Thank you for joining me on Life In Ebbsfleet Garden City – my new blog dedicated to sharing our experience of living in our newly built and constantly evolving neighbourhood. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lydia and I am a stay-at-home mum of two boys (Teddy & Arlo), with a background in marketing, who runs an interior/lifestyle blog via my Instagram account @lydias_layton_life. I first started my page in order to source and share information on the new-build buying and construction process, before it naturally progressed into an interior-focused account once we had moved into our new home. On this blog, I plan to offer a bit of insight into what life is really like as a resident of Ebbsfleet – why I love living here, give you inspiration on where to go and what to do in the area and, who knows, maybe even encourage you to make the move yourself!
In our new family (show)home
Our decision to move to Ebbsfleet Garden City came from a desire to upsize from our (palatial for London, a shoebox to the rest of the country) two-bedroom flat in East Village, Stratford. We had a toddler and a baby and were keen to find more space and put down roots somewhere with all the desirables for a family – good schools, lots of green public spaces/playgrounds and reasonable a commute to London. Living in Stratford and having family on the Kent coast in Whitstable, we were familiar with the high-speed Javelin trains and knew Ebbsfleet was only a 10-minute journey from where we were in London. My husband Peter had also made numerous trips through the station on the Eurostar to Paris and Brussels. Despite its close proximity to the capital, we were absolutely bowled over to realise that we could buy a four-bedroom house in Ebbsfleet for the same price as our two-bedroom London flat! The trade-up seemed like an absolute no-brainer – having already been through the process of buying a new-build property on a previously undeveloped site, and using a government-back scheme (shared ownership) to do so, we weren’t phased by the prospect of buying off-plan, using Help-to-Buy, and moving to an entirely new area. The only question was which of the many, many floorplans to chose from!
David Wilson Homes Development Model
There are currently three residential neighbourhoods that have already been built in Ebbsfleet Garden City – Castle Hill, Ebbsfleet Green and Springhead Park. Within these, there are 12 developers selling properties, with opportunities to purchase outright, or using Shared Ownership and Help to Buy. While I have some friends living here who simply saw their house online, loved it, and purchased without looking at any alternatives, I am incapable of making a decision without weighing up all my options. We poured over floorplans, visited every showhome and refreshed the developer sales sites daily to see what new plots had been released.
Showhome Stalking at Springhead Park – baby Arlo approved!
We ended up with the perfect forever family home for us – however with the huge variety in size and style of flats and houses available, I truly believe that anyone would be able to find a home that suited them here – it’s all about timing! I am a huge advocate for buying new-build as you often get more generous sized rooms, lower running costs and energy bills, your home is under warrantee and you are starting with a blank canvas that you can really put your own stamp on. If you are nervous about buying off-plan or worried about issues such as snagging, my biggest tip is to visit the development or look on social media to see if you can speak to current residents – they will give you the best indication of whether it’s the place for you.
It was important for us to not only consider our house, but also look at the long-term plans for our immediate neighbourhood and the wider area – we had seen East Village in Stratford go from a ghost town to a vibrant city-suburb and were confident the same would happen here. The EDC website (that you are currently on!) was a mine of information, as were the various Facebook pages set-up by current residents. We are incredibly lucky to be a few minutes walk from the primary school, community centre, tennis courts, two fantastic playgrounds, Swanscombe health centre, children’s centre and library. Having previously lived within spitting distance of Westfields, I was probably most daunted by the thought of not being able to walk to the shops (particularly at 9pm in my onesie, just to get double-stuffed Oreos). However, our neighbourhood of Castle Hill in Eastern Quarry is fast approaching the opening of its first convenience store, which will be located next to the school on Cherry Orchard road. I absolutely can’t wait for this Village Centre to be completed, as I know it will create a buzzing focal point where the community can converge (and give me easy access to snacks!). I am also particularly excited for the future when Ebbsfleet Central becomes the urban heart of Ebbsfleet, with shops, bars, offices and parks.
Next month, I will be delving deeper into what there currently is to do in this Healthy New Town, recommending the outdoor summer activities we have taken part in as a family and individually, as well as reviewing how you can Get Active in the Garden City!