Single parent leaving London. To move to Reading or Coventry?

(27 Posts)
Mil321 Fri 26-Nov-21 11:57:57

Hi all!

Firstly, thank you to everyone on the Mumsnet chats for all your great advice. I've been using Mumsnet since my first child was born and feel that I really need some wise advice, so here goes:

I'm separating from my husband and I am trying to work out where I can afford to live. We can't afford 2 homes where we are at the moment, which is London, so we are leaving London.

My budget is £330,000. I am looking for 3 bedrooms for myself and children (1 in nursery, 1 in reception). My parents live in Maidenhead; I can only afford 2 bedroom flats in Maidenhead with no scope for extension. I have looked at Wokingham, and again, only 2 bedrooms are within my reach. Tbf, I can't see myself being able to afford to extend in the future as have a relatively low wage, so 3 bedrooms makes more sense.

I travel to Canary Wharf twice a week for work. Ideally I'd love somewhere near schools and public transport to London. Maximum commute time 1.5 hours.

It would be wonderful to be near my parents, although totally not the priority here; location to schools and public transport/access to London are the main considerations. I know Slough/Burnham/Taplow and do not wish to live in those places.

Could someone (especially single parents please!) advise me on Reading areas, and Coventry please (a long way from my parents, but I was recently applying to Medical School there until we separated, so kinda know the area and seems nice, and the commute seems doable!).

Not looking for advice regarding my relationship or separation; just on my move please. smile

Thank you kindly Mumsnetters! star

OP’s posts: |
HelloCanYouHearMe Fri 26-Nov-21 12:06:54

Single parent, Coventry resident here.

You would certainly get a nice house in a nice area - Earlsdon, Styvechale, Coundon, Allesley all quite close to the train station (and some in walking distance of)

My concern would be the cost of the commute - peak time trains to London arent cheap, but if thats not an issue...

SpongebobNoPants Fri 26-Nov-21 12:11:23

Last year we bought a large 4 bed house in the Eastern Green area of Coventry for just over £300k.
The schools and nurseries in this area are lovely too. We can literally walk into the countryside within 2 mins or drive 25 mins into Birmingham.
We’re 5 minutes from the university of Warwick, 10-15 mins from Coventry university.

The local train station at Tile Hill offers free parking and it will get you to Coventry station within 10 mins, then a direct route to Euston in 52 mins.

It’s a nice place to live in my opinion.

angeltattoo Fri 26-Nov-21 16:20:26

Move to Rugby in Warwickshire, near Coventry. 50 mins on train to Euston so you can get to Canary Wharf in 1.5 hrs easily.
£330k will get you a lovely house within walking distance of the station.

angeltattoo Fri 26-Nov-21 16:23:29

Easy to commute to Coventry, Warwick and Birmingham medical schools too

angeltattoo Fri 26-Nov-21 16:24:24

Or Houlton, a new development nearby

Mil321 Fri 26-Nov-21 21:01:08

Thank you everyone! Such useful advice. I hadn't really factored in commuting expenses, so will calculate these, too. smile

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Didiusfalco Fri 26-Nov-21 21:06:26

The Coventry bit is baffling me, unless you had family or a support network to draw you there, it is not somewhere you would move to (sorry Coventry residents). There’s a load of nicer places you could commute from, and it’s not that great as a commute. confused

Mil321 Fri 26-Nov-21 21:30:51

@Didiusfalco yes, I guess it does seem a bit random! I guess it's only as we were thinking of moving there previously when I was applying to study medicine (I won't be applying now as can't afford it as a single parent), but somehow Coventry is still kinda in my head. My (ex-) partner had also heard nice things about it. It also seems quite easy to get to London and within price range. I also don't drive so would rely on public transport, and I quite like the idea of living in a city. I've looked at Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton but all seem out of my price range. I mentioned Reading as it is within my price range, but tbf when I used to go there for nights out I remember it being a bit scary at times 😖. Just wondered if it had changed much.

OP’s posts: |
angeltattoo Sat 27-Nov-21 10:08:16

There was a thread on here recently about someone finding Reading scary.
Others were knew the area were able to comment on it.

TottiePlantagenet Sat 27-Nov-21 10:18:14

Something like this in East Reading?

Buses into town, local shops, schools and park nearby. Easy to get to Wokingham (by bus or train).

LawnFever Sat 27-Nov-21 10:21:59

What about Milton Keynes? Direct trains to London from there, or somewhere in Northamptonshire on the train route?

toolazytothinkofausername Sat 27-Nov-21 10:24:08

Not Reading. I went once and never again.

IToldYouIWasFreaky Sat 27-Nov-21 10:31:56

Have a look at houses around Tilehurst Station in Reading. The train line goes through Maidenhead into Paddington and takes about 40mins, so it's great for commuting.
You'll need to do your school research carefully as the quality of schools can really vary but you should be able to get something in your price range near a good primary. There are good bus routes into town, which would take about 30-40mins.
Yes, town centre on a weekend evening can be a total shit hole! We rarely go into town for a night out (mostly due to being middle aged!) People will say horrible things about the Oxford Road but I've lived in this area all my life and I love it!

mbosnz Sat 27-Nov-21 11:46:02

I love Reading. Yes, it can get a tad exciting at times - but can't everywhere?!

We've found the secondary school excellent, I like the size and shopping in Reading, just right for us!

Polmuggle Sat 27-Nov-21 11:52:39

Op if you're commuting to Canary Wharf, why are you looking west of London?

danio01 Sat 27-Nov-21 11:58:51

Hi, I was in the same boat exactly a year ago, though I was living in Maidenhead. I had similar budget to yours and could only afford a two bed flat in Maidenhead.
As it was important for my teens to stay in the same schools and I couldn’t afford anything close to Maidenhead (apart from Slough), we moved to Reading/Tilehurst. It has worked well, though I was sceptical at first as we have 50/50 care arrangements with my ex. But my oldest convinced me that Reading would work. We live in a quiet area ten minutes away from Tilehurst station so the kids can walk if I can’t drop them off.
The bus takes about 15 minutes to get to the centre.
Reading itself is fine. I like to have the variety of shops and restaurants at my doorstep after living in the town where there were very few.
I have never felt scared in the town centre, but I do not go out late at night. Will you with the small children?
We go out for a meal in the evening sometimes at it has always been fine.
I am sure it can get scary late at night at the weekends, but to be honest so was Maidenhead ( I lived on the walking route from the town centre.) and most of other towns/cities in the UK.

Naughtynovembertree Sat 27-Nov-21 13:17:29

Twyford would be perfect op

danio01 Sat 27-Nov-21 18:01:13

Unfortunately you won’t find 3 bedroom houses for OP’s budget in Twyford. It is quite expensive.

Whenasuitcasejustwontdo Sat 27-Nov-21 18:10:11

I've lived in both places and wish I could move back to Coventry. With the City of Culture status, there is a lot of development and things going on. There isn't as much in Reading compared to Coventry. Cost of living is cheaper too.

Reading feels just as safe as most towns and the river is beautiful to walk down though.

KeyErro Sat 27-Nov-21 18:45:54

I don't think you'd get from Reading to Canary Wharf in 1.5 hours, or at least not on a reliable basis.
I don't know Coventry well enough to make any recommendations but if your fixed requirement is getting to CW regularly then I'd be looking for Essex, maybe Herts or Suffolk at a stretch.

TakeYourFinalPosition Sat 27-Nov-21 19:06:39

From personal experience, I’d avoid Coventry if you need to commute to Canary Wharf. It’s expensive and an absolute pain, and there always seems to be delays.

Looking west of London isn’t a great idea if you want Canary Wharf, really.

I’d also make sure you like Coventry before you go for it. It’s an acquired taste. It didn’t bother me while I was there, but I know a lot of people really don’t like it.

Mil321 Sat 27-Nov-21 20:47:45

All such useful comments, thank you! Was thinking West as my parents live in Maidenhead but Maidenhead is pricey; Coventry as I'd done a (little) bit of research on it previously.

@danio01I am definitely going to look at Reading again. I guess I wouldn't be going out late at night with the children, but sometimes I am out with my friends in London where I am now; I realise now that this would not apply in Reading as a single parent. I was also thinking that I would worry about them in the future walking around Reading at night when they themselves go on nights out, but that is a LONG way off yet smile

On another note, I have also realised today that I have TOTALLY miscalculated the amount of mortgage repayments I can afford, so my budget is in fact £150,000 even considering equity from the sale of our current property in London, kinda laughable confused. Actually makes me laugh at how naive I have been. I'm going to look into Shared Ownership instead. But thank you all once again with your help; you have really helped me narrow down my search areas.

OP’s posts: |
RustyBear Sat 27-Nov-21 20:56:07

I don't think you'd get from Reading to Canary Wharf in 1.5 hours, or at least not on a reliable basis. Maybe once the Elizabeth Line is complete?

Mil321 Sun 28-Nov-21 08:52:01

Thanks @rustybear am hoping the Elizabeth Line will actually happen!

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