Spotlight on: Paddock Wood
Think you know Paddock Wood? Think again! With hidden shops, great commuting links, good schools aplenty and brand new family homes - here's 5 reasons it's on the rise...
Paddock Wood sits in the middle of the triangle between Maidstone, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. Known mainly for the train station into London and a small street of shops – this not-previously trendy town is fast becoming a popular spot for families moving to the area that want the best of both worlds. Here’s 5 reasons it’s on the rise…
1. HIDDEN GEMS
Okay so it might be a pretty lowkey high street at first sight, but closer inspection can unearth some hidden gems. There’s the popular family-run butcher, independent florists, farm shops and a veterinary practice, as well as a Waitrose, conveniently right next to the train station for daily essentials.
Lesser known finds include Woodies Café – a plant-based vegan eatery. Here you can find everything from pizzas to pasta and cakes to ice-cream sundaes.
And don’t forget local institution, Barsleys – I just love this traditional, Are You Being Served? kind of department store. Not least because it’s saved me so many times when I’ve (inevitably) left it too late in the holidays to buy school shoes. You know, when that trip to Clarks in town means picking up ticket No.104 when they’re currently serving No.78. Only to wait and discover they’ve nothing left in my child’s size anyway. Familiar?
I’ve been going to Barsleys for years. In and out – a quiet, easy, only those in-the-know option. Park opposite Barsleys in the Commercial Road Carpark (free for one hour).
2. COMMUTER CATNIP
Commuters delight – the direct rail services to London Bridge take just 41 minutes. Trains also run to Ashford International for connections to the East Kent coast via Canterbury, as well as directly to Folkstone and Dover. By road, the A228 provides connections to the M20 and A21, both of which join with the M25. International travel is easily accessible from Gatwick Airport, just 50 minutes’ drive away.
For shopping, Royal Tunbridge Wells is just 18 minutes’ drive, and Bluewater shopping centre, one of the largest malls in the country, is 42 minutes away by car.
3. NEW FAMILY HOMES
Have you heard of Foal Hurst Green? It’s a development of new houses in Paddock Wood that combines rural living with a conveniently commutable location. Now the next phase of development has just launched – Meadow Quarter at Foal Hurst Green. These are brand new three, four and five-bedroom homes, set between the 29-acre Foal Hurst Wood nature reserve and a picturesque duck pond and bandstand at the heart of the neighbourhood.
The houses cleverly blend modern design and flexible live/work interiors, inclusive of high-speed broadband, with striking classic architecture echoing traditional Kentish styles with a variety of bold black and white weatherboarding and classic red brick. All homes are designed to be contemporary and convenient, perfect for busy modern lives, featuring flexible open plan living spaces and high spec kitchens.
4. TOP SCHOOLS APLENTY
Education locally is pretty strong, which is why this area is becoming increasingly popular for families. Within eight miles are four Ofsted-rated Good and Outstanding primary schools, including Paddock Wood Primary School (which is just half a mile from the new Foal Hurst Green homes).
Plus, there’s an Ofted judged ‘Good’ secondary school, Mascalls Academy, on the doorstep, in nearby Tonbridge you’ll find Hillview School for Girls (takes Boys in Sixth Form) and the added attraction of the area’s many highly sought-after grammar schools.
In Tonbridge alone you’ve got prestigious The Judd School (for Boys, takes Girls in Sixth Form); Tonbridge Grammar School (for Girls, takes Boys in Sixth Form) Weald of Kent Grammar School (for Girls, takes Boys in Sixth Form). Then around 20 minutes away are The Skinners School and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar, as well as 20 mins in the other direction Maidstone Grammar School (for Boys) and Maidstone Grammar School for Girls. All very accessible by train.
Oh and if it’s independents you’re after you’ll also be spoilt for choice (check out the Muddy Best Schools Guide here). With top-notch Tonbridge School nearby as well as Hilden Grange School; Kent College Pembury (Prep and Senior School) and Sutton Valence (Prep and Senior School) easily accessible by car or train in a couple of direct stops.
5. COUNTRYSIDE LIVING
While being commutable distance to the Big Smoke might be one thing, Paddock Wood also sits right in the middle of the Kent countryside. Surrounded by apple orchards, more dog walks than you can shake their stick at and vineyards never far away, this setting really offers the best of both worlds.
Plus, if the great outdoors is your thing you’ve got another hidden gem, the River Medway, minutes away – a tranquil and wide waterway, passing through meadows, woods and villages and supporting a wide variety of birds and wildlife. There you’ll find Paddle Cabin, who offer Super-friendly SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) sessions for all levels, from their cute cabin in East Peckham.
In the other direction you’ll find family favourites Bedgebury Forest and Bewl Water reservoir – the largest stretch of open water in the South East in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It offers a fantastic range of water sports, cycling (around the perimeter) and an Aqua Park which is basically 3000sq meters of floating inflatable fun.
What this space is what we say!