Country versus city for brining up two boys

(57 Posts)
TandC Wed 23-Jan-13 15:20:33

We currently live in zone 3 London and have two boys - 3.5 yrs and 1.5 yrs. Considering a move to rural Hampshire to offer more space, bigger garden etc, with the main motivation being that we are keen to offer them high performing primary and secondary state education. I guess I expect that the move is the best thing for them but wondered if anyone could argue against this? We're not farmers so is living a rural lifestyle seems a little odd. Also, mindful that they will miss out on the culture and diversity that city life offers. Has anyone made this move and what have you found? Views please.

LittlePicnic Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:59

Hi. Be careful where you choose. We are in a large village very close to a small city. Council cuts mean the last bus from the city to our village is now 8.40 p.m. On a Saturday night!! ( no nights out without cabs back). We moved from zone 3 London to here. hmm I like it here but find no street lights a bad thing- who wants to cycle or walk in the dark? Not me so I don't really go out in the evenings in the winter. The people here are less friendly than my neighbours in London!! Maybe it's just here ( even the ordinary folk seem to think they are god)! So looking to move before DS1 goes to secondary school.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 18:09:01

For us, Epsom and reigate are both lovely but very close in proximity and £££ so not worth the hassle of moving. Guildford is too near the ILs shock

pickle346 Sun 03-Feb-13 11:54:24

We moved out of london to the countryside before having a family - now with 2 children we are moving back to london! Lots of reasons, main one being jobs, but also lack of facilities and amenities for the children and us. There is no diversity at all here and we are looking forward to going back!

Dozer Sun 03-Feb-13 08:35:28

Guildford, epsom, reigate?

Pyrrah Thu 31-Jan-13 21:41:38

Decent station is much more important than a bus route unless it's a really good frequent service.

My parents lived on a bus route - hooray. Then you find out that there is only 1 bus an hour between 8 and 5 and sometimes it doesn't turn up.

It meant that my parents were a permanent taxi service if we had holiday jobs or wanted to go out.

A decent train-line (ie not some unattended station at the bottom of a deserted track that is likely to feature on CrimeWatch) with regular services to good big towns is a huge plus.

So many of the things you hope to do in the country just don't work out. I know my parents had dreams of us all going on bike-rides... until the girl at the other end of the lane was knocked down and killed. After that we weren't allowed bikes.

TandC Thu 31-Jan-13 21:32:32

Thanks again everyone. And thank you for the suggestions of where we should look. I've started researching Reigate, Guildford, Dorking and in parallel I've made and appointment to visit two local primary schools in the village we're looking at. They tell me they have their intake for this Sept. and as the population isn't transient like London's, I'm not sure we'll get in for next year either. Long term, I guess we'll look to move to more of a town location when the boys reach their teenage years, as there is no bus route or station nearby.

thewhistler Fri 25-Jan-13 21:00:44

Best advice on here, live on a bus route. Next best bit of advice, live near a station..

then the teens should be ok.

thewhistler Fri 25-Jan-13 20:50:46

Tbh, many home counties areas are pretty highly priced.

But cousins lived for some time in Redhill and that gave them much of what they wanted, enough for the teens, easy access to London, Guildford and the countryside, houses slightly cheaper, and they are good at construction anyway so they extended a 70's grot into a charming cot iyswim.

Bits of Guildford?

jalapeno Fri 25-Jan-13 18:58:53

Thewhistler that's what we have but at London prices. I love our little area, it's just so expensive and I am so aware of what is down the road. But then perhaps everywhere is like that, not just within the M25?

We are very close to a dodgy larger town...although that is getting some "regeneration" action soon so may improve. This is handy as it was almost burnt down a few years ago shock.

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 18:46:01

Not many small towns have cinemas.

thewhistler Fri 25-Jan-13 16:54:59

Reasonable town with buses and a cinema and reasonably large school or two would be ok.

But agree pyrrah's activities although tractor driving was also quite fun and now drugs have reached the outback too.

Pyrrah Fri 25-Jan-13 14:53:52

Grew up in the countryside - was so thankful my parents sent me to boarding-school so that I actually had some friends. The holidays were dull, tedious and mainly consisted of meeting up with the other boarding-school kids and either getting drunk and snogging in someone's barn, or getting drunk and snogging at the Young Farmer's parties.

Rural is very over-rated.

We're bringing DD up in central London... there are pigs and goats at the end of the road, a sailing school 15 minutes away by bus, she went sledging in the local park last weekend and when school closed on Monday we went to see the dinosaurs at the NHM.

If we want to go yomping round a large wood - and don't fancy the one across the road - then we go and visit my parents and borrow their local one (that we need a car to get to).

The only issue for me with London is the painful price of anything bigger than a shoebox to live in.

thewhistler Fri 25-Jan-13 09:29:12

Milks, if you went in the 6th form can imagine. I went in yr 9 and the frustration of being in a lovely regency town to which I had v restricted access drove me mad. But perhaps things are better now.

Was it one in yorkshire or one in the west? Mine the latter.

housemad Thu 24-Jan-13 11:53:37

We moved out of London 20 years ago. I still miss the city life. Both DCs never live in London so they don't miss it of course but they do like being in the city. We visit London every now and again and still have friends live near the city. I think all of us are townies. We live close to a small town not countryside. Although we miss the city the standard of living is so much higher in London compare to where we are. At the moment we can afford to pay for many afterschool activities such as piano, gym, dance, drama lessons etc. If we move back to London we would not be able to provide DCs with that much extra learning experiences.

happygardening Thu 24-Jan-13 11:03:14

Milksgake is probably right pre teens and boys in particular love the freedom of living a rural life but unless your a fully paid up member of the Young Farmers, horse mad or other filed sports you probably as a ten could struggle.
Re schools we're lucky we're surrounded by high performing state schools but that's because we live in an exceedingly affluent rural part of our county and within a stones throw of another very very affluent county so everything is exceedingly middle class this is reflected in the house prices. But we have friends who live in similar sized market towns but in less affluent areas who aren't so lucky with their schools. Employment is a big issue especially for teenagers. The lovely boys who helps me with my dogs is very restricted as to where he can work he cant afford the insurance on a car and there's no decent public transport and cycling on roads without street light and the distance makes this not a viable option so his employment options are very limited. This also applies to 16 yr olds trying to get Saturday jobs my friends has to drive her DS to his.

Bonsoir Thu 24-Jan-13 10:59:01

If you and your family like rural things (horse riding, dog walking, gardening, cricket) you may like the countryside. But if you don't like those things, you will be very bored. It really is best to live within easy access of the things that you enjoy in life.

Chestnutx3 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:56:57

Why not look at the villages/small towns around Leatherhead. Around Bookham - great secondary Howard of Effingham. Access to Leatherhead and Guildford. Dorking?

juneau Thu 24-Jan-13 10:53:04

I've always been confused by the term 'home counties'. Are they all the counties that border London?

Yes

Halfling Thu 24-Jan-13 10:52:34

Move to a smaller town in the vicinity of London. It is the best of both worlds.

milkshake3 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:48:48

My experience as a child was of living in the countryside, ponies, dog walks on my own, building dens etc etc.....then I became a teenager...it was soooo boring.Nothing to do unless my parents were prepared to drive me everywhere (and then it was always"we'll pick you up at 9.30" I was always the first to leave a party.....I've put that right now!). I then went to boarding school in a lovely regency town, and loved the freedom that gave to walk around at weekends, visit shops, cafes, go to the theatre with school etc etc - LIFE!! It prepared me well for moving on my own to university in a big town. It's telling that both my DSis and I have chosen to bring our families up in towns rather than the countryside, although my DM (who has always lived in the country, never drives further than 5miles from her cottage and finds the world intimidating) thinks we're mad!

Good luck with your decision!

lljkk Thu 24-Jan-13 10:43:50

We live on very edge (turn left out the door to access lots of country side) of a medium town (struggling centre, but still basic shops here) with lots of local facilities (good for younger kid clubs) and good transport links to the city (handy for the teen). Local high schools are quite variable in quality. Don't expect roads to be gritted but do expect lots of mud on the road.

Not sure anyone has mentioned JOBS, or rather the lack of local employment opportunities: move to a country idyll but expect to drive an hour each way to get to work. Ugh.

OwlLady Thu 24-Jan-13 10:25:23

I live on the rural outskirts of a small market town but also not far from two/three larger towns. I love it tbh. I wish I had of done it sooner but I am pretty anti social and a bit of a loner blush you need to be able to drive though if you live rural

TandC Thu 24-Jan-13 10:23:18

Agree happygardening and lainiekazan. I don't really think of the area as rural because the lane the house is in contains mainly residental properties as far as I'm aware, not farms. It's an estate agents description. But DH agrees with it. I'm originally from NZ where rural means a farm in the middle of nowhere with nothing around it for miles. BTW happygardening I've always been confused by the term 'home counties'. Are they all the counties that border London? And yes, renting is a good way forward.

thewhistler Thu 24-Jan-13 10:18:37

If you are already on the A3, then look around there.

In general I agree about home counties not being really rural, and for an adult who drives that is right.

But for a teen who is in a village with one shop if lucky, school in local town where if you are lucky there is a cinema but the leisure centre's services are being cut down, the council is reducing the bus service etc, it can be grim.

I would go for a small town over a village, though am a village girl myself. But the boredom was acute. 4 miles to walk to nearest town with coffee shop. No cinema for 20 miles and knackered single mum who said we couldn't afford tickets and petrol. No leisure centre. No clubs. No decent teen type shops. Fortunately I enjoy reading. So that is what I did.

juneau Thu 24-Jan-13 10:08:09

I grew up in a rural area and I was perfectly happy until I hit my teen years, then I hated it. My parents didn't buy me a car (unlike many of my friends), so I was reliant on my mother to take me places. There was no cinema, very few shops, a twice-daily bus to the nearest city, but it took forever to get there and I only did it once, and in the school holidays I was bored and miserable. As soon as I could, I left home and lived in a succession of big cities until three years ago when DH and I moved to a small, cathedral city with lots of cultural stuff, shops, restaurants, bars, etc and only 20 mins on the train from London. I think that unless you know and love the country and are real 'country people' who can think of nothing more wonderful than muddy walks with dogs, and don't mind being miles from the nearest shop, you'd be mad to just up and move there on a whim. Surely there has to be a middle ground between London zone 3 and a rural location?

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