Reigate, Sevenoaks or Tunbridge Wells?

(77 Posts)
Nooyorknoooyorkkkkkk Sat 26-Mar-16 20:15:55

Quite like all these places but no one is winning over the other. Any info or insider opinion about which place would suit best?
DH needs to commute pretty much daily to the city. Long hours. I'm freelance but may need to be in as well 1-2 day a week.
Two young preschool kids.
£1m budget.
State primaries. Prefer good state secondaries but would consider private.
Need to be somewhere with some character and life. Friendly community feel. Lots to do both for kids and us.
Prefer period do-re upper home.
Hmm think that's it!
Thank youuuuuuu.

Twerking9to5 Sat 26-Mar-16 21:44:16

Hi! I grew up near tunbridge wells and currently trying to buy there (I'm London at the moment). I really like the town. The assembly hall theatre has lots going on - peppa pig in April (I also have 2 pre-schoolers grin), the pantiles is lovely and hosts farmers markets regularly. Rumour has it an independent cinema is being built there, not sure if it'll come to fruition.

Good selection of schools, bennetts and St gregs for secondaries are ones I've heard are good. Plus there are the grammars. Traffic can be a total pain and parking can be an issue but your budget should get you decent off street parking.

The place we're hoping to buy is on a friendly road (street parties and many young families etc). Lots of period properties to be found.

You also have bewl water and bedgebury forest nearby which are both great for outdoorsy fun.

Hope this helps a bit, obviously the other two places have lots of plus points too!!

MrsFlorrick Sat 26-Mar-16 22:39:14

Sevenoaks has the shortest commute. But also highest prices. £1m won't buy you a period house but it may buy you a smaller 1980/1990s build on the edge of Sevenoaks.
Good schools and lovely place.

Tunbridge wells. Bad commute. Almost twice as long as Sevenoaks.
Great schools. Both state and private.
Lovely place generally. Bigger and less villagy than Sevenoaks. And quite noisy.
£1m will buy you a period semi with potential.

Have you considered Tonbridge? Great schools. Lovely place. Great commute. And the Waitrose that Tunbridge wells doesn't have.
£1m would buy you a substantial period house. It has lovely independent cafes (Finch House, The Bakehouse and Basil) plus all the usual Starbucks, caffe Nero etc. Lovely park and huge playground.

Visit all three and see.

Can't help with Reigate. Sorry.

Peaceandloveeveryone Sat 26-Mar-16 22:41:14

Nooo, not Tonbridge! Prices are being pushed up by people moving from London so high that us locals are unable to buy wink.

MrsFlorrick Sun 27-Mar-16 00:19:10

Peace. smile

Nooyorknoooyorkkkkkk Sun 27-Mar-16 08:51:46

Hmmm tonbridge well yes just seen some lovely houses there too. I know it's not as 'happening' as TW but seems to be on the up?
Maybe there too then!! Oh dear more choices!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 27-Mar-16 08:56:17

Tonbrdge is brilliant for commuting. The north side up by the castle and the school is fab. Lovely houses. And you have the Tonbridge park run to urge you to get fit!

Seen as Tunbridge Wells more common cousin grin but has an awful lot going for it.

MrsFlorrick Sun 27-Mar-16 10:39:56

From what you describe, a period house in Sevenoaks would probably be your favourite. However prices are high and for that type starts around £1.5m.
There isn't a huge supply of period houses in Sevenoaks so a premium costwise. If the right house had come up, we would have bought there. But it would have been with a bigger mortgage or a huge compromise on the type of house.

Tunbridge wells has a large supple of period houses. But it's much more like a large town/small city. And parts of TW are not nice. The nicer parts are expensive and often a lot of traffic noise given their locations.
I do like TW but couldn't quite love it. Tbh. The long commute for DH was a deal breaker. He wouldn't see the DC much.
If you want city living, you'll love it if you can bear the commute. You'd be looking at 1hr 45min door to door each way if you work in the City and need tube after mainline. And you'd probably have to drive to TW station at the other end.

Sevenoaks would be 50mins door to door and tonbridge for DH is 1:05 to 1:10 (he commutes to Kings X).

Tonbridge was always on the list for us. Initially on the first visit I didn't like it. However once we explored more I did. And the houses here in the northern part are amazing. We got to know the whole street in a short few months after moving in. Neighbours are all fab. It's so quiet here. No traffic noise. And a short walk to the high street. Parking is good (waitrose or sainsburys). The DC love it here.
I asked for advice on schools here on MN and the DC are now at an amazing school.

SqueegyBeckinheim Sun 27-Mar-16 10:46:21

Before you buy do your homework on the primaries with regard to getting in. Tunbridge Wells has expanded at lot in terms of numbers over the past ten years or so, but school places haven't kept up. For many of the popular primaries you pretty much need to be living on the doorstep to get in. In DDs school a couple of years ago no one new got in, it was an all sibling intake.

Or alternatively as Peaceandlove says, don't move to Tunbridge Wells because the massive growth spurt is making life difficult for us locals wink.

seven201 Sun 27-Mar-16 10:46:24

I think it depends how big you want your house to be. We bought an Edwardian 3 bed in Sevenoaks last year for £565k that just needed a bit of tarting up on a nice road. It's not on a posh road with massive houses but it suits us really well. We can walk to Sevenoaks station, to knole park, into town etc all in less than 20 mins. Five minute walk to a little parade of shops including a lovely cafe.

Finola1step Sun 27-Mar-16 10:53:36

If you have pre schoolers, may I suggest that your biggest consideration should be whether the house you buy will get you into your preferred primary school?

I live in TWells. My dc go to a school that is vv popular. We walk there in under 8 minutes, I can hear the playground from my garden at lunchtimes. Our house is not in catchment. We rented when we first moved down and then bought a short walk away.

Do not trust what the estate agents tell you about school catchment areas. Research for yourself via the Kent.gov website. Iirc, they publish a starting school brochure which includes the how far away from the school the last place was offered. Some are eye wateringly close to the school.

The Curzon cinema is now unlikely to come to TWells as the big shopping centre in town is expanding to include an onsite cinema.

Love TWells. Moved down from London 5 years ago. Great decision. But I no longer commute. Many, many people do.

shanghaismog Sun 27-Mar-16 17:10:28

What about Oxted? Small town, good commute, good schools. Great community but it is small, so limited in what's on offer.

Wellwellwell Sun 27-Mar-16 18:21:01

We just moved down from the town in your name to Reigate. For various work reasons Reigate was the obvious choice for us but we have looked through Oxted and Sevenoaks previously too.

We have bought a house in catchment for great state primaries but I think secondary is bit more hit and miss unless religious. Surrey doesn't have state grammars depending on how you feel about that.

We spent 800k on a detached Edwardian house on the outskirts but it needs completely gutting. We will have spent over your budget easily by the time we are done.

Commute wise, my husband drives to Redhill station. It will be 23 minutes to London Bridge once the station works are finished but it is longer at the moment. Reigate station isn't that great.

goldenlilliesdaffodillies Sun 27-Mar-16 18:21:45

I don't know Reigate but know Tunbridge Wells well. TW is a great town- lots going on, good grammar schools, lots to do for young children, good shops. The Pantiles is lovely. There are great places to visit nearby for days out (eg National Trust, Groombridge Place, Bedgebury). You just whizz up the A21.

Sevenoaks is nice too but very commuter belt land and very expensive. I think there is only 15 minutes difference on the train (according to DH who commutes daily).

Nooyorknoooyorkkkkkk Mon 28-Mar-16 06:24:29

Oxted too small really. Doesn't seem to be enough going on. I wasn't sure about Sevenoaks either in terms of character as it is so commuterbelt land but then Sunday Times gave it a great right up so a bit confused about what it's actually like - a bit soulless or not? Yes v expensive but then commute less.
Thought maybe could live redhill side of Reigate and jog/bike to redhill station. Do people do that?

Nooyorknoooyorkkkkkk Mon 28-Mar-16 06:29:16

Tonbridge and TW seem to be winning at the moment though haven't completely discounted Sevenoaks - would depend on what could get in catchment for decent primary.

Wellwellwell Mon 28-Mar-16 20:05:44

Yes, people do but you would need to think carefully about school catchments compared to ease of access to Redhill station.

RosaliesGinBottle Mon 28-Mar-16 20:38:55

Primaries are oversubscribed in Sevenoaks so you'd have to live vv close to yr choice. We didn't get any of our choices despite being half a mile from our first choice and about a mile from 2 and 3. Go to church and live across from the school! It is a nice town though and the commute has made a real difference.

BumbleNova Tue 29-Mar-16 09:01:15

Lived in Tonbridge for about 18mths now, we are moving to T Wells. I do like sevenoaks but you get dramatically less for your money and getting a seat in the morning requires lightening reflexes and sharp elbows!

Really tried to love Tonbridge but honestly, its a dump. (sorry mnetters from Tonbridge!) there isnt a single nice bar/pub/restaurant in the town. not one. we moved down from brixton/herne hill and really miss having somewhere local to go for a drink/food when we are both shattered on a friday night. tonbridge high street is betting shops/fast food and pound shops.

the T wells commute is currently terrible but come August (new time table) it gets a lot better. I commute to the city daily and my commute will be around 1hr mark.

I grew up in Winchester/henley so T wells is much more what I am looking for. Space NK, lovely boutique shops, bars and restaurants.

I've been to reigate once so sorry I cant really comment.

BumbleNova Tue 29-Mar-16 09:02:57

also - if you want a period house, you are much better looking in T wells. large swathes of Tonbridge are postwar/council houses. very few period house compared to T wells.

Peaceandloveeveryone Tue 29-Mar-16 09:09:39

Restaurants on Tonbridge high street, Havet (Turkish), pizza express (fair enough not really high end), Alishan, Mamma Mia, Tapas one (can't remember the name), New Thai one opening in a few weeks, Kathmandu Valley (amazing food).

There are pop up restaurants in the old fire station and another really good Gurkha restaurant on the corner near the library.

The bars and pubs are dire though.

BumbleNova Tue 29-Mar-16 09:42:02

fair enough Peace - we have tried all of those. sorry - I'm a complete foodie and we hadnt realised how spoilt we had been in London. T wells is just much more what we are looking for.

Peaceandloveeveryone Tue 29-Mar-16 09:53:09

I have lived in both, don't prefer one over the other but T Wells is not really for foodies either, I don't even rate Thackerys, dh loves eating out in pantiles area but the food is not great.

Lots of grotty housing areas in TWells too. I think I would live in Warwick park area if I moved back.
I live in North Tonbridge, I have to say that I didn't enjoy living in South Tonbridge.

You are right in that there are more period properties in TWells.

BumbleNova Tue 29-Mar-16 10:06:36

I agree Peace - around Camden Road in T wells is very grotty. We are currently south Tonbridge so that has probably coloured my view! having to walk past all the minging bits this part of tonbridge everyday / all the run down houses has definitely affected my opinion of the town. It is definitely changing though, lots of new places opening, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 years.

i am slightly obsessed with the butchers in the pantiles/ the french cheese shop. so good!

Nooyorknoooyorkkkkkk Tue 29-Mar-16 13:37:45

Visited Ton today - not a fan sorry plus did some primary research and don't seem to be that great if you need to be close to station. But Sevenoaks seemed nicer than I remember. I still can't figure out which of the three options would suit best really. I like TW shops best but obviously commute longer. Sevenoaks more expensive but quicker commute. Primaries seem good in both though oversubscribed though I'm figuring that in wherever we go.
Sevenoaks and Reigate on a par on feel. TW obviously bigger. I did read some posts saying Sevenoaks wasn't v friendly and a bit "sevenoaksy" though not sure what that means?
Anyway any further thoughts on the three towns v welcome while I continue pondering

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