Commuter towns you should consider
Working in London but don’t want to live there? Here are some great commuter towns you can choose instead.
A market town with 1,000 years of history behind it, Tonbridge is in many ways the unsung epitome of everything Kentish. It’s got an 11th century castle, and just outside the town is The Hop Farm. Formerly the site of the hop gardens which earned the county its status as the garden of England, it’s packed with attractions for kids. The town is close to the lovely Wealden countryside and itself has plenty of green spaces. Connections to London are excellent from Tonbridge: there are eight or nine peak-time trains an hour to Charing Cross and Cannon Street, all taking around 45 to 50 minutes and calling at London Bridge too.
Kent’s county town has it all: beautiful green spaces, cultural attractions galore, lively nightlife and fantastic shopping. Just outside the town stands the stunning Leeds Castle, popular as much for its gorgeous parkland as for the fascinating former royal residence itself. Mote Park, a 450-acre expanse of woodland and open grassland with a huge lake and a model railway, is a delightful place to spend a family afternoon; for a rainy day, there’s a theatre, a museum and a range of shops. Maidstone East has two or three trains an hour to London Victoria, taking around an hour and ten minutes.
Out on the coast, Southend is within an hour of central London – there are 15 trains from 7-8am to Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street, mostly taking between 55 and 65 minutes. The seven beaches will provide endless joy if you have kids, but there is much more to the town than its seaside resort status: two theatres, an art gallery, several leisure centres, a cinema and an airport are here too. Leigh-on-Sea in particular is popular with commuters, and has period houses, vintage shops and independent cafés.
Once a seaside resort beloved of Edward VII, Folkestone has recently experienced significant regeneration, both in the town centre and the harbour area. There are trendy, upmarket bars and restaurants, a thriving arts scene and a creative quarter of independent shops, galleries and cafés along the cobbled Old High Street. The west end of the town has splendid Victorian and Edwardian villas, tree-lined boulevards and a charming seafront, and runs into villagey Sandgate, full of little shops and cafes and cute cottages, upmarket Seabrook and then the quiet, historic former Cinque Port of Hythe.
A quarter of an hour up the line from Folkestone is Ashford, a town transformed by the advent of its high-speed rail link. There are ten trains to various London stations running between 7-8am, with Stratford just half an hour away and St Pancras a 38-minute ride. A lot of redevelopment is underway here, with independent shops, cafes and restaurants and a new cinema springing up, but the really big draw is still the stunning Stour Valley and Wealden countryside which surrounds the town.
When you’re moving house, you need a removal firm who you can trust with your most treasured possessions. An award-winning, family-run Kent removals company, Colin Batt Removals have been helping people settle into their new homes for more than 40 years. Finalist for the British Association of Removers’ domestic remover of the year award in 2018, we’re specialists in piano removals and have moved some of the world’s most expensive and treasured instruments.
When you work with us, you know your belongings are in safe and capable hands. As well as our house removal service, we also offer a packing service for moving house.We’re based in Ashford, Maidstone and Canterbury, and also cover the Folkestone and Tonbridge areas. To find out more about our services, give us a call on 01233 740395.