Living in Canterbury: good-value homes less than an hour's commute from London

London homebuyers are being tempted to the pretty cathedral city of Canterbury, thanks to the schools, good-value family homes - and a commute of less than an hour.
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Following in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims, thousands of passengers crowding the platforms of St Pancras International each evening are heading towards Canterbury. This small, historic, university city has obvious appeal to those considering leaving London — period homes, excellent schools and a good stock of bars and restaurants.

And, according to new research published by Savills, it has also enjoyed a post-recession recovery that has pushed prices up almost 11 per cent above 2007 levels to an average of £240,202.
Trains from Canterbury to London take 54 minutes, and an annual season ticket costs £5,080. The journey from Rochester takes just 35 minutes, and it costs £3,876 for an annual season ticket.

Take a tour of properties for sale in Canterbury...

As pretty a cathedral city as you could hope to want, Canterbury’s link to Chaucer has made it something of a tourist hub, while four university campuses keep the streets buzzing.

The Goods Shed, a farmer’s market/food hall/restaurant, is the local foodie mecca — and the city’s cultural offering has recently been enhanced by the opening of the £25.6 million Marlowe Theatre, plus a new Curzon cinema. Added to that, the area hugely ticks the education box with no less than three grammar schools (two single sex and one mixed).

The downsides to Canterbury life are the crowds, the traffic and an increasing dominance of chain stores — although Londoners might simply feel at home. Experts say High Speed One has given East Kent even more popular appeal and it is no longer the poor relation to commuter magnets Sevenoaks or Tunbridge Wells.

£1.1 million: The Old Rectory in Stour Street through Strutt & Parker (01227 917053)

“Almost 20 per cent of our sales last year were to London buyers, attracted to the area by the rail service, the schools and good-value family homes,” says Martin Jordan, director of Humberts estate agents.

A unique selling point is the city’s location — “It is within half an hour of the Eurotunnel terminal, which takes you to France in just 35 minutes,” says Jordan. “Day trips to France are a regular activity.”

Other attractions are the period homes, from Tudor terraces to Georgian townhouses. Simon Blackhouse, head of Strutt & Parker’s Canterbury office, says commuters tend to gravitate to two areas.

Families like south Canterbury for its proximity to the grammar schools and roomy homes — although it is a 20-minute walk to Canterbury West railway station. Prices here range from about £650,000 to £725,000 for a four-bedroom Victorian semi.
£725,000: a three-bedroom period house in Westgate Grove. Through Strutt & Parker (01227 917053)

In comparison, St Dunstan’s has more of an urban village feel, with streets full of pretty Georgian and Victorian artisan cottages, priced at about £425,000 to £500,000. This area is a five to 10-minute walk to the station, and it has its own restaurants and shops.

For first-time buyers, a two-bedroom flat in this area will cost about £200,000.

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