Chatham, Gillingham, and Rochester, share the maritime and naval heritage of the River Medway, though it’s Chatham that has the lion’s share in the history books. Today, the famous dockyard is a tourist attraction, the sheltered Medway estuary is a haven for sailing and water sports, and Chatham is high up on the commuters’ list as it’s only 45 minutes out of Central London by train. This key area of Kent is as busy with business and commerce, as it is with leisure and recreation, an urban area with the benefits of coast and countryside on hand for your new home.
The M2 is whisks commercial and holiday traffic past to the south of Chatham. It’s part of the vital link between Dover and Dartford, with the A2 completing the link into Greater London and between Faversham, Canterbury, and the south coast’s key ferry port. You can join the M25 at Sevenoaks, 28 miles to the west. A train from Chatham will get you into London Victoria, Charing Cross, London Bridge, and St Pancras in less than an hour. Arriva Southern Counties operate the town and Medway area bus services, including links to Maidstone, Gravesend, and Sittingbourne. It’s 30 miles to London City Airport on the A2 via Greenwich, and 65 miles to Heathrow via the M25.
Shopping, schools, and services
Chatham is a thriving town with all the services you’ll need. The town centre is pedestrianised and so very family friendly. The Pentagon Shopping Centre is the main hub though there are plenty of smaller independent shops to enjoy. You can visit the neighbours too – Gillingham, Rochester, and Strood – for more popular high street brands. The huge Bluewater Shopping Centre at Greenhithe is a short drive away, and there’s a shopping outlet at the Dockside. Leisure and activity centres include Medway Park, Flip Out Chatham, and Chatham Bowl in the Pentagon Shopping Centre. School-age children have plenty of options too. There are grammar schools with academy status, state secondary schools, and independent schools.
Coast and countryside
If the great outdoors is on your leisure list, rather than a daytrip into London, Chatham is a great starting point. The Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty spreads out below the M2, all the way to the white cliffs on the coast. You can pick out timbered country houses, ancient trails across open countryside, country pubs, and an endless breath of fresh air. The Medway estuary is an endless maze of inlets and islands, and the Elmley National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey is only 20 miles away. Travel east to Whitstable, Herne Bay, Margate and Broadstairs, for traditional seaside resorts and family fun.