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Moving from London to the home counties... Where to start??

(60 Posts)
hayleybalmers Sat 15-Nov-14 16:46:33

Hi all,

I would love any advice / suggestions regarding a move from our current home in Wandsworth to the home counties. Both my husband and myself are from the north of England so do not have any draws to any areas in the south. As we've always lived around Clapham / Wandsworth we don't really know many places further out. We also do NOT need to be more north for family etc. We don't really want to be in either Essex or Kent. An hour commute or a longer in to London would be fine as my husband does not need to travel in daily.

We've just had our first child and are planning a couple more so are now after more space and greenery. Good state primary schools are a must! We have a decent budget of around £1m and would like a 4 bed house for this, obviously the likes of Richmond are out of the question!

Any advice / thoughts would be much appreciated.



Lonecatwithkitten Sat 15-Nov-14 16:54:25

An hour commute gives quite a wide sweep Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Bucks and some of Oxfordshire. I some areas you will just scrap 4 beds for your 1M in others you could have a sizeable property with land.
I would do some weekend travelling just to look at areas and see what you would like.

YonicScrewdriver Sat 15-Nov-14 17:05:20

Which mainline station is best for him - Waterloo?

TeaAddict235 Sat 15-Nov-14 17:13:56

agree with screwdriver, look at which main train station is needed for DH and yourself and then work backwards from there. I.e. go to the serving towns that the train line passes through, then look at what you want (large house/garden/land/town/schools) etc, then you'll be far better prepared when you go to the estate agents.

otherwise, you may not get what you really want.

YonicScrewdriver Sat 15-Nov-14 17:16:55

And once you've done frequent are the trains? Is there parking at the station or is he going to walk/cycle?

CharlesRyder Sat 15-Nov-14 17:21:33

If he doesn't have to go to London daily perhaps look further.

Here in Dorset there are many London ex-pats and your £1m would get you a really great house.

CharlesRyder Sat 15-Nov-14 17:29:25

Cheeky offer on this maybe? grin

RustyDalek Sat 15-Nov-14 17:35:14

Wokingham has very good state schools and some good private ones if you wanted to go down that route. It's just over an hour's train from Waterloo, or you can go via Reading to Paddington.

For £1m you could get something like this:

lostintoys Sat 15-Nov-14 17:46:42

Oxfordshire – villages near Kingham or Charlbury stations. Very pretty, near Oxford, good schools.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Nov-14 17:55:02

With your budget, have a look around Winchester or Petersfield or Farnborough or the nicer villages around Basingstoke - but be careful of secondary catchments

Greengrow Sat 15-Nov-14 18:12:27

Think about schools. Decide if you want private secondaries, state comps, state grammars. Eg Buckinghamshire might work for state grammars. Herts would be good if you want choice of private schools like Haberdashers and North London Collegiate and very fast trains to London from places like Radlett and St Albans. Remember teenagers often want to be near London so it might make sense to be a bit closer/ faster than you think you need for when the children are older. Remember that the parents might like a lot of cows around but teenagers' only entertainment if it's too rural might be drugs at the local bus stop with local thugs. The country is not a panacea for everything.

TalkinPeace Sat 15-Nov-14 18:18:30

YYY to the rural thing
DDs college friends who live in obscure villages have to be driven EVERYWHERE
we can walk to the shops, the bus, etc etc

Messygirl Sat 15-Nov-14 18:36:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDogsMissingBollock Sat 15-Nov-14 18:57:35

How many times do you intend to move? If once, then check it is a solid area for schools, beyond primary. So Surrey, Bucks relatively good, Oxon patchy.

hayleybalmers Sun 16-Nov-14 15:47:01

Thanks for all the replies. It's so difficult to narrow down the search. All suggested areas sound workable.
As for living in obscure villages, I never mentioned anything like that. We would like to be a bit further out for a better standard of living, nicer home etc. £1m here would get us a small 3 bed with a yard so a bit of outdoor space would be nice for children to play in and us to sit out in without being overlooked from all angles. We would still like to be within walking distance to coffee shops, restaurants etc.
We don't need to commute to any particular station. My husband has his own business and his meetings can be anywhere in London or occasionally further afield.
I have no idea how to narrow this search down... Every area (pretty much) will have good schools and be commutable. Parking at stations etc. is not a concern as I could drive him or he could take a cab if necessary.
I found this article in the Telegraph which I thought may help but it still provides us with a HUGE geographical area to work with.

hayleybalmers Sun 16-Nov-14 15:48:57

Oh and it would be good to not be forced to move in 10 years. We would like to think of this home as somewhere for the next 20 years but of course it doesn't have to be. I would prefer state schools and hopefully grammar schools rather than the private route as this will be a pretty costly exercise with 3 (planned) children.

TalkinPeace Sun 16-Nov-14 15:59:45

Hart in Hampshire regularly comes top in the list of desirable parts of the Country to live.
No grammar schools - we seem to cope OK without
The Winchester train line is a good one

TBH : pick a town and decide if you like the look of the shopping, the restaurants, the countryside around it, the access to London for cultural stuff
then look at the schools as nice towns tend to have nice schools

Greengrow Sun 16-Nov-14 16:25:21

I would go by schools then and remember once children are teenagers and then university stage and perhaps getting first jobs it's fairly helpful if your house is not too far from civilisation and perhaps has a few different ways of getting to London rather than just reliance one train line.

I've suggested Herts (very quick trains to London) or if you want state grammar schools and if and only if your child might get in to one which is not necessarily a given, then places like Buckinghamshire have state grammars for 11+.

Example £1m St Albans Herts
20 minutes train St Albans to St Pancras although you need to add bits on at either end.
I don't know what the state schools are like in St Albans.

sunnyrosegarden Sun 16-Nov-14 20:41:40

Herts has good schools, just pick your catchment carefully, or Bucks if you want grammars. Have a look at Chorleywood or Amersham areas.

pyrrah Sun 16-Nov-14 23:00:14

We're in the middle of the same thing.

Spent months trawling the whole of Bucks & Herts. Decided we loved the Harpenden area etc, but weren't impressed with what we could get for our budget (pretty close to yours).

It's a lovely area, but train prices to London are horrendous and it's not that handy if you want Waterloo.

St Albans was also a pain in terms of houses being near the station were small and v v expensive, but getting to the station in the morning by car was pretty dire.

We did a sudden switch to Surrey/Kent border - season ticket is nearly half the price, massively more in terms of house for money and found a house that ticked all our boxes in terms of location, commute, secondary schools and amenities.

The website we loved was You can set the station you need to get to and the max time you want to commute. We then looked at all the places near relevant stations and went and visited those that sounded like possibles.

For Waterloo, Berkshire is a good place to look - you are also in the catchment for some of the Bucks grammar schools in some parts.

I grew up in a tiny village and thank god, my parents sent me to boarding school or I would have gone mad. Holidays, we just joined the Young Farmers and got sloshed at parties and snogged the local yoof in barns. Holiday jobs (bar picking strawberries) were non existent and my parents acted as a endless taxi service. Hence, we've picked a big village with a 5 minute, very safe walk to a mainline station with a quick and reasonably cheap commute into London and the nearest big towns.

Panicmode1 Mon 17-Nov-14 06:31:27

You've said you'd like grammars, but not Kent, even though we have some amazing ones here. Your budget would get you something decent in Tunbridge Wells or Sevenoaks and there are some beautiful villages to look at too. is a helpful resource as well as the websites mentioned above. We moved from SW18 to TW and haven't looked back - fab schools, great people, easy commute, lots of culture, glorious countryside, sea not too far away.

ArsenicSoup Mon 17-Nov-14 06:58:59

Your budget would get you something decent

hmm Decent? I should hope so. There was another thread the other day about whether it was possible to get a decent home for less than the SDT.

Tunbridge Wells is Kent though.

TalkinPeace Mon 17-Nov-14 12:03:30

The thing is that nice houses in nice catchments in nice towns are highly in demand by people like the OP cashing in on lunatic London house prices

(3 bed semi with no off road parking and postage stamp garden £1.2 million, south of the river)

TBH if the OP is relaxed about luxury, she'll get a nice house and ten years of train fares and kids bus passes for her money.

ArsenicSoup Mon 17-Nov-14 12:14:13

I am quite familiar with S London Talk just chuckling over the euphemistic use of the word 'decent'.

Panicmode1 Mon 17-Nov-14 13:02:56

Arsenic I know it's in Kent - was just pointing out that the OP talked about grammars in her earlier post, which would mean it would make sense to look at it rather than dismiss it as she had in one of the posts.

I know it's crazy to say decent - but I think that people think they'll sell for a million in London and buy a mansion in commuter belt land, and in the sought after areas, you don't get as much house as you thought, and you still have to pay £££ to commute back to London.
These two are well located houses (for the grammars) but would be tricky for a primary school. - well located but outside catchment for most of the primaries. this house would be good for an outstanding primary, and you are close to the grammar schools - the outlook is incredible, but it's over budget.

Anyway, gives a flavour of some of the houses around - I suspect many don't come to the market as there are a lot of buying agents round here now - may be worth talking to some of the local ones if you were to decide on TW.

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