Sorry, more relocation advice needed!(29 Posts)
DH and I are hoping to ditch London for Oxfordshire. We fell in love with Woodstock and the lovely places north of Oxford last year when visiting friends but, as he'll be commuting back into West London, DH wants somewhere sort of south east of Oxford, closer to junction 8 on the M40.
Everyone seems to be giving grat advice on north of Oxford / Oxford itself, so I was hoping for a couple of pointers on Thame, maybe, or villages in that sort of area.
Our DD is 14 months and I'm a SAHM, though maybe when she's at school I'll want to go back to work. I'd like to live somewhere with a good community, local activities for mums and children, and nice schools. I don't really know where to start!
Abingdon might work for you, or Princes Risborough (slightly further our but great for getting to West London).
We are moving to Stonesfield nr Witney hopefully later in the year. Property sells quite fast round there IME. There are good schools in most places (use Rightmove and look up the ofsteds from there).
North of Oxford you have Kidlington - however bear in mind you then have to go round the A34 to get to the M40 which can take 25 minutes on a bad day!
Thanks WMMC - we liked Witney as well but it's all too far from the M40! We did suspect that about the A43...
Interested in Princes Risborough though; we hadn't considered going that far west but maybe we'll have a look
Lots of people have nice things to say about Wallingford btw - you could check that out. Post this in Mumsnet Oxford as well, there are lots of us down here. Do you know btw that if you go by train you can go from Charlbury to Paddington or if you come up this far and go from Banbury the train times are being reduced from 1hr 10 to 50 minutes (new higher speed raillink opening 2012). Witney to Charlbury is not far at all if train travel is an option for him. Driving into West London is a not so nice experience - I used to go from Summertown, Oxford to the M25 junction and it was pretty horrible.
Really interesting stuff. Dh is getting very excited and looking everywhere up on his iphone, bless him.
It seems as though people have lots of nice things to say about most of the towns and villages around Oxford, we're really looking forward to moving out.
As long as you avoid Blackbird Leys you'll be fine
Be aware that a lot of schools have very odd catchments and admissions policies - it's best to find them out before viewing properties.
Didcot is another possibility if you want to travel by train - that's large and although I think it's hideous lots of people have good things to say about it.
The thing you need to know about Oxford is: every Friday afternoon the A34 has an accident, often many accidents. Don't get me wrong it's usually a 15 minute delay but if you don't know, it's a nightmare - esp if you are rushing to collect children etc. There's also normally a delay on the M40 around the junction for the A34, either an accident or just because that roundabout seems to become centre of the motoring universe between 4:45 and 6pm
So try and either find somewhere that has another way to get to the M40 (Bicester for example you can head south on another dual carriageway to avoid the M40 till High Wycombe) or get on the next junction down the M40 because you move further south. It is perfectly possible to get from Witney to the M40 southbound in 20 minutes - but not at rush hour.
Blackbird Leys.... got it.
Yes, I've been doing some investigating and it does seems as though there are a few black spots wrt schools. I suppose it 'll depend on what's available house-wise once we're ready to start the ball rolling.
Don't worry too much, most property in Oxfordshire comes on in April/May time - so there will be more coming on in the next month or so.
Personally I would say to avoid Didcot and Abingdon and I think they're pretty soulless places, and you've got the issue of the A34 to get to the M40 and the traffic can be pretty horrific.. reason being that most of it has no hard shoulder, so when there is an accent (wmmc is right, it's at least once a week, always on a Frida).
Warborough (just north of Wallingford), Stanton Harcourt, Long Wittenham, and other villages between there are the M40 are good, but bear in mind there's a rat run up to the M40 - very quick usually, but you wouldn't want to live on it
(btw, I have lived in Didcot and Abingdon, so I'm allowed to slag them off )
Depends how much you ahave to spend! Thame is a really nice little town, or if you want villages Risborough or Haddenham are both nice.
Snort at accent on the M40!
That's funny, we thought it seemed as though Abingdon had a soul - it's really why we want to leave London in the first place... we'll be renting at first anyway, so I suppose we can always try a couple of places before we settle down and buy the forever house.
Hi - we have lived in South Oxon for over 15 years, know most places quite well.
As well as the commuting and good schools etc, what are your other interests and hobbies?
I mean, is it important to you to be near a river, theatre or cinema, water-skiing lake, ice rink, gastro pub, shopping centre etc etc?
Also, if you are likely to have lots of friends/family visiting, where will they be travelling from.
There are lots of lovely villages and small market towns round here, but you may not fancy village life and might prefer somewhere bigger?
Watlington and Stokenchurch are handy for the M40, as is Wheatley.
The house next door to me is for sale!!
Gosh LightShines... Well I suppose what I'd really love is somewhere with quite a thriving arts community - a small gallery showcasing local artists, or maybe a regular arts fair. I'd be over the moon if there was some sort of yearly arts festival as it's something that I grew up with and I find really lacking where we are at the moment. Theatre or drama groups would be amazing too, especially if it was something that I could get involved in, behind the scenes.
Other than that slightly wishful idea, we'd like a local pub or two (DH hates gastro, though I'm quite partial), a train station, a few shops and <crosses fingers and holds breath> a cinema. I'll probably be a SAHM for the next few years so what's really important to me is being somewhere that has a nice community, with a few things for me to do with DD during the week. I don't really know how unrealistic I'm being as we haven't been on any recce outings yet, though our first one will be next weekend.
DH can be no more specific than he wants 'somewhere with a soul'. He's originally from Devon, while I'm a proper Londoner, so I think he thinks he'll know once he sees the right place for him. I'm a bit more daunted, I suppose!
Charlbury sounds right for you then if you can do trains into London. Otherwise you might find it easier to go for North Oxfordshire because you can get really close to the M40 (we can get to the M40 in 15 minutes and there is never any traffic) and actually it's quicker than going from some parts of central Oxford.
Wherever you go to in Oxfordshire though, the Park n Ride service is v good so you can go into the city really easily. We go to the Natural History Museum quite often to see the dinosaurs. Blenheim palace is great for the kids - you pay once and get the rest of the year free. So it's worth it if you plan to go a few times.
Thanks WMMC, unfortunately Charlbury is a bit too far into London by train. DH doesn't want to be on the train for more than an hour, which is fair enough.
That's a very good point re: living in N. Oxon but near the M40. It would seem that one of the villages around Bicester would be a good bet for DH's travel; do you know anything about them?
It seems so complicated! I'm sure that we won't get it right first time, there's too much to consider!
Some parts of Bicester are nice but some parts are really 'orrible. You could live in Banbury and get into London (Marylebone) within 50 minutes from next year! Ideally if you are going to Bicester way you want to be closer to Bicester North station - there are some nice places round there and you can park at the station - with Bicester you can also drive down to High Wycombe without getting onto the M40 if it's blocked. NB local radio is v good at traffic reports in these parts - they need to be.
Best thing to do ironically is to buy the local rag a few times (Oxford Times) and read up - you can read the news online to see what's going on etc. If you get this week's you can see a full page advert for my house apparently (though I haven't bothered - ooh which reminds me, I must ask MiL apparently we're in the Mail on Sunday today).
You can also try www.upmystreet.com which tells you local info and also look on Netmums (sorry I know it's crapola but it has it's uses).
Oh great info, thanks. Prob won't try nentmums though
We're not keen on Bicester at all, I suppose only interested because it's so close to the motorway.
On a completely different note, do you know much about Wallingford? This is turning into a bit of a schizophrenic house hunt, maybe we should just stick a pin in a map...
Wallingford is lovely (but mind the flood plain....), thriving little market town. We live in Headington (suburban Oxford) having decided that that was the compromise which worked for us. My DH commutes daily to cent london (Charing cross) and long experience has taught us that the quickest way is train from Didcot, he drives to and parks at Didcot (but neither of us could bear to live there, sorry Didcot!) If you want somewhere more villagey, Wheatley is nice (tho' primary school is currently in a bad way, the only way is up?)
Thanks wearymum, we've spent today canvassing opinion from people we know who have lived in / are from the area, it seems as though 'Wallingford is nice' is a popular opinion! We're spending this weekend there and hopefully we'll feel as though it will work for us.
I think the train from Didcot will be our only option, though DH would love to spend his days cruising up and down the M40, sadly petrol prices aren't playing ball.
I'm really grateful for everyone whose two cents I've had, it's been really helpful and I feel much less anxious. Thank you!
There are loads of lovely villages near didcot, just avoid the actual town like the plague!
No offense to a certain friend of mine who's family are in
Deadcat Didcot btw <<waves>>
The train from Didcot is very quick (40 mins?) but it could potentially take you 30 mins to get from Abingdon (or similar) to Didcot in the morning.
Look at the stations between Didcot and Reading. You might find somewhere in Cholsey, Goring, Streatley, Pangbourne etc
I moved to North Abingdon about two months ago and am really happy here!
There is lots to do with toddlers (there is at least one group on every day somewhere) and as soon as you go to a few you see that it's the same v.friendly people going to them all so I'm finding it much easier than I expected to settle in and make friends. There are lots of little parks dotted all over the place, and of course Abbey Meadows. I'm forever getting booklets through the door about different cultural things going on in and around the area (I think one is called 'round and about' if you want to google it).
Also Abingdon is 15 minutes drive to Didcot or 30 mins on the bus from where I am in North Abingdon. Didcot has a bigger shopping centre and a cute indoor play centre (Abingdon has one, but not been yet as is nearly twice the price). My mum gets the train from London to Didcot once a week and the quick train (which there are a lot of) only takes 45 minutes. I've driven to London a couple of times (not in rush hour) and it has only taken me an hour and a quarter - but I guess that depends on where you're going to in London. There are buses into Oxford are very regular and whilst it's a little pricey IMO, the service is very reliable and quick (15 minutes).
I've lived in a few places around the UK and I think Abingdon is a very friendly place and would totally recommend it!
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