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Let’s move to Eltham, south-east London: it gave birth to Kate Bush and Bob Hope | Money


What’s going for it? It’s true, you do have to suspend a jot of disbelief imagining a young Henry VIII jousting in the tilt yard while you queue for socks at the tills in M&S. But that’s Eltham for you. Like many suburbs, it hides its treasures, its oddities. On the surface, it’s your average London sprawl of 1930s semis, Carphone Warehouse and McDonald’s. But this sprawl gave birth to Kate Bush (Kate Bush!), to Bob Hope (actual Bob Hope!), schooled a young Frankie Howerd and was nursery to Henry VIII. Not a bad little nursery: Eltham Palace, tucked out of view, is these days mostly the product of the Courtauld family, who built their dreamy art deco grand design, down to (recently returned) gold phones and quarters for their pet lemur, Jongy, amid the ruins of Henry’s childhood home. But ever since Thomas More introduced young Henry to the greatest mind in Europe, Erasmus, a few hundred metres from where today stands Dylan Barbers “sunbed/tanning” and Coco’s Espresso Bar, Eltham, high on its hill, has considered itself a cut above the likes of Sidcup.

The case against Two mammoth roads, the A2 and A20, roar through, dividing up the manor and fumigating the place.

Well connected? Trains: two lines, Eltham to London Charing Cross, London Victoria or London Cannon Street (all about 30 mins); Mottingham also 30 mins to Cannon Street and Charing Cross; both lines the other way to Dartford (20 mins). Driving: the A2 and A20 can zoom you to the M25 and out of London in 10 minutes; 50 minutes into central London; right on the edge of the south circular, not that that’s much use.

Schools Primaries: Gordon, Middle Park, Mottingham, Dorset Road Infant, Haimo and Horn Park are all “good”, says Ofsted, with Eltham CofE, Deansfield, St Mary’s Catholic and St Vincent’s Catholic “outstanding”. Secondaries: Eltham Hill (girls), King’s Oak and Stationers’ Crown Woods are “good”, with Harris and St Thomas More Catholic “outstanding”.

Hang out at… It’s a place of more modest caffs, Thais and tavernas. That said, afternoon or a Sunday roast at the Tudor Barn, or tea and cake at the Palace itself, can’t be beat.

Where to buy Prime seems to be the sizeable piles by the palace and golf course, often with wonderful views to central London, on Court Road and North Park. The Corbett Estate, north-east in the “Glens”, has some fine and prized late-Victorian terraces. Much of the rest is 1920s and 30s, especially semis. The Progress or Well Hall Estate is a beautiful arts-and-crafts-ish garden suburb. Large detacheds and townhouses, £800,000-£2m. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £450,000-£800,000. Semis, £400,000-£750,000. Terraces and cottages, £325,000-£700,000. Flats, £225,000-£500,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £800-£1,300pcm; a three-bedroom house, £1,400-£1,900pcm.

Bargain of the week One-bedroom flat, in need of modernisation, in New Eltham for what goes for affordable in London, £204,995, descotia.com.

From the streets

Richard Harrison ‘Well connected for central London and the beautiful Kent countryside.’

Dilys Finlay ‘Oxleas Wood for walking, woodpeckers, kestrels, and bluebells.’

Live in Eltham? Join the debate below.

Do you live in Belper, Derbyshire? Do you have a favourite haunt or a pet hate? If so, email lets.move@theguardian.com by Tuesday 24 March.

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