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Have I picked the right place?

Have I picked the right place?

Old Nov 18th 2012, 1:25 pm
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Question Have I picked the right place?

Ok, so I have been on a few threads, posted elsewhere and found out some good information. I think we have come to a decision but want to be sure I am being realistic about it. When we go to visit and check it out, I want to go directly to the place selected so I can be sure to find out all I need to know to actually move there.

So here's our situation and what we are looking for:

Retired with enough savings to qualify for USC hubby, but will still have to live on a budget. Hoping to get a part time job myself in retail. Regardless, only looking for a one or two bedroom flat

Do not want a car (most important), so there must be a high street with shops, doc, bank, etc.

Some cultural entertainment, museums, etc.

Looking for as much sunshine/warmth as is possible in the UK

Want to be a quick train ride away from London and bus ride from the coast

The Winner? Canterbury??? Thoughts?
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:03 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Ok, so I have been on a few threads, posted elsewhere and found out some good information. I think we have come to a decision but want to be sure I am being realistic about it. When we go to visit and check it out, I want to go directly to the place selected so I can be sure to find out all I need to know to actually move there.

So here's our situation and what we are looking for:

Retired with enough savings to qualify for USC hubby, but will still have to live on a budget. Hoping to get a part time job myself in retail. Regardless, only looking for a one or two bedroom flat

Do not want a car (most important), so there must be a high street with shops, doc, bank, etc.

Some cultural entertainment, museums, etc.

Looking for as much sunshine/warmth as is possible in the UK

Want to be a quick train ride away from London and bus ride from the coast

The Winner? Canterbury??? Thoughts?
I own in Canterbury and as of this point intend to spend time there when I return in spite of making a great deal of effort to come up with some sort of alternative (perfectionist, but I really have similar requirements to yours).

Particularly like the St Dunstans/Station Road West area as it has come "up" a lot in the last ten years or so due to the large Berkeley Homes development next to Canterbury West Station which is very well run - there is a six days a week covered farmers market with in-house restaurant plus a number of other good restaurants and cafes close by.

From that side of Canterbury you can walk into country along the disused Crab & Winkle railway line. Nearest supermarket is Sainsbury's. No real need to have a car as Sainsbury's et al will deliver (over 50 pounds order) and transport connections (bus/rail) are very good. For Gatwick Airport, cheapest route is change in Tonbridge then change again in Redhill (two hours).

My sister-in-law was here in St Lucia this month and it turns out she is a very big fan of Canterbury and loves to go down there on a regular basis from London BUT she highlighted that there are some dodgy council estates and these are mainly located closer to Canterbury East Station and Wincheap.

Canterbury West has the high speed service into St Pancras which runs east to Ramsgate. There is also good service to Margate and Broadstairs and there are good connections to the south coast through Ashford.

Being a (three) university city with several good private and state schools in the area there is loads going on culturally, alongside the historical attractions (ecclesiastical and Roman in particular).

Climate is fairly muggy in Kent when it gets very hot (it can hit the charts in nearby Herne Bay) but generally is dryer* than most of the UK, like London, due to Continental influences.

Whitstable and Faversham are characterful spots close by for time out with decent food shopping to boot - Brogdale/Macknade/St Augustines Fish

The Faversham/Whitstable/Canterbury triangle is beautiful for country walks and easily accessible.

FYI, there appears to be somewhat of a glut in apartment supply in Canterbury these days and prices have come off quite a lot.

*Be aware that there are areas near the Stour River which are prone to flooding and properties can be blighted for insurance if so located.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Nov 18th 2012 at 2:17 pm. Reason: nearby Herne Bay
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by Pistolpete2 View Post
I own in Canterbury and as of this point intend to spend time there when I return in spite of making a great deal of effort to come up with some sort of alternative (perfectionist, but I really have similar requirements to yours).
Great information! Thank you so much! I had forgotten to add farmer's market to my list as well as good country walks. How easy is it to get to the coast? Must have that as an option for day trips. Good news on the apartment front. Will look into it. Planned on going next summer but may end up going next Christmas instead. Any opinions on house sharing? I noticed there were quite a few around the London area willing to swap for Florida.
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Great information! Thank you so much! I had forgotten to add farmer's market to my list as well as good country walks. How easy is it to get to the coast? Must have that as an option for day trips. Good news on the apartment front. Will look into it. Planned on going next summer but may end up going next Christmas instead. Any opinions on house sharing? I noticed there were quite a few around the London area willing to swap for Florida.
Oh, and is it truly walkable? Or are buses really good otherwise to places you can't walk to within the city?
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:38 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Great information! Thank you so much! I had forgotten to add farmer's market to my list as well as good country walks. How easy is it to get to the coast? Must have that as an option for day trips. Good news on the apartment front. Will look into it. Planned on going next summer but may end up going next Christmas instead. Any opinions on house sharing? I noticed there were quite a few around the London area willing to swap for Florida.
There is also a farmer's market in Faversham market square weekly and Whitstable (St Mary's Hall) every other week - second and fourth Saturdays.

Whitstable takes about half an hour on the bus - eight miles

Margate is 30 mins by train (5 pounds day return)

Ramsgate is 20 mins, also 5 pounds.
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Oh, and is it truly walkable? Or are buses really good otherwise to places you can't walk to within the city?
Canterbury (the old* city) is not that large, being accommodated within the city walls - St Dunstans is just outside on the north side.

Because this is a world heritage site there are restrictions on road routings and improvements and there is a lot of traffic congestion. Getting around on foot is easy and is often to be preferred even if you do have a car. Getting from one side of the city centre to the other takes ten minutes or so on foot.

*Canterbury was badly bombed in WW2 in the Baedeker raids so there is not really that much of the old stuff left.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Nov 18th 2012 at 4:08 pm. Reason: canterbury was badly bombed
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by Pistolpete2 View Post
There is also a farmer's market in Faversham market square weekly and Whitstable (St Mary's Hall) every other week - second and fourth Saturdays.

Whitstable takes about half an hour on the bus - eight miles

Margate is 30 mins by train (5 pounds day return)

Ramsgate is 20 mins, also 5 pounds.
Excellent! This has me breathing a sigh of relief. And being walkable too?! So I could walk from St Dunstan's to the shops? Or could I take a bus if I had bags of groceries to carry?

Won't know 100% for sure until we visit, but it seems like it is the perfect place.

By the way, my father used to travel to St Lucia a lot for work (although British, I grew up in Jamaica).
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Excellent! This has me breathing a sigh of relief. And being walkable too?! So I could walk from St Dunstan's to the shops? Or could I take a bus if I had bags of groceries to carry?

Won't know 100% for sure until we visit, but it seems like it is the perfect place.

By the way, my father used to travel to St Lucia a lot for work (although British, I grew up in Jamaica).
Sainsbury's is a fair way to walk if you have a lot of groceries and ASDA is even further out but there are decent greengrocers in St Dunstans and there is Tesco Metro and Marks & Spencer (Food) in the "downtown" area. There is also a regular market incl. fruit/veg in the centre.
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Excellent! This has me breathing a sigh of relief. And being walkable too?! So I could walk from St Dunstan's to the shops? Or could I take a bus if I had bags of groceries to carry?

Won't know 100% for sure until we visit, but it seems like it is the perfect place.

By the way, my father used to travel to St Lucia a lot for work (although British, I grew up in Jamaica).
If you are looking to stay in the St Dunstan's area there are a couple of B&Bs worth noting:

Magnolia House is fairly pricey (close to 100 pounds double b&b in Summer) but a real stunner and Gold Award winner

and Alexandra House which is cheaper but well-located on Roper Road near Canterbury West Station

see also:

Canterburyservicedapartments

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Nov 18th 2012 at 3:08 pm. Reason: canterburyservicesapartments
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Old Nov 19th 2012, 12:41 am
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by Pistolpete2 View Post
If you are looking to stay in the St Dunstan's area there are a couple of B&Bs worth noting:

Magnolia House is fairly pricey (close to 100 pounds double b&b in Summer) but a real stunner and Gold Award winner

and Alexandra House which is cheaper but well-located on Roper Road near Canterbury West Station

see also:

Canterburyservicedapartments
Have made careful note of everything. Thank you again. We will look into where to stay closer to the time (probably 3 years until we can actually get there for a recon trip). You have been most helpful
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Old Nov 19th 2012, 10:47 am
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

[QUOTE=perthhomeschool;10389519]Have made careful note of everything. Thank you again. We will look into where to stay closer to the time (probably 3 years until we can actually get there for a recon trip). You have been most

Nice to help. I wouldn't expect things to change very dramatically between now and then - planes roaring overhead from a new airport at Boris Island is not likely .

Didn't mention the lovely Canterbury pubs for that very reason as owners can change and change things but the unis means Canterbury has, for better or for worse , a very vibrant pub culture.

After all, there is a long tradition of brewing in this area, particularly in Faversham, which had two major breweries; Fremlins and Shepherd Neame, now just the latter.
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Old Nov 19th 2012, 11:46 am
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Great information! Thank you so much! I had forgotten to add farmer's market to my list as well as good country walks. How easy is it to get to the coast? Must have that as an option for day trips. Good news on the apartment front. Will look into it. Planned on going next summer but may end up going next Christmas instead. Any opinions on house sharing? I noticed there were quite a few around the London area willing to swap for Florida.
I just left Folkestone (hence right on the coast) & Canterbury wasn't bad to get to by bus (about 45 min) and a lovely scenic ride on the way. Also fairly easy to get to via rail as well so you'd be dealing with the same except in reverse direction. The Canterbury bus station is quite a hub actually and although I never actually traveled the routes to places like Herne Bay, I did observe buses leaving from the Canterbury town centre fairly regularly in that direction too. There were weekly Stagecoach bus passes available that covered you for travel in large parts of Kent and East Sussex that didn't cost an arm and a leg (sorry I can't remember £ but it would be worth checking with bus co.).
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Old Nov 19th 2012, 11:58 am
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by curleytops View Post
I just left Folkestone (hence right on the coast) & Canterbury wasn't bad to get to by bus (about 45 min) and a lovely scenic ride on the way. Also fairly easy to get to via rail as well so you'd be dealing with the same except in reverse direction. The Canterbury bus station is quite a hub actually and although I never actually traveled the routes to places like Herne Bay, I did observe buses leaving from the Canterbury town centre fairly regularly in that direction too. There were weekly Stagecoach bus passes available that covered you for travel in large parts of Kent and East Sussex that didn't cost an arm and a leg (sorry I can't remember £ but it would be worth checking with bus co.).
This is good news indeed. My hubby is retired, and I may be too but I am hoping to find a part time job in a shop. A touristy one would work fine for me as I work in a gift shop now. In any case, frequent outings will be how we spend our days, but I am most insistent that we have no car. If we wanted to rent one on occasion would it include insurance like in the US, since we would not be carrying our own?
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Old Nov 19th 2012, 12:06 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

[QUOTE=Pistolpete2;10390040]
Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
Have made careful note of everything. Thank you again. We will look into where to stay closer to the time (probably 3 years until we can actually get there for a recon trip). You have been most

Nice to help. I wouldn't expect things to change very dramatically between now and then - planes roaring overhead from a new airport at Boris Island is not likely .

Didn't mention the lovely Canterbury pubs for that very reason as owners can change and change things but the unis means Canterbury has, for better or for worse , a very vibrant pub culture.

After all, there is a long tradition of brewing in this area, particularly in Faversham, which had two major breweries; Fremlins and Shepherd Neame, now just the latter.
Haha I was a little concerned about the "pub culture" but, as I remember, it is pretty much everywhere, and though in a uni city it will necessarily be more evident, there was too much else about the place that far exceeded that worry. Would be nice to know, though, if there is an Irish pub with live music. Hubby plays the concertina twice a month in a couple of pubs here, and is quite good. He would love to know he could jam with some musicians there once in a while.
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Old Nov 19th 2012, 12:10 pm
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Default Re: Have I picked the right place?

Originally Posted by perthhomeschool View Post
This is good news indeed. My hubby is retired, and I may be too but I am hoping to find a part time job in a shop. A touristy one would work fine for me as I work in a gift shop now. In any case, frequent outings will be how we spend our days, but I am most insistent that we have no car. If we wanted to rent one on occasion would it include insurance like in the US, since we would not be carrying our own?
You can rent cars from Enterprise in Northgate, near Sainsbury's. Pick-up noon Friday and drop-off noon Monday at special rates, currently around 11 pounds a day incl damage waiver but you would need to buy excess cover online which would currently cost about 1.50 per day extra. In four years the car club deals could expand to Canterbury.

BTW, as I previously mentioned, there is a lot of traffic congestion in Canterbury because English Heritage, UNESCO, green belt and conservation etc. etc. mean you can't knock things down to build better road access, so Canterbury City Council have allowed certain developments to go ahead on the understanding that certain properties do not have a parking space. Such places are obviously not for everyone but this condition caters to your specific needs, and mine.

Most gift shop presence is around the cathedral, but there are outlying villages that have gift shops and Whitstable is known for its quantities of independent (uncloned) shops, incl. some gift shops in the harbour area. Faversham is also a small town of historical importance with some gift shops, incl the brewery, which has an excellent gift shop.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Nov 19th 2012 at 12:17 pm. Reason: Faversham
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