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  >  Europe   >  Why I love living in Gravesend, Kent
Almost a year ago, on the 20th of August 2017, I moved to Gravesend. I used to live in the Arsehole of London – Thamesmead. In fact: Stanley Kubrick already saw the desperation and shittiness of this place. He filmed the iconic scene of the Droogs and Alex walking next to the lake and the 60’s social housing blocks. I hated it there. The rent was expensive and the house in shambles. We lived by a beautiful big lake, also known as the favorite littering place of the locals. Oh- and local kids loved killing swans and other water birds. And did I tell you that getting into London would take at least 45 minutes?
 
I was so glad to leave that horrible place. But where would we move to? Since we were three instead of five, we would have less money to spend on living arrangements. My partner and I would need a sizable room and so would our roommate for different reasons.
 
We first looked for houses and apartments in Woolwich, Bexley, Crayford and Abbey Wood. But with the new Elizabeth line opening soon, rent had skyrocketed. We would not be able to comfortably share and pay for an apartment in that area.
 
Gravesend sounded like a grim place. Yet another London commuter town we thought. We thought it would be like Dartford – which has little charm and a lot of thoroughfares. But we were wrong. We were so wrong, in fact, that after our first visit to Gravesend, we would only look for houses and apartments in this little city.
 
But what is so special about Gravesend? Well… let me tell you.
Few people know this but Pocahontas was actually a real person. Disney might have romanticized her story, but the real Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a council of tribes in Virginia. She was captured in 1613 and took the name Rebecca after converting to Christianity. She married a tobacco planter named John Rolfe one year later. She was only 17.
 
Okay okay – enough with the history lesson. What has Pocahontas to do with Gravesend? The Virginia Company of London brought Pocahontas to London as a marketing ploy. They were looking for investment and showing that they were able to convert the “savages” into good Christians would most definitely loosen the strings on some heavy pouches.
 
Pocahontas lived in Brentford and was treated well. She was upheld as some kind of curiosity. Pocahontas however, was not used to the cold and damp weather of England and had gotten very ill. In 1617 Pocahontas and her husband boarded a ship back to Virginia – away from the damp and cold. But the ship halted at Gravesend as her condition worsened and was taken on land for further treatment. She would die in Gravesend at 21.
 
She currently has a statue in Gravesend at the church where she was buried. The original church burned down and a new one was built on top. They have no idea where her grave is located.

Dickens lived in Gravesham

Charles Dickens used to live in Gravesham! He loved weaving local sights and names through his stories. A lot of the villages depicted in his books have grown and a lot of the picturesque country walks he described now boast roads. But there still are a lot of buildings and places that will remind you of the man and his vivid pen.
 
One of these places is The Ship and Lobster. This pub is considered to be The Last Pub on the Thames. Meaning it is the last pub sailors would be able to go to before they would be at sea for weeks. This place appears in Great Expectations as “The Ship”.
 
There are loads of these little places around Gravesham and I hope I will be able to discover them all before we move!

Gravesend has an amazing indian community

I love the Indian community in Gravesend. I lived on Peacock Street, one street over from Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara. It is a Sikh temple, believed to be one of the biggest in the UK.
 
People in the area are very friendly. I love going to the corner shop, The man knew my order by heart the second time I visited. I love the parades and the parties and the way the Sikh share their culture. I am a big fan of Indian food and we have some AMAZING takeaways in the area. Oh, and have I mentioned the street often smells of AMAZING curries?
gravesend kent living

Gravesend has a thriving geek community

My husband and I are geeks. I don’t think that is a big secret. We love playing dungeons and dragons and were very happy when we noticed there actually was a geek café in the city. Yes indeed! A little shop where you could order a coffee, play boardgames, cardgames, tabletop or pen, and paper roleplay.
 
It wouldn’t take long before we set up a weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons with strangers. These strangers will soon enough become good friends. It was so easy to connect to the community – something that seemed almost impossible while living in London!
 
If you want to know more about the geek community in Gravesend – read my blog post on The Mug and Meeple. 

Gravesend has great local restaurants and pubs

One of the things I hated most about living in the shity place of Thamesmead was the lack of shops, restaurants and pubs. Literally: it was an American suburbia. Lots and lots of houses and suburbs and one lousy retail park with a Morissons, a few local shops and a shifty pub (probably the only cash pub in London).
 
When we moved to Gravesend, I put my foot down. I did not want to have to take the bus to get into town. I wanted to live somewhere that would allow me to walk into town in 10 minutes or less. And the real estate Gods delivered.
 
There are so many amazing pubs and restaurants in this city. I personally love eating Thai in Sukhothai. We try to go to King’s Diner every week for the best English breakfast in a 15 mile radius. We love eating out at The Three Daws because they have different craft ales on tap every day. They serve amazing British food and great burgers.
 
I can recommend going for the Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet at Ghandi’s (Indian) and ordering Indian food online at Le Spice. I love the little pubs on Windmill hill. Windmill Hill is also a great place for a little family picnic!

Would i live in Gravesend again

One of the things I hated most about living in the shity place of Thamesmead was the lack of shops, restaurants and pubs. Literally: it was an American suburbia. Lots and lots of houses and suburbs and one lousy retail park with a Morissons, a few local shops and a shifty pub (probably the only cash pub in London).
 
When we moved to Gravesend, I put my foot down. I did not want to have to take the bus to get into town. I wanted to live somewhere that would allow me to walk into town in 10 minutes or less. And the real estate Gods delivered.
 
There are so many amazing pubs and restaurants in this city. I personally love eating Thai in Sukhothai. We try to go to King’s Diner every week for the best English breakfast in a 15 mile radius. We love eating out at The Three Daws because they have different craft ales on tap every day. They serve amazing British food and great burgers.
 
I can recommend going for the Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet at Ghandi’s (Indian) and ordering Indian food online at Le Spice. I love the little pubs on Windmill hill. Windmill Hill is also a great place for a little family picnic!
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Comments:

  • June 4, 2019

    Interesting read thanks for sharing. It’s a shame the town center is so run down – the period properties in the area are really amazing.

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  • Sue Anand

    December 20, 2019

    I thinking of moving to Gravesend and have been looking for houses there about 10 to 15 mins walk to the station and I work in London and rely on pubic transport. I am still a little sceptical if I should actually move there. Having read that Gravesend is the 7th on the list for the worst place to live. The houses however is much more affordable compared to London.

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  • Paul

    January 13, 2020

    I am currently in the process of moving down to Gravesend and I can’t wait. Anyone who is unfortunate enough to live in South London like myself will find it lovely. They are spending money on it now and with the new theme park and river crossing coming in the next 10 years it will quickly become a desirable location. Riverside living without the ridiculous prices. Fantastic!

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