinion!)

Floralnomad Sun 13-Apr-14 10:51:12

Have a look at Maidstone and the surrounding villages . The Catholic secondary school ( St Simon Stock) is quite highly regarded and the Grammars are excellent if you go that way . I would recommend Grove Green ,Bearsted , Weavering on one side of town or Allington on the other side . Faversham is lovely as is Canterbury but I'm not sure how good the schools are if you don't get into the grammar .

BalloonSlayer Sun 13-Apr-14 14:06:09

The big issue with choosing between Kent and Sussex is Secondary education.

Kent still has grammar schools. Sussex does not.

Sussex has a lot of very good comprehensive schools. Kent has a lot of good grammar schools and a lot of godawful secondary modern schools (I expect there are some good ones too).

Basically - if you think your DC will definitely sail through the 11+, then it doesn't matter whether you pick Kent or Sussex.

If you are not sure that they will, you are better off with Sussex.

And of course it is impossible to tell right now, isn't it? confused

tallulah Sun 13-Apr-14 14:16:17

We moved away from Ashford 4 years ago. Best thing we ever did. The only good thing about Ashford was the boys grammar school (girls was always heavily over-subscribed).

You want little villages where everyone knows each-other (that doesn't describe Ashford or Chichester). If you find one, you will be considered an incomer for at least 40 years. I can't think of anywhere with smaller schools that aren't oversubscribed either.

Also if you can't drive you will be stuck in the village because most have one bus in the morning going out, and one coming back in the evening.

slightlyconfused85 Sun 13-Apr-14 14:51:39

I grew up in Chichester, and now live in Brighton but have family in Kent. Chichester is quite twee, but doesn't feel very small and the choice for schools is an excellent school but is C of E and you have to go to church, or single sex. I didn't really enjoy being a teenager or young adult there and it's not villagey at all.

Have you considered East Sussex? Still commutable and some good schools. Ringmer has quite a good secondary school not too big, with surrounding villages such as Glynde, Halland. There are also nice villages going towards Eastbourne such as Jevington and Alfriston. When we have finished renovating our home in Brighton we would like to go out this way.

I'm sure there are lovely bits of Kent, but I only know Romney Marsh/Ashford which is not particularly villagey but some nice bits.

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