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New Aussie mum in London needing advice please

(21 Posts)
redvelvet Fri 01-Aug-08 08:49:28

Hi everyone,

Am a new mum to London from Australia and currently living with hubby and baby with family while we work out where to live. Am finding it hard to work out how the system works here for kiddie healthcare/childcare/play centres and generally need some help with where to live to not feel isolated from other mums. We want to be relitively close to the centre of london (victoria area) for hubby's work but somewhere with a safe feel, close to a park, nice shopping and affordable rentals. Any ideas?? We loved Richmond from a recent day trip but just a bit pricey for our budget.Have heard snippets about Norwood West, Dulwich?? London seems so big and when you don't know these areas or anyone who lives there, am not sure whether to go by old info on burrough reputations on the internet...Any advice would be so so helpful, thank you:-)thank you:-) thank you"-)

arfishy Fri 01-Aug-08 12:40:37

Hello & Welcome to London smile. I'm from London but currently living in Sydney, so I know exactly how you feel.

Looking at places near Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames is nice, very close to the Royal parks and close to town, with lots of shopping and water. Kew is lovely, as is Esher. There are loads really, it depends how close to the centre of London you want to be and if you need a tube line. The trains are good though, a lot of suburbs can get fast trains into the city.

Victoria is a good station, you can reach it from most places, so you can live pretty much anywhere.

I'm not sure how healthcare works for visitors, I expect you're the same as us in Australia - we get a medicare card and can use bulk billing doctors. I don't know if you'll need an NI number or if you can register for reciprocal healthcare directly with a doctor. I do know that you will get free healthcare though (I had an Aussie nanny when I was still in the UK and she had no trouble, I just can't remember the details).

With childcare I suppose it depends what you want. There are plenty of private nurseries around, no long waiting lists like in Sydney. There are also lots of Au Pairs and nannies around, much more so than Australia - with Au Pairs they'll often be girls from Europe who are looking to brush up on their English.

There are plenty of soft play centres around, I know of ones in Richmond and Chiswick, also a lovely soft play cafe in Chelsea (with video links from your table down to the ball pit). There's a kids cafe in Kingston too, where lots of mums meet up.

I hope you enjoy the UK smile. Take plenty of trips to Europe on the Eurostar while you're there and go to the West End too - those are the only things I miss. Aside from Marks and Spencer and the fanastic shopping [pines for Gap and Monsoon and supermarkets the size of warehouses]

sagitta Fri 01-Aug-08 13:02:18

If you like S London, I'd suggest Clapham (near the Common) - otherwise kbown as 'nappy valley', or Battersea (near the park), or maybe Balham. Both are good for Victoria. I suppose it depends what you mean by affordable. Its a really good area for kids too, loads going on. I was a North Londoner myself, but that area would be a good bet south of the river.

If you register with a Dr, they will point you in the direction of a health visitor you will give you all the local play stuff. Otherwise try netmumsdotcom, as they tell you what child stuff is going on in your area. Dulwich is a bit far out and pretty pricey, I think.

redvelvet Fri 01-Aug-08 13:08:53

Hi Arfishy,

Thanks for your detailed reply, so helpful, thanks! Yeah, Victoria will be the best for my husband to get to work, so will def check out those areas you suggested. Think that no more than 30 mins into vic station would be ideal. Hope that you're enjoying Sydney! Although the UK would seem so similar to Australia, so many changes aren't there!

redvelvet Fri 01-Aug-08 13:11:44


Thanks for msg. Those suggestions are great-thanks. Somebody suggested streathem or tulse hill, but then I recently heard neagtive things about those places.
I guess by affordable I mean cheaper than Richmond! We maybe pushing our luck, but hope to find at least a 2 bed/pref 3 if baby number 2 comes along for less than 310. Havn't had much luck yet with my search..

arfishy Fri 01-Aug-08 13:31:29

Richmond is VERY expensive, it's very lovely (Mick Jagger lives there, along with loads of other celebs) but there are plenty of other places just like it but without the megabucks price tags. Richmond is pricey because it's green, has a tube line, overlooks the river and is quite villagey.

Clapham is very nice, jokily pronounced 'clarm' to be posh.

IIRC there's a UK site called that gives you lots of information about different areas. I think also has lots of postings from locals about each area as well if you're trying to get a feel for a place too.

ScottishMummy Fri 01-Aug-08 13:48:31

welcome to london

register with a gp, take corroborating documentation of address.register you and family

HV will know of local facilities/groups/meet mum events

consider going to classes

monkey music venues

tumble tots

look in local shop windows or ads in health centre for stuff going on

areas largely dependent upon budget, im afraid Ldn VVPricey

ask about

soes it need to be south ldn?some souh ldn suggestions

Dulwich village pricey, but west dulwich better price
hither green

arfishy Fri 01-Aug-08 13:53:07

Wimbledon is heaving with Aussies btw.

ScottishMummy Fri 01-Aug-08 13:56:33

aye wimbledon is choc-a-bloc with aussie's

TheBlonde Fri 01-Aug-08 13:58:49 all local councils will have a children's info service - they can send you lists of childcare and activities

ScottishMummy Fri 01-Aug-08 14:09:18

ofsted reports search by postcode inspection reports for childminders, nurseries.

foxtons estate agent

not only agent of course, but good start and indicative of types of property

finder property

reccomendations are good

thing about london is some people will love an area others will hate it

i like

some folk get all itchy at mere mention

happyfaceschildcare Fri 01-Aug-08 19:24:24

Welcome to the UK
I lived in Ashford Middlesex (near Richmond) for nearly all my life and now live in Kent for the past 3 years and I love it up here, I found the Heathrow side of london more busy and bustly where as Kent is more countryfied and a lot cheaper to, my fiancee travels to London everyday takes him about 40 mins from here, a great website I found when I was new to the area was you just put in your postcode and it brings up loads of places nearby to take the kids helped with finding dance classes and all sorts.
Good luck with your search, I've been a registered childminder for 4 years too so if you have any questions from that angle just give us a shout.
Have fun x

janx Fri 01-Aug-08 19:41:27

Stoke Newington in North London is great fro families and there is so many things to do - v trendy with nice shops, cafes - loads of baby groups - lots of parks. Hackney gets bad press, but it is a great multi - cultural liberal place to be

ScottishMummy Fri 01-Aug-08 20:05:24

stokie and hackney are great

janx Fri 01-Aug-08 20:06:27

Do you live there too scottishmummy?

Turniphead1 Fri 01-Aug-08 20:13:04

Stroud Green - an area just to the north of Finsbury Pk (which itself is still a bit ropey to live in) still provides great value for money for a central location and borders the more expensive Crouch End. Great schools, very child-centred etc. You can be in west end in 15 mins and in Victoria in 20 as Finsbury Pk is on Victoria line.

Area to west of Stroud Green Rd and north of but inc Stapleton Hall Rd nicest imo.

IMO, a little less urban than Stokey and Hackney ...

Best of luck in your search!

ScottishMummy Fri 01-Aug-08 20:37:33

stroud green and bounds green both good
palmers green - phew lotsa green

temple fortune

all good

tatt Fri 01-Aug-08 22:42:40

South London is cheaper (generally) than North and East cheaper than West. It's cheaper to live off the tube and the trains are faster but some people may not visit you.

You might like to look at the line from Waterloo out through Wimbledon. You have to change for Victoria but there are frequent trains and you're within reach of Richmond Park from the other side smile.

Health is easy - you register with a GP (general practitioner). Look in a local library to get a list of gps. They will also have lists of local clubs, incluidng toddler groups.

BasementBear Sat 02-Aug-08 14:28:15

Welcome to London! I live very close to Victoria station in Pimlico, have done for past 7 years, and I think it is brilliant for children. We have two children, 6.5 and 4.5, and there is so much for them to do - 3 libraries within 10mins walk, baby groups every day (am and pm!) swimming pool with a great baby pool. Lots of playgrounds, plus the major parks - St James, Green Park, Battersea Park and Hyde Park. Most of Westminster operates the SureStart Scheme too, which offers lots of support for parents and children, in terms of health care, advice, support groups and playgroups etc. Obviously it is central London so the cost of renting or buying is higher than average but Pimlico feels quite villagey and I have always felt safe living here. Commuting to Victoria from Kent and Sussex is pretty easy and reliable.

redvelvet Wed 06-Aug-08 12:08:03

Hi everyone,

Sorry haven't been back to anyone, had trouble with our stupid portable modem (hardly seems to work!). Thank you all so very much for all your really helpful advice and tips on living and healthcare. I have been given plenty to explore and again and most grateful:-)

My husband went to the hairdresser yesterday and was told after he mentionned Richmond being nice, that just close by is mortlake and sheen, close to Richmond Park. Have noticed there are some pretty well priced flats tor rent. Does anyone know if this is for a reason. It usually seems to be!!! :-)

Anyway, thanks all again and will let you know our progress.


Gill79 Fri 08-Aug-08 15:30:50

I would second janx (Hi Janx!) on Stoke Newington. You could be walking distance to manor house or finsbury park station for victoria line. or direct bus to victoria from centre of stokey.

Lovely parks, great local shops & cafes, village feel and millions of mummies!

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