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Go South East to find a commuter's haven by the sea

WITH the High Speed One train line speeding towards completion, promising to connect major points in Kent to St Pancras in under an hour, the south east coast has become even more attractive a spot in which to settle. With its surprisingly numerous sandy beaches, it’s an ideal spot for young families as well as anyone that enjoys a whiff of sea air combined with countryside – and the extra space for your money. Though High Speed One serves Kent, a home near Rye, East Sussex, for example, is only a short hop from Ashford and Tonbridge stations, so you can have your beautiful Sussex seascape and your fast track to town.

Best of all, living near a sandy beach needn’t cost the earth – less than £1m will see you into a beautiful, spacious beachside home. Live in the Rye area and you’ve got the stunning Camber Sands, the only beach with dunes in the area, along with Winchelsea and countless other beautiful bays. Kent has eight blue flag beaches, including Broadstairs and Tankerton near Whitstable.

ON THE BEACH
Sue Goodwin, of Lawrence and Co, an estate agent based near Folkestone, Kent, says: “The market is recovering, for sure. There’s going to be a bit of a shortage soon. But you can still get value for money. Prices are still good. You could get something quite nice close to or on the beach for £700,000-£1m.”

When you consider the equivalent of what that amount would buy you in London, it seems almost unbelievable that so many of us persist in living here. A place by the sea and an hour’s commute from London? Yes please.

DUTCH HOUSE, LITTLESTONE-ON-SEA, KENT, £725,000
Stunning arts and crafts six-bedroom house with sea views, 13 miles from Ashford, Folkestone and Rye. High Speed One heaven. Contact Strutt and Parker on 01227 451123; www.struttandparker.com

TEMERAIRE HEIGHTS, SANDGATE, KENT, £1.1M
Four-bedroom luxury contemporary mansion near Folkestone right on the sea.
Contact Lawrence and Co on 01303 266022; www.lawrenceandco.cu.uk

WHITE SAND, CAMBER, EAST SUSSEX, FROM £195,000
Quaint yet affordable development of various-sized houses, opposite Camber Sands beach. Contact Ward Homes on 08444700564; www.wardhomes.co.uk