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Relocating to Dorset

(14 Posts)
Libra16 Tue 06-Aug-19 17:25:00

Hi all. We are currently living in Surrey and want to move. we have been looking at Dorset for a while, but the West side, Lyme Regis/Charmouth/Bridport and even into Devon from there. What has scared me is the possible lack of things for teens to do.
We have 2 DSs aged 13 & 10. We are quite an active outdoorsy family. We love the water and walking etc. The boys like cycling too and there seemed (and I say this with hesitation in case I got it wrong!) to be a lack of cycling, cinemas and things for older lads to do out that way. So I have now started to look more towards Bournemouth and the surrounding areas. Not only is it closer to where we are now so easier to get back to visit, but every old thread I have read about moving to that area has been packed with lots of really encouraging comments.
So folks, what I need help with is you HO's on where to live! What are the best areas? What are the best schools? Not just Ofsted ratings, but nice schools? Areas with lots to do, nice houses, community buzz and stuff to occupy teens and Me and Hubby too? Job opportunities (we are both self employed at present though our clients are not portable)?
Our youngest only has 1 year left at primary so although Primary schools are important to us, so he can settle in well, really our main focus is getting in to a good Secondary in the area for both of them.
sorry for blethering on but am keen to get plenty of advice as it is such a big step for us to totally relocate!

So I have now started to consider the other side of

humblesims Tue 06-Aug-19 18:56:39

I live in Southbourne which is great for young families. Bournemouth was once seen as a retirement town but really now its a university town with loads for youngsters to do and a great vibe. Southbourne is an up and coming area so good investement wise. Schools - the grammar is good (mine went there) but the comprehensives arent too bad. If you were in Christchurch you'd be in catchment for Twynham which is a good school and co-ed (some glitch in the system means that Bournemouth has a high number of single sex schools - I didnt mind that but a lot of people do).
Honestly Bournemouth town itself is a dump and I rarely find reason to go there but there are so many nice areas close by. Transport links are good. The sea and the coast and the proxomity to wonderful countryside are (for me) a massive plus. I guess like a lot of towns now there is a fair bit of low level crime.
I love it here.

Libra16 Wed 07-Aug-19 07:32:49

Thank you humblesims for your honest opinion and advice. we visited B'mouth town last October, it wasn't the nicest tbh, but then neither is the town we are in now!
I have heard lots of people mention Southbourne now and Westbourne too, but I hear that can be pricey. Good to know that there is loads going on around the area for youngsters to do because that was really lacking in Lyme Regis where we were considering moving to before.
I don't mind co-ed or single sex schools, as long as they are good, The school DS #1 is at at present is the 5th worst in Surrey and is shockingly bad so we just want to save him really!
Think we need to get down and have an explore,but Iguess it is really busy this time of year?

humblesims Wed 07-Aug-19 08:36:31

Yes August is very busy down here and another thing I didnt mention is the traffic is awful, but I think it is everywhere these days. Youre right that house prices in Southbourne are high but it covers quite a large area from Pokesdown to Tuckton and some of those peripheral areas are a bit cheaper. I like Westbourne but dont know it as well as 'Sobo' (as we locals call it!) - theres an active facebook page
There is a great community feel to Southbourne, they have regular events and mini festivals.
I read in your other post that your DS probably wouldnt make the grammar school so the local comps and what I know of them are as follows:
Harewood College is the main secondary school for the area. Its reputation is not great. But, having said that all my nephews (3) went there and were very happy and I wouldnt dismiss it. I think a lot depends on the crowd they get in with. As in life.
Bishop of Winchester. I dont have any experience of it but as with Harewood, I think its a mixed bag. If I recall they have recently had a new head and is improving. They have 'links' with the grammar but I've never really understood what the links are!
Twynam. Again, no first hand experience but its reputation is very good and people will move into the catchment area to get there DCs there. The Catchment is the Christchurch side of the river (look for Tuckton bridge). Sometimes kids from Tuckton will get in but its not guaranteed.
St Peters. Catholic school. Good reputation but obviously have to be Catholic.
I think thats all the secondaries.
Primaries in the area area are all good.
Lyme is lovely isnt it. but youre right there is nothing there for young people and the transport links are non existent.
The Bournemouth area I think is a good choice for a family. I also have two boys (18 and 20) and living here has been great for them. Its relatively safe and easy for them to transition into independent adults.
Areas I would avoid living are Boscombe (but only a quite small area - there are nice bits of Boscombe) Springbourne and Bournemouth centre.
Anyway Good Luck with it all.

Libra16 Thu 08-Aug-19 10:09:16

Thanks so much for all the tips and inside knowledge. I will get back on good ol' Rightmove and get hunting as well as checking out the schools you mentioned.

Thank you also for the facebook page link, will definitely be joining that!
Fingers crossed a weekend reconnoiter might prove fruitful.

All the best!

GooodMythicalMorning Thu 08-Aug-19 10:17:02

Dorchester is good, and Weymouth. Lots to do. Dont really like Bournemouth. Lots of lovely schools in Dorchester.

Libra16 Tue 13-Aug-19 08:25:07

Dorchester you say? Cool. We popped in there on our way back from Charmouth a few weeks back and did really like the town. There were not as many bigger towns around there for things to do like there are down near B'mouth,, that put us off a bit. But good schools are a priority to us.
We went to Lymington last weekend and absolutely loved it down there. Not so keen on Bournemouth at all and we could not seem to find a centre to Southbourne at all! Are we being thick? We found Tuckton and Pokesdown and good ol'Boscombe and a beach but no real 'Southbourne Central' perhaps we drove arou d it by mistake as we were tired by then.
A yo e got any advice on life in or Lymington?

Libra16 Tue 13-Aug-19 08:27:48

P.s. sorry but we didn't like Weymouth Town at all!

GooodMythicalMorning Tue 13-Aug-19 12:36:02

Weymouth is one you either love or hate, like marmite I think.

Not been to Lymington so can't tell you much about that.

EBearhug Tue 13-Aug-19 13:18:28

I was born in very rural west Dorset, grew up in Dorchester (or just outside.) I lived and worked in Bournemouth for 5 years, too.

If you've got teens, then there probably are more options for entertainment in the east. Also, if you're in Weymouth, Dorchester, Crossways, Wool, Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth, then you're on the mainline railway to Waterloo, which makes a big difference to older teen mobility. (Especially if they repeatedly fail their driving tests...)

I really miss being able to go down to the beach for a swim after work.

Libra16 Tue 13-Aug-19 13:25:50

Thanks @EBearhug, that is good to know. We are going back down tomorrow to investigate further.

Anyone know anything about towns to the West of Bpournemouth? Poole? North of Poole?

Might as well check everything while we are there!

GoodwithRocksandGems Tue 13-Aug-19 13:30:13

We were in highcliffe last week which seemed nice. Think the secondary is considered good. On the other side, the Poole secondary schools have improved a lot. Best thing is to go onto the Gov websites for schools and do a comparison. Also call the LA and see which schools actually have spaces as you will need an in year admission place for the 13 year old.

GooodMythicalMorning Tue 13-Aug-19 14:46:20

Lots of things to donin Poole area and bus links are good. Poole park is nice but it isnt all pretty. Quite a few places good if you can drive there but can be annoying if not as its quite a big area. Good shopping areas like poole town centre and tower park is good for all in one complex with eateries such as Days buffet, chiquitos, burger king, pizza hut and more and a massive Cineworld, bowling, Splashdown, I think Bingo but might have changed.

Libra16 Tue 13-Aug-19 23:55:18

Thanks all!

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