Moving out of London or not? And which county to go to?

(30 Posts)
katerinaemalina Sun 18-Nov-12 21:52:52

Going round and round in circles trying to figure out where would be best to move to to buy a home (currently rent in N London).
Need to be able to get to the city with max door to door commute of an hour (so 30-40 min travel)
Want somewhere that:-
Is near outside space, preferably attractive countryside (we love being outside and want a dog)
Good schools
Community feel
Cinema and shops nearby
Pleasant town/village with character

We have £450k and would like something 2/3 bed with garden and preferably period property and fairly spacious.

Part of the problem is parents lives in Suffolk, friends are all over, but mainly Kent and DH's parents is SW so no real draw anywhere. I would love to move back South but not sure if I should try moving closer to my parents (though realistically won't be nearer than 11/2 hours to them).

Any ideas? Currently thinking
Berkhamsted
Oxted
Epping
Harpenden
Enfield Chase

MiniTheMinx Sun 18-Nov-12 21:54:00

Reigate is quite nice.

Namechangeforapropertythread Sun 18-Nov-12 21:54:19

Ickenham

Minimaxkids Sun 18-Nov-12 21:56:15

Bexley village

MegBusset Sun 18-Nov-12 21:59:54

Enfield Chase is a good family place and you'd get a nice house for your budget but it's very towny/suburban and doesn't feel like outside London... you still have to travel a fair way to get to the countryside. Trent Park is the closest decent outdoor space. Also depends what age your DC are but school places are a big problem (tiny catchments for good primaries and lack of good secondary schools).

MiniTheMinx Sun 18-Nov-12 22:07:32

East Grinstead is lovely, to the south, plenty to do, lovely countryside.

katerinaemalina Sun 18-Nov-12 22:23:15

Great - thanks everyone. Not got children yet but trying :-)
I would love to move to Dorking or Amersham but just to far for DH (who also works long hours so want it to be a painfree as poss for him)

katerinaemalina Sun 18-Nov-12 22:43:46

Does anyone have any opinions about the other areas - Oxted, Epping in particular? TX

Succubi Sun 18-Nov-12 23:15:36

Essex. I commute to Liverpool Street. Takes me about 40 minutes on the train. Moved because of the schools. Bought a five bedroom, three bathroom, 4 reception house for £460k. I should also say that I am in Chelmsford.

Succubi Sun 18-Nov-12 23:16:53

Oh and I love it. Really recommend it. Essex people are lovely. Warm and friendly. I also love the big fields at either end if my road.

Notyetthere Mon 19-Nov-12 08:42:17

I love Oxted! Cute high street. You have morrisons and leisure centre near by. 40min journey into London and plenty of countryside. Pricey though but in your budget you will definitely find a good three bed.

aufaniae Mon 19-Nov-12 08:52:22

Sussex is lovely, some beautiful property here, and beautiful countryside.

mycatlikestwiglets Mon 19-Nov-12 10:14:00

Harpenden is a fab place to live and has everything you have listed as wanting except the cinema (there are a few within an easy drive though). There are loads of lovely open spaces/parks and it's a great area for bringing up children. We've found the people very friendly too.

Your budget would definitely get you a 2 bed period property, but you'd be looking at a terrace so not particularly spacious. The market is a bit crazy here at the moment - you probably need closer to £650k for a 3 bed period semi, but the occasional 3 bed terrace near the station comes onto the market around the £450-500k mark. Depending where in the city you need to commute to it's a decent journey in - I do Harpenden to Liverpool St and it takes me about an hour if the trains are running on time.

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 10:22:10

hi aufaniae Sussex is lovely. We are in Sussex, some lovely villages here.

Out of the list OP, Oxted. My mother used to live in Oxted, she loved it but she was young and free then. I though Oxted would be very expensive.

MiniTheMinx Mon 19-Nov-12 10:23:15

I thought (doh)

EMS23 Mon 19-Nov-12 10:24:48

I grew up in Harpenden and would move there in heartbeat but I think your budget is a bit limited for the prices there. Have you looked at St. Albans?

Is Birmingham too far, I know they have a High Speed Train? Stourbridge in Brum.is lovely!

Welwyn Garden City?

katerinaemalina Mon 19-Nov-12 19:58:00

Hi everyone
Thanks very much for your replies. Yes I think Harpenden might be too much for us - crazy prices! I think St Albans may well be too expensive as well. DH seems a bit less taken with St A as it's so busy now - not sure if anyone thinks any different? We did really like St A though (but you are right just don't get much for your money there!)
WGC - I discounted as it felt a bit souless. It is a good commute though that's for sure. I think Birmingham would be too far, but more in terms of away from friends and family than commute wise.
Your posts have made me feel a lot better. Sometimes I read stuff online and there is lots of moaning about everywhere! I just think there isn't a perfect place and we are going to have to compromise somewhere.

EMS23 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:18:37

I don't live in Hitchin but a good friend does and she loves it. Perhaps one to consider?
I agree that it's probably impossible to find the perfect place. Maybe have a weekend away to each of your top 3 contenders.

Lilymaid Mon 19-Nov-12 20:24:34

Saffron Walden. Train from Audley End to Liverpool St. Attractive town - lots of old buildings good shopping and community feel.
Excellent schools from infants to secondary.
Cinema: Saffron Screen at High School.
Easy to get to Suffolk, Kent (via M11 and Dartford Crossing) and all points north via A14 though not so good for SW.

IvanaHumpalotCountDracula Mon 19-Nov-12 21:36:14

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge/
therexberkhamsted.com/

Above are on the doorstep of Berkhamsted. Lots of independents, period properties and villages if you don't want to be 'town' centre. We used to live in St Albans, which is much busier.

Villages - Aldbury, Ringshall, Little Gaddesden, Nettleden, Great Gaddesden, St Margrets, Frithsden and Potten End.

I live in a village near Berkhamsted. DH commutes to Moorgate - Berkhamsted to Euston, then tube - door to door 1hr 10 mins. And if the Midland line is up the creak he uses the Thameslink from St Albans.

NellyBluth Mon 19-Nov-12 21:47:12

We moved out of London to Hitchin a year ago. I absolutely love it. Nice friendly town, lovely little town centre. The fast trains are 25-30 mins into KX, so if you got a house within 5 minutes of the station it would be a very easy commute. For 450k you could easily get a good house, the prices here are but not ridiculous yet.

The only downside you might find is that its a drive (though only 5-10 mins) to nearby towns for the cinema and nicer restaurants.

daphnedill Mon 26-Nov-12 02:09:54

I agree with lilymaid. You could get a really nice 2/3 bed house for £450k near Saffron Walden. I live in Great Chesterford which has a direct train into Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale and Cambridge and sliproad from/on to M11. (Actually, I think it's the best-kept secret in the country, so maybe I should delete this ;-) Trains are more frequent from Audley End. You need to be a bit careful round Henham/Elsenham because there's about to be a lot of new development. Some areas get airport noise - on the other hand, there are some great deals from Ryanair. There are some great schools, including private ones in Cambridge if you can afford them.

VestaCurry Mon 26-Nov-12 02:28:44

Don't discount Amersham. Have friends who moved there and the commute using the 'civilised' train into Marylebone rather than the tube makes a huge difference.
Superb schools and excellent Grammar schools if that interests you.

A bit nearer and reduced travel time because it's not at the end of the line is Chalfont & Latimer station. That's in Little Chalfont which has all the good schools too and is a great village.

A little further along the Met line is Great Missenden. This is served by the line into Marylebone, so no tube, just the comfier train. A really lovely little town/village, has a great supermarket right by the station, library, great park, a cinema club with monthly screenings and a selection of wines and nibbles to enjoy. I have a friend who lives there too, she has young children and loves it. Dh commutes to London, does long hours but relishes being out in a vibrant country village.
If you are serious about looking at this area, scrutinise the plans for HS2 carefully as some areas surrounding Amersham and Great Missenden will be affected.

katerinaemalina Tue 27-Nov-12 16:16:58

thanks everyone. Really really helpful. We're now on a mission of driving round to all these places to have a look! Results coming soon!

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