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LRD's moving to Cambridge. Where do I want to live?

(123 Posts)

I apologize about referring to myself in the third person in the title. I haven't turned into more of a wanker than before, honestly.

I know Cambridge a little bit, but only really the centre - I lived there for a few years when I was younger, and now I'm moving back. I'm stupidly excited because I think it's a lovely city. So can I pick your brains about it?

I'd need to get in to West Road during rush hour at least some of the time. My memory is that traffic was absolutely horrible - is the public transport decent? And how far out can you live and still find it manageable?

I am thinking if I can't live in the centre itself (which looks very expensive), it'd be nice to be a bit further out and somewhere countrysidey. Where's nice?

I'm going to be looking to rent a one/two bed flat (or I guess house if I'm far enough out). I am looking on rightmove, but have a month or so to look, so wouldn't want to catch it at a bad time and draw the wrong conclusions about the general market. Does something for 800pcm sound impossible?

Anything I should plan to do/see/look forward to when I get there?

Blondieminx Wed 30-Jul-14 22:53:55

Oooh lucky you. I love Cambridge for visits.

Is it worth posting on the MN local board for Cambridge as well?

JumpJockey Wed 30-Jul-14 22:54:20

Coming to Cambridge, and West Road, hmmm.... wink try asking on the Cambridge board as there are lots of people with good rental knowledge. West Rd is best commuted from the western villages (Barton and that direction) or possible Cherry Hinton or Fulbourn. Don't try to cross the city in the rush hour, so best to avoid going to a northern village.

Cambs prices are pretty bonkers but slightly less bad than Oxford or London.

JumpJockey Wed 30-Jul-14 22:56:48

If you like cycling, could look at places along the guided bus route - or indeed get the guided bus to town centre then walk to West Road, that would mean places as far as St Ives could be doable - Trumpington end is all massively overpried flats.

blondie - I do, too ... which is why I'm excited! grin

Yes, will try local as well, thanks.

jump - I were being subtle with the West Road reference! Ish ....

Thanks for advice about crossing the city. I'm not keen on cycling - my memory is it's extremely hairy in Cambridge, and I'm a bit useless at that sort of thing so wouldn't feel very safe.

ItHasANiceRingWhenYouLaugh Wed 30-Jul-14 23:02:42

West Road is doable from northern villages. Lots of nice villages. grin

Pico2 Wed 30-Jul-14 23:07:36

If you remember the traffic being bad, double it. If not in the city, I'd aim for villages to the West.

emotionsecho Wed 30-Jul-14 23:09:37

All around Cambridge is seriously expensive, the mantra goes that all the people who live in and on the outskirts of Cambridge commute to London to afford their properties and all the people who live in the villages further out commute into Cambridge.

Traffic is a nightmare, as is parking.

It is a seriously beautiful city though, I much prefer it to Oxford.

I don't know about the rental market, I hear it is very expensive depending on how close to the centre you are. I do know a lot of people in that area, and know a fair bit about the outlying areas. If you want to pm me with any specific questions or for help, feel free.

You lucky thing you grin

Ah, ok. Eek.

So if you're coming in during rush hour on a bus, will you just be sitting in traffic for hours? I guess my other option would be somewhere like Ely or Waterbeach on the train?

ItHas - good to know. smile

emotion - that's really kind of you, thanks. Will do if I have specific questions.

I think it's really beautiful. I am getting stupidly excited about things like the Folk Museum and the river and so on. smile

PickANameAnyNameWillDo Wed 30-Jul-14 23:12:17

If you're working on the West Rd side of town there are loads of countryside options. Shepreth and Foxton are both nice villages and have train stations. Shepreth has no village shop (but a lovely tea room which sells a few essentials like, um, tea!). Foxton has a shop and post office.

Barrington is very nice, has a shop and PO and a good community spirit but is let down by having no train station and a poor (I think 2 hourly outside of rush hour) bus service into town.

All these villages are pretty with thatched cottages and access to country walks and footpaths.

The primary schools are well regarded but the secondary in the catchment of these villages, Melbourn Village College, is not so good Some people prefer to live in Harston or Haslingfield which are nearby as the catchment high school for those villages is better thought of. Harston is not so close a community IMHO and is more spread out. It has an hourly bus service, no train, and runs from the busy Trumpington Road out of town to the quieter end, which is more village like.

£800pm will almost certainly rent you a 3 bed semi in Barrington and probably a 2 bed in the other villages, due to their better transport links.

If you want a nice part of the city to live in Newnham is popular. It will be more expensive because it's town but parts of it are just far enough out not to feel like it while still having easy, fast access into the city. Parkside is the secondary, which is well regarded and oversubscribed, and there's also the interchurch secondary, St Bede's, which has an excellent reputation.

Oh, that's brilliant pick, exactly the sort of thing I needed to know.

No children, so no need to worry about schools, but it's so helpful to have details of what places feel like, whether they have shops and so on. Thank you!

Upandatem Wed 30-Jul-14 23:25:13

It's really not that bad say from Histon, the bus would be fine most days if you leave before 8.15am. I cycle though along the guided busway which is great, no crossings or cars.

LRD you might remember from old (it's Len), would love to meet up when you get here, PM me if you'd like to.

That budget sounds ok for the surrounding villages or maybe Orchard Park, maybe Chesterton, you could conceivably walk from either if you have to get to town.

I love it here, just love it. I love being a tourist in my own city but knowing where to eat and the nice walks and the buses and stops if I want to use them.

emotionsecho Wed 30-Jul-14 23:27:53

Cambridge Train Station is a fair old hike from the centre, and the bus station is nowhere near it.

As I am sure you will know from being in Cambridge previously there's loads of things to do, concerts, theatre, etc., etc.,

They used to do outdoor productions of Shakespeare plays in the College gardens during August and they were lovely, just pitch up and sit on the grass with a picnic.

There are some lovely tea rooms in Grantchester, Orchard House where Rupert Brooke lived, perfect for lazy summer afternoon tea.

Oh, that's good to know. I would love to be in walking distance if it's possible. Where I live now, it's a 2 or 3 mile walk into town (depending how you go) and I sometimes do it just to get a bit of exercise.

Upandatem Wed 30-Jul-14 23:29:11

The Fitzwilliam Museum is top notch too. Lovely walks around there by the river as well. I second Newnham and Girton is nice. Willingham too.

emotion - ooh! You know, I remember hearing about Grantchester tea rooms and I've never been.

I am very, very, very familiar with the trek to the train station. In about 2003 I had a boyfriend elsewhere and used to end up very sweaty from haring up the road behind the bus, failing to catch it and missing my train. I used to live on Lensfield road.

Cross post.

Thanks, that's great. Loads of these names are ones I don't even know - it's really helping.

I am so geeky ... I am just grinning to myself at the thought of the Fitzwilliam being right there. grin

Upandatem Wed 30-Jul-14 23:31:41

Mill Road the closest to a London-ish vibe, or any kind of multicultural vibe. I liked it there and Chesterton but love Histon.

PickANameAnyNameWillDo Wed 30-Jul-14 23:33:38

You're welcome. smile Do you have transport of your own, LDR?

If so then it's worth aiming for a village like Barrington or Orwell just beyond as the property prices will be lower and you can park at Shepreth or Foxton stations and commute in. Alternatively there's a park and ride in Trumpington. It's a pound to park plus about £2.50 ish or £3 for a return bus ticket I think.

If you don't have a car it may be worth sacrificing the bigger home for one in a village with a train station. There's Meldreth beyond Shepreth, though I don't know much about it it seems nice enough. Or if you want a town with all the facilities there's Royston. It's bigger than you probably remember it now, more built up with lots of new houses and you will pay for that, it'll be dearer to rent there than one of the pretty villages like Barrington or Orwell but everything's on your doorstep there and the train goes direct to Cambridge frequently.

If you have any health issues you need to bear in mind that the GP surgeries covering most of the villages mentioned are either at Harston or Melbourn. There's no GP or dentist in Shepreth, Barrington, Orwell, Foxton etc. The nearest dentist with spaces is generally in Royston or in town and there's an excellent vet in Melbourn if you have pets. Melbourn is ok, a big village with a couple of shops (inc a small Coop), a chippy but no station,

Upandatem Wed 30-Jul-14 23:34:14

Granchester is just lovely, as is Milton Country Park, Wandlebury and Ely.

Pico2 Wed 30-Jul-14 23:34:32

I used to live on Lensfield Road - it's an unobtainable luxury to live that close to the centre now.

I do have a car, though I had wondered whether I'd sell it.

I hadn't thought of driving part way, but that's a really good thought. Thanks!

ladygracie Wed 30-Jul-14 23:35:45

The bus station is in the centre of town but west road isn't. Northern villages would be fine but it's quite a long way from the train station- bikeable though. Cherry Hinton is the other side of town. Histon is really lovely but not cheap I don't think.
I live quite near to west rd and you are welcome to pm me any questions. I don't know much about costs but I do know where lots of places are!
Traffic isn't great but if you start early & finish late (or v early) it should be fine.

rockybalboa Wed 30-Jul-14 23:36:03

Are you fundamentally a city person or a country one? I grew up in the area Pick mentioned (and went to the not so well thought of secondary school ha ha) but live in the city itself now and wouldn't move back out for all the tea in China. Cycling in Cambridge isn't that hairy, virtually everyone does it and it is far and away the best way of getting around. To get to West Road by car you either need to come in via Trumpington Rd (absolutely rock solid hellish with traffic in rush hour) or Madingley Rd which is marginally less bad but still bloody awful. Or Barton Road which is also awful. Will your new job have parking?

I don't know about rental prices but I would start with something small in the city which you could bus/cycle/walk to West Rd from and then consider moving out if you wanted more property for your money and decided you could face the commuter hell. The guided bus is only guided up to a certain point (a point not near West Rd) and then goes on the road like a normal bus so I think West Rd via guided bus would be a two bus journey.

If it's Cambridge itself that you are excited about then I'd sit down with a map and some letting agency websites and work out how you can live in the city you are excited to be moving to. Feel free to PM me if you want me to comment on any specific properties or areas you come across.

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