The seaside town of Deal in Kent has seen more and more Londoners flocking to live there in recent years – and it’s no wonder, explains a local pub landlord who is a veteran resident of the town. Graham Stiles, landlord of the preposterously popular King’s Head pub right on the seafront, has lived there for 40 years.
“It’s the up and coming place,” Graham told MyLondon, “it’s getting very much like Whitstable these days.” The comparison is a huge compliment for a town which, in Graham’s words, was simply “bland” back in his early days there. But the landlord said he’s seen a noticeable increase in people – particularly Londoners – moving in or buying second homes in recent years.
“It’s getting better and better all the time,” said Graham, who described how these days Deal boasts a lot of variation for different sorts of people, “whereas years ago it never had that. It was very much a bland town, you know, it was one road in, one road out.” You wouldn’t know it from visiting the seaside town now.
Graham said the fast train link from London’s St Pancras to Deal – which takes about an hour and 30 minutes – has been a major game changer for the town. “The sea front looks great, everyone’s taking pride in their premises and it’s become much more upmarket,” said the landlord.
He added: “The restaurants and the hotels have got better, everybody’s upped their game and there’s lots of different choices for everybody, like there’s a traditional pub here and then there’s some nice little microbrewery pubs and there’s nice sort of classy hotels.”
Graham said the shift is exemplified by the “fantastic” restaurant, Deal Pier Kitchen, which sits right at the end of the town’s seafront pier, surrounded by blue sea in every direction. “Twenty years ago it was just a Greasy Joe’s place, now it’s a quality restaurant,” he explained.
The stunning seafront location is obviously a huge attraction, too. “One of the beauties I think about Deal is the tide doesn’t go very far out, so the sea is quite close to the shoreline, which is always nice,” said Graham, who readily admits the King’s Head gets the best of the views from its seafront location.
“I’m looking out from here and I can see France from here,” said Graham. In fact, the same can be said for most of the surrounding coastline, so it’s well worth a wander to the neighbouring town of Walmer, with its green space and unusual castle, as well as the pretty seaside village of Kingsdown a little further along.
Graham recommends visiting both places if you’re staying in the area – although his first love, of course, will always be Deal. “I’m a great true believer in this town,” he told MyLondon.
We also spoke to Nigel Colebrook, director at Bright and Bright Estate Agents in Deal, who also helped shed some light on why Londoners are loving the town so much. Nigel said: “The town has a very active market for second homes with genuine Londoners who come down on Thursday evenings and spend the weekend here returning on Monday mornings.
“Many come down by train as the town is only 82 minutes from St Pancras and everything in the town is within walking distance from the station.” The Estate Agent said there are also an “increasing number” of Londoners choosing to relocate to bigger properties they can get much cheaper in Deal – who mostly work from home these days, only commuting back to the city when work necessitates it.
The town is a good option for anyone who makes the commute regularly as well, though, explained Nigel, either for work or play – so it’s got the best of both worlds. He said: “It is possible to go to London mid afternoon, have an early supper, go to a show and be back home in bed before midnight.”
The Estate Agent explained that Deal has the draw for Londoners of already being home to a comfortable number of fellow urbanites, as well as now having an award-winning High Street with plenty of independent shops, bars, coffee shops and restaurants. Add this to the “tremendous variety of property” in the town, and the fact that house prices are still somewhat lower than places like Whitstable and Bright, and it’s no wonder Londoners are flocking to Deal.
To get stories and breaking news from around London and the UK tailored to your preferences, sign up for one of our custom newsletters here.