Commuting to London from bath(19 Posts)
we are currently thinking about relocating to Bath and are looking at Kindswood for our two DS 8 and 10. Husband will be commuting to London three days a week by train with one night a stay over. He is not considering moving job nearer to bath so we would be looking at him commuting on a permanent basis. I want to live on outskirts of bath but not have a too epic drive to get kids to school. Would be grateful to hear from anyone whose DH commutes and whether it really is possible long term or not. Like the look of Bathampton to live. Would the journey from Bathampton to Kingswood be impossible for the kids, or to the train for DH. (The head at kingswood told me it can take from 20 mins to up to an hour from Combe Down where we initially thought might work for us to live). Need advice, such a big move for us all, and feeling overwhelmed.
I'm probably not the best person to advise overall but I just wanted to offer a word of warning - Bristol/Bath traffic is the absolute worst and the buses inbetween the two are very very unreliable. I live in Bristol and commute to Bath for work and I almost lost my job due to the traffic / bus services. Might want to come down and test out a couple of methods of getting around / travelling at peak times to help in your decision.
Getting over the river from
Bathampton will be your bottleneck. Have you considered King Edwards?
Are you determined to live so far out? There are nice properties round Widcombe and Lyncombe Vale which would be walkable to the station and make the school run much easier.
Or Camden - close to Kingswood, not as expensive as Lansdown 'proper'. Cyclable to the station if you don't mind a hill.
Larhhall is further but flatter to the station; more hill to Kingswood (but there is a bus you could use), and has a villagey feel with a butcher / greengrocer etc.
I haven't answered your question about commuting - I wouldn't (would never get paid enough for a start - I'm a HCP), but plenty do.
Firstly 100% yes to commuting from Bath. Loads of people I know do this. Dh is in London several days most weeks.
However, Bath traffic and parking are nightmare as pps said. To make this work I think you'd need to be walkable to station from home for your dh AND same side of town as school. e.g.1) live Bathampton, your dh cycle along towpath to station, school KES, Prior or Monkton. 2) Live Widcombe (really nice, really handy for station) and same schools 3) Live Camden or Lansdown, school Kingswood. Without outing myself too much, we do this but while dh walks to station I have to cross town multiple times per day to school which is AAAAAAAAARGH trafficwise.
Other option live in a village to north of Bath e.g. Wick, Marshfield, Biddestone, Acton Turville, West Kington St Catherine's etc. Use Kingswood. Husband commute from Chippenham( will need to drive to station) Easy parking and cheaper commute.
Commuting to London from Bath is doable - it's tiring but ok. I've done it. Most people who commute to London live in 'desirable' Widcombe or Bathwick areas (you will pay a premium in both), because these are a 10 min or so walk to the station. The schools are full of ex-Londoners and commuting parents. Paying to park at the station will be expensive, and there often won't be spaces, and there's no on road parking at all.
The issue will be getting the children to Kingswood. You really want to be on the same side of Bath - so school, house and station on the south side. We have to get one of ours across town and it's a nightmare - been known to take 45 mins from the London Road to station area at rush hour. The London Road/Firestation area is often solid. A cycle route along the canal is possible but not great every day in bad weather, and you wouldn't want to go up the steep hills to Kingswood, Monkton or Prior Park at the end of that journey!
Private schools on southside are Monkton (that's a 15 min or so drive up a steep hill from the station), Prior Park/Paragon, which are 10 min walk - 10 min drive. Or King Edwards, in Bathwick.
Kingswood (and Royal High, for girls) are on the north side of Bath, again up a steep hill in the opposite direction.
Quite a few people use an electric bike due to the hills.
Someone mentions Camden as being slightly cheaper than Lansdown, and on the north side. The issue here is a general shortage of family houses - lots of 2 bed apartments, but you have to go quite far into Camden, on the the border with Larkhall to find family houses (mainly 3-4 bed small terraces, on steep hills).
Bathampton issue would be the traffic.
I live near the station (moved there years ago because I was in London 2 or 3 days/week...I tended to stay over). Most people I know that commute to London either:
- manage for a couple of years then lose the plot and change job
- work compressed weeks so they stay over at least one night/week and work from home for at least 2 days
- DH used to rent and would generally head up on a Sunday night and head home on a Thursday.
When the trains work they are fine, but engineering works tend to over-run on a Monday morning and electrification work has added to the fun.
Why not see if there is a place you can rent for a week (plenty of Airbnb places in Batheaston - so just across the toll bridge) and give the school-run and commute a try.
Camden Crescent is built into the hillside, the rooms at the back are exceedingly damp, on the ground and basement floors at least.
Yep, not Camden Crescent as can't park either.
Yes, parking anywhere in central Bath is an issue. There’s residents parking, but if you want something more reliable than that you need off-street parking. If you want a period property, that usually means buying or renting a garage.
We’re built into the hillside (not Camden Crescent but close by) and the damp issues are manageable with thought. We had to reduce the size of our house by removing the roof/velux over the light well to get air onto that wall, and another wall )which has earth on the other side of it) has got a waterproof bubble wrap style layer under the plaster, which lets the water come through the wall and drain away. Again, if you get a period house you are always going to have issues with walls / roof / etc.
Thanks everyone. Lots of great, helpful suggestions. Madcats I like the idea of Air BnB which could be great to try with a half term coming up.
I have visited Monkton, Prior and Kingswood and felt Kingswood would be preferable for our boys. House wise would like a bit of space (more than we have now) as moving out of London but struggling to see where North of Bath gives that whilst being close enough to Bath for station, and being affordable. Monkton Senior seemed too boarder orientated for our taste, and Prior seemed quite determined in the paths for kids to take after school, again not what we think we are looking for.
@MrsEricBanner has your dH commuted for long. My dH will be travelling over to Canary Wharf and it just seems like quite a long haul. We don't have family in Bath so it will be me settling kids, and myself, into Bath. Just a little worried we will need him around more than guaranteed 2 days a week working from home.
Canary Wharf (if I had to be there for a meeting) was generally a 3 hour 'door to door' for me....from 5 minutes' walk from Bath station. Just turning up to work would still be way over 120 minutes each way.
Things might have improved, but October/November is a good time to give it a go.
Bath is lovely, but I'm not sure that a Canary Wharf commute would be fun. If you can work on the train, that would help make it manageable.
It doesn't sound as if you value/considered flex-boarding, so maybe look at KES too?
Yeah it's not so much the 1.5 hours Bath to Paddington, it's the tube on the other side. I travel to Westminster, which is Circle Line and seems to be one of the slower/less frequent services. I often have to count another 45 mins + for that leg of the journey. Seats are often not available on the train too.
I count it at least 3 hours each way.
hmbsa yes years. When we first moved here he commuted to West London daily but now City several days a week. If you are set on Kingswood for the children although you could v happily drive them in from Marshfield etc, that simply won't work for your dh. So in your case I really think you need to look at living lower Lansdown or Camden (fine for KW and station) or, better for your dh but less good for KW, Widcombe. Living in town will help you integrate quicker too I think. As pp said, I'd definitely have a look at King Edward's School too.
I moved from London to bath ten years ago and in terms of quality of life I would say absolutely it was worth it. The London commute is tiring - my DH does it but not every week as he's project orientated - but actually parking at the station, whilst expensive, is not an issue at the time he, and presumably your DH, would need to be there. Given DS I have also dropped him off on occasion. It takes 15 mins at that time of day in the car. There's a bus bus direct between the two but I honestly wouldn't bother with that at that time of day. If your DH cycles it's past one park and through another and then you're there. We live on the west(on) side of bath. It's not historically been seen as 'smart' because it wasn't part of bath but a separate village but there are some gorgeous houses and a real village / community feel which we love. It's 10 mins to kingswood in the car over lansdown, 10 mins on foot to the Cotswold way with the dog, 15 mins on foot to the local high street with a small Tesco, 15 mins into town in the car. View of the countryside, ofstead outstanding primary within walking distance, village scout group and a lovely local pub thrown in. Job jobbed. For us anyway. If you want to stay urban then Bathwick or Widcombe would suit you better but the traffic will drive you mad unless you're much more tolerant than me.
Canary Wharf would be a trek though so you would both need to be completely committed and it does take time to settle in. I'd say we are fully integrated now - good solid friends, know our way around, I'm settled into a flexible part time job etc but you need to work at it. Kingswood are pretty good though, you should meet people that way so long as you don't become needy relocated mum, but I'm sure you're too self aware for that.
Thanks all...more great advice for such a big decision. Have been visiting Bath for some years and love all that's on offer, probably for the same reasons some of you moved there from London. Buzzy but with the space around you that we just don't get here (I'm not central London but near Kingston upon Thames). Having been woken twice in a row by the police helicopter circling overhead I would love some space!! I'm sure I wont be a needy relocated mum, haha, I think I'd find myself too intense for that.
DS has dyslexia and although we haven't visited KES have understood from others it is quite academic, exactly what we are not after.
Lansdown, Weston etc I am sure would all suit us. Unfortunately ran out to time to have a look round there when I was last down there.
Eldest DS announced the other day that he doesn't want to leave his friends either which is a bit heart wrenching.
Hmm, you might find central Bath a bit noisy. It is shaped like a giant punchbowl, so noise sticks. There are the hot air balloons trying to get up over the hills....and the bellringing practice...and the seagulls that wake up at sunrise. The air ambulance/police 'copter can be noisy, but that is probably only a couple of times a month. Most people barely notice it after a week or two.
KES does have quite a few dyslexic kids (the very dyslexic children seem to head off to Calder House for a couple of years of intensive teaching) - if your son is intelligent/sporty/musical (preferably all 3) don't necessarily rule it out.
Monkton used to have a good reputation for dyslexia (used to live next door to a teacher) and it probably still does. Be aware that most of the schools will charge extra for one-to-one support.
There is a lot of movement in (and out of) the indie junior schools (lots of people are moving out of London down to Bath). Parents and children really work hard to make newbies feel welcome.
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