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We're after some help. My DH and I are relocating from London to the Midlands some time in the next six months. He is a freelance writer, so we can pretty much live anywhere in the Midlands (from Stratford north / Derbys south). I work in childcare so again can hopefully find work anywhere. We need advice on where to live. Some people have recommended south Birmingham (Harbourne in particular), others have said Leamington Spa, others Worcester. We have so many people offering advice it's a bit overwhelming. We hope to start a family soon so would like somewhere outside a city centre, but having lived in London for ten years we don't feel ready to be 'out in the sticks'. Also, if I am to get a job as a live-out nanny, the area could be important. Oh, and our budget is around £275-£300,000. Thanks for reading this far, hope someone can help!
If the Stoke-on-Trent/Newcastle under Lyme area is withing your 'catchment' area, and I think it might be(?) you would get more for your money than many areas...some areas are 'nicer' than others, obs.
If you want to live in a city, Harborne is certainly a good choice. Lots of pubs, good restaurants, shops, nice parks and it is very family friendly. It is also worth looking at Bournville, which is very pleasant and again is family friendly, but without the pubs and restaurants. Thinking ahead, Bournville also has very good schools. Both of these areas would certainly be ones which would offer you plenty of work options as the nearby Birmingham University and QE Hospital means that many academics and medical doctors live in these areas.
The outlying villages of Barnt Green and Alvechurch may also be worth considering if you want to live near a city without feeling cut off, they are on the Cross City Line into Birmingham.
Harborne is lovely but is also one of the most expensive areas in Birmingham. We live in Edgbaston and have an (almost) one year old. We are planning on moving to Worcester next year. The schools are great (there are some fab grammar schools too), the town is lovely and you get a lot more house for your money then in other areas. They also have good train routes into Birmingham and it's really close to the M5. I grew up near Coventry and went to school in Kenilworth so I know Leamington and Stratford really well and would definitely lean to Stratford over Leamington but it is very expensive to buy there. You would get double the house size in Worcester for the same money in Stratford. I think you need to spend some time going around different towns and see what you like the feel of. Also, have a look on rightmove so you have a good idea of what your money can get you. I have lived in Birmingham for 10 years so know the areas pretty well so feel free to ask any questions.