When looking a living outside of London but close enough to commute, two options which have proven to be ever popular are Reading and spots within Kent. Both offer great transport links into the capital, along with a range of other perks that come with living there, so the decision between the two will come down to personal preference at the end of the day.
We've laid out some of positives to both locations so you can get an idea of which may be a better fit for you beyond their geographical location.
Exploring the county of Kent
Given that Kent spans a whole county in the south east of the country, there's a lot of different towns and villages to explore, from Royal Tunbridge Wells nestled within High Weald where you'll find our Hollyfields development, to Canterbury and Maidstone sitting on either side of Kent Downs. There's a number of lovely locations to visit if you fancy a tranquil retreat for the day or for getting closer to nature, as well as a huge pool of viable places to live where you can put down roots while still having great links into London.
Job prospects in Kent
Living in Kent gives you the dual advantages of being able to look at job roles in London as well as within the county of Kent itself. Large sections of Kent, especially on the northern side of the county, are located within the London commuter belt which means that the transport links give you direct, straight-forward access into the capital. This way, you can look to work in the thriving financial and business districts of London whilst having a calmer atmosphere to come home to. Haulage, logistics and tourism make up the major industries within the county itself, so there's also plenty of job opportunities in Kent to browse through which could be ideal for you.
Culture and arts in Kent
There's a number of different spots found all over Kent which have been influential in helping the county's arts scene thrive, from the Turner Contemporary on Margate seafront to Canterbury itself which served as inspiration for Chaucer's famous tales. In Kent, you're never too far from some structure which played a fascinating role in British history, from the ornate cathedrals dotted around to the castles like Leeds Castle and Tonbridge Castle which have stood the test of time to share their stories with you now. The Marlowe Theatre, named after famous playwright Christopher Marlowe, also offers a wide and varied programme all year round which includes major West End musicals you can catch outside of London.
Green spaces in Kent
Each town in Kent in surrounded by gorgeous greenery both on a local and wider scale, with parks and countryside close at hand for getting outdoors for exercise and leisure. Both High Weald and Kent Downs are on your doorstep if you choose to live within Kent, with each Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty giving you endless opportunities for outdoor adventures like hikes and woodland wanders.
Visiting the coast in the south east
One of the countries most iconic coastal attractions, the White Cliffs of Dover, resides in Kent alongside the practical port that Dover provides for both freight and travelling over to mainland Europe. There's an ample selection of seaside towns to visit, each with its own unique charm and all within easy driving distance from anywhere within Kent. Margate, Broadstairs and Whitstable are all popular seaside destinations perfect for spending warmer summer days on the beach.
Job opportunities in Reading
Despite being part of the commuter belt for London, Reading has more people commuting into its centre for work than out to the capital each day. It has a major commercial district that touts successful IT and insurance firms, such as Microsoft, Prudential and Oracle, with Reading regularly ranking at the top of lists for economic success and wellbeing. However, because Reading has good transport links into London, you're able to widen your scope and look at jobs in London as well if you're looking to change up your job.
Exploring the town of Reading
Reading's roots stem back to life as a historic market town which have contributed to its current success and popularity across practically all demographics. Known as the capital of the Thames Valley, Reading represents a major commercial hub outside of London, full of independent businesses and breweries which make dining out an absolute joy. In addition to the River Thames flowing through nearby, the River Kennet cuts through the centre of Reading to create a lovely waterfront for lots of cafes and bars. There's a number of desirable neighbourhoods spread around Reading's centre, with the University of Reading strategically positioned to capitalise on the town's amenities.
Culture and arts in Reading
You're not short of anything in terms of arts or culture in Reading, with plenty of thriving venues for both live music and theatrical performances, including independent arts venues like South Street Arts Centre and Rising Sun Arts Centre which encourage the local community to get involved with workshops or upcoming shows. While The Hexagon features a number of high profile productions and acts who perform in Reading, you're still close enough to London for a night at the West End for any major productions you might want to catch.
Green spaces in Reading
There are plenty of green, open spaces within Reading where you can escape the hustle and bustle for a few hours or go for regular runs. Prospect Park, King's Meadow and Christchurch Meadows are close to the centre if you're in need of some greenery for a walk, while Forbury Gardens are a more curated garden scape in the town centre. While not strictly green spaces, there are also a number of nearby lakes in Reading which can provide tranquil waterside walks if you want a change of scenery. Our Bankside Gardens development is right by a number of lakes and brooks, making for a fantastic backdrop for your potential life in Reading.
While Reading is a bustling urban hub within Berkshire, you're only ever a short distance away from being out in the county's countryside. Due to Reading being on the outer end of the commuter belt, living here means you can benefit from having the North Wessex Downs and the Chiltern Hills practically next door. There are also a number of other nearby towns which make for great day trips, like High Wycombe, Maidenhead and Newbury, each of which has their own history and attractions which are bursting with charm.
While both locations might offer similar sorts of amenities, the biggest contrast between the two probably comes in the form of how urban you want your town to be, as Reading offers a larger, more modern market town while the majority of places in Kent are considerably smaller. However, whichever appeals to you more, you'll find property developments in Reading and Kent by Berkeley Group, meaning you don't need to worry about finding high quality housing which you can personalise to suit you.