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Dilemma. Moving or not moving to Cambridge

(45 Posts)
mmrmum Sat 25-Nov-17 09:02:19

Hi! I know this has been discussed before but I really need advice regarding moving to Cambridge. We are a family with 3 kids (7,5 and 1) who live very happily in SW London. We live in a very international area with an amazing community feel. The school where the kids attend to is outstanding and we feel incredibly supported by friends and the community in general. Now, my husband has been offered a good job in Cambridge which seems obvious that he has to accept. I really don’t want to leave behind what we have, but perhaps there is a place/school in Cambridge that offers something similar. Is there such a place? Any advice about areas will be greatly appreciated.

rosemarie04 Sat 25-Nov-17 11:27:15

Cambridge is very international. we love it here.both had a job offer more than twice our current salaries in the last year but decided to stay for the same reasons you mentioned: strong community feel, support of friends. We moved here 4 years ago and feel at home. There are not many outstanding schools in Cambridge but in general they are all good. Worth mentioning that Cambridgeshire has the lowest per pupil funding in the country.

mmrmum Sat 25-Nov-17 14:54:33

Thank you @rosemarie04. Do you mind me asking where do you live? We visited this morning Cherry Hinton and were very discouraged by the lack of life. Parks were empty on a very sunny Saturday morning. Am I missing something?

grumpysquash3 Sat 25-Nov-17 15:28:48

Cherry Hinton park isn't the nicest choice to be honest. I'll bet that Lammas Park wasn't empty. There are usually plenty of folk walking around Jesus Green, Midsummer Common and loads at Wandlebury.

Please remember that Cambridge is actually very small, only about 125,000 people, so comparing it to any part of London is probably not realistic.

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 25-Nov-17 15:30:13

Cherry Hinton is not in Cambridge though. It is a village outside of Cambridge. Are you looking at Cambridge itself or surrounding villages.

Where is the new job as travel times into different parts of Cambridge may dictate where you should be looking.

grumpysquash3 Sat 25-Nov-17 15:31:47

Is your DH's job offer in the science/tech sector? DH and I moved to Cambridge because of that, and one of the best things is that we've both had really good career progression because it's possible to change jobs (several times) without relocating.
The schools are really good BTW. My DC are roughly 10 years older than yours and are all doing well.

ihatethecold Sat 25-Nov-17 15:33:29

Where’s his job going to be?
Cambridge is so lovely.
We have been in a village to the west for 13 years and I love living here.

grumpysquash3 Sat 25-Nov-17 16:38:54

Similarly, we have been in a village to the south for 14 years and I love it too (originally a Londoner)

mmrmum Sat 25-Nov-17 16:59:40

@ihatethecold @grumpysquash3 @allthebestnamesareused DH’s job is going to be in University, so central Cambridge. What do you think is the best school in the centre so I can search for a house in the catchment area?

mmrmum Sat 25-Nov-17 17:09:36

I am sure is full of lovely people but I am concerned that after being 17 years in London, we find it difficult to adjust. We are both European and always felt very included and welcomed here. Somehow I am concerned about not being able to feel at home and struggle to make friends.

grumpysquash3 Sat 25-Nov-17 17:39:09

The university is really mixed, I'm sure there will be lots of Europeans and others amongst your DH's colleagues.
One of my colleagues uses St Alban's primary, which is central. Morley Memorial is south of centre, but lots of housing nearby and walkable into the centre, as well as to the leisure park (cinema, bowling etc.)
Others will have other suggestions, I'm sure. I'm more of an expert on the south villages!

grumpysquash3 Sat 25-Nov-17 17:39:54

Is your DH an academic?

RockNRollNerd Sat 25-Nov-17 19:31:02

Do check exactly where he is going to be in Cambridge - there are some depts slap bang in what I would call 'central' Cambridge but others are a bit further out, and some are a good few miles further out (mostly on the West side of the city).

Getting across Cambridge in rush hour is not quick and there is v limited parking at the city centre department sites so that might have a bearing on where you decide to live. Don't assume that because he's at the University it's the bit in the middle. Things like the Department of Applied Maths are way out on the western outskirts of town and closer to the M11 than they are to Kings College for example - you certainly couldn't walk there from central Cambridge. Faculties like MML, History, Economics are not far from the centre on the western side of town whereas Land Economy is tucked down a side street very close to the centre.

It's natural to feel concerned about moving and making friends but you'd presumably have those feelings if you were moving from SW London to say E London. Cambridge has a fairly significant international mix compared to many other parts of the UK (if you leave out the major cities, I would imagine it scores v high compared to other places) - in part because of the University and also because of the major scientific and tech presence in the area.

I agree with others that Cherry Hinton probably wasn't the best place to see, if you went to say the Mill Road area I suspect it would have left a very different impression. CH is not a bad place (I used to live there) but like others have said it's not quite Cambridge. Also brace yourself for house prices - it is cheaper than London, but if you're selling up in London your money may not go as far as you might think.

NameChange30 Sat 25-Nov-17 19:37:28

Cambridge is full of Europeans so don't worry about that!

If you can afford it, I suggest you look at houses in the Romsey/Mill Road area. It's a great area, international, lots going on, some of the streets are very sociable between neighbours with community events and street parties, etc.

mmrmum Sat 25-Nov-17 20:09:29

I decided to visit CH because I heard good things about Queen Edith School. But I will certainly look into Mill Road/Romsey area. Thank you so much for your comments, it is very reassuring to hear so many positive things.

Tid1 Sat 25-Nov-17 20:23:21

Cambridge is a great place to live and bring up a family, and as others have said very multicultural. Lots going on for babies/ toddlers and clubs for older kids. IMO there aren't really bad places to live in Cambridge though like everywhere there are better places. I live in the north of the city (Milton road area) and really like it. I would suggest finding exactly where husband will be working as city traffic pretty bad at rush hour and it may be that he will decide to cycle to work (like many others!) so a 20 minute cycle would be preferable to a 30 minute one. Also given the ages of your kids best to check with admissions which schools have spaces for your older two. There is a lot of movement in schools (some areas more transient than others due to academics moving on etc). If I could afford too would chose to live in one of the streets of Chesterton road (e.g de freville), but generally for that are you need about 700/800k upwards for a 3 bed (some houses are well over 1mil) . Great schools, close to town, river, great parks, cafes, pubs and restaurants! Good luck with your move

TellMama28 Sat 25-Nov-17 20:49:41

Sorry OP I don’t agree- I’ve lived in SW London and Cambridge. I found Cambridge fragmented and soulless and it was hard to meet people. That was before I had children but nevertheless I found the structure with the busy but slightly alienating busy centre ( if not a Cambridge university person) surrounded by smaller residential areas, most lacking their own hub, made it hard to meet people. You sound very happy where you are now- do you need to take this new job?

retirednow Sat 25-Nov-17 21:02:59

Would he consider commuting to his new job so you don't have to move, would he qualify for live in accommodation during the week if that was an option.

NameChange30 Sat 25-Nov-17 21:07:33

"I found Cambridge fragmented and soulless and it was hard to meet people."

I couldn't disagree more! Admittedly I've lived here for years but I've found it easy to meet people and make friends. Through work, common interests (met my best friends at a feminist group) and baby-related things. Maybe Cambridge feels soulless if you're lonely, but that's the last word I'd use to describe it.

OP, if you want to be in the catchment area for Queen Edith's, check out Coleridge. The streets around Coleridge Park are nice, and it's within walking distance of Mill Road, the train station and the Leisure Park.

SoftSheen Sat 25-Nov-17 22:31:47

St Matthew's Primary School and its catchment area (Petersfield/Kite) are everything you describe. The school is Ofsted Outstanding, diverse and international, with a great community.

Avoid Cherry Hinton, it's not really Cambridge!

rosemarie04 Sat 25-Nov-17 23:19:16

Before having children I thought that Cambridge was really boring but it is great with young kids. Student life is mainly taking place in the colleges.
I have never understood the fascination of mill road, to me it is rather noisy, many cars and not pleasant to walk with but has a few small but nice cafes and is close to the train station. Houses around there are mostly small terraces. But you could live a bit further south or east towards cherry Hinton where houses and gardens tend to be bigger.
There are lots of activities for children all around Cambridge and it is easy to cycle everywhere. We live in Chesterton and I like being able to walk by the river into town or out of town to fen ditton or cycle up towards water each, ely. There is a very child friendly and nice cafe, a super yoga studio, good independent pub, lots of family groups... It is all a bit spread out, so it will never feel as vibrant as SW London.
I don't know cherry Hinton well but it has a very nice park (cherry Hinton hall).

ihatethecold Sun 26-Nov-17 07:31:13

Do you have an idea of budget for your house?
That may determine where you can look.

ClearEyesFullHearts Sun 26-Nov-17 17:27:17

Don't want you to reveal if you're not comfortable, but would find it helpful if we knew which part of SW London you're happy in. Could recommend properly as we were London based (SE) previously.

Rubysnan Sun 26-Nov-17 18:13:17

Cambridge is losing its heart and soul because of rapid expansion of student accommodation and a transient population. No one born and bred there can afford to stay.

Enb76 Mon 27-Nov-17 09:54:39

I live in one of the closer villages to Cambridge (not Cherry Hinton). Parents at the school gates tend to be fairly international and it's a 15-20 min cycle from the centre.

I also moved from London but from Angel/Clerkenwell area. The things I miss about London are... not much really. It's 50 mins by train. I found it very easy to make friends here, the community in Cambridge itself is pretty transient so lots of people are trying to make friends. There are lots of activities you can get involved and I may be biased but Cambridge is absolutely superb for children.

If I were you I'd look at Chesterton or Newnham which are a bit like villages within Cambridge, close to the river with good community feel.

It will never be London though and if you're expecting a similar sort of life you will be disappointed.

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