Do you live in the best place in Britain?
A new survey of the UK's loveliest locales sees Sevenoaks starring and Tunbridge Wells trending. But you knew that already right? So why did they say these neighbourhoods made the list?
The Sunday Times published its annual Best Places To Live list last weekend and two Kent locations made the top 10 of the Southeast category. Well, tell us something we don’t know, right?!
Britain is blessed with a wealth of cool cities, thriving market towns, lively villages and charming suburbs. And in Kent we have the easy commute into London, outstanding schooling, the coastline, a burgeoning foodie scene, vineyards aplenty and gorgeous countryside. Is it any wonder these 2 Kent towns made the cut of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2019?
Local knowledge and seeking out the fun stuff is Muddy’s speciality, so scroll to the bottom of this article for our take on some more of Kent’s hotspots, with some suggestions in case you want to go exploring this weekend.
And if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the winning locales, let us know if you’ve been overrun by over-excited Sunday Times readers!
‘Sevenoaks is the sort of place that you never really choose for a day out, but is a top choice for day-to-day life,’ reads the article. Too true. With this commuter favourite being only half an hour from London, surrounded by stunning countryside and with grammar schools galore (including the brand new annexe to the Weald of Kent Girls Grammar School) – it’s no surprise it continues to thrive and make the top lists for UK property.
There’s bus and train links to the other grammars in the area and brilliant independent schools in the town itself too – including Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks Prep School and The New Beacon – to name just a few.
There is a good array of high street chains for shopping and dining, but also a decent selection of independents boutiques and eateries. Oh and don’t forget the award-winning Sevenoaks Bookshop and The Stag community arts centre for theatre and cinema. Visit gorgeous Knole Park with its wild deer herd which is right in the town itself and you’ve got brilliant days out with the family like Hever Castle and Penshurst Place, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and Reuthe’s Nursery & Gardens right on the doorstep.
With the newly improved and speedy A21 linking towards London and M25 to the north and Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and the coast to the south you couldn’t be better positioned.
Also sitting on the newly improved A21 and less than an hour’s commute into London is good old Tunny Wells. With both boys’ and girls’ grammar schools and Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ State Secondary Schools all on offer this historic spa town is an obvious choice for young families moving into the area.
‘Forget those letter-writing retired colonels: this spa town is all about attracting well-to-do families seeking an unusualy eleveated and elegant commuter lifestyle. Just count the number of yoga studies – we make it more than 15,’ writes The Sunday Times.
A town with bags of character, no trip would be complete without visiting the particularly popular and pretty Georgian colonnade of shops known as The Pantiles only moments from the Tunbridge Wells Train Station.
Here you’ll find galleries, cafés and even a luxury pet shop. From there you continue to the bottom of the High Street where there’s more galleries, brilliant boutiques, restaurants and bars (The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells opened here in 2017 and a brand new Anthropologie boutique just opened opposite it this month – how handy is that?!).
Further towards the top of the High Street you’ll find the Royal Victoria Shopping Centre with more main stream shopping. There’s the original and buzzy little Trinity Theatre and the Assembly Hall Theatre and civic centre which is about to under-go a £90 million make-over project. So Culture Vultures are well catered for.
Just a few minutes drive out of town will take you to the very best of the Kentish country-side. Bluebell woods, rolling hills, apple orchards (think The Darling Buds of May, filmed here in Kent) and the Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Yup, we agree Kent has some of the best places to live in Britain. But we couldn’t publish this feature without including some MORE of Kent’s hotspots – including more details on Tunbridge Wells hangouts and a shout out for some of our East Kent faves as well – click here to see. And here are the Muddy Insider Guides to Folkestone, Deal and Canterbury. We love you all.