Original article from Kent Live
The Sunday Times have revealed the two best places to live in the South-East.
Judges assessed a number of factors from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speeds to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.
The panel were also looking for improving towns, villages or city centres and locations bursting with community spirit – which the pandemic has shown to be the most vital quality of all.
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While the village of Surrey Hills swooped top prize in the region both Deal and Sevenoaks impressed the judges enough to make the final cut.
The coastal town of Deal is said to have blow the judges away with its combination of ‘sensible and sophisticated’
They said: “There’s something for everyone, with art galleries, posh delis and interiors shops at one end and a great greengrocer, baker and family butcher at the other.”
With the sea on your doorstep and London just over an hour away it’s easy to see why Deal scored so highly.
The judges also noted the community hop garden, which has produced 65,000 pints of beer so far.
With an average sale price of £295,000 and average rental of £850 pcm, Deal was one of the cheaper locations on the list too.
It was a similar story in Sevenoaks where the judges were impressed with the ‘excellent’ schools and rapid journey times in to London.
They said: “With commuting on hold in the past year, it has been the independent shops in the lively town centre and beautiful walks in Knole Park that have caught our attention,”
The judges also noted a couple of the town's unique attractions.
They were said to be impressed with the newly expanded Sevenoaks Bookshop and the excellent coffee on offer at Malabar.
They also saved special praise for Life on High, the plant-based cafe, which has been contributing free meals to schools and gourmet lunch boxes to NHS workers.
The proximity to London means house prices in Sevenoaks are significantly higher than on the Kent coast.
The average sale price is £525,000 while the average rental comes in at £1,375 pcm.
Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor said: “This guide has never been so important. The pandemic has taught us just how much we rely on our homes, our communities and our surroundings.
"With working from home now common, it’s no surprise that many of us are reassessing our priorities and thinking hard about where we really want to live."
You can find the full article online by The Sunday Times by pressing here or in the paper on Sunday (March 28)