High Speed rail propels Ashford forward as a Kent commuter hotspot

Posted 14 March 2016 by Fiona Brandhorst

Dramatically shorter commute times and a wealth of new homes options have made Ashford a major consideration for London workers looking for a base in Kent...

Although in the heart of Kent, Ashford is just 60 miles from London and a fast-growing commuter town boasting high-speed trains to London in just 38 minutes. International rail services link Europe's cities within hours via Eurostar ensuring a cosmopolitan vibe to the town.

Ashford's fortunes took an upward turn with the opening of Ashford International railway station in 1996. With a population of over 70,000, it’s a key growth area and is a beneficiary of several planned development strategies including a new commercial quarter creating several hundred jobs, a new town centre square with cinema and shops and an extension to the flagship McArthur Glen designer outlet attracting up to seven million visitors a year.

High Speed trainJourney times to London St Pancras on the High Speed link take just 38 minutes, a few minutes less to regenerating Stratford, and you can be in Paris or Brussels in two hours. There are also comprehensive standard commuter services into the capital and large coastal towns such as Dover, Folkestone, Hastings and Eastbourne.

A monthly season ticket to London Victoria costs £511.20 from Ashford International (£5,324 annually) with the fastest journey time between Ashford International and Victoria 1hr 35 minutes. Trains to London St Pancras via the high-speed link take 38 minutes (£650.50 monthly, £6,776 annually); Charing Cross takes 1hr 15 minutes (£440.10 monthly, £4,584 annually); Cannon Street takes 1hr 22 minutes (£440.10 monthly, £4,584 annually).

Ashford proudly preserves an ancient past at its heart. In Middle Row medieval, Georgian and Jacobean buildings flank narrow alleys and weather-boarded cottages frame an historic church. The County Square Shopping Centre has over 50 stores including Debenhams, M&S and Next as well as arrange of homeware stores and sports shops. Ashford Farmers' Market takes place on the first Sunday of the month. As well as the famed McArthur Glen designer outlet, there is also a wide variety of out of town shops including John Lewis and Waitrose.

The Eureka Entertainment is a high-tech 12-screen cinema complex and Ashford Bowling offers the ultimate 10-pin experience. The town’s heritage comes to life at Ashford Borough Museum where its railway history is celebrated including a replica ticket office, tools and model trains. The Create Music Festival is one of the South East’s biggest free music festivals, taking place every year in Ashford’s Victoria Park. Ashford has its own football team Ashford United and an athletics stadium in nearby Willesborough.

There are a number of good primary schools including two independent schools: Ashford Prep and Ashford School. Many people more to the area to access the grammar schools - the Norton Knatchbull School  for boys and Highworth Grammar School for girls. Both are co-educational in the sixth form.

Well served by the motorway network of the M2, M20 and A2, Ashford is easily accessible to London and the south coast. Gatwick Airport is 59 miles and takes an hour by car. Dover is 22 miles via the M20 and takes around 36 minutes.

Here’s a selection of great new homes to buy in and around Ashford:


Saxon Woods (Redrow Homes) - Located in the quaint Kent village of Hamstreet, Saxon Woods offers a stunning selection of four- and five- bedroom new homes in a highly desirable setting yet within easy an commuting distance of a number of nearby towns and London. Hamstreet has a lively centre packed with shops, cafes and pubs. Price from £646,995. Find out more about Saxon Woods from Redrow Homes  Saxon Woods
Finberry (Crest Nicholson) – These traditionally designed apartments, two- and three- bedroom cottages and four-bedroom family homes are set across two developments of Stour Meadows and Green Oaks surrounded by beautiful countryside. The village will have a new primary school, community centre, sports facilities and play areas and enjoys easy access to Ashford town centre and Ashford International station. Prices from £315,000. Find out more at www.crestnicholson.com: 01233 223133  Finberry
Poppy Fields (David Wilson Homes) – A delightful mix of three-, four- and five- bedroom homes, located in the quintessential village of Charing, just six miles from Ashford with direct trains to London and links to Paris and beyond. The homes have traditional exteriors and contemporary interiors. Poppy Fields is just a short walk from many local amenities including the local primary school. Prices from £649,995. Find out more about Poppy Fields from David Wilson Homes Poppy Fields
Rosehaven (Redrow Homes) – A stunning selection of three- and four- bedroom new homes in the highly desirable setting of the Hamstreet. The Heritage collection is built with traditional aesthetics in mind yet the interiors of the house fully embrace all things contemporary, stylish and practical. Hamstreet Primary Academy is the popular village school. Ham Street station has connecting trains to Ashford International in eight minutes. Prices on application. Find out more about Rosehaven from Redrow Homes  Rosehaven
Millfields (Rydon Homes) – Just one four-bedroom detached home remains at this popular collection of homes in the delightful Kent village of Bethersden. Just 16 minutes by car to Ashford International station, this 1,926 sq ft house features a traditional-style weather board exterior. There are four double bedrooms and a carport. Priced at £550,000. Find out more at www.rydonhomes.co.uk; 01580 766044 Millfields


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