Life by the seaside, with the sound of waves, the cry of the seagulls, café culture and tempting shops, all sounds a lot more tempting than sweltering in London during the summer or enduring a grey London winter.
And with some of our seaside towns enjoying improving train links to London, a move to the south coast could be feasible. Each year more people relocate, either to get on the housing ladder or to sell up in the city and become mortgage free in the country.
The big question is where to go? Devon and Cornwall are tempting, but that normally means either retiring or finding work locally. The south coast towns like Margate, Hastings and Deal offer more options. Either a daily commute, a pied-a-terre in London, or an arrangement whereby you work from home for part of the week. The luckiest re-locators follow a job down to the coast. And Margate, Hastings and Deal all still offer property bargains compared with better known options like Brighton or Eastbourne.
DEAL has history, charm, character, narrow streets, whitewashed cottages and an unspoilt sea front. It has a host of Edwardian and Victorian houses at prices to make Londoners weep over their mortgage statements. It has three Tudor castles, which seems kinda greedy. It also has a recently revamped pier and sea views that make visitors reach for their cameras.
Deal Castle, built for King Henry VIII, is one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England and is among the earliest and most elaborate of a chain of defensive coastal forts.
Although it is a peaceful, low-key sort of town it has a Saturday market, independent shops, a thriving craft community and a popular bistro – Frog and Scot.
Average property price: £298,000
Top Dollar: Four bed, grade II Georgian house yards from the beach £795,000
Bargain basement: Three bed house from £200,000, one bed flats from £135,000
Fastest train to London 1.22 hours, average time 2.8 hours
MARGATE has a world-class art gallery, sandy beaches, stylish spots to eat and drink and all the fun of the old-fashioned British seaside with rides and side shows and theatres. The opening of the Turner Gallery has attracted a stream of arts professionals to the town, earning Margate the nickname Shoreditch-on-Sea.
Average property price: £225,000.
Top Dollar: Five bed character property with a detached two bed cottage £895,000
Bargain basement: One bed flat from £120,000 or three bed house from £200,000
Fastest train to London 1.26 hours, average time 1.49 hours
HASTINGS is set between hills that reach down to the sea. Ruins of a castle overlook the town and there is a three mile seafront, stretching from the fishing end in the east to the hustle and bustle of the arcades and funfair rides at the other end.
In the old town there are picturesque cottages and passageways with independent shops and cafés, perfect for a Sunday stroll. For best views over the town use the old funiculars to whizz up the hills on either side of the town.
Average property price: £261,000
Top Dollar: Six bed, Grade II house for £1,5million
Bargain basement: Three bed houses from £250,000 and one bed flats from £120,000
Fastest train to London 1.23 hours, average train 1.52hours