Kensington property profile – a guide to one of London’s premier shopping areas

Kensington London W8 and SW7

Kensington is still just as its creators intended, the popular choice for the rich and powerful. The court of William and Mary moved to Kensington Palace in 1689. The hamlet had arrived as a fashionable suburb with status.

Kensington Square is one of London’s oldest squares. It dates from 1685 and features an array of blue plaques. One is for former resident John Stuart Mill a well known liberal philosopher. While poet and novelist GK Chesterton lived at 32 Sheffield Terrace, a street of three-story white houses.

Most of the present day buildings in Kensington were created in the 19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria. The main building activity was just after the Great Exhibition in 1851.  The repeal of the window tax allowed construction of houses with larger and more windows. As a result the streets were laid out wider to allow more light. Also, they were planted with trees to provide summer shade and a pleasant outlook.

The council fights hard to maintain the leafy Victorian and Georgian character of the area. As a result there are few opportunities for developers to squeeze more new buildings in. However recreating old buildings will always be a popular pursuit.

As a Royal Borough, the area has many embassies while Kensington gardens, planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds, features a children’s playground which serves as a wonderful memorial to Princess Diana.

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Holland Park is 22.5 hectares of gardens, children’s play facilities, a cafeteria and large areas of woodland abundant with wildlife. The sports areas include facilities for tennis, football, golf practice nets, cricket practice nets and netball. Finally, there is the beautiful Kyoto Garden, a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991.

Interesting Facts

  • St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington has, at 278 feet, the tallest church spire in London. The Victorian Gothic building was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott , and was completed in 1872.
  • Swinging 1960’s iconic fashion house Biba had its flagshop store on Kensington High Street
  • German pilots used the Albert Memorial as a landmark during World War I

Property Types

Kensington is defined to a large extent by the beauty and majesty of its palace set in the sumptuous gardens which were re-designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century.


Queen’s Gate is a popular bolt hole for the Diplomatic Corps with plenty of embassies and ambassadorial homes amongst the grand stucco terraces that dominate the busy sweeping thoroughfare.

White rendered detached houses, stucco terraced dwellings, brick and render terraces and linked housing predominate. While Plane Tree House, a prize winning 1960s flats development, is a notable exception.

The exclusive Kensington Palace Gardens is as close to a private road as you can get with its imposing gates at either end. Also the constant attention of the Diplomatic Protection Corps wards off the undesirable or unwelcome.

Commerce and culture

Kensington High Street is the heart of the area. It has a busy commercial centre with a generous array of shopping options for the affluent. South Kensington is the other hub of social activity. Clusters of small shops lead to Exhibition Road, the place to look for the area’s museums, schools and colleges. The Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Science Museum are all within walking distance

 

You’ll find fashion stores such as Zara, H&M, Gap, Miss Sixty, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, TK Max, American Apparel and Uniqlo; shoe shops Dune, Clarks, Russell & Bromley and Kurt Geiger; books at Waterstones.

Marks & Spencer has a flag ship store here selling food, furniture, clothing and pretty much everything else. The largest Whole Foods in the country opened to much fanfare in 2007 in the Barkers building.

The restaurant upstairs prepares a whole range of foods and is a very popular destination for lunch. Kensington High Street also has a Waitrose. In addition there is a large section of skiing and outdoors shops. For example Snow & Rock, Columbia, Kathmandu and Ellis Brighman.

Transport

Kensington has three underground stations, all in Travelcard Zone 1. South Kensington, Gloucester Road and High Street, Kensington are all served by the Circle line and District Line. While the Piccadilly Line links South Kensington and Gloucester Road with the West End.

A number of local bus services link Kensington with surrounding districts though black cabs remain the public transport of choice for many residents.

Schools

The area is home to the prestigious Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music, as well as numerous other illustrious and world renowned institutions.

In keeping with the affluence of the area independent secondary schools far outnumber state schools, by a factor of four to one. There are four of the latter and slightly more primary schools.

Eating Out

Where to eat:

Kensington offers a vast selection of fantastic restaurants, generously scattered along the lively High Street and surrounding streets of W8.eating out in kensington

Maggie Jones’s  Traditional farmhouse-style British menu, set within a cosy, rustic and informal restaurant themed like an old barn.

 

Kitchen W8 – Michelin-starred, stylish contemporary and neighbourhood
friendly restaurant offering high-end modern European cuisine.

 

 

Kensington Place – Modern British brasserie with arty decor and fresh fish from the next-door market.

 

 

 

The Churchill Arms  A famous watering hole, once frequented by Winston Churchill’s grandparents, with a delicious Thai Kitchen set in a butterfly-themed conservatory offering a menu of family recipes.

 

The Windsor Castle – Delicious seasonal pub grub and a legendary Sunday Roast menu, with a delightful addition of a pub garden complete with heated areas ideal for alfresco dining.

 

Sticky Fingers – A family friendly American Diner, born to legendary Rolling Stones rocker Bill Wyman.

 

 

 

Wholefoods Market – Eco-minded chain with natural & organic grocery items, with a Prepared Foods department, including a deli, an ethnic restaurant, burger joint, neighbourhood diner, Parisian café, pizza joint, BBQ shack, sushi/seafood bar, raw foods bar, taco bar, salad bar, sandwich bar, olive bar and wine bar.

 

 

 

The Ivy Kensington Brasserie – A modern British grill restaurant comprising a main restaurant, a tranquil secret garden terrace for al fresco dining and a semi-private table for ten for an extra special experience.

 

Going for a drink

With a great choice of trendy and sophisticated pubs, bars and coffee shops in Kensington, you’ll be sure to find the perfect spot.

Tea/Coffee

La Caffettiera – Delivering the perfect Italian coffee experience, with an excellent selection of freshly prepared sandwiches and pasta.

Patisserie Valerie – Long-standing chain patisserie serving coffee and light meals, plus luxury handmade cakes and patisserie as well as offering a continental menu

The Orangery – Set in the grounds of Kensington Palace, a relaxed and elegant setting for breakfast or lunch and the only royal palace in London where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.

Wine, Beer and Cocktails

The Kensington Roof Gardens – Set 100ft above London and comprises three gardens spanning across 1.5 acres, a private members Club and Babylon Restaurant. The Kensington Roof Gardens is an ideal venue for every special event, from dinners to discos, weddings to business meetings and also BBQs on summer nights.

Dirty Bones – A neon-lit diner serving up New York style comfort food and excellent cocktails alongside live music.

Kensington Wine Rooms – A stylish bar with high stool and banquette seating, for wines by the glass and Modern European bites.

Bodo Schloss – Restaurant, bar and old fashioned disco, offers award winning quality drinks with a cocktail menu designed to titillate the senses and transport you straight to the alps.

Bayswater property profile – a guide to one of London’s most cosmopolitan areas

Bayswater property overview

What’s it all about?

All Bayswater property benefits from close proximity to London’s greatest green space, Hyde Park. Its residents can boast a palace, lake and horse riding stables virtually in their front garden, all in Zone 1.

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The Albert Memorial – Hyde Park
Italianate Garden, Hyde Park

 

The amazingly varied restaurants and food stores that line up along Queensway reflect its cultural mix.   The area has some unusual contrasts. Bayswater is cosmopolitan yet comfortable, cutting edge yet cultured. There’s a strong sense of community here with a residents’ association and local magazine. There are many shared garden squares. As a result, people tend to know their neighbours.

Historically famous for London’s first department store Whiteleys, as well as for having the highest concentration of hotels in London, the Bayswater of today has changed a lot. Many of the hotels are undergoing conversion into residential blocks. Also there are big plans to develop Whiteleys and inject new life into Queensway. The architecture here is among some of the most impressive in London. Bayswater property includes grand white stucco terraces and garden squares.

Once here, residents tend to stay. Families take advantage of the good schools in the area, while professional couples and singles appreciate the easy commute to Central London. Finally,  they all enjoy the vast choice of local shops and restaurants.

Interesting Facts

  • A 1912 statue of Peter Pan stands in nearby Kensington Gardens, a location that inspired author JM Barrie. It is now a ‘talking statue’, which you can activate using a smartphone.
  • From the street, 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens look like normal houses but they are actually facades hiding an open section of the London Underground.
  • Many local streets are named after the River Westbourne, which had waters so pure they were once piped to the City. When the area was developed the Westbourne was diverted into underground channels and became one of London’s ‘lost rivers’.

Bayswater property and architecture.

Some grand Georgian squares and terraces exist in Bayswater. However, real urbanisation began with the arrival of the railway in Paddington in 1838. The first properties were plain cottages to house the railway workers, and modest homes for the area’s earliest residents. However first with artists and then wealthy merchants soon flooded in. As the area grew more affluent the properties became more grand. The smart Italianate terraces of the 1850s and ornate piles dating from around 1890 are still among the most desirable properties here.

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Porchester Square

Bayswater spent much of the 20th century in decline, with houses being split up into bedsits or converted into budget hotels. However, influxes of Middle Eastern, American and Brazilian populations, as well as government money, have helped transform Bayswater into the cosmopolitan part of London that it is today.

The majority of Bayswater property consists of smart, large white stucco fronted buildings that are four or five storeys high. These are often split into flats and many are arranged around attractive garden squares. The Hallfield Estate is a large postwar council estate designed by the architect Berthold Lubetkin, popular with fans of the mid-century style. Bayswater is also home to contemporary high spec apartment blocks. While flats dominate the property market, there are also some wonderful mews houses and five and six bedroom family houses in and around Connaught Square.

 

Going out

Eating: For British cuisine with some surprising twists, try Hereford Road. Head for Moroccan Sahara for a North African platter (bring your own bottle), or for a taste of Persia pop into Hafez. Locals return again and again to the traditional Cypriot Aphrodite Taverna. Local Greek restaurant, Halepi is also particularly popular.

Drinking: The Leinster Arms is a classic British pub with a traditional menu, as is the King’s Head. The Porchester, a recently refurbished bar with ‘posh pub grub’ is a little further from the park. The Swan prides itself on being family friendly, or if cocktails are your preferred tipple, pop into the underground Old Mary’s in the old servants’ quarters of what is now The Mitre Townhouse.

Visit: Take a stroll around Kensington Palace, where you can view the State apartments, galleries and grounds for a real insight into royal life. From there, head over to the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, a favourite place for modern and contemporary art. For those of a more scientific bent, the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum is in Paddington, where you can see the laboratory in which Fleming discovered penicillin. If nostalgia appeals, pop over to the Museum of Brands and Packaging in nearby Notting Hill.

Culture: The Print Room is an arts space in an old Coronet cinema. The building is home to a vibrant fringe theatre and the plan is to restore the cinema itself as well. Every Sunday Bayswater Road becomes one big art gallery, with more than 150 artists and craftspeople displaying their work.

Whiteleys

Local amenities

  • One of the big attractions of Bayswater is Whiteleys Shopping Centre, which is home to a host of high street names, as well as boutiques, restaurants and a cinema.
  • Among other treats in the area visit luxury chocolatier Artisan du Chocolat and upmarket bakery Cocomaya. Seek out BoConcept for sleek modern furniture and The Dresser for designer clothing at sale prices.
  • The Idler Academy is a bookshop where you can get coffee, but doubles as a centre where you can take classes in such diverse activities as calligraphy, philosophy and self-defence.
  • One of only a handful of ice rinks in the Capital, Queen’s Ice and Bowl also offers 12 lanes of ten-pin bowling while All Star Lanes is also a popular choice.

  • The Porchester Spa was a Victorian municipal baths and has been lovingly restored to its former glory to offer saunas, steam rooms and a plunge pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Paddington Library offers employment advice, reading groups and a programme of activities for young children.

Green spaces

Set in the very heart of London, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens make up more than 600 acres of green space, separated by the Serpentine and Long Water, and there is plenty to do and see in both parks. Hyde Park is home to the famous Speakers’ Corner, as well as memorials to the Holocaust and to Princess Diana. There is the chance to take part in many activities, including football, tennis, swimming in the lido, cycling and horse riding. Hyde Park also plays host to many different events, from rock concerts to Proms in the Park to the annual Winter Wonderland. Kensington Gardens includes pretty Italian gardens with fountains, the Diana Memorial Playground, the Albert Memorial, designed by George Gilbert Scott, and the Serpentine Gallery, enhanced by its recent Zaha Hadid designed extension.

Changing times

Bayswater property is being snapped up for redevelopment. Many of these are hotel buildings. In addition,  recently a record £27 million was paid for a 300 year old pub for conversion into luxury flats. An overseas investor has purchased Whiteleys and a large chunk of Queensway itself. The intention is to turn the area into a ‘shopping and eating out village’. Also plans to redevelop Waitrose in Porchester Road will create a social hub. Finally, the arrival of Crossrail at Paddington station in 2018 will mean the journey to Liverpool Street station becomes just 10 minutes.

Transport

Bayswater Underground station is in Zone 1, offering Circle and District Line services. Other nearby stations include Royal Oak, Queensway, Edgware Road, Lancaster Gate and Paddington.

Paddington station offers services to the western suburbs and beyond. Destinations include Devon, Cornwall, Bristol and Wales. Also there is the Heathrow Express, which will take you to the airport in 15 minutes.

There are superb bus connections to all over London. Take the 7 (Russell Square), the 23 (Liverpool Street), the 27 (Chalk Farm), and the 70 (Acton)

Bayswater is a 25 minute drive from the M4 and M25.

Great road access means it’s only 25 minutes to Heathrow airport.

Education

Bayswater and its surrounding areas provide a wealth of choice for parents when it comes to schools. For younger children, try St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary, Hallfield Primary, or St Stephen’s Church of England Primary. At secondary level, Westminster Academy and Holland Park School have good reputations. Otherwise pick one of the independent schools in the area.            Choose Wetherby School at prep level and Lansdowne College or Tabernacle School at senior level. While City of Westminster College is close by and offers a range of further education courses.

 

East Sussex property finder focus on Brighton and Hove

Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove, sometimes known as London-by-Sea, is located in the south east of England on Sussex’s east coast.

It became popular during the Regency period, when Prince George chose to have the  Royal Pavilion built there. All the Ton (high society) needed houses in order to stay to stay there for the summer. Some of Brighton’s most famous streets and garden squares were constructed then to accommodate them.

Brighton has a reputation for being the louder of the two areas with its lively nightlife and bustling town centre. With its quieter streets and beaches, Hove has a more peaceful lifestyle.

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Regency houses, Lewes Crescent, Brighton

Brighton & Hove property

Fiveways in the north of the city is popular with parents due to its good schools and parks. While the houses are fairly big, they come with a high price tag too. Westdene, also northern, is in a greener part of town and attracts families because of Westdene Primary School’s good reputation. Poets’ Corner, with its streets named after great poets such as Wordsworth, Byron and Coleridge, has mainly three or four bedroom homes with small gardens, again making the area popular with young families. Kemp Town, a 19th century residential estate in the east of Brighton, offers some of the finest examples of seafront architecture in the UK. White stucco Georgian terraces are home to many of Brighton’s boutique hotels. This is a pricier part of the city attracting a mix of people.

Brighton’s centre consists mainly of two or three bedroom cottages in Victorian or Regency terraces.

Areas such as Brunswick Square, Palmeira Square and Regency Square are some of the most desirable places to live in Hove. Each is built around communal gardens. The highest value street is the Western Esplanade, where a property will cost upwards of £2million.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital is also close, which means rental properties gain a lot of interest from hospital staff and sometimes medical students who are keen to rent within the area.

The best and most popular schools.

For its size, Brighton has a huge number of high performing independent and state schools.

The school catchment area boundaries in Brighton are constantly changing so many parents buy homes well within their preferred catchment area, which in turn makes house prices higher around the schools with strong Ofsted results.

In Hove, Goldstone Primary School is popular.  People also regard West Hove Infants and Davigdor Infant School highly.

For primary education in Brighton, Westdene Primary School, Balfour Primary School, Carden Primary School, Hertford Infant and Hertford Junior School all have either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted reports and are favoured by parents.

Brighton College, a boarding and day school for boys and girls aged three to 18, is hugely popular. It has a beautiful campus in the middle of Brighton and an impressive academic record. Roedean Independent School, a day and boarding school for girls aged 11 to 18, also achieves outstanding results.

Rodean School, Brighton
Roedean School, Brighton

Lancing College, a co-educational boarding school for children aged 13 to 18, overlooks the South Downs and sea beyond, also it  has the largest chapel in the world.

For higher education, the thriving University of Brighton has campuses based in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings and is well loved by its students. Alternatively, the University of Sussex has a wonderful location on the South Downs just outside the city centre and ranks highly in league tables.

What types of local transport are available in the City?

London Gatwick is the nearest airport, you can reach it in less than 40 minutes. Driving to London along the M23 will take about an hour and a half without traffic. On the railways, Brighton to London services run direct and depart regularly throughout the day, with a journey time of just over an hour to Victoria station.

Brighton railway station is very centrally located and is a short walk to the centre of town or 15 minutes to the seafront. Once in town, driving is not advisable. As a small place it is difficult to find parking spaces and the one-way system is tricky to master.  The best way to travel around the city is on foot as everywhere is walking or cycling distance and there are plenty of signs around to help you out. Brighton is part of the National Cycle Network and cycle routes along the seafront are particularly scenic.

The best restaurants

Brighton & Hove has over 300 pubs and more restaurants per head than any other city outside of London, so when it comes to eating out there is almost endless choice. For steak, The Coal Shed Restaurant will not disappoint. It has a modern bistro feel to it and serves a hearty Sunday lunch. For beautifully cooked English dishes with an Italian twist, head to Semolina in north Brighton. The emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients is popular with visitors and so are the reasonable prices. Terre à Terre is regarded as one of the UK’s best vegetarian restaurants and is well-loved for its innovative menu and top quality food.

Brighton city has a spectacular array of boutique cafés. In Marine Parade is ThewitchEZ Photo Design Café Bar. It has a lovely courtyard for warmer days – a special place with a delectable range of dishes and super friendly staff. Slice Sussex in Church Road in Hove is a lovely, cosy café that has a unique retro meets urban look and feel to it and it offers some excellent food. Also, the full English breakfast is a firm favourite. The world famous Choccywoccydoodah shop, which features chocolate and cake works of art, is definitely worth a visit. It specialises in one-off sculptures, bespoke wedding cakes and other delicious creations. The café upstairs, which has about eight tables (so expect to queue), is a fascinating place to stop for a chocolate fix.

What is Brighton & Hove’s nightlife like?

The city has plenty of theatres, comedy clubs and art and music venues that attract top acts. Enjoy Krater Comedy Club at Komedia five nights a week – a perfect place for big groups, A night of comedy and a meal costs just over £20 per person.

For cinemas, The Duke of York’s Picturehouse on Brighton Road is one of a kind. It claims to be the oldest continually operating cinema in Europe. It opened in 1910 and still only has one screen, championing art house cinema. The décor, great aesthetics and comfy seating make it a thoroughly enjoyable spot for an evening out.

It’s no surprise that Brighton, more than Hove, has incredible nightlife, which makes it popular with students. Also it has one of the liveliest gay scenes in the world. The LGBT and straight communities integrate seamlessly around the city.  However, there are also many exclusively gay pubs, bars and clubs in Brighton’s ‘gay quarter’ in Kemp Town. Legends, a long-standing favourite, has an all-day bar with a sea facing terrace and is a popular clubbing spot at weekends.  Additionally, Brighton’s own breweries supply delicious local ales and craft beers.

Best places to go shopping

Most cities have a quirky shopping area but Brighton’s shopping area is exceptional. In addition to the usual retail stores you find in most cities, Brighton has shops for anything from vintage clothing to magic supplies. It even has its own bespoke perfumery. The Lanes  hold many unusual shops and rambling around its little streets, even if you don’t go inside any shops, is a great way to spend an afternoon.

The Lanes shopping district, Brighton
The Lanes shopping district, Brighton

Are there any annual events hosted in Brighton & Hove?

The Brighton Festival, which takes place annually in May, is the UK’s second largest arts festival after Edinburgh. Also very popular is the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival, which takes place over the August Bank Holiday, on the seafront at Hove Lawns. Come rain or shine it’s a great day (or three), with lots of free events.

Where are the best places to visit with children?

The centre of Brighton is brimming with things to do and see. The fabulous award winning Jubilee Library is a great place for both adults and kids alike, with its children’s library. Usage of computers is free and extra protection is provided for young users. Being a town popular with young families, there are plenty of child friendly clubs and classes for kids and the range on offer is impressive. Kids can choose between arts, crafts, drama, dance, football, gymnastics, horse riding, language classes, martial arts, music, swimming lessons, watersports and yoga.

Brighton Pier
Brighton Pier

Great things to do in Brighton & Hove.

The Royal Pavilion is a must see for anyone that chooses to visit. The spectacular seaside palace houses furniture and works of art, including original pieces lent by the Queen, and it has a magnificent display of Regency silver-gilt. There’s also the Hove Museum & Art Gallery, which is a wonderful place to admire some beautiful exhibits in peaceful surroundings. It houses some good exhibitions and a tremendous room dedicated to childhood with traditional toys. The tea room is a lovely place to take a break. Joint tickets for these iconic buildings are available. They are ideal for families planning a weekend of history exploring Brighton’s attractions or as a unique gift. In conclusion, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

Are there many open spaces?

Open spaces mostly come in the form of pebbly beaches and there is usually something happening every weekend. Brighton beach and the seafront offer a beautiful backdrop for all kinds of activities. For example, a stroll out to sea on the Brighton Pier will clear your head and revive your appetite. Popular activities include the annual Burning the Clocks and Paddle Round the Pier events. Finally, if a walk along the promenade doesn’t take your fancy, the South Downs are just a short drive away.

South Downs, Brighton
South Downs, Brighton

Leisure facilities in Brighton & Hove.

Brighton & Hove has its fair share of gyms. For instance, Active4less Gym in Hove is a great value gym with helpful staff and trainers. Free classes and not having to sign a contract make it a very popular choice. The Gym in Madeira Drive has 24 hour opening and a low cost. There are also the more expensive chains including LA Fitness, David Lloyd and Virgin Active.

King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove has a great swimming pool with friendly staff. The larger pool has a slide. Brighton’s council-owned swimming pool is at the Prince Regent Swimming Complex in the city centre, which has four pools.

Kent property finder – focus on Royal Tunbridge Wells

What is Tunbridge Wells like?

Tunbridge Wells has an atmosphere like that of the most elegant London ‘villages’, such as Chelsea and Notting Hill, with huge appeal for families, professionals and retirees alike. Firstly, the town has grand parks, laid out a bit like fashionable Regent’s Park. Also, there are a cosmopolitan range of shops and cafes in the historic and highly picturesque Pantiles which give a sophisticated air and an undeniable style. As a result, this is a town for genuinely gracious living. You can find out more at  Tunbridge Wells.

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The Pantiles now
The Pantiles long ago

Property in Tunbridge Wells

The houses in Tunbridge Wells are predominantly Georgian or Victorian, with much of the town designated as a conservation area. New developments are often designed in a sympathetic style. The cream of the town’s property is to be found in ‘the Parks’, principally Calverley Park, Camden Park, Hungershall Park and Nevill Park. Original Regency villas in Calverley Park, designed by Decimus Burton, fetch a premium.

The cottages and townhouses of the ‘old village’ area around the High Street are popular with commuters who want to live within walking distance of the station.

Calverley Park Crescent

In addition, the surrounding countryside offers a wide range of properties. For instance cottages, farmhouses, oast and barn conversions, country mansions and estates, and contemporary and eco-houses. The popular villages include Penshurst, Speldhurst, Groombridge, Frant, Matfield and Brenchley.

The local scene

Green spaces are a major feature of the local lifestyle. The Common and Dunorlan Park provide swathes of woods, hills and landscaped grounds that extend right into the town centre.

Dunorlan Park

Much of the area is part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Also, Ashdown Forestand Bewl Waterreservoir are close by. They offer glorious scenery and a wide range of things to do outdoors, while the coast is easily accessible — Rye, Camberand Eastbourneare popular local destinations. Find out more details about these attractions here.

Where to stay

In Victorian times, large numbers of people came to visit Royal Tunbridge Wells to “take the waters”. At the time the local Chalybeate Spring, naturally tasting of iron, was seen as a cure for anaemia. The town sprang up rapidly in response to this demand. As a result, there are many hotels, not least The Spa Hotel.

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The Spa Hotel

The bigger hotels also cater to weddings and other functions. However there are other options, for instance Salomons Estate.

Salomon’s Estate – available as a Wedding Venue

or High Rocks

both of which afford wonderful outdoor spaces for wedding photographs.

Getting about

South Eastern rail services provide direct access from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross (via London Bridge and Waterloo East) and Cannon Street in just under one hour. In addition, commuters can look ten minutes down the line, where the stations at Frant, Wadhurst and Stonegate offer easier parking and less congestion. Furthermore, the Uckfield line provides services to London Victoria.

Junction 5 of the M25 is about 10 miles up the A21, while Gatwick Airport is 22 miles away via the A264.

 

Schools in Tunbridge Wells

Many families move from London to Kent in order to take advantage of the grammar school system and the excellent independent schools in the area. The leading private schools are Sevenoaks School, Tonbridge School, St Leonard’s School in Mayfield and Eastbourne College. In addition, there are the sought-after grammar schools which include Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School and The Skinners’ School. Also, Judd School and Tonbridge Girls Grammar School are nearby.

Property Finder Spotlight on best places in East Sussex for a Sunday Roast

BEST PLACES TO GO IN EAST SUSSEX FOR A SUNDAY ROAST

“Sunday lunch is a sacred thing” according to Jean-Christophe Novelli, the acclaimed Michelin-starred chef. He was one of the high profile figures publicly backing the Independent on Sunday’s Sunday Lunch Campaign. Mr Novelli, a Frenchman who has lived in Britain for 24 years, said that he considered the Sunday roast the most important meal of the week as it is a time for talking and laughing with the family.  He also saw it as an invaluable time to catch up with close family and friends after the stresses of the week.

Our clients often put leisure and family time high in their list of priorities. They are keen for their home finder to secure a property with easy access first of all to fine dining for those special occasions and additionally that good old English pub so popular for a relaxing traditional Sunday roast with friends and family. GPS has looked at five of the best of the latter(be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment!)

YOUR PROPERTY FINDER RECOMMENDS PUBS

Busby and Wilds 8-9 Rock Street, Brighton BN2 1NF

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Located in the nicer end of Kemptown and named after the architects responsible for many of Brighton’s Regency properties, this neighbourhood public house serves great food (and booze!).

The food is home cooked from fresh locally sourced ingredients. The beers are from all over the world but include local real ales and an extensive hand-picked wine list. Groups of all sizes are catered for and there’s a quaint and quiet outside courtyard garden for the warmer months. The ambience is warm and family friendly, they also welcome dogs. Tender meat, large and billowy Yorkshire puddings, delicious gravy (lashings of it) a selection of fresh vegetables and sublimely crispy roast potatoes. Stand out desserts. As a result you could while away many hours here on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Roast main courses start at £13.95. Busby and Wilds

The Cock Inn, Old Uckfield Road, nr Ringmer, Lewes BN8 5RX

Sunday Roast, Sunday Lunch, east sussex property finder, east sussex home finder, east sussex property search consultant

Tucked away down a South Downs cul-de-sac, The Cock’s famously traditional food ensures a full house most lunchtimes and Sundays. Mind you, that still leaves plenty of room outdoors, with two stoutly hedged garden terraces and a view of the pub’s pretty, white weatherboard exterior. This family-run business prides itself on both a range of good home cooked pub food and a great selection of drinks. They include a range of cask conditioned real ales, Harvey’s Best Bitter and regular guest beers. Serving traditional Sunday roast (usually beef and lamb) with all the trimmings all day every Sunday (until sold out). There is also the usual varied menu. Service is fast, friendly and efficient even on the very busy days. Portion sizes (including children’s) are generous. Well worth a visit. The Cock

 

 

The Nevill, 214 Nevill Road, Hove BN3 7QQ

Sunday Roast, Sunday Lunch, east sussex property finder, east sussex home finder, east sussex property search consultant

The Nevill is a hidden gem and a bit of a find. It boasts award winning food in a clean and modern environment. They dish up an excellent Sunday roast which is always beautifully presented.  A great choice of vegetables including asparagus, carrots, roast potatoes, leeks and cauliflower cheese, topped off with crispy parsnips. There is a good selection of meats (chicken, beef, lamb and pork) accompanied by delicious Yorkshire pudding.   You can see the chefs preparing it all as the kitchen is open plan. Reasonably priced at around £11 for a roast dinner (drinks on top).  The Nevill

 

 

The Robin Hood, Main Road, Icklesham, TN36 4BD

Sunday Roast, Sunday Lunch, east sussex property finder, east sussex home finder, east sussex property search consultant

This is a friendly family-run beamed pub with fine Brede Valley views. Local atmosphere and good value unpretentious home made food (all day Sun). Lots of copper bric-a-brac, log fires in winter and a games area with pool. Big garden with childrens’ play area  has sand pits and a full size boat for children to entertain themselves. For the adults, boules. Dogs are welcome in the main bar area where you can enjoy the same menus as in the restaurant. Tasty good sized portions with a choice of beef, pork and turkey and excellent value for money (£7.50).  The Robin Hood

 

 

YOUR PROPERTY FINDER RECOMMENDS A CARVERY

The Pig and Butcher, Five Ash Down, Uckfield

Under the relatively new management of landlord David Gardner the Pig and Butcher now wins rave reviews. He introduced the Sunday Carvery at the start of 2016. Between 50 and 60 people each week enjoy a two-meat adult roast for £11, or a three-meat roast for £13. They also cater for Senior citizens and children at £6 each. This small village pub has undergone a lot of work as part of its recent face-lift. The atmosphere is warm and cosy as use is made of both its fires during the winter. Cristian the head chef, takes responsibility for the excellent home cooked food with the Sunday Carvery offering a good choice of meats and selection of vegetables. Generous portion sizes and wonderful deserts.

 

Property Finder Spotlight: Best places in Kent for Grammar school places.

School

As a property finder, clients often ask me “where in Kent should we live to have the greatest chance of obtaining a grammar school place for our child?” This is frequently a prime requirement for parents with relatively bright children. They are keen to secure what they see as the best state education available for their child.

Work

Of course, other considerations will come into play, for instance places of employment. The train from Ashford to London takes about 1 hour 25mins,  TIMETABLE The return trip could become a bit of a drag at the end of a long working day. Parents may consider this an acceptable trade-off for a better chance of a Grammar school place as there are generally more schools in mid and South Kent where your child can “pass the Kent test (11-plus) and get in”, rather than competing for the places.

Villages
Property Search Consultants
Pluckley Church

There are some lovely villages in the Ashford area, including Pluckley which is five miles to the west. This picturesque village with its 900 years old Grade 1 listed church can be found in the Domesday book. It has a wealth of pretty cottages and village shops. Current Average Property value here is £536,000 although it is possible to buy a 4 bed semi-detached house for around the £380,000 mark. Nearby Smarden also offers fine examples of period property with its magnificent 15th and 16th Century Kentish hall houses. Your property finder can have access to off-market properties and sometimes get you a better deal.

It is far harder to obtain a place at the super selective Grammar schools in the Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks areas where competition is high. Here the “posh” factor comes into play in addition to close proximity to London and house prices reflect this. However, it is still possible to get quite a lot of house for your money. You can get a large 4 bed Edwardian semi-detached house in the pleasant market town of Tonbridge for around £475,000. In Tunbridge Wells just down the road the equivalent will cost you £ 25000-£50000 more.

Top Schools
Property Finder
Judd School

If you have a very intelligent boy you could consider St Olave’s in Orpington. ST OLAVES. However, as the state school which consistently comes top in all the league tables, competition for places here is fierce.  Only around 10% of those sitting the school’s own entrance exam are awarded a place. Like the other top Grammar schools, The Judd in Tonbridge for boys JUDD SCHOOL and Tonbridge Grammar School (TOGS) for girls TOGS, have no catchment area. They cherry-pick high achievers from far and wide.

Grafton Property Search
Maidstone Grammar School

Further east property is also more affordable in the county town of Maidstone which has several very good Grammar schools. Maidstone Grammar School MAIDSTONE GRAMMAR and Maidstone Grammar school for Girls MAIDSTONE GIRLS GRAMMAR, consistently come high up in the league tables. Although education is a major driver for the housing market in the town there is still plenty to choose from like the little nooks of terraces in the centre and the period homes and terraces between the centre and Mote Park. For posh suburbans try Loose to the south or Buckland Lane to the north-west and around London Road for detached Victorian and Edwardian Properties.

One of the many things your property finder can advise you on.