A wide choice of excellent schools, both fee-paying and non-fee-paying, makes Kent a magnet for families with young children looking for nursery and pre-prep schools, as well as those with children who are heading towards GCSEs and A-levels. ‘We are particularly spoiled for choice here in Tunbridge Wells,’ says April Westley of local agents Freeman Forman.

In fact, Mrs Westley says, such is the pressure from parents to get into high-achieving state primaries, such as Claremont and St James’, and secondary schools, such as The Skinners’ School, and Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School, that many schools ask estate agents not to quote catchment areas as proximity alone does not guarantee a place. But, she adds, this is a much greater problem for small primary schools in sought after villages such as nearby Penshurst, than in Tunbridge Wells itself, where the availability of places is much greater.

In the private sector, Holmewood House co-eductional prep and nursery school in Tunbridge Wells is one of the highest-achieving junior schools in the country, with a place at nearby Tonbridge School the goal of many of its pupils.

Families seeking the best of town and country (with a blissfully short school run) can find both at tranquil Meadow Cottage at 18, Stafford Road, Tunbridge Wells, on the market with Freeman Forman (01892 515300) at a guide price of £750,000 to £795,000. The pretty four/five-bedroom house stands in 1.39 acres of ground at the end of a private no-through road, close to Dunorlan Park, and with views over open countryside.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on July 6, 2006.