In Britain’s bottom right hand corner, the two have similar histories, standards of living, quality of life and issues.But for those residents within both areas, there’s always bragging rights over certain things.
So how do you find out which county is better?
We compared some of the key aspects of both Essex and Kent as saw at the end who came on top.As we are EssexLive, it’s understandable that we may be a bit biased.Our reporter Brad Gray is first and foremost an Essex resident, but he spent three years living in Kent and has a bit of a soft spot for the land on the other side of the QE2.
Here’s what he said:
Essex is such a brilliant place, with a huge historical wealth and a brilliant character.
I’ve lived in Basildon in Essex all my life, except for three years when I went to university in Gillingham in Kent.During those three years, I spent a lot of time travelling across the county for all manner of reasons, and definitely saw enough of Kent to develop a soft spot for it.
Looking at both places, there are definitely things one place does better than the other.I’m going to use my own personal experience and opinions, as well as some facts and figures to back me up to see which county wins the battle of the home counties.
Because let’s face it, it’s not going to be East Sussex is it?
Chelmsford was granted city status in 2012 and remains Essex’s only city.The place has evolved from an industry-led county town to a up-market and trendy retail and leisure destination.In March last year, The Sunday Times listed Chelmsford as the best place to live in the East of England, praising its popularity as a commuter town.
Properties are extremely well sought-after, with the Beaulieu estate to the north of the city a popular place for first-time buyers.The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dominated by its huge near-thousand year old cathedral in the centre.
It’s praised as one of the best preserved historical cities, and was voted the best place to live in Kent this year.It certainly has more character than Chelmsford but for us, Essex wins this category.Canterbury as a city is way too busy, especially during term time and Christmas.Its population doubles during the academic year thanks to the nearby university campuses.
Taking a walk around the city centre can be a struggle as it often feels like it’s overrun by students and tourists on day trips, even if they are undoubtedly vital for the economy.Chelmsford’s population is also growing, but the villages and suburbs which surround the centre are much more relaxing places to live.
Score: Essex 1 – 0 Kent
On either side of the Dartford Crossing sits each county’s largest retail area – Lakeside Shopping Centre and Bluewater Shopping Centre.In addition to its ample parking, Lakeside is easy to travel to on public transport if you take the c2c line to Chafford Hundred or take one of the multiple bus routes.
It’s more than just a shopping centre, with a £72m leisure expansion underway to turn the retail hub into a place of entertainment.Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe is located just three miles away as the crow flies and is arguably its main competitor.
It is the fifth largest shopping centre in the UK, and the seventh largest in Europe – Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser and John Lewis act as the largest anchor stores.Both shopping centres act as the prime destinations for shoppers in both counties, but because of the extensive variety of leisure and dining opportunities on top of the wide ranging retail offering, Lakeside has to win. It also saves you at least 15 minutes travel time, as it’s that one step closer.
Score: Essex 2 – 0 Kent
Once the main holiday destinations for Londoners and people in the south-east alike, now seaside towns are have a second surge as trendy hotspots.Kent’s prime seaside town is Margate, which once was a booming place, then witnessed a rough demise, but is now returning to its former glory.
The reopening of Dreamland amusement park – which has the oldest roller coaster in the UK – has given the town a boost, as it’s also used as a trendy music venue for festivals.Margate is also home to indie-rockers The Libertines’ much admired Albion Rooms hotel and recording studio.Elsewhere in Kent, both Whitstable and Broadstairs offer a classier more grown-up seaside experience.
Famous for it’s record beating pier and Rossi’s ice cream, Southend has been a staple seaside holiday for tourists for decades, with those travelling from London venturing to the coast over several generations.
Nothing can beat the long warm beaches of Southend, from Old Leigh, to Shoeburyness – and everything in between.
The area isn’t just set on one seaside or piece of sand. If you fancy the traditional seafront for your fish and chips the esplanade and main Southend is your go-to destination. But if you want upmarket, try Leigh, and if you want to venture out further you can go to the end of the line and try to spot France over the waters.Essex also has Frinton-on-Sea, voted to have one of the best beaches in the country, Clacton-on-Sea and Jaywick. We’re pretty much full of beautiful coastal towns and sandy beaches.
We’re giving this one to Essex.
Score: Essex 3 – 0 Kent
Both teams are in Division One of the County Championship, and most recently Essex has seen the most success, sweeping the championship this year as well as in 2017.Kent finished fourth, and last won in 1978.Looking at football, neither county have a team in a league higher than League One, with Gillingham FC currently sitting 16th and Southend United in 22nd.
In League Two, Colchester United sit 8th, whereas the next highest placed Kent team is Dover Athletic who sit 12th in the National League.It’s pretty obvious who comes out on top on this one.
Score: Essex 4 – 0 Kent
In Essex, c2c Rail and Greater Anglia offer widely spanning train routes around the county and into the capital.In terms of recent commuter satisfaction ratings from Which?, they ranked 14th and 20th respectively, which is part of the reason that towns in the county are growing at a rapid rate for commuters.Meanwhile, Kent suffers with Southeastern and Thameslink, who ranked 27th and 28th respectively, beating only Southern and Northern Rail.In terms of motorists, both counties have to struggle with the M25, but Kent’s roads are often clogged with traffic thanks to the Dover-Calais crossing.
Another bow in Essex’s cap is the ease for holiday-makers thanks to both Stansted and Southend Airports, meaning that residents don’t have to trek to another county to go on holiday like those in Kent do.Essex is still in the lead.
Score: Essex 5 – 0 Kent
A recent survey from the Office for National Statistics looked at areas of the UK and analysed aspects of person well-being.One of these aspects was happiness, which they gave a score out of ten for each area of the UK.
Looking at the data for both Essex and Kent, we found an overall average score for how happy the two counties were.In Kent, they received a similar score, but it turns out that people from Essex are just a little happier, as Kent’s score was 7.58/10.
Score: Essex 6 – 0 Kent
When it comes to having an identity there’s no identity more in your face and established as an Essex one.Although there are negative stereotypes about the county, the confidence and swagger of an Essex identity is clear and known country-wide.We’re driven and focused; hardworking and fun; tough and loyal.
This Essex attitude and charm has brought success from so many people, from musicians like Keith Flint, Scroobius Pip and Olly Murs, to sporting champions like Max Whitlock, Stuart Bingham and Fatima Whitbread.Kent may be the garden of England, but it doesn’t have the same bold identity that Essex does.Famous people in Kent include Charles Dickens, Ian Hislop, Kelly Brook and Orlando Bloom.But did any of them release Firestarter?
Essex storms ahead.
Score: Essex 7 – 0 Kent
Essex wins seven points to zero (but are we surprised, because we really, really, love Essex).Obviously this is just a cross section of a few aspects of each county mixed in with a healthy spoonful of opinion.Both counties are great, but Essex just has the charm that just can’t be beaten.
Thanks to Essex Live News for the post: https://www.essexlive.news/news/essex-news/7-reasons-essex-better-kent-3498273