Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sittingbourne, a lovely Kentish town.

We have called Sittingbourne our home for the last 7 years. However, before we moved to the good sized Kentish town we knew little about the place. For some reason I had always assumed that Sittingbourne was a coastal town, it is not. Although we are only about 20 minutes away from the nearest beach!

                                   

Sittingbourne is an industrial town in East Kent. Its name comes from the fact that there is a small stream or "bourne" running underground in part of the town. It is conveniently situated midway between Dover and London, with fast trains to central London only taking 1 hour.

Since moving to Sittingbourne we have discovered lots of plus's to the area, especially since having Children. We make so much use of the 4 Sure Start Childrens Centres, we attend at least two groups a week, they provide so much for the Children to do and also a great place for parents to meet up! There are an abundance of parks, including Milton Creek country park. We spend many a day over there, whatever the weather. In the summer it's perfect for Picnics and in the autumn its lovely to go on a nature trail and explore! With easy connections to both the M2 and the M20 we are only a short car journey away from Howletts or Port Lympne Zoo's, Bluewater Shopping Centre or even Ashford and Canterbury. Being an industrial town, there are lots of factories and industrial estates, enabling lots of people to find work.



We also have a light railway which the children absolutely love. This unique line was built in 1905 for the transportation of the raw materials required for the manufacture of paper. In 1965 when a study of internal transport was made, it concluded that the transportation would be better done by road transport and in 1969 the railway was handed over to the Locomotive Club of Great Britain's Light Railway Section, which became the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway. A return for a family of four is only £16 and it is a really great day out!



Thinking back to when we first moved here, some of the attractions for us as a couple in our early 20's included, an abundance of takeaways that delivered, some really lovely pubs and restaurants within walking distance and a town centre that had more than one supermarket! Sittingbourne also has a handful of farm shops either in the town or a very short drive away, which are really great for picking up some local, fresh food at great prices.

Craig and I both grew up in (or in my case in a village surrounding) Sevenoaks. Now whilst Sevenoaks is a lovely market town, it was a bit too quiet for us. Not enough going on to entice us to stay. Another major factor in helping us make the decision to set up our life away from our childhood homes was house prices, we could get a lot more house for our money if we brought outside of Sevenoaks. Being first time buyers we did a lot of research into house prices and we also used a mortgage calculator for UK lending costs . This was a very handy tool for us, we had never really considered rates, fees and extras!

Whilst researching, we came across Sittingbourne. East Kent was never somewhere we had really considered before, but after lots of research we realised it was only around 45 minutes from where we were living and seemed to have lots going for it!

We took our time and looked around A LOT of different houses, we added, and took away things on our must have list. Within the first weekend of looking we realised that a garage was a must (at the time Craig had a motorbike) and that an en suite really was not essential! One thing I do regret though was letting people persuade us that we only needed two bedrooms and not three. This has made things a lot harder for us now, having two children and only two bedrooms. With me working a lot less hours than I used to, moving now is pretty much impossible. So my main piece of advice for first time buyers is look carefully at your options, and really think about your future plans. If you are planning on starting a family but are looking at one bedroom flats, is that really the right thing to do in the long run?

Sittingbourne is a lovely town, with lots going on and lots planned for the future. It has a real mix of new and older properties of all types. Everyone is very friendly and we have never had any problems. We are really happy with the School choices available and are more than happy for Chester and Millie to have their childhood here. So if you are considering moving to a lovely Kentish town, then I would thoroughly recommend Sittingbourne. With average house prices being £165,000 you could snap up a real bargain!


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