Help Dartford/Greenhithe or Thurrock

(16 Posts)
BlessedandGratefulMommyWife Sun 15-Feb-15 16:11:49

Hi All,

We (DH, DS 16, DS 10 & Me DW) are currently in the process of moving to UK. We have family who live in Chafford 100 area and Chelmsford and we thought would be great to be in that area close to family etc. Lots of research and have found some great schools (Sixth Form, College and Secondary) for our sons. In our search for properties the areas of Dartford, Greenhithe and Gravesend come up quite often.

I have thus far dismissed the idea as I have been under the impression that commuting into London (Fenchurch Street) seemed to me a bit lengthy and involving multiple trains as opposed to one straight shot on the C2C.

As our family are knowledgeable of the Grays side wondering if anyone can lend some insight on life in Dartford, Greenhithe & Gravesend.

Would like to know:

Any recommendation on schools? DSs are active footballers, bright boys, very social. Would not fit in at an all boys school. Eldest will need a Sixth Form or college that offers A levels or BTec level 3. Youngest a good school with a positive ethos, safe environment etc.

Commuting into London I work in the Insurance/Reinsurance and would like to get into London quickly and home even faster! Love my 9 to 5 but truly live for my family time. Also if DC are sick and I need to reach home quickly would not want to deal with a 2 hour commute.

Housing wise we love what we have seen on rightmove/zoopla are there areas to avoid, we are a social family love to barbeque, go to movies, sit and enjoy the outdoors (while possible) would not want to be in an area where people are antisocial.

Gosh this is a long post really would like any insight and if you can if you had to chose between Grays or Dartford area which would you pick?

Thank You So Much!!! smile

MaraThonbar Sun 15-Feb-15 16:49:36

Are you aware that Kent has grammar schools? This may or may not be desirable but it is worth bearing in mind that it can limit the co-ed options.

If a very fast commute is important to you, have you looked at Ashford? Tickets on the high-speed line are comparatively expensive so you would need to factor this in, of course.

a2011x Sun 15-Feb-15 17:31:15

I'm in Gravesend and wouldn't recommend it anymore

eurochick Sun 15-Feb-15 17:35:22

The commute is easy. The North Kent trains go into London Bridge. You can then walk or bus over to the insurance district. I worked next to fen church St for a while and my trains came into London Bridge and I found it very easy.

HarrietVane99 Sun 15-Feb-15 17:36:28

Gravesend has the high speed option to St Pancras as well as the usual termini. Dartford serves Cannon St, Charing X and Victoria, although the Victoria route is quite slow. You'd need to check how your commute might be affected by the major work going on at London Bridge.

There's a proposal to build a theme park or something in the Greenhithe area. If that goes ahead the already very busy A2 will become even busier.

If you're considering Kent you might want to think about going a bit further out to Rochester or Chatham. The commute isn't much longer because there are fast direct trains and I think it's a nicer area with good access to both London and the coast. Local authority is Medway, not Kent.

BlessedandGratefulMommyWife Sun 15-Feb-15 18:23:57

Thanks for the responses thus far.

I am not familiar with the nuance of Grammar Schools. Although we live on a British island our references for schools are different. Here we have Public Schools run by the Government and Private schools which as by their name are private fee paying schools. In our private schools we have co-ed (boys and girls) and single sex all boys and all girls.

Perhaps I should have asked for clarity on Grammar versus Co-Ed as I did note there were a number of Grammar Schools.

Will look into Asford, Rochester abd Chatham.

Many thanks All! Any other insight from others greatly appreciated smile smile

MaraThonbar Sun 15-Feb-15 18:31:18

Grammar schools are government-funded but they are academically selective, with pupils taking an entrance exam at 11. Many of the North Kent grammars are single-sex, although some are co-educational. Virtually all have co-ed sixth forms.

The remaining state schools are non-selective, and almost exclusively co-educational. In some parts of Kent these schools perform very poorly, which is inevitable if the most able pupils are being creamed off for the grammars.

My point was that the grammar schools are highly over subscribed and difficult to get into. You may not have a choice between a single-sex or co-ed grammar school place, and if your boys are very bright then a non-selective school might not suit them. You must therefore approach Kent with caution!

voscar Mon 16-Feb-15 22:05:07

I lived in Greenhithe for 5 years (Ingress Park) and recently moved 10 minutes up the road to Northfleet.

Greenhithe is lovely. Great transport links, train line is walking distance from most housing areas and the commute is short. It has a lovely community and I would happily live there again. However Paramount Park is being built close by and combined with the traffic from Bluewater it is increasingly busy traffic wise due to being a through town for the A2. Both a bonus and a down side. Local Primary schools not brilliant but Bean is good. Local grammar school for Greenhithe is Dartford - which is on the bus route or a 15 minute drive, or 5 minutes on train.

Dartford you have to be far choosier with your area but West Dartford is quite nice and has a decent reputation. Is walking distance to the Grammar School.

Gravesend is not that nice. I live in Northfleet, which is technically Gravesend but I live in a family orientated estate which has a nice community feel with a good local school. It a nightmare from a commute perspective. Only 10 minutes further up motorway but means a bus to either Gravesend, Northfleet or Greenhithe to get to train station - easy adds 30 minutes on commute time.

If family time is most important then your commute is going to be the biggest deciding factor. Being walking distance to the train station is a must!

Feel free to PM me - happy to help!

voscar Mon 16-Feb-15 22:07:54

P.s. If you want to keep your commute under an hour door to door then don't go any further down the A2 than greenhithe. Unless you intend to live next door to a train station!

Sassyk Sat 21-Feb-15 17:18:14

Honestly, in those areas you need to be quite careful where you live. Dartford is pretty grim in the most part although there is a good sense of community and you get a lot of property for your money in comparison with other local areas. Some of the towns/villages like Longfield or Bean are better. Greenhithe is ok and there are some nice areas but mostly housing estates. Depends what you're looking for?
I am only familer with Strood area in Medway and again the town is not very nice but you get some lovely houses on the outskirts and in Rochester.
We live further in to London on the Kent/london border (Bromley area) and it takes me 25 mins into the City on the train. I drive to Brentwood in Essex and it takes anything between 30 mins and a couple of hours depending what the Bridge traffic is like!
I can't help on schools as I have young children (though I've heard its a bit of a nightmare with the grammar system.
If you are looking for nice towns with cafes and good restaurants then those places probably aren't a good choice (in my opinion). The adjacent countryside isn't particularly nice either but you are a fairly short drive from some lovely coastal towns.

hiccupgirl Sat 21-Feb-15 19:39:16

If you want to be close to family I personally would avoid being on the other side of the Dartford crossing. Partly because of the cost which can quickly mount up if you're crossing a lot but also because it is a bottleneck even with the tolls removed.

Essex also has grammar schools and quite a lot of kids in Thurrock take the 11+ aiming for Southend or Chelmsford grammars which are all single sex.

stonecircle Sun 22-Feb-15 17:53:01

You may well have missed the deadline for sixth form applications to start September 2015 I'm afraid.

BlessedandGratefulMommyWife Sat 07-Mar-15 01:49:46

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Really quite helpful!!

ilovemydoggy Sat 07-Mar-15 10:13:33

I'm in Dartford at the moment and trying to get out its not the same it used to me. And I def would not pay what we've just sold our house for. Heard good things about the schools though so can't be all that bad. Happy to answe any questions.

loveareadingthanks Mon 09-Mar-15 12:58:56

I moved from South Essex (lived in a few different towns) to Greenhithe and now Dartford.

I think your budget makes a huge difference. There are some lovely areas and some grotty areas in all towns, but you get more options and more for your money in some than in others.

Education. Essex and Kent have very different systems, which will effect your 10 year old. Kent is a grammar county. Which means that children do a test (the 11+) in their last year of primary school and the top 20% or so go to grammar schools. It is now too late to apply for grammar entrance in 2015. I'm not sure if this is too late for your son or if he would be looking at moving up in 2016. The grammars are all excellent. I don't know about the other schools, probably also excellent ones, but they have had the most academic children creamed off.

Essex is not really a 'grammar' county. Most schools are 'comprehensive', which means all abilities. There are only 4 grammar schools in the entire county and most children don't do the tests or go to one. Public schools rarely prepare for the 11+. Many of the grammar school children have been privately schooled before that. Which is fine, but it's a different approach to the whole thing and if you have a very academic 10 year old you may be better off in a mixed ability Essex school, than failing to get into a Kent grammar.

Commute
I think North Kent is much better connected to London than Essex. From Dartford you can get trains to Victoria, Cannon Street, Charring Cross, Waterloo and London Bridge, in about 45 mins - 1 hour. From South Essex you only connect to either Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street.

HouseHelp9 Wed 11-May-16 12:12:02

Hi, I'm currently looking for a property around the Dartford area. Can anyone advise me which bits to avoid. All property prices at the moment are sky high, but I really don't want to end up paying over the limit for the dodgy areas.

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