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Relocating to Birmingham with children - need advice

(22 Posts)
UrsiHun Thu 01-Nov-18 09:07:30

Hey there,
we're planing on moving to Brum, where I went to uni so the city is not completely unknown to me. We would love to live in a quiet street near a park which is why we have also considered Scotland (less populated and very green). However we have very good job prospects in Brum and also properties seem to be still affordable. We'll be moving from Hamburg where no houses are sold for under 700 000 and we're hoping to find a 4 bed with a decent garden for about 500 000 in or near Brum.

Now the big question, which area would be best for us? here's what we're looking for (I do realise we're gonna have to compromise on something, in case you are wondering whether my preferences are a little OTT ;):

*good schools of course, especially since DS will be about 8/9 years old, probably not too happy about moving and needs a good environment with patient teachers as he's a little bit of a dreamer. being happy in school be a decisive factor for his adjustment to the new place and country (he is perfectly bilingual by the way so English is fluent - we're out of touch with cuttent colloqualisms though Lol). Independent schooling also an option however only if necessary.

*a safe and queiet street but at least a bycle ride away form basic amenities.

*love period homes but any classic English house rather than a newly built will be up our alley

here's a few questions:

Are there any quiet areas/street in or near Moseley?

Would Dorridge feel far out and small in comparison to let's say Bournville?

Are there any particular differences between cotteridge, stirchley and king's norton?

How is sutton Coldfield? Is it terribly stuck up? I've found some sizeable houses there within the budget suprisingly. How is it going to be different from southern Brum?

Many thanks in advance and do feel free to suggest areas i haven't mentioned smile

UrsiHun Thu 01-Nov-18 09:08:02


TwoGinScentedTears Thu 01-Nov-18 09:18:19

Moseley is lovely in parts but schools can be an issue at secondary. You'd want to be in catchment for Queensbridge, but the catchment area is shrinking each year. Billesley Lane and surrounding roads are your best bet (Blenheim rd, Clarence road, Cambridge road, green hill Ed would all be period houses and currently in catchment). Kings Heath also worth a look but central houses tend to be smaller terraces.

Further out, have you considered Lichfield? Direct trains to new street, good schools, quieter than Brum and almost rural in parts.

Harborne is great but again, secondary schools are an issue if you don't want/get grammar.

Happy to answer any questions!

UrsiHun Thu 01-Nov-18 09:23:56

Thanks twoGinScentedtears!

I find it so tricky to find a place that is good for both primary and secondary! One of us is likely to work in Kingstanding so anything north of brum is also a good option. It might sound stupid but is Lichfield pretty? I like the look of Bournville and of course Harborne and Edgbaston but the latter two seem to have a lot of traffic around. I will definitely look at Lichfield.

Do you know what Sutton feels like? It iwll probably be a nightmare for catchment.

Should we have difficulties getting into good state schools, is living area important for independent schools? Are those also oversubscribed?
many thanks

Domino45 Thu 01-Nov-18 09:38:51

Hi I live in Sutton Coldfield so I may be biased. But for us it’s a nice place to live. We’re right by the shopping centre in walking distance. It’s good for transport links too and Sutton Park is lovely (although plans are being put through to charge for car parking full time). I’m not too sure about schools in terms of catchment but when we moved we checked and the schools seemed to have good Ofsted reports. There’s a few primary and secondary in walking distance to us. I would say tho what you get in terms of property for money here isn’t great compared to other areas in a Brum and the cost of houses here are based on area. But it may depend on your budget. Boldmere & Wylde Green are nice too. Also Solihull.

I would second checking out Lichfield too & the trains links are good through from Lichfield - Birmingham.

UrsiHun Thu 01-Nov-18 09:48:32

Thanks for that Domino45. Isn't Solihull just as expensive as Sutton?

I am quite a sucker for the combi of a beautiful park and a nice high street nearby, hence the idea with sutton. The park looks enormous! Would be great for the boys and for running.

How big is Lichfield? Does it seem provincial in comparision to Brum? (no offence meant - I've never been there smile

TwoGinScentedTears Thu 01-Nov-18 09:52:20

Ha, it tends to be that you're either a northerner or a southerner when it comes to Birmingham. I know very little about living north of the distressway!

Lichfield is very pretty! Definitely worth a look.

Primaries in KH and Moseley are generally great. The grammars affect secondary though. The KES independent school is supposed to be great (and the girls school too) but I have no personal experience of either. Solihull is also nice but different to Brum. Big independent school, not sure about state secondaries. Commute to longstanding would be awkward though. North of the city is probably best for that. I think Lichfield is your best bet, but don't rule out Sutton Coldfield and the posher areas like Wylde Green as pp said.

SillySallySingsSongs Thu 01-Nov-18 09:54:39

Isn't Solihull just as expensive as Sutton?

More than in places.

mypoosmellsofroses Thu 01-Nov-18 09:56:14

Lichfield is very small and quite provincial, it is however very pretty and a great base, easy to get into Brum, larger shops in Tamworth, lots of countryside around and plenty of open spaces within Lichfield itself.
Lichfield city centre is not bad, suffering as most places are but still some good shops and regular farmers markets etc

GreenTulips Thu 01-Nov-18 10:00:02

I worked in Sutton it's a lovely safe area with good schools and good transport links nice and green and very friendly

We would've moved there had we not left the country just for the schools

It would be my first choice in brim

UrsiHun Thu 01-Nov-18 12:32:04

Thanks, sounds good. Getting into good secondaries will be tricky but there's always something hmm

UrsiHun Sat 03-Nov-18 07:07:30

Hey there,

what are the best (green and within catchment of good primaries) areas of Solihull?

Many thanks

LKRJM Sat 03-Nov-18 07:23:19


Kings norton, cotteridge and stirtchly are all very different and would only choose kings norton to live in! Some of the houses are nice in cotteridge/Northfield but I pretty much think you’d be sticking to Middleton Hall Road and I’m not sure about Primary Schools. Kings Norton would be the secondary. Houses in longbridge are great atm due to new small town centre, but not many period houses etc, try roads like nuthurst, gravely, edenhurst, (B31 postcode). Some good schools and parks local, bike ride to the local shops would definitely do.

The nicest areas are always going to be Alvechurch, Barnt green, towards the Lickey hills area, again fabulous parks and bus routes etc but unsure of schools.

TwoGinScentedTears Sat 03-Nov-18 09:13:38

I don't know Solihull schools well enough to comment but have you looked at Dickens Heath?

GreenTulips Sat 03-Nov-18 09:55:17

I doubt you'd find a bad school in solihill.

Have a look on rightmobe etc and it links to the schools answer their websites and you can look up ofstead reports from there as well

UrsiHun Mon 12-Nov-18 16:20:23

Thanks a million for your messages.

ArnoldBee Mon 12-Nov-18 16:23:17

My friend lives in kings heath and loves it. I thought Harbourne was an area people aspire to?

UrsiHun Mon 12-Nov-18 18:58:10

I've heard loads of good stuff about Moseley and KH. I would like to know whether those areas also have quiet streets like Bournville so that it's possible to sleep with a window open in the summer or sit in the garden without having to listen to traffic. I know the high street is very busy, and I am glad it is. No idea about side roads though. Anyone living in KH Moseley with info on this matter?
Thanks for taking time to help - I'm truly grateful.

Dogsmellssobadbob Wed 16-Jan-19 10:49:45

Bournville has pretty bits but is quite mixed tbh and secondaries aren’t great.
All it’s border areas are a bit grim- forte ridge stirchley selly oak and selly park
And Northfields is tbh horrible

Solihull has brilliant secondaries- Tudor grange is fabulous
Check catchments

Arden school in Knowle is top of the leagues and fantastic for sport and the arts as well. Catchment is tight but anywhere in catchment is nice to live in
That side of Solihull is really lovely
Dead easy train into Bham and near M42/M40/M6 so brilliant access

Sutton is nice too. Secondaries pretty good on the whole

lunicorn Wed 16-Jan-19 11:00:04

If your son is clever, consider moving near a King Edward's Grammar
The problem with B'ham is that every area mentioned is fine so it's hard to narrow down. Perhaps use secondary school info as a guide.

lunicorn Wed 16-Jan-19 11:04:19

I'm a sucker for a a Georgian house. I love this:

GonzoFlyingProducts Mon 15-Apr-19 13:19:03

I had exactly this issue 15 years ago !

In the end we rented a flat in Edgbaston (Westfield Rd) for six months while we investigated areas. We finally bought a house in Bearwood, close to Warley Woods and serious bang for your buck with house prices. If you're coming to Brum with half a million you can do more or less anywhere. Personally I'd suggest Harborne, Edgbaston and Bearwood. Harborne will give you a pretty Victorian terrace with a small garden but walking distance to Waitrose etc, Edgbaston will give you a Georgian house with a garden in what feels like the burbs but is actually very central and Bearwood will give you a huge detached Victorian with five beds and half an acre of garden.
Schools are not great anywhere in Brum unless you get into the grammar system (competitive entry) or go independent.
Bearwood has worked out well for us (three kids who went variously to grammar and independent schools), it's got Warley woods which is fab, Queens park (swings and stuff), and you'll get a lot of house with off street parking and a big garden. It's an area "on the up" as they say.

I'd definitely recommend renting for a period while you check out areas for real rather then just via Google maps !

Lichfield and the other satellite towns are nice but with three kids I like to be close to 21st century medical care, cinemas, restaurants and all that city life has to offer.

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