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Relocating London to Cheltenham

(10 Posts)
hoytie Fri 26-Oct-12 08:37:21

Hi All. I'm new to mumsnet (why have I not joined before!) and wonder if you can help me. My OH has been offered a job in Cheltenham. We are currently in Bromley. We have wanted to leave London for a long time and now with an 8 month old son we are looking for good schools,a gentler pace of life and easy access to the countryside.

Has anyone made the move and have any advice? It is a huge move and we would need to start again with meeting people and making friends through baby groups etc, presumably their are lots? We don't know the surrounding area well so any tips on good schools would be appreciated. We are heading up this weekend so any baby friendly B&Bs hotel tips would also be welcome!
Thanks in advance.

randomv Sun 28-Oct-12 08:03:52

It's nearly 2 years since we moved here from London (Crystal Palace so not a million miles away from you). My DS was 2 when we moved, he's now 4 and totally settled in preschool and already knows lots of children who he'll be at school with next year which is so nice and not something that would ever have happened in London.
We live in Leckhampton which is a lovely area. Both the primary schools (Leckhampton and Naunton Park) are Outstanding and there is a lovely shopping area on the Bath Road with lots of independents. Hatherley and Charlton Kings are also v popular with families but we preferred it here.
I started by looking at which were the good schools and semi assessing properties based on that. There's no way I was going to move out of London only to have the same schooling concerns I had there! Don't be fooled into thinking schools here don't get oversubscribed though. It's not quite as bad as London but for example, where I live, my DS will only be able to get into our closest school. No chance of getting into one of the ones that are over 0.5 miles.
There are tons of baby and toddler groups going on and I've found people to be very friendly. It's taken me a while to make friends and start feeling settled but that's probably because I never wantd to leave London so I've not allowed myself to settle. However now my DS is at preschool and I know lots of people I feel settled. If we had to leave London we couldn't have picked a better place: it's pretty, there's plenty going on culturally, fantastic shopping and geographically handy for getting everywhere.

Sorry, can't help with b&Bs as we did day trips the whole time we were looking. You may find something like the Barcelo on the outskirts of Charlton Kings or the Travelodge on the Gloucester Road would be the best deals.
Good luck and shout if you have any questions that I can help with.

hoytie Tue 06-Nov-12 13:47:28

Thank you so much V.
I really apprecite you replying and giving me some tips. From the research i've done i can already tell that there is pressure for schools. We will have to choose where we live very carefully. We are thinking about Bishops Cleeve and Leckhampton so your thoughts are very helpful. Nice to know that people are friendly, that is one of my biggest concerns, we won't know a soul!

2 years to settle in sounds like such a long time, but good to know that its working out for you now and that your DS is happy, I am worried that if we stay here the quality of life for our DS really won't be what we'd like it to be. i'd like him to meet more friends than he's likely to in London.

Fingers crossed that you continue to enjoy it there and I'll let you know how we get on!

Ichick Sun 11-Nov-12 15:38:43

We're in Leckhampton, having moved from Up Hatherley/Warden Hill.
Best thing ever... Living here... Wish we did moved years ago!
Our kids go to Naunton Park Primary School, and Naunton Park Pre-School. We cannot fault them.
I second what randomv said about living as close as you possibly can for primary schools. We're 0.3 miles away. I know people who are 0.5 miles away, and they didn't get in! But, that school year's birth rate was high.
But, you really must think about schools first if you have little ones. Then, get the best house you can.
I personally wouldn't recommend Bishops Cleeve, as it's quite away from Cheltenham itself, and it just doesn't have a good feel about it. It's like its a town in its own right. It would be a nightmare driving into Cheltenham everyday from Bishops Cleeve.. The traffic is awful that side of town, what with the Racecourse.
There are so very many toddler groups around here.. I started again, not knowing people in this local area. I started off taking my kids to Emmanuel Church Toddlers on Monday mornings, and that way, I got to meet loads of Naunton Park Pre-School mums and kids. Then, when my little girls started in the September, we knew quite a few people already. I go to another one on Wednesdays and then see the Mums during the week coffee and a play at each others houses. It's great.
Because you have a little one, you will take them places and you will get to know people, overtime. You need to make sure you make the effort and chat to people.... Be open to people. Compare notes kind of thing. Then, that will lead to seeing them the next week... Then, you could arrange a park visit maybe. There's also a number of toddler classes here as well.. One at The Exmouth Inn pub on Friday mornings, like a music class, followed by scrummy coffee and cakes.
I hope you had a good time when you visited.

CaptainAhgua Sun 11-Nov-12 15:58:33

I relocated from W Sussex to 10 miles north of Chelteham 5 years ago. Theres lots of places around Cheltenham that are lovely to live in, so I'd take your time to think about what you want from the relocation. And the traffic isn't that bad, unless you have to go across the town centre, plus there is park and ride from the racecourse, so take a look at Bishops Cleeve as it is a nice community there if you want to have that sort of a feel.
My bil/sil live in Churchdown which is very close to Cheltenham, and they really like it there, plus it has the advantage of a good, non selective, secondary which can be an issue in Gloucs - note that Worcestershire isn't a grammar county if thats something you want to think about

newlfe Wed 28-Nov-12 13:37:54

Thank you all for your responses (am v confused about my nickname, thought I had one and then it asked me for another one and I don't know now which one will appear!)

Anyway - I really appreciate your responses, its been a tough few weeks but we have found a rental near Fairview which means that the OH can walk to work and we can get to know Cheltenham before we decide where to live. I will try playgroups in as many areas as possible and looks like we need to consider primary and secondary schools carefully.

We had a really good few days there a few weeks ago and I'm really excited about getting to know the area.
Take care

Smileyhappydaisies Mon 31-Dec-12 19:19:40

Hey - welcome to Cheltenham. Hope you are here now and all is working out :-). Fairview is nicely central and you will be able to explore easily from there nearby is Pittville Circus Road which has a couple of Day Nurseries on it - one opened in the spring and is shiny new and spacious and fab, Berkhampstead Day Nursery, if you end up needing one. The school do a really good little ones music group - really hands-on with instruments and puppets on Friday mornings called Berky Bears, from when your LO is 12 months or so and that's a nice way to meet people. It's cheap too, only £2 a session. My dcs are at Berkhampstead School and love it - Cheltenham has lots of fab schools, so your ds will be fine when the time comes. The NCT is good here too.
We only moved here a couple of years ago and feel so at home already, a great place to live and work, with parks and festivals, culture and nice people.

MlleB Tue 17-Jan-17 10:57:18

Apologies, I don't really know if adding a message to an old thread will revive it or not, but I was just wondering how the London to Cheltenham move worked out for you?

We are going to do the same this summer (but with a 7 and 2 year old) from Rotherhithe in London.

Because our 7 year old will be starting Year 3 in September we're pretty up in the air in terms of where we might get a school place for him. Any local tips on schools would certainly be welcome - we've done a lot of online research but "outstanding" schools (in my London experience) are sometimes closer to "absolutely fine" (rather than outstanding) and "good" schools are sometimes much closer to "really good".

We're excited (and daunted) about the move.

SugarMagnolia22 Sun 30-Apr-17 16:19:18

Hi! My family of 6 are relocating from Virginia (US) to Cheltenham this summer. We have a 4yr, 3yr, and 6 month old twins. My husband will be working in Gloucester and I'm looking for suggestions for schools and areas we should explore or avoid. Also what should I do about a vehicle? Over here we have to drive everywhere. Should I bother looking for a 6 passenger ? If we move in July, will there be a place for my 3 and 4 year olds in the local preschool? Any other tips or suggestions welcome!! Thanks

MlleB Tue 02-May-17 14:07:03

How exciting! We're not in Cheltenham yet and I suspect you already know the basics but normally kids start school here at 4 years old (reception). There's formal application process around January (results around March) for a September start. There are also "in year applications". Some state schools have nurseries attached and there are private nurseries as well.

Broadly, state schools/nurseries award admission based on proximity to the school. The upshot of this system seems to me to be that you can't secure a school place and then buy/rent near the school that actually has a place for your child rather you have to chance it and rent/buy (and move your kids there because they require it's the child's normal residence) then apply and hope something opens up at a nearby school. It baffles me how this system can actually work - we're caught in this catch-22 at the moment. We plan to move in July as well.

As for transport, admittedly from someone who doesn't yet live in Cheltenham, I'd say hold off on buying a car until you're settled. It's a short train ride to Gloucester and Cheltenham is pretty walkable assuming you live central-ish. Not sure if you're from the UK but as a native North American who's lived in the UK for 12 years, the roads still do not seem wide enough for the cars and the cars still do not seem big enough for the people (lest I offend, this is how my British husband puts it).

I should add there are a lot of really good private schools to which this whole proximity business doesn't matter - if that's your preferred route.

I've got a 7 year old and 2 year old and we'll be new to Cheltenham in July too - so please do keep in touch!!

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