Discover London's beach life

A home on the South-east coast gives you a life by the sea in commuting distance from the capital, says Cheryl Markosky
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The Independent Online

Every day, more than 12,000 commuters travel from Brighton into central London. A rising number of Londoners are relocating to the popular seaside resort, transforming it into a southerly Londinium-on-sea.

Every day, more than 12,000 commuters travel from Brighton into central London. A rising number of Londoners are relocating to the popular seaside resort, transforming it into a southerly Londinium-on-sea.

Ronan and Laura O'Brien, a couple in their twenties, and their son Drew, have just swapped a one-bed flat in Maida Vale for a two-bedroom apartment at 1897 - a London Town scheme on Richmond Terrace which has converted the former Brighton College of Technology into 48 homes overlooking a central park. Prices start at £200,000.

"We work in London, but were drawn to Brighton because of its relaxed atmosphere, trendy restaurants and fashionable shops," says Ronan, a project designer. "Our new home is just five minutes' walk from the seafront and main pier and around 10 minutes from The Lanes. There is less stress and congestion, and a beach and the Sussex countryside are right on your doorstep. It is no wonder that many of my new neighbours are also people from London."

Just 10 miles up the road, there is one two-bedroom top floor apartment remaining at Nautilus, CDC2020's Regency-esque gated development on the Worthing seafront, with underground parking, a lift and terrace overlooking a Mediterranean-style landscaped courtyard. Priced at £375,000, the apartment is ready to buyers to move in immediately.

Adrian Fenwick, sales director of Bellway South East, is currently selling 12 apartments at Baltic Wharf next to Bellway's Harbourside East scheme in Littlehampton. He says it is a good option for people who wish to relocate or have a weekend retreat. "There is a public slipway to launch sailing boats, and the east beach is ideal for sailing and water sports."

The development of the East Bank has been part of the regeneration of the harbour and is a five-minute walk from Littlehampton railway station, a one-hour-and-40-minute commute to London Victoria. One-bed apartments start at £173,000; two-beds start at £225,000.

If you have a bit more money to splash around, Florence House at Seaford Head, East Sussex - a large country house with 11 bedrooms and eight bathrooms, set in five acres of land and surrounded by an area of outstanding beauty - is for sale for £1.75m.

The building has a rich history. It was used to house Canadian officers during the Second World War, before becoming an exclusive American boys' school for a time, and then a private house. Recently rediscovered and renovated by the current owners, it has potential as a private hotel or a family home.

The Kent coast is highly accessible from the capital. Bradford & Bingley Geering & Colyer is selling Fountain Cottage for £195,000 at East Cliff in Dover. The three-storey, three-bedroom cottage with stripped floorboards and a coved ceiling overlooks East Cliff and has a patio adjoining the chalk base of the famous White Cliffs.

Bournemouth may normally be associated with the blue rinse brigade, but first time buyers could be tempted by an affordable £174,950 two-bed apartment in Blueroom Properties' Suffolk House, in the heart of the town close to the seafront and parks. The company specialises in affordable London loft-style apartments for young professionals across the UK.

Banish all thoughts of austere seaside digs: the apartment comes with a fitted kitchen, laminated Karndean wood flooring, private parking and audio entry system. Well placed for transport links, Suffolk House is within easy reach of the A35 and five minutes from Bournemouth station with direct links to London Waterloo.

Full-time residence or a holiday retreat on the Suffolk coast appeals to many who can commute directly from Liverpool Street to Ipswich, or up the A12. Several interesting properties have come on the market in Aldeburgh with Bedfords, including Lavender Cottage at £325,000 in the High Street; Crag Path, a one-bedroom flat at £295,000 with sea views, and an extended first- and second-floor flat appropriately dubbed "The Bolthole" over a green grocer's in the High Street for £195,000.

For those with a larger budget, The Lodge, a four-bed former gatehouse in need of some tender loving care in the centre of Aldeburgh, is a good project for DIY-ers. A rear extension has nearly doubled the property in size, but it is yet unfinished. The price is £495,000. And for Modernists, an unusual Thirties' house with terrific views across the Wentworth Hotel gardens to the beach and the sea beyond will set you back £485,000.

Further along the coast at Aldringham Fen, Thorpeness, a roomy Victorian Pan Cottage constructed from traditional brick with a tiled roof, is tucked away at the end of a long track surrounded by common land and a nature reserve. The guide price is £395,000 and you are only minutes away from the world famous Snape Maltings complex and Minsmere Bird Reserve.

London Town's 1897: 020-7839 5588; CDC2020's Nautilus, through Michael Jones & Company: 01903 213281; Bellway's Baltic Wharf: 01903 715562; Florence House is for sale through Winkworth: 020-7828 1786 and Bradleys 01323 646564; Fountain Cottage through Bradford & Bingley Geering & Colyer: 01304 207099; Blueroom Properties' Suffolk House: 01772 897200; Suffolk properties through Bedfords: 01728 454505.