Discover how the garden of England is luring previously staunch Londoners with the stories of recent sales.
Despite the talk of a mass exodus from London, there are plenty of people who are frightened of leaving. With so much to love about big city life, there’s a sensitivity that giving it all up could lead to an isolated life of nothing to do, nowhere to go, and deep regret.
That doesn’t mean that people don’t dream of pastures green, but there’s a palpable desire to retain a connection with London, whether for work, for friends or the trappings of our remarkable capital. But people want a fulfilling local life as well, one that’s more than a simple change of scenery, and they want to live in an interesting home.
When it comes to combining all of that, it doesn’t get much better than Kent. As well as being the garden of England and home to 200 miles of coastline, the collection of vibrant and well-known towns and cities like Faversham, Royal Tunbridge Wells and Whitstable is a comfort for Londoners who want a rewarding lifestyle.
Kent also has a remarkable variety of unique homes. The rich local agricultural heritage includes those famous oast houses, mills and barns, while the wonderful diversity of residential property runs from medieval, Georgian and Victorian times up to masterpieces of modernist design.
And to cap it all off, the extensive rail network has direct trains into Victoria, Blackfriars, Charing Cross and London Bridge: is there another county that is so accessible? No wonder it’s proving so popular.
If you have a unique property to sell in Kent, you can be sure of a broad and enthusiastic audience. We’ve recently sold several unusual homes in the county that caught the attention of London buyers looking for a change of lifestyle, so here’s a brief rundown of these fascinating properties and the interest they attracted.
Converted flour mill: Tonge Mill, Tonge, near Faversham, Kent
Tonge Mill is a stunning transformation of a Georgian flour mill converted into a house, a separate cottage, a large workshop and separate studios from where the sellers ran their business. The versatility of the buildings didn’t go unmissed, and the buyers, a couple in their late 50s, plan to live in the house, rent out the commercial space and turn the cottage and studios into high-end Airbnbs: a brilliant plan for a sustainable income into retirement. They’re leaving Hammersmith for a new life in the country and are looking forward to Faversham’s creative scene, just 5 minutes away by car.
Converted pub: Seal, near Sittingbourne, Kent
At Seal, close to Sittingbourne, we sold a converted 16th-century pub that’s now a four-bedroom house that retains all of the twisted ceiling beams you’d expect from a village tavern and combines them with contemporary renovations like a cinema room and oversized family kitchen. It was bought by a professional mid-30s couple looking to start a family life in the country within easy reach of the City. Coincidentally (or not!), their old home at Herne Hill in South East London is a stop on the train line from nearby Sevenoaks to Blackfriars.
Converted oast house: Colts Hill Oast, Five Oaks Green, near Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Finally, at Five Oaks Green between Paddock Wood and Royal Tunbridge Wells, almost every enquiry we received for this converted oast house was from a Londoner looking for a change of lifestyle. As well as the striking nature of the house and its twin conical roofs, its accompanying agricultural buildings were the source of plenty of interest from buyers looking to run a business from home. In fact, the sellers used to operate a full-size commercial bakery from one of the barns, and there’s plenty of potential for anyone needing studio, workshop, office or even showroom space.
Hopefully, that’s given you a helpful insight into how popular Kent is right now with buyers from London. The county is proving the perfect combination of connectivity, culture and countryside for a life outside the capital. Not only quieter and cleaner, but also hugely varied and enjoyable.
Do you own a unique home in Kent? If you’re thinking of selling and would like to talk to a specialist about your plans, why not get in touch? Call us on 020 7917 9995 or email [email protected] – we’d love to show you how we can help you find the perfect buyer.