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Devon or Kent?(41 Posts)
Hello everyone, I'm retired and looking to move down south. I'm originally from Twickenham in Middlesex, and moved to Northumberland when my late husband was promoted. It is really rural and beautiful, but now I'm older and don't want to drive everywhere I want more amenities on my doorstep, as well as a beach.
I want to live near the sea, and am looking at Broadstairs in Kent, and Exmouth in Devon. I have a budget of £250K and am hoping to get a 2 bed house or ground floor flat. I'm visiting Kent end of this month, Devon end of September.
Anyone live in either of these places? If you do, what do you like about them?
Have a look at Devonlive, there is a lot of local news which may interest you, I live in Devon but have only been to Exmouth twice so cannot give you any real help. Goodluck I hope you find your dream home
I should have mentioned I went to school in Twickenham and later worked there, but that was many years ago, don't think I would want to live there now.
Depends on what you are looking for really. For idyllic seaside villages I think Devon is more beautiful. But its also more remote, which is good or bad depending on your situation. Broadstairs is just one seaside town in Kent, lots are quite nice with good & bad bits, Margate, Ramsgate, Whitstable, Folkestone etc, all have nice parts and more deprived parts. Kent is a stones throw to London and commutable if that makes any difference as well.
Broadstairs is nice. Canterbury nearby and easy reach of cross Channel ferries/the tunnel too.
Kent probably has better public transport than Devon, both rail and bus. If you're looking to reduce the amount of driving you do, that's something to consider.
How often will you want to go to London or to travel to other parts to visit friends or relatives? Devon is a lot further away from everywhere. From Broadstairs you have direct trains to St Pancras, which is very handy if you're travelling north.
My small lives in exmouth. The centre of the town is a bit run down imo. Sidmouth is nicer.
Easy access to Exeter by bus or train. Nice surrounding areas, decent walks, Dartmoor not far. Has Lidl, Tesco, M&S food, co-op, decent little cinema and good leisure centre.
Deal in Kent is lovely. Direct train to St Pancras. Lots of nice places to eat.
I lived in Devon for two years and loathed the lack of ethnic diversity and horrible racism. So I would say Kent as it's closer to London and hopefully less up-in-arms if someone with brown skin is your neighbour.
Also, it rains a lot in Devon hence the green rolling hills.
East Kent is drier and sunnier, but can be very cold - it's exposed to north-easterly winds. Not unheard of for it to be cut off when there's snow.
Deal is lovely, but it's a bit far away from everywhere else. Not so easy to get to Canterbury.
Thanks everyone for your replies and advice.
I originally looked at Sidmouth so I could volunteer at the donkey sanctuary, but a friend recommended Exmouth as it has a train station. My son lives in Durham, daughter in Belfast, and neither have bought a property yet.
The crime rate up here is very low, mainly farm theft, and violent crime is rare I've had a look at the crime statistics for Thanet and Devon and I need to regain my street wise if I move to either area. I've joined the Facebook pages for both and it's been eye opening.
Great point Chicchicchicchiclana
I hope my recce trips are able to happen, I haven't got much time to look at areas as well as finding somewhere before the stamp duty holiday ends.
I’ve lived in Exmouth for many years and love it here. Chichi is right it is not very ethnically diverse in rural areas but more so in Devon cities. It is generally a safe place but there is the usual late night drink related crime in the town centre at weekends , Exmouth has good transport links by bus ,rail and a coastal cycle path in to Exeter. Budleigh Salterton nearby is very pretty as well
I know it not what you are asking but have you thought of Grange over Sands? It is a nice friendly place with everything close by and your budget would work there, closer to your children. I had a relative who retired there and liked it. Good luck with your search.
We live in Folkestone, not Broadstairs (though we did look there) so totally biased, but I would say the Kent offers the best of all worlds IMO. Close to London (57 mins on HS1 to London and even the slower trains are only just over an hour), Historic Canterbury, beautiful countryside and stunning coastlines, not to mention the Channel Tunnel for hops over to Europe. We’ve holidayed in Devon and it does have a far ‘sleepier’ vibe so I suppose it depends on what you’re after...
Thank you very much for the Grange over Sands suggestion, it looks absolutely lovely, but I definitely want to go south. I'd love to live near Brighton but my budget is too low
I could have written almost the same post! also looking for a seaside town and looking at Kent and with a similar budget...
I did not put Devon on my list because I keep reading that it is fairly isolated/hard to commute and, well, people in some places don't always take to 'outsiders'. I also still want access to London.
Broadstairs is nice and you might want to look at Deal too. So is Folkstone/Sandgate (the West side is the nicer part).
Another vote for Kent. We live on the East Sussex coast close to the Kent border, having moved down from Buckinghamshire, and we’d never move back. Kent has better connections to everywhere else than Devon does, which is why it gets my vote. Devon is lovely but remote in comparison.
@Salome61have you looked at littlehampton? I have admittedly only been there once and it doesn’t have the greatest reputation but I thought it had a lot of charm, lots of period properties, a beach, near Chichester and probably quite a lot cheaper than Brighton, but not too far away from it.
Thanks whataboutbob, I'll have a look at Littlehampton. My husband and I might have been there I think - we did a dry stone walling course in Chichester with BTCV in the early 90's.
I'm disappointed I'm priced out of a lots of places, I started my hunt by looking at places I could volunteer with animals. I wanted Wareham/Swanage, as I hoped to volunteer at Monkey World, but can't afford anything there.
Requinblanc, have you looked at Eastbourne and St Leonards? Both recommended to me.
Salome I have just moved to Hastings from London (post divorce!) and you could easily get a lovely flat or small house for £250 000. Some lovely victorian/edwardian/georgian properties - Hastings seemed to bypass a lot of the awful 1960s/70s planning calamities!
I love it here, but it is a bit "marmite" as you either love it or hate it! Very hilly too, something to note.
Reasonable links to London either high speed changing at Ashford or into Waterloo east/London Bridge, takes just under 2 hours. I take DD to visit her dad EOW and it has worked well for us so far (even in Lockdown!!)
Caveats the same as any seaside town, seasonal and areas of deprivation undeniable. Bloody seagulls are a PITA. However I live away from the front near one of the best parks I've experienced so far, Alexandra Park, really is beautiful and large. Theres also St Helens Wood for stunning walks. St Leonards borders on to Alexandra Park west side.
Quite arty areas (in normal times obviously!) and if you drive so many lovely places - Sissinghurst, Dixter house, South Downs for walks.
It is definitely less diverse than London, but less so than I had feared when I came down here, for example they had a big BLM march which surprised me for a small seaside town.
Bexhill is also nice too, but a little more pricey I think.
Good old BTCV! I did a few of those too. Sadly they no longer seem to do the working holidays.
Thanks VintageVixen, I'll have a look, my friend did recommend St Leonard's too. Just so expensive for me to travel so I'm choosing carefully, kennels alone is £120. One more place to choose.
Hythe, near Folkestone is nice, as is Deal. Eastbourne is also fairly lively and well connected to Brighton/London but may be over your budget. The South East coast is used to diversity due to London day trippers and holiday makers. I think Devon would be lovely too but is more rural. I guess you need to look ahead to what your needs might be in 10 years time ie; transport, hospitals etc.
You could even get a two bed flat on the outskirts of SE London for that budget. That would open up proximity to the coast with the opportunities of London. All of the retired people I know live having access to London.
Thank you Lightsabre. I'm not really sure what I want out of my 'fresh start', but future proofing is important as I never want to go through the selling process again. I'm selling my car when I move down as I'm too nervous to do the 300 plus mile drive, I will need good transport links until I get another car.
I've spent all evening looking at RightMove. I wish listings could be standardised, some haven't got street view, or floor plans.
I'm biased because I live in Devon but it's a really beautiful place and around Exeter you have the best of both worlds - accessible to beach and Dartmoor but with good transport links too. My DH often works in London (precovid) and finds the trains good - some only stop in Reading then London.
Exmouth is not run down like many seaside communities can be - it has an M&S food hall right by the station! Though it does have its empty shop corners of course. The Exe Estuary cycle path is really stunning and you have really 'naice' pubs such as The Puffing Billy at Exton along its route. Villages such as Woodbury and Lympstone are chocolate box perfect and Budleigh Salterton is really lovely and walkable or cyclabke from Exmouth along a traffic free cycle route.
Exmouth has good amenities, both in the town centre and outskirts - there's a large Tesco, Lidl and assorted stores like The Range and Home Bargains in shopping centres further out and lots of independent shops and a tesco metro etc in the town centre. There's a swimming pool, decent library, several doctors and a cottage hospital with minor injuries etc. It's very easy to get to Exeter for John Lewis, IKEA, Marks etc.
I am not from Devon originally so maybe I mix in the wrong circles to know about this stuff, but I have a very diverse mix of friends and acquaintances/work colleagues who originate from all over the UK and globe and there's never been any issue re 'outsiders'. Exeter is a university city with a large international cohort and the university (precovid) hosts large events for different cultural celebrations such as Diwali and Chinese New Year. Devon as a whole lacks diversity but I would say that I have witnessed more unpleasant acts related to racism in other places I've lived such as Nottingham and North London. Exmouth certainly doesn't have the cultural offering you may get elsewhere - galleries, museums, cinemas and theatres are small but we travel for these things and make a weekend of it, and also take advantage of Plymouth and Bristol's offerings as day trips. We really enjoy the outdoors and in Exmouth you've got the sea on your doorstep along with Woodbury Commons and Dartmoor a short drive away.
The housing range in Exmouth is good so you should find something to suit you in budget, although Devon's house prices do seem to be going up put of kilter to other areas.
My parents in law (both sets) live in Kent - one lot inland and one lot coastal. DH also has uncles and aunts living in Sandbanks and Folkestone. Folkestone has a lovely coastal park for dc which we've really enjoyed, but I find it really hard to find family places to visit and eat out around Folkestone. Both sets have commuted to London a lot and so value the rail links and proximity but I find the SE very congested and expensive after experiencing the SW!
I'm v biased though, you couldn't drag me out of Devon now!
Good luck with your choices