Moving to Lodon - where to live?

(172 Posts)
lily3 Wed 07-Nov-12 00:39:57

With a budget of £2-3 million and 2 toddlers in tow, what area of London would you live in? Looking for an area with parks and space, but close enough to venture into the city daily. We'd rather go out a bit farther to get more square footage as opposed to a tiny flat in Chelsea, for example. Thanks in advance!

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 26-Mar-13 14:28:03

this thread is basically a zombie too...

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 26-Mar-13 14:26:43

I was going to make the point that CLB was going to make OP.

If I were you, if you are thinking of entering the British system either private or stake, it is safer to assume you need to start with the school and work backwards.

CLP is absolutely right on the private schools - entrance tests, waiting lists, names on since pregnancy - all across London even where I live in the East which I don't think has been mentioned on this thread. (Google Chigwell which is nearby - you never know, ya might like it wink!)

I am originally from the US and it wouldn't have occurred to before moving here that a state school across the road from you won't automatically have a place for you, like it would in the US. Many of the good state schools in are oversubscribed and you could well be offered something a fair distance from your house.

If you are thinking of a US international school I doubt you'll ahve any issues getting a place, as there seems to be a high turnover of children. In that case you may also want to consider Esher/Cobham - my American friend who was living here for a while with her husband liked the American school there very much - nice community. There are separate sorts of issues with these schools though (the high turnover of families for one thing, quality of the academics relative to British schools) that you may want to consider...but that feels like a topic for another thread.

clb Tue 26-Mar-13 11:42:43

Just to say that you should be careful about two things:

- aircraft noise, which blights, to a varying degree, much of SW London (we just decided against Richmond, Ealing, Fulham and Wandsworth for this reason). Not everyone cares about it as much as we do, though!

- private schools. If your children are already toddlers, you will already be too late to get them into a few of the schools (not necessarily the best ones). It's something to investigate asap - get a month's subscription to the Good Schools Guide online and have a read.

HenryP Tue 26-Mar-13 10:08:54

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16052013 Sat 05-Jan-13 19:52:40

BTW, Brook Green is just an overpriced part of Shepherd's Bush/Hammersmith.

The 'Kensington side of Brook Green' is Addison Gardens area. There was a fatal stabbing here just before Christmas.

You can always rely on 1605 to tell you the truth about West London grin

16052013 Sat 05-Jan-13 19:49:55

Oh AmeliaCampbell, I knew you sounded familiar!

S'okay everyone, she's an esate agent...

<Solves mystery>

ameliacampbell Wed 05-Dec-12 20:52:48

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Devora Tue 13-Nov-12 20:54:05

Petersham is absolutely beautiful, though sleepier than a dead sloth.

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Tue 13-Nov-12 19:39:36

2-3,000 square feet is massive in London. Lots of people I know have 2 or more kids in tiny two beds. You need to think Manhatten, not LA! I know a couple of Americans who have found the adjustment very hard and ended up moving to huge new builds in Surrey (with long commutes) as a result. One friend actually cried when she saw her husband's gorgeous victorian terrace as she felt it was so small!

Personally if I had 2-3 million I would go for Greenwich or Blackheath. Good private schools if you are going private. Masses of open space, which compensates for smaller houses. Good access out of town, reasonably easy to Gatwick, etc. We lived there until recently and I adore it, but simply couldn't afford a family home. You'd get somewhere lovely and there are loads of SAHMs

EverybodysSnowyEyed Tue 13-Nov-12 19:29:17

It's plenty big enough!

Think manhattan when you think about central London!

mummytime Tue 13-Nov-12 19:27:39

I think our house is abut 2500 sq ft, and it is considered to be big (and we're outside London). You could easily have 4 or 5 kids here, we have 3. The house size will be a big shock after California, again you have to think more NYC.

lalalonglegs Tue 13-Nov-12 19:23:09

2-3000 sq ft pretty big for London. The Victorian houses around us tend to be 1500-1800 sq ft and everyone has three kids (and a dog).

MustafaCake Tue 13-Nov-12 19:14:26

Just a vote for NOT choosing Notting HIll.

Crowded and full of tourists at all times - ugh!

legalalien Tue 13-Nov-12 19:08:03

Normal for London, but a bit of a shock if you are an American ( or an Aussie).

lily3 Tue 13-Nov-12 18:54:35

I have a question about the size of London homes. Most of the homes we have been looking at, in our budget, are between 2,000-3,000 sqft. How many family members would typically live in a home this size? I am wondering if we could comfortably have 3 children in a home this size. Or do Londoners have smaller families because of lack of space? I suppose it just takes some getting used to, after being spoiled for space in the US.

likeatonneofbricks Tue 13-Nov-12 16:13:36

Holland Park is very nice though OP, I'd def live there, great for transport and amenities yet uncrowded and very leafy (residential streets I mean, not the main 'high street' which is noisy), but you'd have to settle for less space, both in terms of house - could get a maisonette - and the space of the area.

likeatonneofbricks Tue 13-Nov-12 16:05:56

Matsu - ah ok! yes Hampstead is quite arty but I'd say more academic/editor/writer territory even more. Richmond is more about luxury and landscape grin, to me it's much more 'jolly' than H. Edgy arty is really east london, yes. OP didn't mention her arty side though so it doesn;t seem to be a priority, I think similar sahms, space, and the general niceness of area matter. and an easy commute.

Matsikula Tue 13-Nov-12 15:33:53

legalalien - hello neighbour! Though I should perhaps admit to being on the slightly grungier side of Herne Hill.

Likeatonneofbricks - I was going by type of person with the museum reference, not by what's actually there, if you see what I mean. Hampstead traditionally being artistic and intellectual, and with a lot of those types still about.

likeatonneofbricks Tue 13-Nov-12 15:23:46

Both Hampstead and Richmond suit OP like a glove from all that she mentioned! But there aer differences - Richmond imo is more charming and even spectacular in places (the riverside, long long walks to either Kew or Ham along the river), huge park, lots of wealthy Americans there, but it's not great for quick commutes. Not too bad if you near the station and your H can go to Waterloo on overground then a couple of stops to Greem Park, so something like 45 min in total, BUT you have to be near station (walking) as traffic is horrendous in rush hour past the main station. AND my bugbear is hte PLANE noise in Richmond, you really have to go and see a house a couple of times as they change the flight paths slightly - the further from the station the better though the elegant Richmond Green houses are not oo bad for that (and v.expensive).
Hampstead is more closed-in, but easier to get to the centre on the tube, and you can be ok-ish with cabs late at night 9about 15-20 pounds though) whereas Richmond is really far by cab. Hapstead has a very strong Jewish community, possibly Jewish-American, if that's you group then got for Hampstead.
Museums, Matsi? imo nothing beats South Kensington - Science, Natural History, and most of all for me the V&A(decorative arts, OP, plus many events and lectures), direct line from Richmomnd btw but not quick, can be 45min with the wait.

legalalien Tue 13-Nov-12 14:59:59

Matsikula - not to mention lovely neighbours smile. There are a few bankers in these parts, including some American ones, but only the nice ones who are happy to hang out with us less well paid mortals. wink

Matsikula Tue 13-Nov-12 14:56:21

That place in Hampstead is beautiful. Buy it lily3, buy it!

Matsikula Tue 13-Nov-12 14:53:27

Ha, the Financial News piece is funny.

Lots of good suggestions here, but I think we are missing another important question here, which is addressed by the Financial News reference to arty-ness and hipsterdom.

Most of the places mentioned above are glossy rather than cool - either Euro glossy or home counties British glossy.

If, on the other hand, you like museums, go for somewhere like Hampstead, Highgate or some of the Islington fringes. If you like a mean flat white served by an Antipodean barista with a severe fringe and statement glasses, go for Fitzrovia or Bloomsbury (where there is also a great children's playground called Coram's Fields).

If you like a mix, Herne Hill is actually not a bad choice - some lovely houses for your budget, lots of parks and kids activities, good private schools, plus Brixton down the road, which has a burgeoning new restaurant scene (small lo-fi places, on the whole). It would also be a surprisingly quick commute - 10 minutes to Victoria by overland train and then another 10 minutes to change to the underground and get to Green Park. Not many people have heard of it though.

lalalonglegs Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:32

Ooooh, that's gorgeous. Sadly I can only afford one floor of it sad.

achillea Tue 13-Nov-12 14:22:56
achillea Tue 13-Nov-12 14:15:45

I think the Finchley Road / Fitzjohns side of Hampstead is a good idea, especially if you want to get to Heathrow frequently. The HR express goes from Paddington and it's that bit easier. Never underestimate traffic and transport issues in London.

You need to decide what kind of house you want - modern and spacious or olde worlde London. Most central London homes are old, pokey and drafty, even the £3M ones. If you want big open US style you will need to go to one of the suburbs like Hertfordshire where you can get what you want.

Also decide on the type of community you want. Wealthy areas (like Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill may have the most coffee shops but they can be the least friendly. If community is your priority you need to live somewhere slightly less urban but still wealthy like Muswell Hill, Richmond or Dulwich. Hampstead is a law unto itself and has a bit of both.

London is more micro-mixed if you like, you will live very close to a poor area wherever you choose to base yourself. It really is down to where your local shop is, what the walk to the station or park is like, so before deciding on a property, consider this. Estate agents never do.

Beware of areas where there are a high number of reasonably expensive flats - it usually means that there are two parents working and very few SAHMs.

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