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jby

Is commuting to London from Kent *actually* worthwhile?

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Until now I've planned my new life in London around Kent: Canterbury, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells as the major options. I say 'until now' because I've read a very interesting post about the actual realities of commuting and how a '50 minute commute' can often turn into 2 hours of stuffy, cramped and depressing hell. This has scared me!

 

While the poster may be exaggerating, I'm coming from a car culture, where 50 minutes of driving in a car wouldn't be so bad ... but 50 minutes running between stations and stuck underground may be a different story. And if we stretch that to 2 hours each way for some unknown reasons a few times a week, am I doing the right thing?

 

So for those of you who've done it, is the commute workable on a daily basis between Kent and London? Or am I better off looking for a 'green' area closer to London like Wimbledon or Richmond, and sacrificing the space, the conservatory, the view of the fields and so on? Which would lead to a better quality of life?

 

Help!

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I haven't done it, so cant help you there...I do however live near Canterbury, and it is really lovely. We moved down from London and never regretted the move. I work locally, however if I did have to commute then yes I would as the tranquillity of living down here far out weights the hustle and bustle of London - for us anyway. Once your working day / week has finished, you can then enjoy your surroundings. Hope that helps


:ssign19: Flights booked.. One way to Brisbane. Homeward bound and very excited!

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Hi, I made the commute into London from Kent daily for about two years! I can honestly say its not something I could go back to. The trains are often cancelled and yes at times standing room only. Add that together with the cost of an annual train pass which is like taking out a large loan every year and how stressed it all makes you before you actually arrive at work. Then begins the commute home. You will be realistically traveling for an average of three hours a day:S btw I was only commuting from Bexley Heath which is a lot nearer than Canterbury. We're in Richmond now and cycle to work which saves a lot of hassle and money!


'A real life adventure, worth more than pieces of Gold' David Bowie, Scary monsters, Teenage wildlife.

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Not sure what part of London you work but I used to commute from Bexleyheath to Canary Wharf daily and it didn't take an hour and a half one way, there were problems with the lines sometimes but not to bad..one thing for sure though on a hot day being crammed into a train was not my idea of fun!


:ssign19: Flights booked.. One way to Brisbane. Homeward bound and very excited!

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Hi Jby, We used to communte from Sevenoaks. We did it for years and tbh, don't miss it one bit. Over the years we noticed that people were so stressed out on the trains to/from London on a "normal" day. We used to love it where we lived, but if we did ever move back to the UK we would live nearer. Our reasons being that you spend so much time during the week at work and quite often we were not getting home until at least 7.30pm so you only have the weekends to enjoy the scenery. It was dark when we left and dark when we got home and during the summer (if we had one) you would sit outside for an hour or so after dinner and then it would be too cold.

 

I used to tell my BFF about the rows and even fights that used to go on the trains and she thought I was making it up as she had never commuted. One Saturday she went to a show at Earls Court and witnesses a row and a fight on a train!! This behaviour is inexcusable, but you can totally see why it happens. The trains are packed to the rafters and people are desperately trying to get to work on time for fear of losing their jobs.

 

Commuting to London is certainly an eye opener. Good Luck.


IELTS 02/12 = 9's, AQF III 31/05/12, TRA Ass 14/11/12, EOI Submitted 14/11/12, Invite Received 15/11/12, 489 FS Lodged 29/11/12, CO Assigned 01/01/13, Meds 17/01/13 Grant 02/04/2013 189 Independent Visa Invitation 22/04/13, VISA GRANT 01/05/13

Arrived in Perth 09/10/13

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I haven't done it, so cant help you there...I do however live near Canterbury, and it is really lovely. We moved down from London and never regretted the move. I work locally, however if I did have to commute then yes I would as the tranquillity of living down here far out weights the hustle and bustle of London - for us anyway. Once your working day / week has finished, you can then enjoy your surroundings. Hope that helps

 

The tranquility is what has driven me to looking at Kent! I just don't know if I'm being naive in thinking it'll all be ok (and obviously weekends will be wonderful) regardless of the public transport issues.

 

Hi, I made the commute into London from Kent daily for about two years! I can honestly say its not something I could go back to. The trains are often cancelled and yes at times standing room only. Add that together with the cost of an annual train pass which is like taking out a large loan every year and how stressed it all makes you before you actually arrive at work. Then begins the commute home. You will be realistically traveling for an average of three hours a day:S btw I was only commuting from Bexley Heath which is a lot nearer than Canterbury. We're in Richmond now and cycle to work which saves a lot of hassle and money!

 

I love the sound of what you're experiencing in Richmond. But when I look at properties, I can't get the detached/private/spacious living that I can afford in Kent. One half of me thinks: rather be close to everything and have the freedom to go out and explore (living in Richmond/Greenwich/Wimbledon), while the other half thinks: you're at home most of the time anyway so make sure it's a place and a space that you'll love (living in Kent). Aaargh :/

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Hi Jby, We used to communte from Sevenoaks. We did it for years and tbh, don't miss it one bit. Over the years we noticed that people were so stressed out on the trains to/from London on a "normal" day. We used to love it where we lived, but if we did ever move back to the UK we would live nearer. Our reasons being that you spend so much time during the week at work and quite often we were not getting home until at least 7.30pm so you only have the weekends to enjoy the scenery. It was dark when we left and dark when we got home and during the summer (if we had one) you would sit outside for an hour or so after dinner and then it would be too cold.

 

I used to tell my BFF about the rows and even fights that used to go on the trains and she thought I was making it up as she had never commuted. One Saturday she went to a show at Earls Court and witnesses a row and a fight on a train!! This behaviour is inexcusable, but you can totally see why it happens. The trains are packed to the rafters and people are desperately trying to get to work on time for fear of losing their jobs.

 

Commuting to London is certainly an eye opener. Good Luck.

 

Thanks for this reply, and I think this is exactly what I'm fearing. I don't want to enjoy my home on weekends only! I currently get home around 5.30pm on most days and have a good few hours before the sun goes down. I don't want to spend those hours in a train, especially if it means standing and being uncomfortable the whole way home. Perhaps if the trains were always cosy and relaxed it might be an easier consideration. Ouch ... this is going to take some serious rethinking :/

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I don't know anything about Richmond as never lived that side of London. I was brought up close to Greenwich and it is a good place. You have the park, the village and it is also easy commuting. You have trains, DLR and even buses. You wouldn't normally want to travel on a bus, but when the trains are up the spout, they are your best option - an option you wouldn't have further out. Wimbledon again, have tubes, trains and open spaces.

 

If you decide to live in Kent - perhaps research areas that have good coach links to London. My Mum used to commute by coach. They are always warm or have air con. OK, you will sit in traffic but you will get there and you are comfortable, no sweaty people standing over you and if you have a good book, ipad or make friends on there, they are a great way to travel.


IELTS 02/12 = 9's, AQF III 31/05/12, TRA Ass 14/11/12, EOI Submitted 14/11/12, Invite Received 15/11/12, 489 FS Lodged 29/11/12, CO Assigned 01/01/13, Meds 17/01/13 Grant 02/04/2013 189 Independent Visa Invitation 22/04/13, VISA GRANT 01/05/13

Arrived in Perth 09/10/13

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Not sure what part of London you work but I used to commute from Bexleyheath to Canary Wharf daily and it didn't take an hour and a half one way, there were problems with the lines sometimes but not to bad..one thing for sure though on a hot day being crammed into a train was not my idea of fun!

 

 

 

    True, it depends on which part of central London you work in. My co was in Vauxhall (rubbish journey, rubbish location)! I still get palpitations thinking about it now, lol!
     

 


'A real life adventure, worth more than pieces of Gold' David Bowie, Scary monsters, Teenage wildlife.

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Travelled from Falconwood and Sidcup for years also. Bexleyheath line was always much more efficient (if I can use that word about the railways) than the Sidcup Line. OH worked at Canada Square for years and there always seemed to be probs on the DLR - he used to get on at Lewisham.


IELTS 02/12 = 9's, AQF III 31/05/12, TRA Ass 14/11/12, EOI Submitted 14/11/12, Invite Received 15/11/12, 489 FS Lodged 29/11/12, CO Assigned 01/01/13, Meds 17/01/13 Grant 02/04/2013 189 Independent Visa Invitation 22/04/13, VISA GRANT 01/05/13

Arrived in Perth 09/10/13

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CandyGirl...it does seem odd to see the word 'efficient' and 'railway' in the same sentence but yes I would agree with you,,


:ssign19: Flights booked.. One way to Brisbane. Homeward bound and very excited!

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Commuting gets old really quickly and getting rid of the long commute (I've gone from 90 minutes e/w to 30 minutes e/w) is a massive bonus for me being here

 

So I can't recommend long commuting as a way of life. *However*. The problem with London is just that it's so damn big. Even if you live somewhere in Greater London you can still easily be travelling for an hour each way to get to work, and for many jobs it can be just as quick (if not even quicker) to live outside the City - inside the City, you are generally commuting on slow buses, quite slow tubes, and quite slow stopping overground trains. From outside the city you might be commuting on a much faster train service.

 

The crucial factor is often how close your job is to a rail terminus in London. If it's right next door, then you can commute quickly. Example: I used to work 5 minutes walk from King's Cross station, and live 5 minutes from Cambridge station. The trains take 50 minutes, so I could do the whole commute, door to door, in about 70 minutes on an average day. That's still too long, but considering it's 60 miles, it's not bad going. If I had been working in the West End somewhere, you could have added 15 minutes on to that at each end, which would have pushed it over the pale for me in terms of acceptability.

 

So living in Kent might be well doable if you have a job near the right rail station in London. Bear in mind that if it's bucolic bliss you want, you probably won't want to be living right next to the railway station in the town you're living in/near, either. So you could be adding on to the journey at that end....

 

On the subject of rail reliability, most lines are actually pretty good these days, things have improved a lot. The ones to the south and south east (yes, including most of Kent except that served from St Pancras on the fast trains) served out of Victoria, Cannon St, Blackfriars, London Bridge and Charing Cross are the worst because most of them are electrified using the "Third Rail" system rather than overhead wires. It's a lot more susceptible to problems caused by ice and leaves

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Commuting gets old really quickly and getting rid of the long commute (I've gone from 90 minutes e/w to 30 minutes e/w) is a massive bonus for me being here

 

So I can't recommend long commuting as a way of life. *However*. The problem with London is just that it's so damn big. Even if you live somewhere in Greater London you can still easily be travelling for an hour each way to get to work, and for many jobs it can be just as quick (if not even quicker) to live outside the City - inside the City, you are generally commuting on slow buses, quite slow tubes, and quite slow stopping overground trains. From outside the city you might be commuting on a much faster train service.

 

The crucial factor is often how close your job is to a rail terminus in London. If it's right next door, then you can commute quickly. Example: I used to work 5 minutes walk from King's Cross station, and live 5 minutes from Cambridge station. The trains take 50 minutes, so I could do the whole commute, door to door, in about 70 minutes on an average day. That's still too long, but considering it's 60 miles, it's not bad going. If I had been working in the West End somewhere, you could have added 15 minutes on to that at each end, which would have pushed it over the pale for me in terms of acceptability.

 

So living in Kent might be well doable if you have a job near the right rail station in London. Bear in mind that if it's bucolic bliss you want, you probably won't want to be living right next to the railway station in the town you're living in/near, either. So you could be adding on to the journey at that end....

 

On the subject of rail reliability, most lines are actually pretty good these days, things have improved a lot. The ones to the south and south east (yes, including most of Kent except that served from St Pancras on the fast trains) served out of Victoria, Cannon St, Blackfriars, London Bridge and Charing Cross are the worst because most of them are electrified using the "Third Rail" system rather than overhead wires. It's a lot more susceptible to problems caused by ice and leaves

 

Thanks pintpot! I feel better and worse about commuting now :) Better because it feels more doable and worse because you've done it and admit that cutting it down has changed your life for the better. Damn. I just don't know. The premium on detached houses closer to London is just too much for my budget unfortunately. But just how far out I go is the question.

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I worked in London for a couple of years and stayed in Teddington whilst there. To me it was the best of both worlds. Quite near London but felt like I was out in the country. Teddington had the Thames stopping people driving through it and a major road into London parallel with the Thames. There was a great pub, the Teddington Lock, with a beer garden going right down to the river, other smaller pubs, all within walking distance.

 

I was lucky in that work were paying for me to stay in a nice hotel every week in Teddington. I lived there Monday to Friday and travelled back home to Manchester for the weekends. I stayed in a hotel just outside the gates of Bushy Park a few times and used to go running in the park in the evenings. Herds of deer roaming around, people out walking and exercising. Wouldn't even know you were near London if you hadn't had Concorde and other planes from heathrow flying over.

 

If you can afford Teddington or Richmond or somewhere close I would recommend it. Much better than a long commute.

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Do wanna buy our house in Chelsfield Kent then? No chain as tennanted and they will leave when it's sold Two stations to choose from Chelsfield or Orpington both within walking distance from the house 20 min fast train into London Bridge and the M25 five mins away.

What more can I say? :wink:


Sue

 

Open your eyes; the world is outside your door

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On a personal level, it would have to be a job I LOVED to make me do it again.

 

Many years ago my journey would take 90 minutes both ways, and whilst I 'liked' my job, it (the journey) did grate after a while.

 

Rarely got a seat, even back then, and fed up with telling/asking people to move their bloody cases/feet/paraphernalia off the 'unaccompanied' seats on the tube.:mad:

 

As I said, 'if' it was a job I 'truly' loved, then yes I would consider it, but that would be the only reason I would do it again.

 

Cheers Tony.


Keyser Söze Was Real. :shocked::yes:

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I worked in London for a couple of years and stayed in Teddington whilst there. To me it was the best of both worlds. Quite near London but felt like I was out in the country. Teddington had the Thames stopping people driving through it and a major road into London parallel with the Thames. There was a great pub, the Teddington Lock, with a beer garden going right down to the river, other smaller pubs, all within walking distance.

 

I was lucky in that work were paying for me to stay in a nice hotel every week in Teddington. I lived there Monday to Friday and travelled back home to Manchester for the weekends. I stayed in a hotel just outside the gates of Bushy Park a few times and used to go running in the park in the evenings. Herds of deer roaming around, people out walking and exercising. Wouldn't even know you were near London if you hadn't had Concorde and other planes from heathrow flying over.

 

If you can afford Teddington or Richmond or somewhere close I would recommend it. Much better than a long commute.

 

Teddington and Richmond are both great options and I'd love to live there. But from looking at what's available in the area for my budget (around £325k) I'm not going to find a detached house with conservatory and nice-sized garden.

 

Do wanna buy our house in Chelsfield Kent then? No chain as tennanted and they will leave when it's sold Two stations to choose from Chelsfield or Orpington both within walking distance from the house 20 min fast train into London Bridge and the M25 five mins away.

What more can I say? :wink:

 

It's a great location for sure! We aren't looking to buy tomorrow, but planning ahead and deciding on areas. Great to know about this one so we can add it to the list, thanks!

 

On a personal level, it would have to be a job I LOVED to make me do it again.

 

Many years ago my journey would take 90 minutes both ways, and whilst I 'liked' my job, it (the journey) did grate after a while.

Rarely got a seat, even back then, and fed up with telling/asking people to move their bloody cases/feet/paraphernalia off the 'unaccompanied' seats on the tube.:mad:

 

As I said, 'if' it was a job I 'truly' loved, then yes I would consider it, but that would be the only reason I would do it again.

 

Cheers Tony.

 

Yeah, it's starting to look like Canterbury is definitely too far. Thanks for the honesty.

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Guest Guest62757

Can I also throw Chislehurst into the suggestion pot?!

 

I grew up in Bickley and as an adult lived in Wimbledon and Earls Court but when it came to buying a place we settled on Chislehurst because the commute into London Bridge is 20mins or 30mins to Charing Cross. It is serviced by trains to Orpington and Sevenoaks.

 

If there are any line problems then you can catch the trains from Victoria to Bromley or Bickley which is a short bus/cab ride away.

 

Chislehurst has a little high street and duck pond and beautiful common with great pubs and national trust parkland.

 

There are also some great schools in the area.

 

Edited to add that I, my husband, my father have caught trains from Kent into London for over 15 years and have never had huge problems or not been able to get into work (worked in investment banking). I have on the other hand had tedious long journey's to Essex and Cambridge (ex boyfriends).

Edited by Guest62757

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Need I say Clacket Lane Services?

 

The road commute will drive you mad. It is a nightmare. I had a mate who did it, his worst time was five and a half hours, and he wasn't coming as far as Cantebury.

 

You are better to look at Surrey, or even Haywards Heath or Redhill.

 

I don't know about the trains - it depends on whether this is an option.

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Can I also throw Chislehurst into the suggestion pot?!

 

I grew up in Bickley and as an adult lived in Wimbledon and Earls Court but when it came to buying a place we settled on Chislehurst because the commute into London Bridge is 20mins or 30mins to Charing Cross. It is serviced by trains to Orpington and Sevenoaks.

 

If there are any line problems then you can catch the trains from Victoria to Bromley or Bickley which is a short bus/cab ride away.

 

Chislehurst has a little high street and duck pond and beautiful common with great pubs and national trust parkland.

 

There are also some great schools in the area.

 

Edited to add that I, my husband, my father have caught trains from Kent into London for over 15 years and have never had huge problems or not been able to get into work (worked in investment banking). I have on the other hand had tedious long journey's to Essex and Cambridge (ex boyfriends).

 

Great to know that you guys did it for so long and survived it happily. Thanks for sharing! Will also check out Chislehurst :)

 

Need I say Clacket Lane Services?

 

The road commute will drive you mad. It is a nightmare. I had a mate who did it, his worst time was five and a half hours, and he wasn't coming as far as Cantebury.

 

You are better to look at Surrey, or even Haywards Heath or Redhill.

 

I don't know about the trains - it depends on whether this is an option.

 

No no, I'm definitely NOT driving. I'm looking at commuting by train.

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