Love London but moving to Whitstable

(23 Posts)
Uphill Sat 14-Sep-13 10:58:50

Just wondering if there any others out there in a similar situation and how things are working out.

We currently live in one of those lovely pockets of London and absolutely love where we are - great location, great community, lovely school (have made lots of good friends over the last few years) and lots going on for kids. However, we have outgrown our maisonette and need more space. We have looked locally over the last year for properties but without much luck, the prices have gone mental. We weren't looking to move out of London originally but the only properties that were within our budget were just that fit too far away from both, where we wanted be and needed to be in 2 years time for secondary schools. So, we figured that we might as well extend our search even further to the commuter towns (husband would still need to be in London for work) and particularly since we would still be not getting that much more space for our money in any case. We went to visit some friends in Whitstable and liked it as it felt familiar iykwim, it seemed to have a London feel about the place but I may have totally imagined that?! Anyway, we have found a reallly lovely house - great size, huge garden, lots of scope to extend, off street parking etc - but I am starting to feel quite overwhelmed about not only moving out of an area I love so much but out of London itself.

So, those of you from London who made the move to Whitstable:

1) How are you finding it?

2) Do you miss London?

3) Do your kids go to Joy Lane primary school (would be our nearest school)? How have you found it? What's it like at the school gates? Have you made friends easily? (so friendly at kids current school).

4) Does the extra space make up for what you have left behind? Or, do you find yourself wishing that you had compromised on space for all the other wonderful things.

Please feel free to share your experiences whether negative or positive.

Thank you so much!

YoungBritishPissArtist Sat 14-Sep-13 16:05:54

When you say you need more space, can you clarify?

Would a massive dejunk or furniture rearrange make a difference?

happydutchmummy Sun 15-Sep-13 21:19:28

Spend a day in canterbury if you're looking at moving to this corner of Kent. Whitstable is lovely and gorgeous in the summer, but not as lively I the winter.

I live in canterbury and I love it. It's got great train links into London (either expensive high speed to st pancreas or slightly cheaper but 30 mins more to Victoria, Charing cross). There are 2 universities here so there is lots going on for teenagers, young adults, etc. In the winter months the students keep it lively and in the summer it's full of tourists. Good schools. People are friendly. Good shops, lots of cafes to hang out in and beautiful parks. It's got that small village community feel yet iteration big enough to keep me entertained.

happydutchmummy Sun 15-Sep-13 21:20:47

I can spell, but my auto correct thinks it knows better than me!

JumpingJackSprat Sun 15-Sep-13 21:22:04

Canterbury might be more what you are looking for and is possibly more commuter friendly.

Mintyy Sun 15-Sep-13 21:24:21

Have you looked in to commuting costs properly? Presumably your dh can get to work and back for £2.60 per day or a tiny bit more where you are in London. How much will it be from Whitstable?

<Whitstable? you are thinking of moving to Whitstable? yet still commuting to London? are you sure??>

nessus Mon 16-Sep-13 11:43:30

Just about to swap SE London for Kent. It was also important that I can still get into town easily for work. I concentrated on the DA4 / TN15 triangle and finally found and completed last week on a beautiful house in the village of Kemsing. Can walk to Otford station in less than 15mins and Victoria in 35 mins. For London Bridge, Sevenoaks is 2 stops away.

Friend moved from same area to Canterbury and it is quite further a way into Kent. It would be an exhausting commute at 90mins before the tube changes to consider. And very expensive to commute.

DD was hard to win over but she gets to stay in same school which was a major winner, the big new bed room + ensuite, huge garden and utter tranquility might have helped of course!

I get the area of outstanding natural beauty and London remains not too far for work. Win/win!

jeee Mon 16-Sep-13 11:50:05

Have you considered Faversham? If you're commuting daily, there are more trains, and you'll save time.

yummymumtobe Mon 16-Sep-13 11:57:58

My friend commutes from Canterbury and finds it a massive struggle. She actually stays in London a couple of nights a week now. She doesn't have kids so isn't trying to combine with family life. If she was, I think the benefits of the big house would be outweighed by long days away from home. Moving out of London for space, big house, countryside etc seems crazy to me if one of you is never there to enjoy it!

Itscoldouthere Mon 16-Sep-13 12:00:40

Well my advice would be if you love London stay where you are.

I recently moved out of London after being there for 27 years, I thought I was sick of it and really wanted to move, but I really miss it, I think if you "love London" as you say you do, you are not ready to move and you might regret it.

AmberJames Mon 16-Sep-13 13:02:54

I understand how you feel. I am now moving to a small town and I feel very sad because I miss the busy life in the big city. But I still have hope in me that I will get used to. smile Good luck.

JuliaScurr Mon 16-Sep-13 13:09:29

moving with dc's - remember Kent & Medway are selective areas; it skews secondary education.

nessus Tue 17-Sep-13 18:37:30

Have to agree with itscoldouthere. Emigrated to London just over 20 years ago and have never settled and it feels like liberation getting out of the prison of the city. Had it been a love affair, I doubt anything could have got me to leave.

Also think about how much less time you will have with DH, and he with DCs. He will be shattered and cranky and you will hardly see him unless he already works killer hours in the city. It could put such a strain on many areas of your family life.

It sounds like all you need is a RM break and I do hope something comes on the market soon in your area. I have a sense what you want more than anything else is more space right where you are. Good luck with the searching!

Uphill Wed 18-Sep-13 07:28:03

So sorry for late reply - dd has been ill - but thank you all for the replies. It's really good to hear other people's experiences and it's really helped me to think things through a bit more. I think those of you who mentioned the long commute are totally right, dh already works really long hours and it would only make it worse, he would literally come home just to sleep most nights. Also, it's not going to be cheap plus our mortgage will increase quite a bit too. We are comfortable financially at the moment even though we can't afford a decent sized house where we are so it would rock the boat quite a bit. In the meantime, I would have swapped my small house for a big house on one hand but on the other , wouldn't have my friends or family (my sister in law lives locally) about & swapped a lot to do out of the house with not as much as I'm used to. Anyway, Ive reached the conclusion that I just don't think I'm ready to leave here yet and would rather just suck up living somewhere smaller for now and perhaps check out those other bigger places a little closer to London - that might be the compromise for me.

Have just typed this on my phone after not having had much sleep so apologies for any mistakes!

Thanks again for replies, it really has helped.

VestaCurry Wed 18-Sep-13 07:43:18

I would stay put for as long as you can too. Property prices in London are doing so well at the moment, although you may not be able to buy bigger there, you would be able to buy bigger outside of London, with a nearer better commute into the city if you hold on to your London home for now.

YoungBritishPissArtist Wed 18-Sep-13 17:00:34

OP, I posted upthread re: dejunking. On the Good Housekeeping board there are lots of threads on dejunking and minimalism, MNers have been able to avoid moving grin

BoysRule Wed 18-Sep-13 20:16:55

Just to add - we moved from London to Whitstable around 5 years ago and have just moved back much nearer to London. It really isn't a commuter town IMO. It is a very long commute and if your DH doesn't work regular and shortish hours it is a nightmare. We ended up having to sell our house in Whitstable and rent nearer to London as he just couldn't continue with the commute but we are now priced out of the property market nearer to London.

I think you have made the right decision.

Uphill Wed 18-Sep-13 21:10:56

YoungBritishPissArtist - thanks for the tip, will definitely take a look. I'm actually not too bad at dejunking periodically, out of necessity more than anything. My youngest and last dc is 2 so we are finally getting to the stage where we will have got rid of all the baby stuff.
In answer to your questions - we could really do with another room downstairs or even just a much bigger kitchen as that's where my dc always want to hang out. We have a good size garden so in the summer it doesn't feel so bad but come the winter, we are a little on top of each other. We can't make any major alterations such as an extension as we are leaseholders. In terms of moving furniture around, we already have it arranged to give us optimum space so no leeway there unfortunately. However, as I've come to realise, I am totally willing to put up with it a bit longer if it means I get to stay where I love, for now anyway. DH is still dreaming about his big mansion!

BoysRule - thank you so much for sharing your experience. That's exactly what I was worried about - Whistable being that bit too far away to be a reasonable commute - and the house we've seen is a good 15-20 minute walk from the station so it's going to be a 2 hour commute in reality. Think we've skirted over that issue a bit and what if dh misses a train or trains are down? It's going to be grim, isn't it? Sorry that you've been priced out of the property market, it's so crazy in and around London. Hope you're all feeling much happier though in terms of location etc.

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 21:29:55

Stay well and truly put!

BranchingOut Wed 18-Sep-13 21:40:03

Have you thought of re-thinking your living space eg master bedroom becomes DCs shared bedroom?

valiumredhead Wed 18-Sep-13 22:00:36

I don't know if it's the same now but it used to have quite a reputation for drugs, probably as the youngsters are bored like lots of quiet towns.

loraflora Thu 19-Sep-13 00:50:04

I haven't lived in Whitstable, although I know the town, but can share my experience of moving to the coast. Years ago I moved to Hastings with DH - we were first time buyers and for the same price as our 3 storey Victorian house there we could only afford a flat in London. I loved that house and the peace (apart from the constant shrieking seagulls), but DH was the commuter and although he was commuting to Sevenoaks rather than London it still took ages. He never really settled there and within a couple of years we moved to London and a rather soulless small house - but he now had a commute that wasn't soul-destroying so ultimately it was a better compromise.

bande123 Wed 21-May-14 21:54:27

Hi Uphill - hope you don't mind me getting in touch, but I'm in a very similar situation to what you were and are seriously considering a move to Whitstable. I was just wondering if you did move in the end and if your children do go to Joy Lane? If so, how are you and your kids finding it? I visited recently, and like you, thought it seemed good though a bit corporate (especially the ties!). Would really appreciate your thoughts, if you did make the move... Many thanks...

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