Where should we live to start a family? What do you think of Tonbridge, Kent?(13 Posts)
Hi there, I wondered if there were any hardened family warriors or super mums out there that could give me some advice: my husband and I are trying to work out where to buy a house and start a family. Our criteria is (1) commutable to Canary Wharf within 45mins (2) excellent state and independent schools (3) 3-bed homes available for £600k or less. Kent seems like the best choice, with Tonbridge as the strongest bet. But I wondered if anyone had any other suggestions, or if there were any folks already living in Tonbridge that could tell me a bit about what it's like? Particularly on the schools front.
I used to work in tonbridge and I found it a very mixed bag some parts are really lovely and others are a tad dubious. In all fairness I was employed in such a way my knowledge was heavily filtered to the less salubrious aspects.
The outlying areas are lovely albeit more expensive and areas further up like sevenoaks and ightam are beautiful but seriously expensive
Tonbridge town centre is fine but a little dated it has great supermarkets though....waitrose and sainsburys.
A slight word of warning getting in and out of tonbridge during rush hour is busier than you may expect because there are a few pipelines in and out that get quite busy
As for schools I can't answer fully but given my previous occupation the fact they weren't on my radar means they were reasonable in terms of behaviour and issues but I'm afraid I know nothing of their educational status
Hope that helps a tiny bit
It's worth being aware that Tonbridge still has Grammar schools- around 25% of children in Kent go to grammars, so no comprehensives. Most of the Tonbridge secondary schools are also single sex.
Tonbridge area can be really lovely. I would also look at Tunbridge Wells and many of the villages around.
However I would research the train link as currently there is some mutterings about the Tonbridge line getting closed down. Not a done deal yet however worth considering before you move.
You are welcome to pm if you have more specific questions about the area (I do not live in Tonbridge but in a town where many children go to Tonbridge secondary schools)
Londoners flock to Tunbridge wells as opposed to Tonbridge and there's a long-lived snobbery toward Tonbridge. Surrounding villages are lovely. Up to you to spend time in parks and high street and decide for yourself whether you agree or not with the stereotype. Lots don't, lots do.
I work in canary wharf and know a bunch of people who live in the Tonbridge area. I don't think any of them manage the commute in 45 mins. Mostly they drive in and have to get through the Blackwall Tunnel and there's also a coach option though that can be really busy.
If a 45 min commute is a deal breaker, I suggest you try it a couple of times afresh hour to make sure it's doable.
I live in Tonbridge, three DC all in different schools, private and state. I have lived in Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks too. I grew up around here, did the London thing and moved back with DC.
There are a lot of people moving here from London. Not heard a thing about the train line going, I would be really surprised if that is true.
South Tonbridge is generally cheaper for housing but affordable areas in both.
I live in the Yardley park area which is North Tonbridge.
I have namechanged for this thread
I lived in Bidborough too which is a lovely village between Tonbridge and Twells, very busy and good for children but very expensive.
You probably don't want to drive to the station on top of your commute anyway.
If schools and commute are the priority, I would suggest London/Kent border - Zone 5 which makes the commute cheaper too. You can definitely still get a 3-4 bed house in Petts Wood for example, close to the station, max 25 minutes from London Bridge on the train. Or Chislehurst. Lots of people commute to the Wharf and there are plenty of good state and independent schools including super selective grammars (Newstead, St Olaves). It is also commutable at secondary school age to grammars further out in Kent or top independents like Sevenoaks School. It also has its own secondary independents like Bromley High/Eltham College. Most primary schools in the Borough of Bromley are very good, but you do need to check catchments.
Like I said it was mutterings However mutterings that was in our local paper . So just one thing to be aware of.
I second Petts Wood as an ideal location and in your budget. Canary Wharf is easy and quick via Lewisham or London Bridge. Good state schools with Crofton and Darrick and independents nearby of Bromley High or Eltham College. The grammars of St Olaves and Newstead are also popular but to not for the faint hearted. Lovely collection of local shops and restaurants, supermarkets and watering holes. Lovely family friendly events throughout the year plus activities and venues for babies and toddlers etc etc.
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