Moving to Cambridgeshire villages(24 Posts)
I've been to see a few places in Cambridgeshire and visited cambourne village college.
Although initially liked cambourne (but not the new builds) we are considering the smaller villages south and west of Cambridge.
DS will be due to go secondary soon so we are looking at secondaries and liked the sound of Comberton Village college from the research I have done.
We are currently in London where it is very multicultural. I understand moving out of London often means it will be less diverse culturally. I don't have an issue with this at all. My children are half Chinese and I would like to know if they will fit in ok. I mean we would like to live in an area where people are friendly and accepting of the ethnic minority.
I grew up in London and not sure what it's like outside of london. I imagine Cambridge would be more diverse but please can someone let me know what the villages are like?
The closer you are to Cambridge the less problems you will find. Comberton Village College has a great reputation.
I have found there is quite a lot of racism in the towns and villages around South Cambs/Bedfordshire borders. Check out the local Facebook pages - they will give you a good idea of attitudes generally.
Any more opinions/information please anyone?
I am also from London, now living in S. Cambs village. Unsurprisingly Cambridge is less diverse than London; that said, there is still a decent enough mix. My DC are in class with students whose families are from many countries in Europe, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria. There is quite a big Chinese community in Cambridge too, lots of cultural stuff to do.
To be honest, the racial mix is probably greater than the class mix.
My dc went to Comberton Village College. Ds2 had several friends who were of Chinese heritage. The villages to the west of Cambridge tend to house a lot of the university staff, many of whom are from overseas. However, it's a lot less diverse than London round here.
Cambourne itself is more ethnically diverse than many other nearby villages but the Village College catchment area is only Cambourne, not surrounding villages.
Which villages are a bit bigger and has shops and more children activities within comberton catchment?
I spoke to school admissions and they have me a list of areas:
There's more but I don't remember!
Hardwick has a very nice gastro pub but that’s not what you asked!
To give you some sense of scale, here is 2011 census data (from Wikipedia)
I understand that you want good facilities in your village but in your previous thread you didn't seem keen on Melbourn, which at 4000 residents has much more going on locally than most villages. You also need to think through your journey(s) to work really carefully - peak 'hour' traffic is dreadful for about 5 hours a day. Where do you or your husband need to be for work?
We went to Melbourn once, we liked that it was a bigger village and that it has a secondary school and shops and closer to London slightly which is where partner needs to go to work. But we was hoping to move within comberton catchment and Melbourn is not in the catchment for secondary school
You can search catchment areas on My Cambridgeshire county council website my.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/?tab=maps&layers=SecondaryCatchments,PrimaryCatchments/br
They're all very small villages. If you want shops and activities for children etc you'd be best looking at somewhere like Histon/Impington or Girton.
Another warning: plan very carefully where you want to live compared to where you are commuting to. Cambridge is the worst place i've ever lived for traffic. It sometimes takes us over an hour to get from a village 8 miles north west of town into the city centre. I'd love to move away from here if I could, the traffic is hideous and the public transport is useless.
I hear very good things about a lot of the secondary schools including Parkside, Impington Village College and Comberton most frequently.
We've been looking at villages in cycling distance from Cambridge to avoid driving at rush hour into Cambridge (or across the city at any time haha). Cycling is the best option, although being close to the guided bus, or in a village with a station that goes into Cambridge North or Central may work well too.
For us we want a shop, a school and a good cycle route (not too far as we're not "professional" cyclers haha)
I find cycle communting between Hardwick and Cambridge is pretty painless, tho wrong side for Addenbrookes & Biomedical campus.
OP you said your DP is working in London, will you be working in Cambridge? I wouldn't recommend living in many villages south-west of the city if you're going to be commuting in. At least Melbourn is close to the rail line between Cambridge and Kings Cross.
I’m from round there. Would you consider swavesey for secondary? It’s not quite as highly rated as comberton but still v good and lots of larger villages are in catchment. I like bar hill but people can be snobby about it as it’s modern. Willingham is nice.
Advice about commuting is spot on, I’d advise your husband to shift to an early to work early to leave pattern!
Sorry missed your dh is commuting to London. Tbh I’d consider looking round Royston as his commute would be hideous from somewhere like Hardwick (shocked to hear Hardwick has 2000+ ppl it is tiny!)
I know all the villages you listed well and grew up in one of them. If you want a bigger village, then Hardwick is your only option. There was a lot of building there in the 70s so it doesnt have the charm of say Haslingfield, Coton or Bourn. Parts of Barton are on what is now a VERY busy main road. Overall, the villages you list are very traditional and if you are looking for buzz and diversity, you wont find it in that list.
Have you looked at Great Shelford? That has more in the way of shops etc. Sawston has loads more going on, but isnt considered as upmarket if that kind of thing is important to you. Neither are in the Comberton catchment though.
I'd trial your journey to work in term time (and make sure the private schools are still open too as they make a huge difference to traffic). I loved living in Cambridge but would never ever go back, because of the traffic.
I would also make a point of visiting the schools before deciding on a catchment area. Comberton VC is so huge, the high-flyers and the strugglers are very well-served but there can be a vast amorphous mass of students in between the extremes. They're doing well enough and because they don't stand out, nobody notices them. Some find it pretty dispiriting.
As far as children are concerned, bigger villages obviously have more in the way of activities. It helps if the child can get to school, or to friends' homes, without you having to drive. All the villages in CVC's catchment are miles from a railway station, though the bus services aren't bad. Melbourn VC's catchment villages are closer to the railway but some have really dire bus timetables. When the children are older expect a lot of taxi duty!
I think anywhere within the Comberton VC catchment area would be hideous for commute to London as the traffic into (and in) Cambridge is pretty hideous. I am sure there are places on the train line to London with access to decent schools.
St Neots station is an easy drive from Hardwick especially. And trains to KC start at 38 mins
Yes, it's a reasonably straight line from Hardwick (or Cambourne, Bourn, Caldecote) to St Neots once you're on the A428, and when the traffic's moving ok it's about 20 minutes. It's a trek to pick someone up after a night out in eg London. I live a few minutes from Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth stations, and 10 minutes from Royston, so twice that seems a long way! The bus service is terrible though.
OP have you thought about going over the Bedfordshire border into Sandy, for example? Or Hertfordshire, Hitchin perhaps? Both easy commutes.
Why not live in Cambridge?
Much better for your dh commute and better quality of life for older kids. Basically they cycle everywhere so have lots of independence and no need for you to taxi them.
Cambridge is very international.
The problem with commuting from st neots is Your dh probably won't get a seat on the way there. It's usually full by Huntingdon.
Noticed Swavesey VC mentioned above. It's not the place that it once was. It used to be an inspirational place with stunning results... but it's gone down hill fast since the previous Head (truly incredible guy) sadly died of a brain tumour. A lot of experienced staff have since left, or been transferred to other schools in the MAT.
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