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to move out of London and to Herts?

(57 Posts)
bodgerthebadger Thu 14-Nov-13 13:46:26

Hi, posting here due to volume of traffic as i really need some advice smile

We currently live in London in an area where the school situation is incredibly stressful. Basically, unless you live on top of the school (which we don't) or attend weekly mass for 3 years with a letter of support from the Parish priest, you won't get in. We would most likely get a place at one school but it was on Special Measures recently and, as a personal choice, I would prefer not to send my kids there. That leaves the private schools which, when we have no.2 on the way, makes me feel shock assuming our children would even get a place at all. I also work FT in a very stressful job, with long hours and private school fees (whilst just about affordable) would make me a slave to my job, which is not what I want (I'm the main breadwinner in our household). Getting into a decent state school would leave me with a few more options to reduce my working hours and spend some more quality time with my family. If that means moving out of London, an area that my OH and I love, then that's a compromise we're willing to make.

We love where we are but the school situation is proving to be so uncertain and stressful, that we are thinking of moving to Herts due to the convenient connections to Kings X (since we both work in London and this is that station that works best for us).

I would be extremely grateful for any advice on where best to think about in Herts. We have a fairly healthy budget and would like a 4 bed house. The main priority is to have a good selection of primary schools (state) and secondary schools (would consider private) where we would stand a decent chance of getting a place. We don't want to live in a busy town - somewhere with a village feel without being in the middle of nowhere and with decent facilities, family things to do, access to countryside etc would be ideal if we could get it. I know it sounds like we're asking for a lot but we wouldn't be able to afford to move again after this so we're seeing this as a house for life smile I don't expect to tick all the boxes but it would be good if we could tick most!

Harpenden and St Albans strikes me as the most obvious locations but housing stock is in short supply and, even with a healthy budget, seems a bit beyond our budget! We considered Berkhamsted and Hertford since we heard lovely things about these places but neither go direct to Kings X. We visited Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin but we don't feel that these places are for us.

If anyone has any suggestions of other places within or near Herts that we could add to the mix, I'd be extremely grateful!

Sorry for the long post and for posting this in AIBU.

Thanks! x

SilasGreenback Thu 14-Nov-13 17:38:29

What is your maximum commute time? Cambridge has non stop fast trains to KingsX that take 50 mins. Dh does quite a lot of work on the train - emails and stuff.

arethereanyleftatall Thu 14-Nov-13 17:56:59

I know you've already crossed it off your list, but I live in Berkhamsted- its pretty much perfect for family life.

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 14-Nov-13 18:04:02

Or you could come out to Bucks - Amersham is at the end of the tube line, so you could get the met to Kings X

orangepudding Thu 14-Nov-13 18:08:19

WGC is a good place to live though 4 bed houses on the west side ( desirable part of town) are hard to find.

Topseyt Thu 14-Nov-13 18:15:22

Bishops Stortford isn't bad either. Close to the Herts/Essex border, but in Hertfordshire. Good transport connections, though I think most trains do go into Liverpool Street. A quick change at Tottenham Hale though gets you the Victoria line into Kings Cross.

It isn't far from us, although I am in Essex.

Jacksterbear Thu 14-Nov-13 18:26:01

Knebworth is lovely < waves at onelittleclara>: although not particularly picturesque, it's got a really nice community, it's a big village so more facilities than just a village shop, and a good commute into London (to KX in between 21 and 38 mins). Only problem is secondary schools, as has already been mentioned.

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 14-Nov-13 18:44:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ALittleStranger Thu 14-Nov-13 18:45:17

If schools are your motivator I'm a little confused. London schools are fantastic, truly, truly fantastic. Whereas Hertfordshire's comps are some of the worst in the country. Unless you have the money to move on top of one of the star schools in the county I'm not clear that you're really helping yourselves much.

CommanderShepard Thu 14-Nov-13 19:13:25

Friends moved from Kilburn to Stevenage and from there to Welwyn Garden City and are very happy - one works in Hatfield and the other in Chiswick and the commutes are fine.

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 14-Nov-13 19:29:58

What about cuffley? Lovely village, but with more than one shop, train station straight into kings cross, nice primary school an then you have goffs secondary school which is 'good'. Amazing houses there if you have the budget, but also lots of more realistic houses as well.

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 14-Nov-13 19:31:23

I would totally avoid stevenage and the surrounding villages as unless you are catholic the secondary schools are pretty dire I think.

southeastastra Thu 14-Nov-13 19:33:15

hertfordshire's comps are the worst in the country??

i'd stay in london, hertfordshire is boring. grin i miss london so much. nothing to do in herts unless you are very loaded and like the boring mundanity of it all

imofftolisdoonvarna Thu 14-Nov-13 19:34:45

Whereas Hertfordshire's comps are some of the worst in the country.

Really? I'm not sure this is true of the whole of herts is it?

SparklyFucker Thu 14-Nov-13 19:35:58

What was it about Hitchin that you didn't like? Because on paper it ticks every single one of your boxes, and there are some really great areas in the town that are in catchment for the prestigious Boys and Girls schools. Avoid Stevenage at all costs, it's nasty, and Letchworth is rather 'cold' though has a couple of great independent schools.

ThePlEWhoLovedMe Thu 14-Nov-13 19:52:28

Have you considered Barnet / Potters bar ?? Great schools

averywoomummy Thu 14-Nov-13 20:00:45

Digswell or Welwyn Village or Lemsford are all lovely places with a village feel but within about 10/15 mins drive of a station that takes you into Kings Cross.

Old Hatfield is quite nice too but not so sure about schools there

Or Sandringham (I think near St Albans)

averywoomummy Thu 14-Nov-13 20:09:55

The secondary's are not amazing but not terrible either

And there is loads to do in Herts!

HairyGrotter Thu 14-Nov-13 20:56:28

I live in the mighty Albans, horrendously over priced, but there are plenty of places on the outskirts, depends if you want a walk to a station or a drive. Nice villages, like Wheathampstead or Sandridge dotted around

Herts is great wink

BonaDrag Thu 14-Nov-13 21:03:09

Kings Langley is lovely. I second the other poster. Trains to Euston.

CarolineKnappShappey Thu 14-Nov-13 22:11:43

What is your budget?

girlywhirly Fri 15-Nov-13 11:30:54

Be aware for your commute that village stations will have less choice of trains departing from and stopping at your station, than if you go from a town station. You will also have to factor in parking charges unless you are within walking distance of the station. Also consider how snow might affect your travel if stuck in a village and cannot drive to a station. (I suspect that you have been spoilt with plenty of travel options in London) Do not expect buses to run late at night to villages either, I used to live in Codicote (between Welwyn village and Hitchin) and the buses stopped early evening.

My next door neighbours moved to Hitchin from Knebworth because they wanted their DD's to go to the girls school, in Knebworth the secondary options were in Stevenage. Also he can walk to Hitchin station to commute now. A fast train from Kings Cross is around 30 mins to Hitchin and you have different options i.e. the Cambridge train or the Kings Lynn train or the Huntingdon train can all have stops at Hitchin.

I live in Hitchin and can walk into the town and to the station. Don't dismiss it just yet.

Damnautocorrect Fri 15-Nov-13 11:57:08

Goffs oak?
Barnet feels more like London now so if your wanting the greener life I think you need to move further out.
Loads of lovely places mentioned already
Rickmansworth lovely lovely lovely
So is Welwyn garden city, codicote, st Albans lovely but traffic central.
If you follow up the a1 there's lots of lovely places as that train line is brilliant and reliable.

thegreylady Fri 15-Nov-13 11:57:14

St Clement Dane's comp is one of the best in the country!

bodgerthebadger Fri 15-Nov-13 17:07:55

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. I have a lot more research to do I see and I can foresee spending a lot of weekends in Herts exploring. I love that I can count on Mumsnetters to come up with fab advice smile

fairylightsintheautumn Fri 15-Nov-13 17:13:58

East Herts is cheaper than West Herts. I would agree that Stevenage secondaries are not great but what you save on your mortgage compared to St Albans you could go private!! Its perfectly decent place to live, though nearby Knebworth or Datchworth are nicer. Generally Herts comps are perfectly ok and the ones in Harpenden are excellent.

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