Relocation to Kent

(25 Posts)
UrbanMage Sat 25-Jan-20 19:58:12

Location info needed (honest as well) please!

So my husband and I (and our almost 5 year old dd) are looking to relocate to be closer to his parents. Mine already live 200odd miles away and we can't relocate up there due to my DH's job, which is in London. I'm a teacher so can be a little more flexible.

We are looking at Swanley/ west Orpington/ Chislehurst sort of way.

What's it like living there? Are the schools ok? Etc.
We had a drive down there today and it looked okish. We know where we want to avoid now, but we are still not hugely knowledgeable about the area.

I'm shitting myself as I've looked at schools and their wraparound care is minimal. I would still want to work so giving it up is not an option. And part time teaching jobs are not always easy to get.


OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Sat 25-Jan-20 22:45:21

On a side note, Orpington and Chislehurst are in London. Swanley is in Kent.

You can go over the websites above for info about schools and some stats about the areas.

Personally, I’d stick to London so that you’ve got option of either a grammar or a good non-selective school. I think Darrick Wood is a desirable one? Kent is a fully grammar county and the non-grammar options tend to be pretty awful.

You’ll also get paid quite a lot more in London, especially if you travel slightly closer on for work to get the inner London weighing.

JoJoSM2 Sat 25-Jan-20 22:46:47

PS The local authority for Chislehurst and Orpington is Bromley (if you want an overview of schools).

Bluerussian Sat 25-Jan-20 22:59:32

Chislehurst is very nice, be wary of Swanley and Orpington.
Very good schools in Bromley, London Borough and a couple of good ones in neighbouring Bexley.

I don't know what sort of house you're looking for but here is an average 3 bed semi in Chis:

7OaksDad Sun 26-Jan-20 11:29:06

Obviously going to be a budget/size of house trade off. Chislehurst is probably the nicest of the areas you mention but is also the most expensive. Orpington covers quite a big area, I’d say around Petts Wood and/or Chelsfield are good options around there. For primary’s I’m a tiny bit too far away for detailed knowledge but most round here are good with wrap-around care so be surprised if it was very different. At secondary level as mentioned the grammar system is a feature of non-London Kent which can be a plus or negative depending on how you look at it. Decent non-selective options are further out. If you’re comfortable with that and you’ve got the budget Sevenoaks is nicer than Swanley and actually a quicker commute for your DH into Central London.

Bluerussian Mon 27-Jan-20 05:53:52

Chatterton Village in Bromley is apparently a very charming area.

custardbear Mon 27-Jan-20 06:32:41

Personally ally I'd look in Sevenoaks, Chislwhurst is the best place you mention, Keston , biggin hill, Westerham are nice but latter two a long way from the train station


inwood Mon 27-Jan-20 06:50:31

Not swanked or Orpington. Chislehurst is nice, property expensive though. What's your budget?

Where do you need to be near to for the parents?

Schools in Bromley are pretty good, you would be in catchment for Bullers in Chislehurst and into Bromley.

bookgirl1982 Mon 27-Jan-20 07:10:35

Those are big areas with a wide variation in 'niceness'!

If you give more specifics about roads/schools then happy to help further.

Do you need a station? What sort of house size/budget?

Lightsabre Mon 27-Jan-20 14:26:33

Budget? Size? The BR6 and Petts Wood side of Orpington are much nicer than the Cray's side. As pp have said, Chislehurst is lovely, as is Sevenoaks but both areas £££ and the travel costs from Sevenoaks will be higher. If you need good schools and to be nearer to a station then the Bexley Borough might suit better - if your budget is lower look in DA15 or Welling. If higher, then DA14. New Eltham and Mottingham border Chislehurst but are cheaper. There are some nice housing pockets there.

HappyHammy Mon 27-Jan-20 14:32:54

Whats your budget, you could get a 2 bed in Chislehurst/Elmstead Woods for about 450k upwards but transport isn't that great, some houses are quite a way from either station bus buses are ok. Chislehurst is a nice villagey place, are you looking for primary or 2ndry schools? Parts of Orpington are ok now, going out towards Chelsfield, avoid the Cray areas. Beckenham is nice and so are parts of Bromley, Chatterton is a bit tatty and not really near the station.
There are some very good schools in the area, look at the sites others have posted.
It really all depends on your budget, how near you want to be to the stations and what sort of property you like.

Pinkflipflop85 Mon 27-Jan-20 14:34:29

Don't move to Swanley!

dontcallmelen Mon 27-Jan-20 19:28:37

Yy avoid Swanley & The Cray areas if possible, Bromley covers a huge area as pp transport/schools/budget will play a big part in what area will meet your needs

user1471449295 Mon 27-Jan-20 20:17:04

Avoid all of Swanley and most areas of Orpington like the plague.
Chislehurst is better, if you have the budget. Have a look at Pettswood also

AnneElliott Mon 27-Jan-20 20:44:02

Agree that Swanley is nest avoided.

Chiselhurst is nice but pricey. Some nice parts of Petts Wood too. Or maybe try Sidcup- not too far from Chislehurst but better value for houses.

UrbanMage Thu 30-Jan-20 15:54:07

Thanks all. I got a job this week near to my in laws so that'll help. Has a payrise as well so that will definitely help. We have also had our house valued for a little more than we paid for it so that will also help.

We've definitely ruled out Swanley and 90s of Orpington. We might be able to push the budget (depending on what our broker says) to 450-500. Though that'll smash us with stamp duty, it will mean we can get a 3 bed as we do need an office for DH and I to work.

OP’s posts: |
dontcallmelen Thu 30-Jan-20 16:38:14

@UrbanMage congratulations on the new job, Chislehurst should be within that budget & I think most schools are good the only issue with Chislehurst is how far away the station might be if you commute, not sure on prices in Petts Wood it’s a nice area though good luck.

user1471449295 Thu 30-Jan-20 17:51:40

There isn’t much available in your budget within the nicer areas. I would suggest going further out but still within commuting distance, although train travel is expensive

PettsWoodParadise Thu 30-Jan-20 19:55:59

With that budget do consider Crofton. Nice area, safe and near green parks but pay off is 1960s architecture and a longer walk (or bus) to Petts Wood or Orpington, you’ll be close to excellent Crofton for infants and for Darrick for secondary.

PettsWoodParadise Thu 30-Jan-20 19:58:08

For example this one:

UrbanMage Thu 30-Jan-20 20:54:52

Yeah something like that is perfect @PettsWoodParadise. I just don't want to drive for ages as I'm a nervous driver! And with Dd only being little, I don't want to have to leave my school at 5 and it take an hour to get her or for it to be too difficult in the morning (my school starts at 8.15-4.45)

OP’s posts: |
PettsWoodParadise Thu 30-Jan-20 21:08:52

I know an excellent childminder who lives opposite Crofton School. Do feel free to pm me if you have specific questions or want to run by a specific location. It is based on 40 plus years of living in Petts Wood and the environs. There are nice areas where you are looking. However as others have said some areas are less than nice. It can change very much in half a mile in this sort of area.

Biggieplus Thu 19-Nov-20 00:12:50

Hey all, I am looking to move from London to Kent mainly for secondary school and a bigger place. I came across Swanley by chance and London appears to be commutable from there. But now I am a bit discouraged by some of your comments about avoiding the area. Can you please tell me more about why Swanley should be avoided? Thanks

russiansnowball Thu 19-Nov-20 15:38:13

I grew up in that area, about 10 mins from Swanley. I think other posters are telling you to avoid because it's not a particularly nice part of Kent (it might've changed a bit since I moved to London after uni, but when I was at home we avoided it other than to use the station, which is a good commute into London). It's just a bit rough, depressing and the schools aren't great.

My parents live in the countryside, near the Brands Hatch race track. It's very pretty and there's a local primary school (and a private prep) nearby, but it was pretty isolated growing up until I could drive, and everything is some sort of drive away.

Have you looked around Longfield / Hartley / New Barn? Longfield is 30 mins into London Victoria and there are lots of pretty good schools, in particular secondaries in the Gravesend and Dartford area.

Alternatively, there's Otford and Sevenoaks, as another poster suggested, but they are a bit more spenny, but their primary schools feed into the good grammars. Given where my parents lived, I wasn't in the catchment area for them, but managed to get into Tonbridge Grammar because I did alright on the 11+, then I did Judd in sixth form. I think now they've both even more oversubscribed and their catchment areas are a lot tighter, so you might want to bear that in mind if you think you want to go down that route eventually.

Biggieplus Thu 19-Nov-20 19:59:38

@russiansnowball thanks a lot for your response. I haven't looked at those areas. I will look at them now. I have very little knowledge about Kent.

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