Let's move to ... Whitstable, Kent: an artsy place that's now affordable

Whitstable, Kent

What's going for it? There comes a delightful happy moment in property. It happens very rarely. Like a perfect storm. But in a good way. When everything aligns. That's happening in Whitstable right now. Yes, yes, Whitstable went all Padstow years ago: now you can't move for organic nappies and Cath Kidston gingham curtains. But its property inflation has slumped considerably. Nowadays you'll find three-bedroom Victorian terraces for £150,000. But the really sweet thing? The North Kent railway line. Later this year north Kent's creaking line connects with High Speed 1, and whole swaths of hitherto distant climes become far more accessible. Whitstable, they say, will be 72 minutes to London St Pancras and Victoria. Plus it's one of the rare spots near London that's artsy, and liberal-ish enough not to turn you honourable Guardian readers all Daily Mail within two weeks.

The case against All a bit posh. The ordinariness of the place is disappearing. A slightly affected 1947-ish art-directed designer drabness. Second home-itis. Despite the veneer, north Kent has many economic problems.

Well connected? In a few months. Until then you'll have to suffer a trundling 82-90 minutes to London by rail. The A299 and the M2 make the M25 40 minutes off on a good day, and central London 75-90 minutes, depending on traffic. Canterbury's just five miles south.

Schools Good. Whitstable and Seasalter Endowed CofE, St Alphege CofE and St Mary's Catholic are all "good", says Ofsted. Secondaries: the Community College Whitstable is "good and improving".

Hang out at... The Oyster Fishery is the epicentre; prefer Wheelers for my bivalves, personally.

Where to buy Anywhere's good; as close to the sea and town centre as possible. Nice streets of Victorian terraces/salty sea-dog cottages; Edwardian suburbans; decent modern infill, too. Posh suburbans on Tankerton Slopes. Slightly cheaper up on the cliffs a mile east at Tankerton, a mile beyond that at Swalecliffe or west in Seasalter.

Market values Detacheds, from £225,000 (modern, three beds), or £290,000 (period, three beds), to £600,000 for vast piles. Semis, £175,000-£350,000. Terraces, from £135,000 (postwar to modern), or £145,000 (period). Cute "fishermen's cottages", £250,000-£450,000.

One-bed flats, from £90,000.

Bargain of the week Four-bed detached, with sweet weatherboarding, great sea views and gardens; needs modernising; £280,000, with Ward & Partners (01227 772272). Absolute bargain.

• Live in Whitstable? Join the debate at theguardian.com/money/property

From the streets of Whitstable

Paul Byrne "I've lived in Whitstable for two years, working in London. Nothing can beat getting off the train and hearing the screech of seagulls. Grab the dog, stroll to the beach, pint at the Neptune - perfect."

Daphne Stanley "A bit scruffy, quite arty and very fishy. Lots of valued independent shops, including Brown's great deli."

James Styles "Swamped by DFLs (Down From London) in summer, when traffic comes to a standstill, but retains a good atmosphere. Parking is difficult at the best of times."

• Do you live in Penarth? Do you have a favourite haunt or pet hate? If so, write, by next Friday, to lets.move@theguardian.com.


Tom Dyckhoff

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Let's move to ... Ripon, North Yorkshire

You've got to love somewhere with a pork pie shop. Especially when the pork pies are the size of a plate

Tom Dyckhoff

13, Dec, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Port Isaac, Cornwall

What's going for it? Actually, no, don't move to Port Isaac. Sorry, chaps, no room

Tom Dyckhoff

01, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Chichester & Chichester Harbour, West Sussex

Chichester & Chichester Harbour, West Sussex

Tom Dyckhoff

20, Dec, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Reading, Berkshire: It's not pretty, but it will weather the stormy times ahead

Reading, Berkshire: It's not pretty, but it will weather the stormy times ahead

Tom Dyckhoff

21, Feb, 2009 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Chester

Chester, Cheshire is the capital of Wag-land, and you can see why they like it

Tom Dyckhoff

06, Dec, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Lancaster, Lancashire

What's going for it? The "Brighton of the north" (minus beach, prom and pier)

Tom Dyckhoff

15, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Bakewell, Derbyshire

Bakewell, Derbyshire, for pretty properties and pudding galore

Tom Dyckhoff

10, Apr, 2009 @11:01 PM

Article image
Let's move to ... Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Tell us what it's like to live at the end of the railway line

Tom Dyckhoff

28, Feb, 2009 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... Eltham, south-east London

What's going for it? With Boy George, Jude Law and Kate Bush it's practically London's Beverly Hills.

Tom Dyckhoff

22, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Let's move to ... West Didsbury, Manchester

What's going for it? 'It always was a cut above studenty ... ' There was even a touch of bohemia about the place

Tom Dyckhoff

08, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM