Suggestions for where to take a 4-month "family sabbatical" outside of London?

(54 Posts)
eversomuch Sun 26-Jan-14 20:42:40

Hmm, can't find a category where this fits exactly, so hope it's ok to post here.

Changes in our work and housing situations mean DH and I are considering possibly taking four to six months off this spring and summer, relocating within the UK somewhere cheap but lovely and just spending time with each other and our two DC (3 and 1) and maybe finding time to do some creative projects before returning to London in the autumn.

Any suggestions as to locations we might want to consider in England or maybe Wales? We're looking for places that would offer a lovely quality of life (with lots on offer for the kids and great access to nature), low cost of living and decent public transport links. Not needing a car would be a plus. Good chance of avoiding a wet, cold summer would also be great. smile

HappyHugs Tue 28-Jan-14 23:26:15

Check out the Mournes in Co. Down (lots of little fishing villages, beautiful scenery, chilled out in the extreme yet loads of family outings available) and get a flavour of Northern Ireland.

DrNick Tue 28-Jan-14 23:27:11

the north
lake district or the Dales

DrNick Tue 28-Jan-14 23:27:33

dorest isnt different enough

dont go to herefordshire or shropshire they are DIRE

Icedfinger Wed 29-Jan-14 06:27:52

Suffolk- maybe Woodbridge, Southwold or Aldeburgh. Beautiful coastlines, gorgeous scenery, lots of artsy creative things happening. Only an hour and a bit to London if you need to get back.

TamerB Wed 29-Jan-14 06:43:57

I think I would try Somerset, lots of lovely small places and near Bath.

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 06:45:09

I loved Shrewsbury when we lived there. Plenty to do, lots of 'green', easy access to N Wales/Chester/Brum and good train links across the country.

We are moving to Worcestershire this year because we also like the Bewdley, Stourport, Omberdsly, Kinver area.

My sis lives in the Cotswolds and wouldn't go anywhere else. Beautiful, but pricey Burford, Bibury, Preston, Ciren.

If I was to do something like this I'd go for a seaside town - something completely different from my life in London and where it's easy to entertain little kids.

sassytheFIRST Wed 29-Jan-14 06:48:21

Lteve! Was only thinking about your move the other day - which of the towns did you go with in the end, can you say?
Happy to meet up with you once you get here if you'd like smile

Maisycat Wed 29-Jan-14 07:00:28

We did this when my daughter was tiny many years ago, saved up escaped London and high pressured jobs and ended up in Northern France for 4 months (in theory) the trouble was we ended up staying for 12 years...!

Second Chester. Very walkable town. So handsome with the Rows and the Roman ruins and the Canal. Then easy enough to hop on buses or trains for Wales/Manchester/Liverpool/beaches on the Wirral. " hours train from London.

What about Edinburgh? Doesn't exactly guarantee you a rain free sabbatical, but it is stunning, walkable again, Castle, museums a-plenty, great food, and then you could hire a car now and again to strike out into the stunning Scottish scenery.

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 07:09:18

Hi Sassy. Well in the end we went for neither! We have bought in Hartlebury because it was the only place where the primary school could fit her in. ALL the other schools said they were full shock

I love the house we have bought, everything seems to be going through OK, survey this week and looking at exchange by the end March although I don't expect us to move in until end June.

Would be great to meet up.

(Sorry for hijack OP)

uggmum Wed 29-Jan-14 07:13:10

How about the isle of Wight. Great beaches and wild life. Plenty to do and very child friendly.

Bunbaker Wed 29-Jan-14 07:17:07

"dont go to herefordshire or shropshire they are DIRE"

shock
What is so dire about Shropshire? We had a fabulous holiday there a few years ago and loved it. Granted, we had a car, but we had so many things to see and do that we struggled to fit it all in.

I second the suggestion of York - lots to see and do, access to loads of places on public transport and easy access to London. Or how about Leeds for the same reasons? Our part of South Yorkshire is very pretty (edge of Pennines) and we have a regular train service which is only hourly, but, again you would benefit more from the use of a car.

If you go to Northumberland you would be better to stay somewhere like Morpeth as it has a railway station and regular bus links to all sorts of places. Although having a car would be better.

JanePurdy Wed 29-Jan-14 08:20:33

I would go to a Scottish Island - totally different, community life, sea. Orkney has the festival in the summer (St Magnus?). But doesn't tick the box for access to London.

So failing that I would think about York. Lots of stuff to do - museums, historic places, nice cafés but also the coast, the Dales, fast train to London.

mrscog Wed 29-Jan-14 09:21:55

LtEve/Sassy - I'm not a million miles from Hartlebury - maybe we could have a MnMeet up to celebrate your move once it's done!

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 09:49:03

A summer meet-up would be great and you can both give me the low down on the area - Coming in blind is pretty scary!

Aberdeen has lots of daily, hour long flights to London cause of the oil industry. Smaller towns in Aberdeenshire like Stonehaven or Inverurie have lots of shops, good transport links and very family friendly.

plantsitter Wed 29-Jan-14 10:54:28

What a lovely idea! I would go to the Isle of Wight of I were doing this.

Chances of avoiding a cold, wet summer are v slim in uk though sorry! !

eversomuch Wed 29-Jan-14 14:29:09

Wow! This thread really gained speed overnight! Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions.

We've spent quite a bit of time in Scotland, which we love -- and I LOVE Edinburgh -- and we've holidayed on the Isle of Wight and been to Shrewsbury in Shropshire (loved them, too). We'd really like some place new to experience this time.

Have thought about York and other points northward but are worried that it would be too cold in the summer, even if it isn't constantly raining.

I know our chances of having as gorgeous a summer as last year as probably quite slim anywhere in the UK, though...

Dorset and Suffolk sound like good candidates, maybe Worcestershire, too. Is there any place specific in/near the New Forest that's recommended?

Any thoughts on Kent or Sussex and toward the southeast coast?

lotsofcheese Wed 29-Jan-14 14:56:38

Jersey is beautiful & child-friendly, with easy access to France - but pricey....

Stripedgingercat Thu 30-Jan-14 14:08:34

Have you thought about Norfolk?

specialsubject Thu 30-Jan-14 20:48:21

glad to see DrNick thinks Shropshire is dire - would hate to deprive his village of its idiot.

Bunbaker Thu 30-Jan-14 20:49:23

specialsubject grin

DoItTooJulia Thu 30-Jan-14 20:58:43

Lichfield is well connected transport wise, small cathedral city with a village feel and on the edge of lots of places, including some countryside! Perfect!

DrNick Thu 30-Jan-14 21:53:02

Snigger. Think they have plenty already

Alfiecat Thu 30-Jan-14 22:00:45

How about Cardiff? Two hours to London on the train, near loads of beaches and lots to see and do.

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