Relocating advice - Villages near Huntingdon

(19 Posts)
Kabuto Mon 26-Sep-16 22:51:17

We are currently living in King's Lynn but considering re-locating to Cambridegeshire. DH currently works away in Gloucester but contracts so it could be anywhere. We would like to settle somewhere with a bit more to offer than KL, culture-wise, with better transport links to major cities.

We have two DC's: 7 and 4 so good schools are a must. Also would like a village but close to a city which has lots to offer and we love Cambridge but can't afford it. We also need reasonable access to Kings Lynn as family live here and we hope to visit often. This would probably rule out south cambs.

Other threads suggest Godmancheser, St Ives and Hartford to be nice places. I've also seen there is a bus link (is that what it's called?) which suggests easy commuting to Cambridge, should DH be fortunate enough to get work there.

We would be looking at a budget of £300k Max for a 4 bed detached and Rightmove suggests this is doable for these areas. We don't know anyone who lives in the area so means to meet new friends is also important and friendly locals would be great!. We've found the fens area to be not so friendly so probably will avoid villages north of Cambridge.

Could anyone offer some advice and experience of villages or small towns please, given our situation?

TIA, much appreciated.

Kabuto Mon 26-Sep-16 22:57:22

Should also have said one of the things I love about where we live currently is it is v "safe" and green, a great place to bring up kids but it lacks stimulation and educational facilities. We want somewhere where the kids can enjoy the countryside but be close to extra curricular activities: swimming, martial arts etc

PippaFawcett Mon 26-Sep-16 22:58:47

Godmanchester is nice. St Ives is also nice and has the guided bus into town which makes life easier as the A14 to Cambridge is a nightmare!!

I don't know Hartford. Have you thought about Cambourne? It can be cheaper and is very good for families.

Kabuto Mon 26-Sep-16 23:21:16

Thanks Pippa. I actually used to work in Cambourne and while I don't know the area well at all, it seemed very new. I prefer older, more established areas. I doubt v much we could afford it but in an ideal world would love a period house.

northofcambridge Tue 27-Sep-16 08:04:23

Ely is nice - has lovely properties and primary schools are good - good mix of people and on King Lynn train line - if you look at the Fen edge villages you will also find a better mix of people so Willingham, Cottenenham, Waterbeach - st ives also good - very near huntington is Brampton which seems like a lovely place - nightmare to get to Cambridge as not on guided bus

PippaFawcett Tue 27-Sep-16 14:58:50

Isn't the secondary in Ely pretty awful though? Waterbeach/Cottenham would be good though. Not sure you could get four beds for £300k there though.

GMCLaydee Tue 27-Sep-16 15:07:53

We've lived in Godmanchester for a decade now, and can't see any reason to live elsewhere. (Things may change once the new Bearscroft estate is completed but I can't second guess that)
It has a village feel, but its a town. The primary schools are good and there a re plenty of activities in and around the town. I cannot comment on commuting to Cambridge as we have strictly avoided it. My DH works in Bar Hill and I work in St Neots (which is against the rush hour traffic so I don't normally get stuck in queues)
As far as activities go - there are martial arts classes (although we actually take DS2 to Cambridge for Kung Fu) Football, cricket, Rainbows and Cubs etc, a very popular swimming pool which is within the grounds of the community school (or whatever they've called it now its merged with the 3rd primary) There are play parks and a beautiful river. Its close enough to walk to Huntingdon for the parks and shops there.

We live in a 4 bed detached on one of the not-new-but-modern estates (80s) and I think its probably worth about 300k now.

Kabuto Tue 27-Sep-16 16:05:29

north thank you but it is likely we will avoid Ely way, partly due to cost and also as we have friends there who have discouraged us due to schools.

Thank you GMC I think Godmanchester is my preferred town so far, it looks quite idyllic. But I'm concerned I'm becoming blinkered. I had visions this love would solve DH's commuting problems, reducing his journey from 4 hours to 1-2. Given he would work anywhere nationwide, which he had been doing due to KL not having his industry, I perhaps naively thought he could hop on a train where the transport links would be excellent (KL links are rubbish).

How long is the bus link commute from Huntingdon/Godmanchester to Cambridge in rush hour? Anyone know?

Kabuto Tue 27-Sep-16 16:06:02

Love= move

GMCLaydee Tue 27-Sep-16 16:38:35

are you on facebook Kabuto? You might want to go look at the Godmanchester Living page. People like to have a whinge on there, but you can also get some advice and answers to your questions.

bugstons242 Tue 27-Sep-16 18:47:08

Fenstanton is lovely. Near St Ives, great village community.

Kabuto Tue 27-Sep-16 19:01:46

Thanks, GMC will take a look at Facebook page.

Bugstons I have heard of Fenstanton and shall take a look now, thank you.

PippaFawcett Tue 27-Sep-16 19:23:45

The journey time would be long into Cambridge during rush hour, although you can get on the guided bus route in Huntingdon, which then turns into the actual guided bus at St Ives which I imagine is quicker than it was.

The trains from Huntingdon into London are good, and you can link to Peterborough and get up north easily from there too.

bugstons242 Tue 27-Sep-16 19:52:55

The school is great in Fenstanton with some good after school activities, there are some beautiful walks and there are great leisure facilities nearby in St Ives. My eldest plays in the village football team and there are beavers and Scouts groups. We rented in lots of places around Cambridge before settling here and we and the kids love it. It's small but everyone is so friendly and we settled in quickly.

There are lots of village events during the year. The sports day is great fun. There are couple of pubs and another new one opening soon with a big family restaurant. Butchers, pharmacy, pre school, post office, 2 takeaways.

I commute into Cambridge 3 times a week, the A14 can be slow but when it's good it's less than 30 mins to the centre of Cambridge. I either drive or get the bus. Only one an hour though. If my husband needs to be in London he drives to huntingdon and gets the train. So much easier than Cambridge station.

Happy to answer any other questions you might have
Good luck.

GMCLaydee Wed 28-Sep-16 11:09:54

I see you posted on fb smile - I hope the answers there are useful. good luck x

Kabuto Wed 28-Sep-16 20:51:10

Thank you everyone for your experience, it's been very helpful.

Bugstons Fenstanton sounds perfect for us, so family friendly! Unfortunately Rightmove currently indicates property to be a little out of our price range. We would ideally be looking at spending £250-£300k. I would have loved to get a detached 4 bed for that (we can here) but it looks unlikely where you are. So we either need to reduce our expectations or look elsewhere.

GMC The folks on Facebook are so helpful!! And I'm encouraged by the responses. While we would get less for our money in GMC than where we are currently, we need to look at priorities. When we moved from an awful area in another part of the country 7 years ago, I swore I would always place location above property aesthetics. But basically I want it all wink

Next step will be a visit.

Thanks again.

northofcambridge Sat 01-Oct-16 11:36:58

The secondary in Ely has just been taken over by the people who run Cambourne and Comborne village colleges and its likely to improve substantially - also people do send their kids to other schools

Kabuto Sat 08-Oct-16 22:54:52

If anyone is reading this, today I went to check out the local areas. I didn't spend too long there as had DCs and don't want to arouse suspicions of DC1 who's made it clear he doesn't care for moving schools.

First was GMC. We took a walk along with lovely park and over the bridge. Then we drove to Fenstanton and onto St Ives, before boarding the bus link at the park and ride and onto Cambridge.

Initial thoughts are that they're all lovely. I was drawn towards St Ives as there may be more to offer in terms of amenities for DCs and the schools looked good. Also proximity to the bus link. But I'm concerned from reading other threads that St Ives may have a problem with anti social behaviour at night, weekends. Could anyone comment on this?

Also, any advice or knowledge on accessing primary schools in the areas? DC1 in year 3 and DC2 will be starting reception next year. I guess they would be over subscribed.

It's such a big decision and I'm scared of making a mistake!

PippaFawcett Thu 13-Oct-16 15:03:33

By the way, Ely College is not run by Comberton and Cambourne. It has been taken over by the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust which runs Swavesey and will run Northstowe. Swavesey is also rated as Outstanding but I thought I should point it out.

When are the application deadlines? You might be able to submit as a late application for reception if you get everything in order. Have you got to sell your house first? I don't know much about St Ives but it is on the Guided Bus route so that will make transport easier.

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