Kent is the county which has it all:  Picturesque villages, bustling market towns, glorious countryside and beautiful beaches… Combine all of this with its excellent schools and close proximity to London and it’s easy to see why Kent is a favourite for Londoners moving out of town.  In this guide we take a look at the best places to live in Kent, handpicked by local experts.

At a glance

The Vibe:  Well heeled in the West, arty in the East

The Schools:  8 Schools in Times Top 100 (State Secondary).  4 Schools in Times Top 100 (Independent Secondary)

The Restaurants:  24 restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide, 5 restaurants with a Michelin Star

The Great Outdoors:  23% AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), 350 miles of coastline

Larger Towns


An attractive cathedral city, less than an hour from central London by train to St Pancras and home to the famous Kings School Canterbury

Locals Love

“The Kings Mile for its meandering collection of independent shops, book stores, coffee shops and eateries.  The farmers market and food hall at the Goods Shed deserves a mention too.”

“Its rural feel, surrounded by countryside and close to some excellent sandy beaches too…Botany Bay and Joss Bay, near Broadstairs are our favourites.  Joss Bay even has its own surf school!”

“The Canterbury Literary Festival!”

The High Street in Canterbury

Tunbridge Wells

An affluent and bustling town with excellent shopping and surrounded by idyllic villages in the High Weald AONB.  Londoners flock here for its leading  state and grammar schools.  The Skinner’s School and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School both make the Times Top 50.

Locals Love

“The High Weald villages of Goudhurst, Cranbrook, and Sissinghurst, to name a few!”

“The number of excellent schools in the area, state and independent.  Younger families have a lot of options for primary and prep schools too.”

“The weekend markets down at the Pantiles in town are fab!”

The Pantiles, at the heart of Tunbridge Wells

Market Towns


This is a particularly popular and wealthy pocket of Kent, a commuter hotspot with trains into Charing Cross in little over 30 minutes and conveniently located for access to the M25 (10 minutes away).  The international Sevenoaks School and Walthamstow Hall both make the Times Top 100.

Locals Love

“Knole Park (National Trust, 1.2m from town), for walks and wildlife.”

“The high street has everything you’ll need and we love the neighbouring villages of Brasted and Westerham too, some great pubs!”

“It’s very close to London but with the countryside on your doorstep.  Hever Castle and Chartwell (the former home of Sir Winston Churchill) are nearby, great for families.”

Knole House and Park at the edge of town


Often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Weald’, Tenterden is also now rapidly becoming synonymous with the best of English wine.  Many local vineyards (including the well known Chapel Down) surround this quintessential Kentish market town. 

Locals Love

“The Spirit of Tenterden music and craft festival which takes place every Summer at the end of June.”

“There is a real sense of community about Tenterden and there’s always something happening locally.”

“The countryside and villages of the High Weald with incredible views.  Sissinghurst Castle is wonderful and the gardens there are spectacular.”

Tenterden Music Festival, held annually


This has long been a star of the Kent coast, attracting Londoners by their droves.  It’s a bit further out (1h 17m into St Pancras) but if you are looking for a place by the sea, with upmarket shops and eateries, it’s hard to beat.   Check out neighbouring Tankerton too. 

Locals Love

“The incredible sunsets!”

The Lobster Shack – Sister restaurant to the larger, better known Whitstable Oyster Company. It’s right on the beach but tucked away from the crowds, less formal but equally good.”

“The Whitstable Oyster Festival.”  Say no more.

Whitstable Oyster Company

Up and Coming


Deal tops our list for house price growth (23% over 5 years) with arty types and creatives drawn to its attractive sea front and streets dotted with art galleries, craft shops and independent stores.  Neighbouring Sandwich catches the attention of the world when it plays host to the British Golf Open at The Royal St Georges.

Locals Love

“Fantastic views over brunch at the Deal Pier Kitchen!”

Betteshanger Country Park – great for cycling and entertaining the kids.  The newly opened Lamp Room serves up delicious lunches and excellent coffee and it’s right opposite the adventure playground so you can keep an eye on the little ones too.”

“I’m only in London twice a week so the commute is fine for me and you get more for your buck down here.”

Down at the seafront in Deal


Faversham lays claim to the oldest market in Kent which runs every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and brings a real buzz and sense of community to the town’s pretty medieval streets.  The ancient listed buildings are the perfect backdrop for a town which is also home to Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewery.  Faversham has excellent transport links with trains into into London St Pancras now taking just over an hour (1 h 3 m)  and the larger hubs of Canterbury and Whitstable only a 15 minute drive. 

Locals Love

“The annual hop festival which runs every year on the first weekend of September – a very lively event which takes over the town with its beers stalls, dancing and live music.”

Standard Quay – a hotch potch of quirky stores, housed in timber clad boathouses on the water at the edge of town.  There’s a decent butchers down there now too, next to the fab Papa Bianco pizza restaurant.”

Macknade fine food hall… there are farm shops and then there’s Macknade!”

Faversham's medieval high street


A truly vibrant and eclectic spot on the south Kent coast, Folkestone is less than an hour into St Pancras and boasts an enviable concentration of trendy bars and restaurants to rival parts of East London.  The town’s Creative Quarter meanders down a steep Old High Street to meet the heart of the town at Folkestone Harbour, with a sandy beach to its left and a pebble beach to the right. 

Locals Love

Little Rock (the sister restaurant to Rock Salt) which basks in Ibiza style vibes down on the beach.  The seafood is exceptional”

Steep Street Coffee House which doubles as a book store and is perfect for watching the world go by.”

“I can leave work in London and be swimming in the sea in just over an hour!”

Folkestone's arty Old High Street, winding down to the sea