The South Coast of England enjoys more sunshine and warmth than the rest of the UK. It also has some of the best transport links and offers no less than four world Heritage Sites, two National Parks and more than 300 miles of coastline. But where are the best places to live on this most inviting of coastal stretches? Here are four locations which are all worthy of serious consideration:
Brighton is one of the largest towns on the south coast, which means it also qualifies as an urban destination. But this city can also offer an iconic pebble beach and what most surely be one of England’s finest seaside piers. In terms of its architecture, the town boasts a number of grand Regency properties which create an impressive ambience rivalling the distinctive appeal of London’s quintessential Regency boroughs.
Yet Brighton is very much a modern city with a cosmopolitan outlook, a diverse population, and a broad range of cultural attractions and things to do, many of which are still within easy walking distance of the town centre. As would be expected, this is a region with a buoyant job market offering a good mix of employment opportunities.
And for those able to commute there is the further benefit of London, which can be reached in little more than an hour. House prices reflect the desirability of this location, and an average house would be on the market for just a little above £400,000.
Dartmouth is one of the UK’s renowned maritime locations and has been a favoured boating location for decades. One reason for this popularity is the town’s position on the Dart estuary which can provide deep anchorages which are nevertheless sheltered from prevailing currents.
Dartmouth hosts many festivals, events, exhibitions and markets, and the annual autumn Food Festival is a regional highlight. Though the town’s historic streets and picturesque riverside vista undoubtedly create a relaxed atmosphere, there is also plenty of scope for a variety of water sports. And for those who enjoy the coast, there are fine beaches and coastal sites of outstanding natural beauty close by.
The city of Plymouth is an hour away, and Dartmoor itself is closer still. Town houses can be a little expensive here with prices in the region of £450,000-£1m according to location.
Sidmouth is described as a handsome Regency coastal resort and is located on the oldest stretch of the world-renowned Jurassic Coast. This delightful town, which can still boast plenty of charming Regency and Victorian architecture, has good access to a broad range of attractions and amenities including a number of private and state schools, a hospital, a theatre and a cinema as well as a golf course, swimming pool and sports centre.
Sidmouth would appeal to families and to those looking to retire to a spot near the lovely Sid Valley with access to a beautiful coastal area. The town is a mere 15 miles from Exeter, a major transport hub, and the A30 provides good transport links across the region.
However, such popularity and convenience can sometimes come at a price. Even though a bungalow in need of some refurbishment might be acquired for £300,000, a detached four-bedroom property could be on the market for anything from £350,000 up to £1m. Properties closer to the seafront or on the town’s east and west slopes tend to command the highest prices.
At heart, Poole is a quaint Dorset town in a picturesque location. It can offer a selection of five beaches and boasts the second largest harbour in the world. Nevertheless, it is the town’s exclusive waterfront properties on the Sandbanks peninsula which really set this location apart. Such houses enjoy wonderful sea views and sell for many millions of pounds. Although this is just one sector of Poole’s housing market, it does have the effect of driving up prices overall.
The town is two hours from London by rail, and Bournemouth Airport nearby can provide European flights. There are extensive road transport links to inland and coastal areas. Parts of the old medieval town can still be seen and there is a broad range of amenities including museums, theatres, parks and a host of top-quality water sports activities. In addition, the Jurassic Coast and stunning locations such as Lulworth Cove are all within easy reach.