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Rural Suffolk (Framlingham/Woodbridge/Southwold, Otley, etc)

(11 Posts)
missdaisy2013 Tue 21-Nov-17 05:12:00

(Apologies for x-posting),

Hi MN-ers!

Just wondering if there are any Mums out there in Suffolk (particularly Framlingham/Woodbridge/Southwold and surrounding areas?) And if so, how do you find the lifestyle there, in terms of stuff going on for kids (mine are going on 2 and 5), cost of living, and schooling, etc? Is it really very sleepy? Are there any Mum & toddler playgroups and the like? Is it quite easy for newcomers to make friends there? Are there any ex-Londoners, or, dare I ask, people from even further afield? I ask that because we are a bicultural/bilingual family, and I'd really like my kids to have some contact with a Spanish-speaking community if possible, even if we have to travel a bit for a once-a-week playdate or something. I have some family there (close to Framlingham), so know the area a bit from having visited over the years, but we are thinking of relocating there next year, and I'm wondering what it's like to live there full-time with young children.

I know the area is beautiful; the cost of rentals seem very accessible compared to other areas in the South/South East, and from what I understand, there seems to be less pressure on the schools than in other areas closer to London. Overall, I think it could be a good option for our family, and tbh the lower cost of living & proximity to family are really the driving factors in all this, but my only slight concern is that it might be too quiet for me (I really, really rely on company with other adult humans to help keep my sanity intact!) I love the idea of having a family support network, enjoying fresh air, country walks and sweet little village schools, but I have to confess I'm really a city girl at heart, so I'm just wondering how I might adapt there. I'm also a tad worried about my DH, who'd essentially be a (legal!) non-EU immigrant (/expat?).. Just wondered how being 'the only foreigner in the village', so to speak, might go down there, although he's normally very laid-back and adaptable, so perhaps I'm worrying unnecessarily there. He speaks excellent English btw, but until now, due to work, we've always lived in quite international communities, so this would be a very different (hopefully in a nice way) change of pace.

For those familiar with the area, is it really very sleepy? Are there any Mum & toddler playgroups and the like? I'm wondering perhaps whether living in a nice village on the outskirts of Ipswich might work – ie something that offers country life, decent and not over-subscribed schools, activities for toddlers, etc, but is also close enough to get into Ipswich on a weekly basis? Would anyone have any recommendations for good villages/areas, ie with great schools but also with some sort of life for toddlers (and Mums)?

I should mention I'm basing this all on the assumption that my DH and I will be working from home, hence our flexibility in terms of location, though tbh that's still a work in progress and depends on several factors.... If we can't both pull off the working-from-home gig, I'd have to look for work in Ipswich and/or consider a different area of the country altogether. But fingers crossed it'll all work out smile

Huge TIA for your help!

gardeningsarah Tue 21-Nov-17 15:58:28

Out of all those villages/towns that you mention, Woodbridge is probably your best bet. Good schools, toddler groups, good range of shops. Good transport links if you don't drive but house prices are higher then other areas. Any more questions just ask

plutoVI Wed 22-Nov-17 19:54:58

Kesgrave is also quite pleasant. There are a couple of small nurseries for toddlers. A choice of 3 Primary schools Gorseland , Cedarwood and Heath. Kesgrave High School is virtually across the road from the estate, Farlingay High School is a bus ride away. A number of private school coaches/minibuses wend their way through the estate in the morning.

There are 4 playgrounds- one of them has a zip wire, huge rope climbing frame, obstacle course, goals, swings etc. There Kesgrave Community Centre also has alsorts of groups, there is a cycling club in the grounds (for children), the field area is well maintained, the tennis club runs holiday club for the children, there is a Premier Sports holiday sports club run from the sports hall, a bowling green, amateur theatre productions, Beavers, cubs, scouts, Brownies, guides, ballet. There are numerous other opportunities, too many to list

Kesgrave reminds me of being at university: there are lots of societies & clubs for adults and children. It is a rare pleasure to live in a place so well organised. After living in London for 15 years, I am very pleased to be here. It has a small shopping area, with Tesco, coffee shop, hairdressers, community second hand shop (which raises money for the scouts/brownies and other Kesgrave groups).

While Woodbridge is indeed very lovely, the Kesgrave is more accessible. Parts of Woodbridge are very poor whilst others extremely wealthy . Kesgrave has wealth, but it's not as obvious or glaring as in Woodbridge. I have found people to in Kesgrave to be much more approachable than in Woodbridge.

missdaisy2013 Thu 23-Nov-17 03:03:16

Thank you so much ladies for the very helpful feedback - I really am grateful for this! As somebody pointed out in another talk section, I appreciate that none of the areas I mentioned are particularly cheap, and it seems Woodbridge (and Southwold) can become very pricey indeed, so I guess I'd be looking at trying my hand at proper country living, ie based in a small village, but within easy-ish access (via car) to Woodbridge and/or Kesgrave (had never heard of that one, so good to know!) I'm a bit worried about feeling isolated as I've never really done rural living for more than a week's holiday before, but I'm hoping that as long as I can get into Woodbridge and/or Kesgrave for a bit of social interaction fairly regularly, perhaps that could be the best of both worlds? I know I'd need to consider catchment areas in advance of course so will look into that in more detail shortly. I will be there over the Xmas break and plan to have a look around and get more of a feel for the place.... Lots of changes afoot, which is all a bit scary but also quite exciting of course. Huge thanks again to both of you for the great tips!

missdaisy2013 Thu 23-Nov-17 03:05:44

Also, many thanks plutoVI for the detailed feedback on Kesgrave....Re-reading your message just now, it really does sound quite promising smile

YellowPrimula Thu 23-Nov-17 07:31:50

Kesgrave is nice but it is basically a suburb of a Ipswich so not ' rural living' at all. I live about 3 miles outside Woodbridge.Beware many villages have very few facilities and public transport, broadband, mobile phone coverage , basically all the things you take for granted in a city can be patchy.I would maybe add Wickham Market to your list as well.

VileyRose Thu 23-Nov-17 10:02:26

Hi! I relocated to Rendlesham from Southampton last year and LOVE it. We are 3miles from Woodbridge and about 10 from Framlingham. It is rural but not isolated. I would avoid Ipswich subarbs 100%
Woodbridge is a wonderful place to live.

My children range from 13 to 10mths and I have NEVER ever felt isolated. My teenage children get the free bus to secondary and my youngest uses village school. There is plenty of parks and baby groups. I have felt SO welcomed and many people seem to move here from all over so it is diverse and I know of a Spanish family here too.
Please do get in touch I would be happy to chat :-)

VileyRose Thu 23-Nov-17 10:03:16

I would certainly look at Rendlesham.

ScaryMonstersAndSuoerCreeps Thu 23-Nov-17 20:22:12

I would avoid Framlingham. It's a lovely town but is being spoilt by far too many houses being built and spoiling it.... sad

plutoVI Thu 07-Dec-17 23:13:11

Hi again, missdaisy2013!
I'm glad to help. Kesgrave is certainly different from living in London. Hope you have a lovely time looking for a new home in Suffolk. I'm sure village living has many benefits and a mumsnetter will be sharing them with you soon enough. Wishing you every success and happiness in this endeavour!

VileyRose Wed 27-Dec-17 21:12:18

Any luck?

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