The most important part of a laptop is the keyboard, many budget models suffer from very bouncy keyboards that flex worryingly in the middle. You may find that this seriously spoils your enjoyment.
There are bargains to be had if you look around for refurbished business notebooks, they may not have the highest resolution screens, or fastest CPUs, but what they do have is good keyboards, and good quality screens. I have an IBM T23 and a Dell Latitude D510, they're both fantastic, and can had for well within your budget if you look around.
Try the Dell outlet, there's not much in there at the moment, but the stock changes every day, try mid morning when new stock arrives click here
Morgan Computers specialises in end of line & refurbished gear, they're kind of like the Richer Sounds of the computer world click here
Another source of refurbished gear is the Laptop Shop, thay have many makes in stock, and like the other two, stock changes daily click here
If you simply must have a new laptop in your price range, try looking around for an IBM R51e, these are around £400, although there are loads of different specs available.