Leaving London

(39 Posts)
sparklechops Thu 08-Nov-12 21:07:53

I would really love to hear from people who have left London with their families, in order to live up north.

We love London and have been so happy here. But it's time to go. We just can't afford it anymore. Our rent is crippling and we only have a shabby little flat without outside space. We thought of moving to Essex, where DH is from, but commuting doesn't appeal.

So we reckon we could make a go of it up in Yorkshire - maybe Leeds or Harrogate.

I'm freelance and DH is hopeful that he can find work (obviously we'd only go once he had a job sorted). It looks promising. We could potentially afford to buy a lovely house with a garden for DD to play in. My family is up there too.

DH is keen. It's me who's stalling. I am SCARED about leaving London after nearly a decade. Worried I'll miss the hustle and bustle, the excitement etc. I am not trying to offend northerners (I am one!) as I know there's loads going on up there. But it's such a massive change from living in the buzz of London. So I'd really love to hear from people who left the big smoke and have never looked back...to give me that final push that this will be a positive thing.

Thanks in advance!

tricot39 Thu 08-Nov-12 21:21:40

I watch with interest. I could have written your post...... Except i am having trouble finding a job - even after swallowing a potential 20%pay cut sad

sparklechops Thu 08-Nov-12 21:37:37

Urgh, really? Well, that's the thing - my DH hasn't actually got a job yet but we could afford for him to take a slight paycut as living costs would be lower. And I would be earning the same as I work from home. Where would you like to live?

LynetteScavo Thu 08-Nov-12 21:45:28

I left London when I was 6 months pg, as there was no way I could afford to live there and raise a child. I moved back to the same town I grew up in, but it is within an hour of London, so I can pop back if I want to...but never do. Once every 6 months at the most. Whenever I do and return home, I know I wouldn't want to raise my DC in London, much as I love it.

When I visit Leeds, I find it the most similar city I know of to London (although B'ham is the countries 2nd city, I find it very different to London).

Gravenwithdiamonds Thu 08-Nov-12 21:51:39

I grew up in Newcastle, have lived in London for 6 years - I love London but also loved living in Newcastle and would live there happily (great quality of life in terms of housing, schools, countryside, culture, stuff to do etc) BUT the job market is not a patch on the south-east. Obviously it depends what you do and I could work freelance but in London I am confident that I could always find work and work that is interesting and well-paid - DH and I would have very little choice outside of the south-east.

If I worked in the public sector eg, a teacher or doctor, I would definitely move north - somewhere with a strong regional identity eg, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Welovecouscous Thu 08-Nov-12 21:55:38

We tried this move, but DH couldn't get a job sad

tricot39 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:04:28

We are looking at edinburgh. I need to work from a fairly large city so that seemed ideal once schools and family were added into the equation. Trouble is i am probably getting to be too experienced/expensive so there are not many jobs about and "making" one by gathering clients would be difficult/impossible due to distance. dh is truly self employed so would go to zero income when we moved. So me getting a job is essential!! I think we will give ourselves up to 9 months of intensive looking but if it doesnt work out then concentrate on the good things we have here and sort out the annoying stuff and make our life here. Oddly looking to move has made us realise what we would miss so during the course of the search the decision has got more finely balanced. Good luck

sparklechops Fri 09-Nov-12 10:52:59

Edinburgh would be a great place to live..Or Newcastle or Liverpool. Have lived in both those cities and loved them.

Yorkshire is where my family are so it makes sense to go there. But maybe we need to be more open minded and look for work all over for DH. We are both in the media so it's pretty Londoncentric but there is work around. We just cannot stay in London if we want to buy somewhere. A common problem for our generation, I know...

Good luck to anyone trying to make the move. Let's come back in a year and see if anyone did it!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 09-Nov-12 11:12:33

DH works in London sometimes and he'd love to live there but I balk at it. We live about half an hour from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling are within an hour and it's a great area but we want to move back south next year when we'll be empty nesters. I hanker for the south west but we'll settle for south of Oxford, west of London, east of Devon. Starting to haunt Rightmove website!

SunnyUpNorth Fri 09-Nov-12 21:40:52

I posted this on another thread a few months ago...

Can't really help with area suggestions but just to say we made the move from SE5 to Cheshire a few weeks ago and I haven't looked back since. I loved living in London, adored the City, shops, lifestyle etc. But once I accepted I didn't actually take advantage of those things anymore I could see moving made sense.

I braced myself to feel London-sick for a year or so but honestly haven't missed it. We moved from a top floor flat to a 5 bedroom house with huge garden for less than the price of our flat. It is so nice being near the countryside and I feel safe all the time. I was so fed up of all the thugs with scary dogs making me feel vulnerable.

So my point is, go for it. You wont regret it. Could you rent your place out and rent elsewhere to try things out? The rent on your London place should go quite far further out. Good luck!

Mandy21 Fri 09-Nov-12 21:51:16

I've lived all over, including North London (Islington) for 2 years. Am now in South Manchester (although I work in Leeds). I couldn't have contemplated bringing children up in London, but I suppose there are lots of people that do!! My sister lives in London and although its great to visit, I love getting back on the train at Euston :-)!

We have 2 or 3 families in our road (even though there are only 40 houses) that moved up here with the BBC - with Media City now at Salford, are there not opportunities you could explore there?

I suppose it also depends on what kind of network you have in London, but both my parents and my in laws live abroad. If I'd have had the opportunity of having my family close when I had a baby, I'd have jumped at the chance!

DewDr0p Fri 09-Nov-12 22:00:22

We made the move 9 years ago, from North London to a small rural market town in the north. I absolutely love the lifestyle we have here, we are truly lucky. Dh got a great job on the same salary as he was on in London, we swapped our 2 bed flat for a big 4/5 bed Victorian house etc

However the bubble somewhat burst when dh got made redundant. He had a great job but there simply weren't enough potential employers to get another one. He now works for himself but he is in London 3-4 days most weeks and we are seriously considering moving back, if not to central London then at least to commutable distance. It will be a huge wrench leaving friends, support network, moving the children's school etc. I feel sick just thinking about it.

So my advice would be don't just look for a job for now but make sure there are other options - even if the job works out, you will no doubt want to move on at some point.

I still don't regret moving here, we will have had a great decade here but right now it doesn't feel sustainable.

sparklechops Fri 09-Nov-12 22:31:13

So sorry to hear that Dew....that must be really tough.

I have to admit that it is one of my worries. I don't want our careers to suffer. But our quality of life can only be better up there.

It's a hard choice to make!

We have thought of Manchester too. We have friends there and love it.

Londonista1975 Fri 09-Nov-12 22:43:41

I haven't left yet but marking my place to read with interest what anymore ex-Londoners say about ths.

We also can't afford to buy here. So sick of acting of someone else's mortgage. I moaned a lot about London on my thread last month about feeling fed up of living here, but I know it'll be a wrench - initially - to leave.

sparklechops Fri 09-Nov-12 23:24:12

I remember your thread Londonista and I identified a lot with what you wrote. I go between loving it and hating it...if we could afford it we would probably stay. But I would like DD to grow up surrounded by fields like I did! Not going to happen where we are now....

Succubi Sat 10-Nov-12 05:45:55

I left West London to move to Essex last month after having lived in London for over 30 years. My family and friends all still live in London and it is to my mind the best city on earth.

Having said this I do not regret leaving at all. I have two young boys and my weekends/activities centre around their needs/hobbies which is equally served outside of London but at half the price.

But if I am truly honest it was the school that pulled me towards Essex. I love the school my eldest is at. I wanted my boys to have a private education just like I did and the cost of a prep at London was prohibitive for two but manageable fir two in Essex.

The house we have is bigger and I commute to London to work as does my husband. I do not miss the tube at all and strangely the journey time is the same. The only downside is not having my family around 24/7 which was nice for the boys but you can't have everything.

I guess what I am saying is don't rule out Essex. I think it's a pretty cool place.

weegiemum Sat 10-Nov-12 06:13:05

If you're Looking for media jobs plus a great quality of life, think about Glasgow! I'm in education but have many friends here in media type work, both publishing and broadcasting, freelance and contract. My dd1s best friend (they're 12) was born in London but moved here as a preschooler and her parents have been very happy with their move.

RugbyWidow7 Sat 10-Nov-12 08:55:24

We left London for all the reasons mentioned above, two years ago. We are in hertfordshire at the moment but dh would love to move back up to Yorkshire at some point. I can honestly say we've never looked back. We were so tired of the traffic, tiny living space and lack of proper countryside. I really highly recommend it and you'll always find great people with interesting backgrounds, wherever you end up (particularly in Harrogate or Leeds ;-)). Our son loves it here and it's much easier to get back home to see the grandparents! Don't hesitate. Friends will visit and you'll have fab weekends away staying with them, and spending longer periods of quality of time with them. Good luck!

MrsPnut Sat 10-Nov-12 09:13:49

We moved from Stoke newington to Harrogate because of DH's job. I did grow up in harrogate though so knew where the best places were already. We really loved it, it is so green and there are things going on when you know where to look. We made some fantastic friends but have since moved again with DH's job to Lincolnshire and can't wait to move again.

If your DH can find a job and bear in mind that commuting from Harrogate is not the easiest then it would be a great place to bring up children.
Like other people have said that now media City has moved to Salford then there are more opportunities in Manchester. My DH is looking to work for the BBC again and Manchester would really suit us.

Londonista1975 Sat 10-Nov-12 10:32:26

I think the key thing for you is to move to a city with alot going on, so you wouldn't miss London that much. And - as I'm fast discovering myself - having family nearby makes a big difference so I agree about Leeds, with another bonus being that fabulous Yorkshire countryside, and you could easily get your York or Harrogate fixes on the weekend or whenever being so close. And as MrsPnut says, commuting to Manchester is perfectly possible.

MoreBeta Sat 10-Nov-12 10:42:22

A lot of people do move out of London when they have children but be realistic. The job market is not as vibrant outside the South East and in fact places like Harrogate can be surprisingly pricey for property and of course everything else from a cup of coffee to clothing is exactly the same price as London.

I come from York, educated in Harrogate and moved pout of London to Oxford and now elsewhere. My wife still misses London and does not like where we live now. To be honest, I am glad we moved out of London and did not bring up children there but DW always say she will miss the vibrancy and cosmopolitan life. She is from Newcastle so she is Northerner too but really I have to agree - you will know you are in the North. It is the attitudes of people, the lack of choice in things like restaurants. It is better than it was now internet shopping is so easy and things like films go on national release.

I think in reality your DH needs to fond a job first and then think about schools, and moving house. A lot of people just end up commuting long distances back to London because they cant get a job when they move North.

Apparentlychilled Sat 10-Nov-12 13:32:18

We did it, and I would echo what others have said about work. There are fewer options up here (we're in W Yorkshire), but once that is sorted, it's great. Life is easier - more space, people as a rule are friendlier (not once you get to know them- I was in London 10 years and had great friends there, but just randoms on the street seem to be friendlier), houses are cheaper (other than Harrogate, which is almost London prices) and there are more good schools (around us all 4 of the primaries are outstanding, and there are 2 privates as well, if that's your bag).

The only down side is that if your work isn't local, there can be more travelling. (DH works for a national co, which seems to think of everywhere outside London as "local" for him, so he can spend a lot of time travelling, and is often away several nights a week). But that's more than balanced out by everything else.

Good luck!

Autumnmumm Sat 10-Nov-12 13:46:29

We were in your position a few years back and looked into moving either to Glasgow or yorkshire but we decided against.

Jobs were our major stumbling block so in the end we kept our jobs and we moved instead to a very outer suburb of London.

I never thought I would end up in the suburbs but I surprised myself and I'm so glad we went for it because its great here, quicker to get into town on fast trains than tube from our previous zone 3 place, good schools and full of people like us who moved out with young families, great community stuff and lots of country nearby. So I would say don't discount the burbs!

tricot39 Sat 10-Nov-12 18:17:35

Ooh which burb autumnmum?

sparklechops Sat 10-Nov-12 21:14:06

I was going to ask the same tricot! Any tips on good suburbs would be gratefully received.

It is so hard to know the best thing to do. I could see us having a life in London or up north (But I know where we'd end up living in a rented flat forever and where we'd be able to have our own place and a garden.)

Being a first time buyer in London is so depressing. You're essentially being shut out of a place where you've lived and worked for years. But that's a whole other thread...

Thanks for all the comments anyway - very useful reading. And also reassuring to know lots of people have had the same dilemma.

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