FOCUS ON: ASHFORD, KENT

HARLING HALL, WYE
Price: £499,950
This detached five-bedroom property set is set in a village just outside Ashford. Two of the bedrooms have en suites and this new property has been designed to create as much space and light as possible. There is an open-plan kitchen/breakfast room, a separate study and a rear garden. Contact: Strutt & Parker on 01227 451123, www.struttandparker.com

KEMPES HALL, BOUGHTON ALUPH
Price: £975,000
A Grade II-listed property with views across the Downs, this five-bedroom home is set in five acres of grounds. The house retains its period features like inglenook fireplaces and timber beam ceilings. There is also a cottage with two bedrooms, a sitting room and a kitchen. Contact: Strutt & Parker on 01227 451123, www.struttandparker.com

MEADOWS, SMEETH
Price: £700,000
This Georgian rectory is in a small village outside Ashford and is Grade II-listed. There are four bedrooms and the master room has an en suite. There are four cellar rooms, allowing scope for conversion. Contact: Geering & Colyer on 01233 661097, www.geeringandcolyer.co.uk

NEED TO KNOW | AREA INSIGHT

Commuting: Ashford is 37 minutes from St Pancras by high-speed train while the standard service gets you to London Bridge in just over an hour. There are still some Eurostar trains heading to the continent from Ashford International each day.

Education: Kent still operates a grammar school system and Highworth, the girls’ grammar, comes high in the league tables. There is also a boys’ grammar school. Independent Ashford School offers mixed education for 3-18 year-olds and provides both day and boarding facilities. Further afield are public schools Tonbridge and King’s School Canterbury.

Crime: The town is roughly twice as safe as the national average apart from for sexual offences, where it is slightly more dangerous than the country as a whole.

Restaurants and Pubs: The Wife of Bath in nearby Wye offers exceptional food as does the Manor Restaurant at Eastwell Manor. The Bull Inn in Bethersden serves a range of Shepherds Neame ales while in the centre of Ashford

Parks and Leisure: For those seeking the great outdoors, Ashford is surrounded by the North Downs and rolling Kentish countryside. It is also about 20 minutes drive from the beach at Folkestone and Dymchurch. The historic city of Canterbury with its cathedral is about 30 minutes drive.