Dh thinks we would be bored in Bucks - help me convince him otherwise!(30 Posts)
We are starting to home in on Buckinghamshire as the place to visit with intentions of moving for good schools - good state option, good preps, grammar schools etc.
BUT dh thinks we would get bored very quickly as there is nowhere really to drive to at weekends, no big towns to visit nearby (looking at Amesbury way).
Any thoughts - wondering what Bucks is like for a family. Where do people go and would this be a really bad move. Need to get it right this time so our children can settle and be happy - most important thing for me.
Also a little worried about crime - keep reading scary things about High Wycombe - is it a safe place to live??
Thank you for your thoughts.
I went to the grammar in Buckingham (Royal Latin) and had friends at the High and Grammar in Aylesbury. All great schools.
High Wycombe has a posher end and a skanky end. Just outside there are some lovely villages but parts of it are a bit manky, agreed.
I don't know Amesbury, is it a village? Whereabouts in Bucks? It's very different depending on where you settle.
Depends what youre looking for and what your interests are, I suppose. There are plenty of good restaurants, cinemas and sports facilities around.
We chose Bucks (many moons ago now) partly because it feels like youre in the country but its only 35 minutes into London by train so still very accessible for museums/theatres/galleries etc.
We go to Watford (20 minutes) or Westfield (30 minutes) for shopping. What else does your DH want specifically?
High Wycombe certainly wouldnt be my first choice, have a look at Little Chalfont, Amersham and Chesham Bois.
My sister lives in Wendover and loves it. Surrounded by woody hills but close to aylesbury and 30 mins from London.
Bucks still has the 11 plus though, which is making my nephew anxious at the moment .
At his primary it is compulsory, which has made the teachers really push him on- not much fun though.
Thanks for your thoughts. We drove around Amersham and Chesham Bois today and really liked it. Wondering if it would be a bit restrictive without a larger town nearby and not many of the usual chain stores eg. couldn't find a WhSmiths but the area had a nice feel.
Still curious as to what everyone does at the weekend. Now just need to think about schools. Chesham prep is the favourite at the moment.
Thanks again everyone
Don't worry - there are no weekends outside London - they haven't been invented yet. You could try introducing them to the locals - but you will probably be burned as a witch if you do.
Seeker you are spot on. Here in rural Suffolk I sit around all weekend wishing I had a big city to visit (not).
All the people I know have weekends full of DC's sport commitments, house-stuff, dog walking, seeing friends and maybe going out for a meal or the cinema or theatre and general family life. Fun, in other words.
Rural England is not quite the cultural and social backwater you seem to think it is Arizonagirl.
(PS - I'm from Leeds originally and the only thing I miss about City Life are the nightclubs I used to go to when I was 20!)
bigfootbeliever, I probably haven't explained myself very well. We are actually in a very quiet village which I love. But at the weekends we tend to drive out - Guildford, the coast in Sussex, Bluewater, big Guildford sports spectrum which is great. What I am worried about is that Amersham (as lovely as it is) doesn't seem to have many places to get to (apart from London obviously). What I can't work out is where there is to go as the high streets seem very small (but delightful) and I didn't see any big sports centres, indoor shopping centres etc. But yes, the countryside has lots of offer but it is just nice to have a few other places to go to. I am not knocking Bucks - I really liked it or I wouldn't even bother to ask this question.
Mind you, I have just read another article which says High Wycombe is quite high in crime and Chesham is getting worse (someone joked that you need a tazer down Sunningdale Road - means nothing to me but I did find that a bit worrisome even though I know it was a joke).
arizongirl - I understand now, but I'm not the person to help you. The thought of spending my spare time in an indoor shopping centre is not my idea of fun.
One man's meat is another man's poison I think!
i grew up in bucks and i'm not keen. But then teenagers don't often like where they grew up do they? almost all my friends have moved away now. the house prices are too expensive for anyone under 35.
Schools are good, if you can get into grammar (i did ) but if you are above average but not bright enough, if you will feel like a failure, not nice at 11.
we went to brent cross occasionally for shopping i think.
it is a long way into london to really visit regularly and a long way to the coast. the countryside is pleasant, but far from stunning imo.
high wycombe and chesham do have 'rough' bits. but both towns would have nice bits too. everywhere else mentioned is very nice and pleasant.
sorry, i haven't really helped (slopes off). i can't remember much that was very exciting to do. but it's not far to london on the train from many places.
We also used to go to slough for shopping, chains, etc, but that really may not be to every one's taste.
We live just inside the Bucks part of the Bucks/Oxon border (near Marlow). and we're very happy here, having lived all over the country.
I don't really know what you mean by places to drive to at weekends, big towns etc.
TBH we're not really that interested in shopping, so weekends for us are taken up with long walks, gardening (for dh), picnics, going on the river etc. If we do fancy going to a town we'd go to Oxford. We don't particularly like London so go there rarely, but it's nice to know it's there if we want it.
High Wycombe and Slough are both fairly dire, but much cheaper house prices than the more desirable small towns (Marlow, Thame Henley etc) and the very pretty villages.
If you're townies, you may be going to the wrong place, but if you're into horseriding, walking, rowing etc then you'll like it here.
My mum lives in Chesham (well, Ley Hill, just outside). Chesham's on the Tube, you know! True, the town is a little naff, and it has always been Amersham's poor relation due to its industrial past (shoemaking....), but the town centre is a lot better than it used to be, even has a Cafe Nero now!
Amersham/Chalfont/Beaconsfield are nicer areas - but it's like a lot of the Home Counties, expensive housing and not much peace and quiet.
Mum goes to Watford for the bright lights/big city, only 9 or 10 miles away, or Hemel Hempstead (5 miles, but chav central). Or she heads to the Chiltern Hills for countryside.
My bro went to Chesham Prep too (but that was before the last Ice Age). A good senior school in the area is Dr Challoners.
Gerrards Cross and the Chalfonts are ok, although a large proportion of the houses are in gated communities which are a pita to get into.
Surely a village near Milton Keynes would suit the Bucks and shopping centre requirements?
arizonagirl if having a vast shopping outlet on your doorstep is your top priority, then south Bucks probably isnt going to suit you most of us move here to get away from such places
That said, as I mentioned in my previous post, Westfields is easily accessible, as is Brent Cross. On a smaller scale Watford and High Wycombe are not bad. Older kids (and parents) can get the train into Harrow (20 minutes) or London.
As for Amersham itself, there is a WHSmiths on the High Street. Also Boots, Superdrug, Waterstones, M&S food, Iceland, Costa Coffee and coming soon Waitrose. In old Amersham youll find one of the UKs largest branches of Tescos.
Leisure activities: Hemel Hempstead (25 minutes) has a great water park, ice skating, bowling and a laser quest. High Wycombe has about 20 cinema screens, bowling and a good range of restaurants and cafes. High Wycombe is fine during the daytime, my DD has been catching the bus in on her own since she was 11.
My DCs are very sporty football, tennis, badminton, netball, basketball, cricket clubs for all of these are within 10 minutes drive. The Chilterns are also good for walking, running and cycling and, I guess, horse riding, if thats what youre into. Theres a world-class swimming club run out of Amersham swimming pool and the centre there also has a good gym and a climbing wall. Stagecoach and Sportscoach also both have (very) local franchises.
DH grew up in Bucks and contrary to what concordia says, loads of his old friends are also now back living in the area with families of their own. Theres plenty of social life for those who want it
We're in the Chalfonts and while there are plenty of houses on steroids which are gated, the rest of us normal folks manage just fine on ordinary streets tbh
Amersham on the Hill does have a lovely shiny new WHSmith, Eden in Wycombe and the Chimes in Uxbridge have pretty much all I need in the way of shops but if you're desperate for a retail fix Westfield and Brent Cross don't take that long to get to on the A40.
As for places to go there's loads of National Trust stuff round here, the M40 gets you over to Oxford and Warwick and outlet shopping at Bicester Village. Sailing at Hillingdon or Marlow, skiing at Hemel, tons of horse-riding, climbing - well even Amersham sports centre has a great wall complex. Not really sure what more you want?
Agree with concordia there are rough bits to Chesham and Wycombe but where doesn't have them these days. I've lots of friends living in both who are very happy - outskirts tend to be nicer and as you've realised it does come at a price.
Mattellie, thank you so much for your lengthy comments and taking the time to reply. A very convincing argument for moving to the area. Any thoughts on crime statistics and Bucks - that does kind of worry me. Thanks again : ))))
For crime statistics, you could look on a website called DownMyStreet (or something very muchlike that).
Any thoughts on crime statistics and Bucks
Difficult to generalise, but my family havent had any problems in past 14 years. In our road (ex-council estate) people look out for each other, not aware of any thefts let alone violence famous last words, eh?
IMHO, there are very few issues anywhere during the daytime. As I say, DD happily catches the bus to High Wycombe and back and hangs out with friends in the parks in Little Chalfont and Amersham (skate park).
Not much cause to go to Chesham at night cos there isnt much there. Wycombe is fine if youre going somewhere specific, ie cinema, bowling, restaurant etc but admittedly probably wouldnt just hang out but to be honest isnt that true of most towns these days?
I grew up in Bucks and also went to the Royal Latin (*Tippychooks* when were you there??!! Maybe we knew each other?! )
I loved it, spent a lot of time playing in the countryside with friends making dens and chasing cows!! If that doesnt appeal then there's always Milton Keynes close by or London is easily accessabile by train as others have said!!
As for your original question with regards to High Wycombe I was a police officer there for a short while (later moved to Amersham) and parts of it are definately worth avoiding. You could bet that if there was local murder or a rape it'd be in High Wycombe! I also wouldnt risk going out there on a Friday or Saturday night! Saying that it's a big town and it has it's nice areas. Generally if you go for somewhere cheap you'll end up in a dodgy area (the same for any town or city!!). But I wouldnt recommend it and I definately wouldnt choose to live there myself.
If you want somewhere affordable try somewhere like Chesham. I lived in Chartridge near Chesham, it's a nice little town tho also has its crime problems (mostly drugs but not something that the average person would notice.... mostly underground stuff and it's not paraded about in public) but not as much as High Wycomebe.
If money's not an issue Amersham or one of the smaller villages around there is the place to be. Very low crime rate (mostly burglaries) and not many problems other than gangs of kids hanging out in the skate park which sometimes cause problems (fighting and soft drugs etc).
When you said Amesbury I presume you meant Aylesbury?? (Amesbury is in Wiltsire). The town is reasonable (I was born there!), good train links to London and reasonable shopping facilities, much improved in recent years!
Bucks in general is a great place to be in the UK as it's right in the middle of everything. I used to travel all over the country from there and you have a lot of choices about where to go.
Milton Keynes has pretty much everything you want from the sounds of it.... a huge shopping centre, a cinema, a water sports lake, a ski slope, ice skating.... and more! Maybe you'd be better off nearer there?!
Sorry for the long post, if you want any more specific info on the crime situation locally down there let me know
I thought it might be you
I take it you weren't impressed when you came to look round MK then?
Jazmyn, I left after GCSEs in 1995 when I moved away.In fact, two people that I've heard of from school have become police officers so am wondering if I do know you?
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