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Considering moving to Cambridgeshire(45 Posts)
Need honest advice PLEASE !!! We are considering moving out of London to Cambridgeshire. We have 3 kids under 5 and DH has to travel (drive occasionally) to London. We have looked online and have considered Caldecote and Doddington primarily for access to schools and property within our budget. Can you please suggest if either locations are suitable and including activities for kids around. Alternatively, we are open to suggestions in and around Ely.
I grew up North of Cambridge towards Ely. Travel from there to London via train is really easy, especially with the new Cambridge north station which has an enormous carpark. I wouldn’t consider driving to London from there though...
Ely is lovely and I would happily live there. It will seem extremely quiet compared with London though, my parents village has 1 bus an hour and I don’t think there are any on a Sunday, though I could be wrong.
Afraid I don’t know much about the villages south of Cambridge.
I lived in Cambridgeshire 10 years.
Look towards St Neots if you can or Brampton(Huntingdon itself was not for me at all...very rough)
I commuted to Kings X from St Neots for 3 years and it was fab..some trains take 47 minutes!
St Neots is a lovely market town with tons of bars and restaurants and also lots to do for kids. Lots of groups...very family orientated.
It's also just off the A1/A14 and of course the guided bus to Cambridge.
Can get alot for your money in these areas (St Ives also, lovely town and plenty for families!)
I personally wouldn't consider moving to the likes of Ely, Haddenham, Wilburton etc. I found it was mainly older generations here.
The villages south of Cambridge tend to be lovely but expensive, some are comparable with London prices.
I could tell you more about the villages in south Cambs, my knowledge of the north Cambs towns/villages isn’t great. I only know that reliance upon the A14 is enough to put me off living north of Cambridge.
Are you looking for a village location? Those you mentioned are pretty small and isolated.
Ely is lovely and is the biggest and nicest town (well city) in the north of Cambridgeshire. Ely is pretty well served now in terms of amenities and the town centre is lovely- big cathedral takes centre place.
Waterbeach could also be a good option and is on the train line. What's your budget and what are you looking for?
I only really know about the South Cambs villages - one of the best days of my life was changing jobs and no longer having to drive on the A14 every day.
If your DH has to drive to London, south cambs might be better as you would miss the (horrendous) traffic around Cambridge itself. Downside is that (dependent on where in South Cambs) you might be on the crap line into Liverpool St rather than the faster one to Kings Cross. Depends where in London he needs to be though.
Would be very quiet compared to London though!
I personally wouldnt want to.live in Doddington.
Which Caldecote do you mean? there is one near Cambridge and one near Peterborough.
If you want a village location, most of the villages in South Cambs have good schools. We live in a village near Cambridge with an amazing primary school. Dh goes to London on average one day a week and gets a train from either Royston or St Neots.
The market towns are mostlybfine. I really like Ely and St Ives. St Neots and Huntingdon aren't great but they are ok.
You might get a better response if you post on the local MN board for Cambridge
To those moaning about the A14. - it has now been upgraded. its brilliant!
I agree, there are nicer villages in South Cambs e.g. Shelford, Whittlesford, Stapleford, Trumpington but they can be expensive. What is your budget and do you want a village location?
I moved from London years ago and don’t regret it at all. Come to Ely 😁 Half the price of Cambridge, full of lovely people, farmers markets, Super fast 1Gb broadband going in, schools are pretty good these days, not to mention Toppings Bookshop. Train line to everywhere London, Cambridge, Stansted and the North. It is windy in the winter however!
Dodddington is ok, but not much there and even more remote than Ely. South of Cambridge is eye bleeding expensive, so I’d avoid there.
Downham Market or their villages Denver/Hilgay is even further North, but is on the train line into Cambridge and is super cheap. I’d personally choose it over Doddington to be honest.
Forgot to say Ely also has a cinema, swimming pool/sports centre there’s loads of other sports, we’re campaigning for a splash park and we have a walk in minor injuries department which is a godsend if you have kids. DM me if you need to know about any of the other places
Another vote for Ely here - I moved from London several years ago. Yes, it's certainly quiet in comparison but it's friendly and has plenty of character, some lovely independent shops too. The London commute isn't too bad if it's only a couple of days a week and property is much cheaper than in Cambridge - a bit of a hidden gem I think! There are plenty of young families about and things going on for small children - perhaps a little less so in the surrounding villages?
Another vote for Ely. Also St Neots worth considering if you want to be a bit closer to London than that.
I've lived in several of the South Cambs villages listed, and assorted other villages. South Cambs villages are very pricey, schools good, traffic terrible. Having lived in Cambridgeshire until about 10 years ago, I wouldn't want to go back. Mainly because you have to allow for traffic congestion with just about every journey, but if you're moving from London that's not going to be a problem.
There is a certain amount of snobbery regarding which village people live in. So S Cambs is considered more desirable than N Cambs, Little Shelford more desirable than Great Shelford etc which I found a bit tiresome, but also lots of lovely interesting people and loads to do.
Ely used to be considered a bit 'out in the Fens' but since Cambridge became unaffordable for many, I think it's become a really nice place to live not (have only worked there rather than lived there myself) and definitely not just full of the 'older generation'
I have no idea what it’s like now but years ago I lived in Buckden, not far from Huntingdon. It was lovely for us kids growing up.
I’ve lived here all my life and adore it. I don’t know much about the Ely side. You’ll certainly have to do your research. Cambridgeshire has as many dodgy areas as anywhere else. If you’re moving from London you should probably choose a village slightly closer to Cambridge. If you move too far out in the fen it would probably be a colossal shock and not in a good way
Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbots are lovely villages. Houghton is also very pretty.
@SmallPinkBear - thanks that really helpful. We were torn between the north (cheaper houses) and south (more accessible).
@arcticnead1984 - thanks. St. Neots is on our list but we haven't found something in our budget that's close enough to good schools. Fast trains to St. Pancras is a big draw for DH and we've drove and loved the place. It has all the essentials to keep kids occupied and have a bit of a social life.
@Mummyshark2018 - i think having read all of the comments, we will now settle in or just outside Ely, St. Neots etc. Can't be too rural as i agree with @ Coughsyrupsucks that walk in for minor injuries will be on top of the list with 3 DC.
@MrBennsshop - that's really helpful to understand. Will consider the places mentioned. We are hoping we find something resonable in our budget - 4 bed (preferably) detached under 500k - fingers crossed.
@Dita73 - appreciate the reality check. It is one of our worries to jump from one extreme (busy london life) to another (too rural).
@Archie1989 - will check them out. Thanks.
More suggestions are welcome and would be grateful for no-go areas within Ely and St. Neots for now. Hopefully, the list won't be too long. Once shortlisted we will start to drive in to visit the top 4-5 locations to get a feel of the place. Thanks again.
Ely itself doesn’t really have any no go areas. There is The Barns which is a council estate but nothing like you’d find in London, but there wouldn’t be anything there you’d want to buy in your budget anyway.
The older parts are charming as is down by the river - make sure you get parking if you have a car. Whilst parking is currently free, in Summer it’s at a premium in the centre.
There are new estates Stour Green is about 20 years old and imho is nicer than the Columbine Road area which is frankly a horrible maze. The new houses off Cam Drive seem quite nice but the gardens are tiny.
St John’s and West End are nice and North Ely is lovely.
Littleport is the next village on and you either love it or hate it.
@Coughsyrupsucks - thanks again. Will look at the areas you've mentioned in Ely. As for littleport, we liked a few houses and they are within budget although travel time increases by 15 mins (a trade off maybe?) but we've heard mixed reviews about the place.
If you don't mind - can you elaborate a bit more on the love it / hate it comment. Mindful that i have 3 kids to keep occupied especially in the eve and weekends is it worth it given its only 6 miles from Ely? and for amenities etc.
Littlepirt is one of the more deprived parts of Cambridgeshire. If that kind of thing is important to you, you can look up the multiple indices of deprivation for that area.
Some of the villages around st. Neots are nicer than the town itself, and easy commuting still for the station. Great Paxton, the Offords, yelling, Graveley, hail weston all possibilities. Two secondary’s in st Neots- longsands and ernulf. Longsands has the better reputation, though Ernulf is rapidly improving. Many of the villages feed into Longsands. Budget of £500k should get you something lovely. Good luck!
Littleport is pretty deprived and there isn’t much for the kids to do there, so they tend to get into trouble. Despite all the new houses being built they aren’t adding facilities other than the new Secondary school.
It’s ok, but if you have three kids you’ll forever be ferrying them to clubs/activities in Ely. The houses on Ely Road are huge and cheap but I’d avoid the Estates, the houses really are on top of each other. It’s one of those places that’s been ‘up and coming’ according to the estate agents but never has really improved massively.
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