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Tunbridge Wells ..... What do you local ladies think?(11 Posts)
Debating whether to move to Tunbridge Wells next year from Twickenham. Just want more space and a decent community. What do you local ladies think of the area? We have three kids, all girls from new born to 7 years. Both me and DH work full time but DH works from home and I can wfh 2 days per week. Looking for good primaries, good secondaries to grow in to etc etc. your experience and ideas of where to live in Kent would be much appreciated. Thanks.
I don't live in Tunbridge Wells, I live about half an hour away but it's IMO a lovely place and I always feel it's quite a safe place. Has things going on you'd expect of a town (although not as much as London!) but is close to country side and is a nice place to live. If I had to move to a town Tunbridge Wells would be high on my list. Dunorlan Park is a fab little park I used to love visiting when I was little and you have lots of other nice places on your doorstep. Plus, it's straight forward to get the train to London so you can always pop back for the London life easily. I always feel it has a slight costal town vibe with some of the beautiful houses around the Pantiles area. It has quite a new hospital where all rooms are en suite.
Do you want a town location or village? There are lots of lovely villages in the area but maybe you want something more bustling? Other options town-wise might be Tonbridge (more downmarket to Sevenoaks. High street is pretty bleak with loads of charity shops but houses are cheaper than Tunbridge Wells) or Sevenoaks (very naice place to live. Lots of commuters there and pretty affluent place. Good high street as they go for the size of the town. Nearer London). I live near here and think it's a lovely place to live. Villages that spring to mind in the Tunrbidge Wells/Sevenoaks area are Speldhurst, Fordcombe, Weald, Underriver, Ide Hill,
Hi Peekaboo. Looking ideally for a town centre location although would consider villages too so will check out those you recommend. Want to feel like we can get involved and feel like we belong to a community. What are the schools like? Does kent have the grammar school system? Coming to visit the area in half term. Ant wait. Thanks for your response.
I don't know that much about schools specifically in Tunbridge Wells but yes, it does have the grammar system. The grammar schools are good in the area (although in Sevenoaks there's no grammar school in town itself at the moment, students need to travel to other towns eg Tonbridge). The secondary modern schools are, erm, mixed....tbh as it's a generally wealthyish area children try to get into grammar schools or if they don't pass 11+ seem to pay for private education if they can (big generalisation and just my opinion). The comprehensives therefore are all of the people who didn't pass the 11+ who can't afford private. I work in education and I remember doing a lesson observation on a PSHE lesson in a comp and it was all about what happened to you when you were arrested and is you got an ASBO! Maybe that's normal in London though...I'm not sure!
Can I add to the list of villiages to look at Knockholt, Shoreham and Otford. They are 10 mins out of sevenoaks and all lovely places. There are also some nice villages nearer Tunbridge Wells I thought about - Lamberhurst (have a friend who lives there, she says the primary school is very good. I think they might not have 11+ there though but not sure) and Wadhurst.
Yes, I think your observations on the schools are spot on. We don't want to and can't pay for private so I don't want to live in an area where there is a mass exodus of kids to private schools and want a mix in the schools my girls go to. That is the problem with these lovely areas. I think everyone who lives in them send their kids to private schools. Hmmm. Grammar shool would be great but have to have clever girls thanks again will check out those villages. Very helpful.
Hi deliciousberry. Well, we currently live in Twickenham and are, hopefully, moving to Kent in the next month or so (if house goes through!). DH works in City 5 days a week and I'll be commuting up for 3. We've found a house in a little village just outside Cranbrook so will be using the station at Staplehurst. We've been househunting for 4 or so months and looked in the area between TWells and Cranbrook with Marden as our most northerly point and Wadhurst as our most southerly. Really liked Lamberhurst, Goudhurst, Benenden, Frittenden, Horsmonden, to name a few! You need to be careful with the Kent / East Sussex border as Kent has grammars and East Sussex doesn't. It is poss to get into a Kent Grammar from across the border but much harder as out of county places are limited. Happy to share what we have learnt on our search, can even grab a coffee at H&H and head to Jubilee Gardens so the LOs can have a run around!
We moved from S London to TW via Surrey about 6 years ago, and love it. TW itself is a great place with loads going on - and it's close enough to London to go to the theatre in the West End still get back before turning into a pumpkin! However, you DO need to be very careful about the schools - there is a shortage of primary school places, and the catchments for the 'good' ones are tiny and shrinking. The grammar system is not for everyone; the secondaries are good/excellent if you are religious, and more mixed if you aren't, although the Skinner's Kent Academy is improving under the new Academy Trust and is gaining an improving status - in a few years, once it is full - with the new building and all of the fantastic new sports facilities etc, I suspect it will be very sought after.
The grammar system is complicated - the places at the non super selectives get allocated on distance (once you have passed the 11+) so you need to ensure that you aren't too far away (particularly if you have girls - for eg. in TW you need to be within about 1.8 miles of TWGSS to get a place - there are a limited number of 'governor places', but competition is so fierce!). Cranbrook has its own entrance exam and operates a catchment area. Skinners and Judd take children from a vast area but are superselective and tehrefore take the top 11+ scores (and are only for boys - so irrelevant for you anyway now I check your OP!). There are plans for a grammar in Sevenoaks which should ease the pressure, but there are more children passing the 11+ than there are places, certainly in West Kent.
The villages around are beautiful, but with four children we don't want to be a taxi service when they get older - as a child I lived in the depths of the countryside and my parents spent their lives ferrying us around to stuff - being in town, everything is on the doorstep and they can get buses etc if going further afield.
Downsides of TW are the traffic - it's diabolical - and the commuting costs - but that's the same if you're commuting in from an hour away wherever you are on the compass around London I guess.
We moved to Kent five years ago, and love it. Tw is lovely.
Hello Chatters42 would love to meet and have coffee. How do I mail you my personal details so we can get in touch properly? How exciting re your move. We are a little way behind you but would be very grateful to learn from your research xx
Lovewhereilive, thanks so much for the details. Such great insight. It all sounds quite complex. My big girl (7) is great but not a big intellect. Worry that we could move to kent and not even get a grammar school place! My middle girl has a September b'day and is bright so would be fine but I actually failed the 11 plus so am under no illusion that it will be a breeze! We are also looking at sussex which I know well but the are no grammar schools there. Is this a good thing or a bad thing. Arrgggghhh#tryingtodothebestforyourkids
It's a horrid stress and I don't think it's right that 10 year olds have to go through it. Those who live outside of Kent say that they wouldn't live here because it makes secondary stress free - IF you are in the catchment of a good one! East or West Sussex?! Really don't know anything about the schools, other than the countryside is lovely!
I have four children - so far I think the eldest two will be fine, my third one is very artistic, but not as ahead as the other two were at the same stage, and the fourth is only 3 so who knows, but we are close ish to the Catholic grammar school which is very good and is our Plan B. We are Catholics anyway, but they do take a large % of non catholics - but obviously for some people they'd rather chew off their own arms than put their children in a religious school....and then there are potentially fewer plan B options....!
happy to help further if you have more questions but best of luck with the search/decision!
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