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Shopping, schools, pedestrian life in Newnham?

(24 Posts)
leedeparis Sat 16-Sep-17 13:57:54

Hello Mums!
We just arrived in Cambridge a week ago - Finding a nice place to rent, near nice green parks and active pedestrian shopping streets seems nearly impossible. I do see something in Newnham but while I love Lammas land, it seems quite inconvenient to fun shops & cafes. Does anyone have any thoughts on that area, for non-drivers used to a more urban life? Will I survive, or die of isolation? Also what about Newnham primary? I'd set my mind on St. Mathews given its ratings and Newnham appears less good. But as this is the only nice home available near a park we've seen so far... Feeling a bit desperate. Many thanks for any thoughts!

cammummy Sat 16-Sep-17 14:08:01

Welcome to Cambridge!

Newnham is lovely although if you're looking for a home near to a park or green space there are quite a few options around the place if Newnham is too quiet for you, as well as Lammas Land our children enjoy the Botanic Gardens, Coleridge Park, Parkers Piece, Jesus Green - they're all near town and shops etc, if you do the Cambridge thing and get family bikes or a cargo bike they're even closer.

Schools in Cambridge are generally good, it's more a question of where has space to accommodate you, the Council can help with this and the schools will have info on availability too.

Location wise obviously centre of town is closest to the shops, Hills Road and the area around it is quite urban too ...

Good luck!

leedeparis Sat 16-Sep-17 15:59:28

Thanks so much for your detailed response! I think I may have to visit the Coleridge Park too, maybe i ruled out the south area too quickly smile

CityCentre Sat 16-Sep-17 19:55:23

For St Matthew's, that area about Sturton St, New St etc has a small park there (st Matthew's Piece, perhaps?). There's Mill Rd Cemetery for walking etc but not so much for playing children. But all of Mill Road area isn't too far from Parker's Piece, and is certainly busy and urban. If it's south of the rail bridge, there's also Romsey Park (I think that's the name - Vinery Road). Most central for shopping/pedestrian streets etc is the Kite area, near both Parker's Piece, Christ's Pieces, and Midsummer common, but it's also very pricey - but lovely (Eden St, Earl St, Clarendon Rd, all that sort of area). Even just over the river isn't far from Midsummer common and Jesus Green, and then to the shopping/pedestrian areas near the Grafton or town centre.

Newnham is lovely, easy to walk to the Granchester fields, near parks etc, but not great for shopping - some lovely little shops, butchers, coop, post office, that sort of thing, but for main shopping you'd probably end up going into town anyway. Newnham croft usually feeds into Parkside or Trumpington for secondary, so children are expected to cycle to the centre for that - might as well get them used to it early!

leedeparis Sun 17-Sep-17 10:51:35

Oh, thanks a lot CityCentre! That's also super helpful.
Now if only some properties become available in these areas!

mastertomsmum Wed 20-Sep-17 13:50:36

Romsey Town has lots of shops, café/life, parks etc. Petersfield also.

St Matthews is Petersfield, St Philip's is Romsey. The latter may not be everyone's cup of tea, but my son went there for Yrs 5 and 6 and thrived. The ethos is lovely.

leedeparis Wed 20-Sep-17 16:41:25

Thank you!
I will have to look at Romsey and St Phillips as well smile

Biscuitsneeded Wed 20-Sep-17 21:08:35

I'd look just North of the river. Easy access to Jesus Green (play area, skate park, outdoor pool etc) and Midsummer Common. Chesterton Road has some good pubs and cafes or it's a 5 minute bike ride to town proper. I'd avoid driving in Cambridge anyway! What sort of rental budget are we talking? Could you afford De Freville or the Alpha Road area? If you're considering Newnham I guess you maybe could!!

Biscuitsneeded Wed 20-Sep-17 21:09:08

Milton Road Primary /Park Street would then be options.

leedeparis Wed 20-Sep-17 22:20:37

We did see a few places north of the river, and I was getting very tempted - but a bit further out, more near chesterton recreation center /Logan's meadow, including one place on St Andrews that we are now super-seriously considering even though it's quite over our original budget - but I'm afraid the bike ride to Milton street school will be a bit dangerous and I'm wondering if I'd dare go out for a loaf of bread at 10pm (as I need to do right now ;) ....ahh so many questions..

LaFlaneuse Wed 20-Sep-17 22:53:20

St Andrews Road is perfectly safe! The Longworth Avenue development and the flats/houses built on the other side of Logans Meadow (Scholars Walk, Pepys Walk etc) are full of professional families with children that attend either Milton Road, St Matthews or the local independent schools (obviously the state schools are catchment dependent but we were offered a place at St Matthews for my youngest back when we lived there).

We lived there for 10 years and it was super quiet and safe. I used to walk to the Tesco local on Chesterton High Street for bread/milk at 10pm and it was fine.

The journey to Milton Road school is safe also - pelican crossings on Elizabeth Way, Chesterton Road and Milton Road. Friends did it for years with kids on bikes and scooters.

Seriously, it's a good place to live - you can walk into town across the Logan's Meadow bridge and along the river, easy access to Stourbridge Common/Midsummer Common, get to Milton Country Park along the river. 10 mins to the big Tesco and 15 to the Beehive with M&S, Asda etc.

There's even a hipster cafe en route to school nowadays (Stir).

We moved for a bigger garden but we were all very happy there.

leedeparis Thu 21-Sep-17 09:51:29

oh thank you, this is so helpful - Haha, My exaggerating mind imagines I'd have to cross the wild jungle to go shopping, then dodge speeding trucks across major autoroutes to get to school... ;)

mastertomsmum Thu 21-Sep-17 11:52:47

I lived in Chesterton for a while and the Elizabeth way bridge was never a problem because there are ways under and ways over with crossings and so on provided. Walking and cycling into town is easy. The bus route goes from Waterbeach/Science Park to Addenbrookes hospital. Chesterton now has it's own railway station.

River area very nice. As Tesco goes, the Newmarket Rd branch is a duff one but there is Sainsbury in the town, Asda, M and S quite near.

I'm not sure of the catchment areas but Google maps confirms that Pepys Court (if that was the street name) is nearer to Shirley Primary than to St Matthews. Milton Road school would probably be nearest but it is possible that the catchment cut off is Elizabeth Way and the roundabout. I'm thinking this because all the children I knew in Chesterton went to Shirley in Nuffield Rd or St Andrew's as it was then called. There is also a primary school called Chesterton Primary in Green End Road which would be nearer than all of the other schools mentioned, I think it was the infant section of Shirley when I lived there.

leedeparis Sat 23-Sep-17 22:35:34

Thanks a lot! smile

Biscuitsneeded Sun 24-Sep-17 13:50:57

From Longworth Avenue to Milton Road school you walk across St Andrew's Park, cross Elizabeth Way on the crossing, cross Chesterton Road at the crossing, walk up Chesterton Hall Crescent, cross Milton Road on the crossing and bingo. It's very safe and lots of kids walk/cycle that route. It's also a very nice community.

leedeparis Sun 24-Sep-17 14:17:03

Oh good thanks - we did a school "test run" from around there and I guess we picked the wrong route, So it was very nerve wracking - very helpful to see that there's a better way

MalvaMoschata Mon 25-Sep-17 11:42:27

I'd agree with Biscuits that you really need hardly see Elizabeth Way at all, there are so many alternative routes on foot/bike. And you most definitely don't need to be worried about going out for milk.

You can check out the catchment maps here:,PrimaryCatchments/br
It looks like the line between the Shirley and Milton Road catchments goes down Church St, so Pepys Court is Shirley and St Andrew's Road is Milton Rd.

leedeparis Tue 26-Sep-17 16:14:32

Thanks very much!

loveacuppacha Thu 28-Sep-17 18:48:02

Are your children at school yet? Some of the schools are quite oversubscribed so you don't stand a chance of getting a place unless you live very nearby. I used to live in Newnham and loved it, it's only a short walk to town and you can also walk to the Botanic Garden across Lammas Land. Lots of lovely places to live in Cambridge though - CB3 and CB4 where you're looking are great places to live.

PiratePanda Fri 29-Sep-17 18:26:27

Lived here for over 20 years and I wouldn't touch Newnham with a bargepole. No shops, not very central, and dead as a doornail.

We live off Mill Road in Petersfield, and Lammas Land is a 15-minute cycle, but there are plenty of little playgrounds, and Coleridge rec is 10 mins on the other side of the railway line.

turinbrakesarefab Sat 30-Sep-17 13:10:12

Depends what you mean by shops: we have a Co-op, post office/ deli, butcher, bakery which has recently changed ownership and now has a range of excellent artisan bread and a little cafe, a chemist and a pub. Also a great community with lots of activities centred around St Marks and Newnham Croft Primary School. And 5 min into town on a bike, mostly through greenery. And the Paradise nature reserve.
I don't find it dead as a doornail at all but I am middle aged!

PiratePanda Sat 30-Sep-17 15:26:59

I'm middle-aged too. Horses for courses I guess, but I find Newnham deathly.

mastertomsmum Thu 05-Oct-17 14:33:21

turinbrakesarefab - I've tried the artisan bread at the revamped bakery and enjoyed it as a good addition to all the other good bread they do. I remain unconvinced by the café concept and was horrified by how long it took them to rebuild. I think it's a big negative that they offer fewer sandwich options and no longer do their bacon rolls, they were the best in Cambridge by reputation.

leedeparis Thu 05-Oct-17 15:46:52

Thanks so much for all your help Mums! I just saw all the helpful new replies.

I did visit the Newnham Cross primary school and really loved it, contrary to my expectations, and I am in love with the whole Lammas land area - But finally the home we were looking at kind of fell through. However, we found something else, within our budget, and directly on Midsummer Commons, which has is almost confirmed,
(and I am crossing my fingers that they will do the major repairs they have promised!) But I am super excited to live with cows, and to be able to buy local vegetables from a stand, and toothpaste or whatever just a few minutes walk away. I still expect to be seeing you all at Lammas land and Coleridge park and St Matthews's piece smile

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