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Moving near London from the US

(53 Posts)
ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 13:07:43

My husband has just taken a two year expat role near West Thurrock/ Grays. We are from Ohio and have never even been to London or the UK, so I need lots of help/ suggestions. We will be bringing along our 6, 4, and 3 year old children early this summer. My husband's company is paying for moving expenses, some of our housing, and the kids schooling. We know not to live near his plant, but does anyone have suggestions for towns within a 35 minute (?) commute. We need to have access to a good primary school. Since the company will pay, tuition isn't a problem. We are also Catholic, so a Catholic school would be fine. I think commute, safety, and schooling are our biggest issues. We would love to find a nice little town with parks, shops, and restaurants nearby. Again, any suggestions or places to avoid would be much appreciated.

grovel Mon 11-Feb-13 14:14:41

I'm not from there - sorry. Just wanted to say "welcome" to the UK.

JoanByers Mon 11-Feb-13 15:15:25


Is your husband's workplace in walking/bus distance from the train distance?

You are just north of the Dartford crossing there, which rules out living to the south of it, due to the hellish traffic, and lack of train links.


Limehouse (for train only)

More rural:

for commute, not sure about schools

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Mon 11-Feb-13 15:23:12

Right, I can say this as an Essex Girl. The more north you can go towards Chelmsford or Bishops Stortford the better. South Essex (along the Thames) is very......erm.....Essex. This won't mean much to you but I'm thinking similar to New Jersey?
Lots of lovely villages like Great Dunmow have connections with Catholic/Church of England schools. Very pretty pink houses.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Mon 11-Feb-13 15:27:21

I think what I would do if I'm reading your op right is look up the private schools in Essex and see if you can find houses near to the ones with spaces for your children. Grays is very close to the M25 and so a 35 minute commute would get you quite a long way.

JoanByers Mon 11-Feb-13 15:31:52

traffic on the m25 would be shit.

ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 15:41:47

My husband's work doesn't appear to be within walking distance of any trains or even bus stops (from what I can see on Google Maps). I am guessing he is going to have to quickly learn to drive on the other side of the road or catch a ride from someone he works with at a bus stop.

I will look in to the towns suggested.

Thanks for the help.

homebythesea Mon 11-Feb-13 15:52:45

Ecemom-how exciting for you all! I'm sure it is daunting right now. Have you considered using a relocation agent and/or a school finder agency? And you too will need to drive over here!

ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 15:57:03

We will get a relocation person once we finalize all the paperwork. I am just too much of a planner and thought I would get opinions from other moms that aren't being paid to tell me where to live. Plus, I have heard that some of the relocation companies that my husband's company uses can be hit or miss.

Oh, and I'm not the best driver as is. The other side of the road thing has me terrified! I know I will have to learn, but right now I am taking baby steps into this new adventure.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Mon 11-Feb-13 16:00:06

Take some lessons when you get here. I drove for first time in the US this year- it is a very different system! But I kind of got the hang of it.

FlouncingMintyy Mon 11-Feb-13 16:04:13

Honestly, driving on the other side of the road is absolutely no biggie! You will soon get the hang of it. I have driven all over the States and in many European countries and it quickly becomes completely second nature.

Agree with the others who suggest you go your maximum commuting distance away from your husband's place of work - its a proper industrial area, not pretty at all!

ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 16:12:10

I know there will be differing opinions on this, but is it better to go 20 miles south towards say Sevenoaks (and drive through Dartford) or 25-30 miles north towards Chelmsford?

LIZS Mon 11-Feb-13 16:13:19

Not sure he'll want to attempt to cross Dartford crossing each day, and pay the tolls. North likely to be cheaper.

grovel Mon 11-Feb-13 16:14:07

ecemom, driving on the wrong side of the road sounds frightening but don't forget that the steering wheel is on the wrong side too. That makes it relatively natural to drive on the left over here.

grovel Mon 11-Feb-13 16:27:21

I've guessed who your DH works for! Bet you live in Hamilton County!

homebythesea Mon 11-Feb-13 16:29:26

You definitely do not want to rely on the Dartford crossing every day - it regularly gets snarled up in a life shortening way wink

ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 16:35:39

grovel- GOT IT! I am guessing you know this because someone you know works there too.

And I will plan to stay north.

JoanByers Mon 11-Feb-13 16:55:16


No train there, although you could cycle from Grays station.

The area is an absolute hole tbh.

You could live in Southend, but it's not exactly an expat paradise.

Otherwise Brentwood.

There's a Catholic private school in Brentwood (Ursuline), and you would have the option of back roads to avoid the M25 into Grays. Have look at Brentwood Prep too.

ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 16:59:30

P&G is correct.

I will check those schools out. Thanks.

grovel Mon 11-Feb-13 17:16:31

I don't actually know anyone working there. I was just wondering which Ohio company would have a plant (I assume) in Thurrock. Only P&G came to mind so I Google'd.

grovel Mon 11-Feb-13 17:25:23

Hutton Manor School?

ecemom Mon 11-Feb-13 18:03:11

Those schools listed are in Warley, Brentwood, and Hutton. Anyone have anything to say about those towns or those schools in particular?

Owllady Mon 11-Feb-13 18:07:34

god don't move into Kent, it will be an absolute nightmare (I say this as someone who lived there). Live the other side of the bridge in Essex smile

NorthernNumpty Mon 11-Feb-13 18:18:34

The good areas around Shenfield and Brentwood are very expensive, you would get a lot more house for the same money further out, Chelmsford, dunmow, maldon. Chelmsford has a very good catholic private school St Cedd's I think it's called.
Villages around Chelmsford/maldon and north towards dunmow are lovely.
Felsted has a fantastic private school.
Brentwood can be a bit 'Essex' a reality show called 'the only way is Essex' is set there. Google it!

mumzy Mon 11-Feb-13 18:31:33

Brentwood independent school is very good and takes boys and girls. I personally heart Saffron Walden as the quintesenially English experience also close to Cambridge and with good state schools. On the right side of town but not sure if a good commute to Grays, could someone advise.

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