Anyone moved to Medway from London? Are you happy hear?

(60 Posts)
toja555 Fri 06-Aug-10 12:16:50

Hi, I am a mum of 2.4yo DS and expecting another DS in 3 months time. We currently live in South London. It is OK at the present, extremely convenient in terms of commuting to work, however we thinking of moving further out in order to find a better quality of life. Although we both have OK jobs in central London, it is not easy to juggle financially, plus as the children grow we probably will face all London related problems, i.e. hanging out with wrong crowd etc. (this may happen or may not, but of course I would love to prevent this). Also cleaner air, friendlier neighbours, less outside noise, all that appeals to me…

I don’t know about Medway much. I have been to Gillingham once. I only recently came across one thread in MN, where someone was telling that they moved from London to Chatham and are so much happier. I googled that Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham and Rochester have good train links with London (very important to me), saw affordable house prices on Rightmove and my mind started rolling… We would even be able to spare some cash for my DH master’s studies (!).

So here I am looking for positive inspiration. I cannot afford to move anywhere else further out, unless I downsize. I Medway I would be able to upsize and even reduce my mortgage. Schools seem to be OK. It is near the sea, which is lovely. So why the properties are so cheap? Is it still an undiscovered gem for those looking for peace and quietness?

Anyone works in London? Is it doable living in Medway and both parents working full-time with 2 children? Will I find there what I am looking for? Are we going to be OK as a racially mixed family? Is there any prejudice against newcomers from London? If we move, we are not likely to afford to move back to London again, so it is very important for us to make the right decision for life.

We are going for a day trip to Gillingham/Chatham/Rochester/Rainham next weekend, will look around more properly, but still I doubt if you can get “that feeling” before you actually live here.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

rachelmendham Thu 09-Sep-10 16:27:13

hi, i moved to sittingbourne a yr ago, from south east london. we too were looking at rainham, but they just wouldnt budge of prices so a friend mentioned sittingbourne. we got more for our money here, we are nr a lovely village. it is so peaceful, safe, and friendly. we should have moved sooner. the schools are good, we love it down here, 20mins from beach, only thing miss all friends from london, but we often meet up, visit at leeds castle as halfway point. i hope you like it, good luck

MaamRuby Thu 09-Sep-10 16:41:17

Am born and bred and pretty honest!

Houses are cheap, but lots of old stock and some new builds. Some areas better than others, but same as anywhere. Happy to advise on specific streets!

Schools really are OK, personally not impressed with the independent ones here if you were considering.
Grammar schools if that is your cup of tea.

Trains and coaches OK to London.
Absolutley no problem being mixed race.
Lots local play areas and country parks which had lot of recent investment.
4 swimming pools, none fabulous
you can be in london in an hour, the beach in an hour, france in a couple of areas
University growing
Lots of commuting parents but you will need to top and tail the day as many nurseries near station operate until 6pm.
Couple of cinemas and local ttheatres
high streets pants unless you want prim ark or poundshop, but hempstead valley useful and blue water 20 minutes away

The real downside imo is much of the towns is pig ugly - but so is London often, and the accent can be jarring, as lots of local kids sound like cast of eastenders - but I dont think that would shock a londoner!

adrianab Fri 10-Sep-10 22:17:58

hi. am a mum of a 1.7yo boy and we live in south east London at the mo. we are going to move to Medway in the next few months for pretty much the same reasons.
We visited Rochester and seemed really nice so we pretty excited. We are in the middle of buying our first house there so hope we doing the right thing lol

Mrszee Wed 05-Jan-11 23:33:12

Hi we are moving to upper gillingham in a few weeks from south London for the same reasons.

My lo is 10 mths and I wondered if anyone knows of any baby groups in the area? Sing & sign etc...

WindUpBird Sat 08-Jan-11 15:49:09

Hi MrsZee,
There are LOADS of baby groups in the area. (And LOADS of families that have moved from London!)
http://www.kentfamilymagazine.co.uk/ is a local free magazine which advertises local baby groups and things to do in the area. You should be able to see past issues on the website and also search the advertisers list to find what you want.
I'd also recommend looking up the local NCT group: http://www.nctmedway.org.uk/NCT_Medway/Welcome_to_ NCT_Medway.html to get to know local parents. You don't have to be a member to take part in most of the events and the Nearly New Sales are fab.
Hope this helps as a start!

Mrszee Sun 09-Jan-11 21:59:16

Hi windupbird and sou.
Thanks for your replys, very helpful. I already know two people in the area, but don't want to be too reliant on them. Will defo get the mag and check out the nxt group. I want my lil girl to make new friends, I feel a bit bad taking her away from the friends she has here. Lol good job she's only a baby, lol.
Thanks again x

We moved from South London (Thornton Heath) to Chatham 4 years ago when my son was 18 months. I have never looked back! The Sure Start centres here are really good and the schools are a huge improvement on the options that we had in Thornton Heath.

Mrszee Thu 20-Jan-11 23:35:50

Hi ben10isthespawnofthdevil.

That's very reassuring to hear. We take the plunge on the 29th. Got my dd booked in to a lovely sure start nursery 2 days a week, I just wanna get there now and settle us in.

Thanks everyone for your reassurance.
X

NatChrisBump Thu 03-Feb-11 13:49:28

Hello all,

I've just found you and thought I'd just say hello. I live in Gillingham and am currently 35 weeks and have been feeling a bit isolated as all my family are in Somerset. I commute into London daily (finish tomorrow on maternity.. woo hoo) and was wondering what to do with my time, apart from spending it with baby and dad. But I'll have a look at the "kent family magazine" and see what's going on and maybe meet some of you at some point!!

I feel a little happier now.

Nat x

NotjustaMummy Fri 18-Feb-11 12:47:08

Hello! I moved to Rochester from Hampton last year, largely for the same reasons as many, house prices, decent schools, can still get to work in London etc, but we have struggled to find friends our own age. We found some of the pubs a little cliquey, but I'm quite shy, which probably hasn't helped. I've just found out that I'm expecting and am hoping that this makes it easier to meet similar souls. We've been lucky and have excellent neighbours, although they are in their senior years... Although we are still hunting for the dream home to purchase, I don't regret moving at all and am constantly nudging friends to consider the same...
If anyone has a great baby group I'd love to meet some new people.

I only have a five year old and we got here when he was 18 months but I hear that the Sure Start groups are good smile

Pixie1701 Fri 04-Mar-11 20:58:36

Hi, i have just moved back to Medway from London. It is definately much more friendly, people talk to you on the street and on buses etc. What i would say is choose your area carefully, there are parts of Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham that are not great and price sometimes reflects this. Also do be careful about secondary schools although is a way off for you. As a teacher it is great if you can get your child into a Grammar school but some of the High Schools could be better although probably no worse than most in London.

lindylindy Sat 05-Mar-11 16:27:27

Hi, I can't believe I found this thread. Brilliant!Have just decided to move from E London to Medway & also don't know much about area so this info is great.

Pixie1701 (or anyone else), do you know which areas of Chatham, Rochster, Gillingham and Rainham to def avoid? I've spent the last two evenings scrolling through Rightmove looking at property prices and all of the areas have just merged into one in my mind...my head is in a bit of a spin...

Avoid White Road estate Chatham, some parts of Luton, Chatham. We live in Central Chatham which some avoid but we like it as we are 4 doors away from the school and we know our neighbours. PM me if you want to know street names etc. Rainham is pretty much all OK (my parents live there and they love it).

Chatham is much much cheaper than Rainham.

mich1000 Wed 20-Apr-11 11:03:18

hi everyone, just thought i would drop you a message to let you know i run a medway/maidstone based babysitting service, we can be found on facebook just search friendly faces childcare. feel free to drop a line for a chat.

Area wise, agreed avoid Luton and White Road. and some parts of Weeds Wood/Wayfield, unless you know the ok bits its best to miss the whole lot! I live in Rainham, near Mierscourt Road and it is lovely. Central, but ten minutes away are farms and country parks. There is a lovely place called The Barnyard ( Gore farm) and this is a restaurant, farm shop and country walks. But it has a "cuddle corner" and all animals ( horses, donkeys, pigs etc) and its totally free! I often take kids there when i nannying. x

Tessajane Wed 03-Aug-11 17:29:10

You sound like me 22 years ago when we moved to Chatham from Earlsfield. Medway has been great for us, yes it is rather rough around the edges in places but there are excellent schools including selective grammar schools if that's your preference. (My son and daughter are now at Uni) You are never far from the river, sailing, walks and countryside. When teenagers, the children could get themselves around on foot or bus to visit friends or go out at night. I hadn't expected living in the largest built up area in the SE outside London to be an advantage, but it is a real one when they start to be independent. Countryside chums spent all their evenings driving their kids into town. Connections to the coast and Continent are excellent, and now with Ebbsfleet, you can get oop North or to the South of France in no time.
Rochester is pretty, we have our own castle and cathedral and Chatham is in the running to become a World Heritage Centre. The beach (at Whitstable) is 25 minutes away . . .

confusedperson Tue 09-Aug-11 10:44:09

I am the one who created this topic, just namechanged. It is lovely to see that everyone’s so happy in Medway. For the time being we dropped the idea of moving from South London, because we have had addition to our family (now DS’s are 3y4m and 9months) and couldn’t afford the 10k needed for selling our house, buying a new one and relocation. We didn’t want to rent, although I realise this could be the best idea. Whereas the train to my FT job takes only 11 mins and total journey to work about 45 mins, we are just getting by by having to drop two children at the childcare, so it’s been juggling and I didn’t want to make it more difficult by moving to a new area.
But after the riots, the thought just came back to my mind. I wanted to wait until secondary/grammar school age, but now just thinking maybe we should reconsider moving sooner. Medway is the only place I am thinking of. My colleague lives in Higham and she adores it. I need something with good commute to London. I like Rainham by description (it seems you can’t go wrong with Rainham) most. I also love the idea of grammars, but obviously there is no guarantee my children will get in. Oh and the most I love is the sea nearby. I hope my boys could find to do what they like.
I am hoping to spend around 160k on the average terraced house, in that way I could downsize my mortgage. Is that realistic?

PonceyMcPonce Tue 09-Aug-11 10:56:45

Yes!
3 bed prob

confusedperson Tue 09-Aug-11 16:17:59

Sounds positive then! I am going try and visit the places again, although it will be difficult to decide between Rochester and Rainham, Chatham and Gillingham. I understand there is no catchment for grammar schools... Please somebody invite me to visit smile so I can get a better grasp of the place..

confusedperson Wed 10-Aug-11 14:24:34

Could someone advice on a good areas to live in Rochester? I need to be close to good primaries, within 1 mile of Rochester station, in a catchment of a public secondary (in case we do not get in into grammar, although it is a long way to go), and if possible not on a very sloppy road (so afraid of potential subsidence).
Most houses for sale on Rightmove are between A229 (City way) and A230 (Maidstone road), is that a good location? Another option is between B2097 (another Maidstone rd) and A229 (City way). Any advice would be very much appreciated.

maria76 Sun 28-Aug-11 10:55:44

hi i was going to suggest city way area but not sure if could be to pricey in some parts, my family live in wareen wood area & never had any probs that seems ok around there (rochester not far from city way), i live on weedswood but in the ok bit i dont mind it here but not sure if i want 2 stay on this estate but that does depend on neighbours etc, but we do have 2 very good schools near by which comes under walderslade (some nice places) & people are ment 2 be trying to move in to the area to get kids into these schools, i was going to move to s.e london as friends etc there but having kids as made me think do i really want theminvolved in what i hear but then that can still happen down here, if im to move up tht way i would stay on the outskirts, my boyfriend & dad work in london, dad dont seem 2 mind the travelling but my bloke i think it does get on his nerves & can be very tiring as sometimes hes up at 5am & the cost aswell makes us think should move to the outskirts of london. we are also a mixed race family & never had any probs, wher ei am on weedswood there is a few mixed/black families.

Sarah8729 Thu 01-Sep-11 01:12:04

Hi. Ive recently moved to Rochester from Ilford with my partner and our almost 4 year old son and we are so much happier here already! I miss my family and friends but I think we have made the right decision. I already feel safer and more laid back and the difference in people's attitudes is huge! People even smile and say hello to you when you've never seen them before in your life!! Im still getting to know the place but so far so good.

confusedperson Thu 01-Sep-11 20:59:26

Thank you for your responses Sarah8729 and maria76. Although this thread is very quiet, my mind regarding moving to Rochester is progressing. I went to visit Rochester with my friends last weekend, and loved again. Obviously, a visit is completely different from a real move. Sarah8729, which area have you chosen? Are you renting or bought? Are you happy with the school choices around? Are you commuting to London for work? We are looking around J Wilson Math grammar already thinking of the secondary choices, but will be applying for my son's primary in South London. Please let me know what you found out nice and not that nice so far.
I miss having smiley neighbours... I had my DS2 10 months ago, my neighbours saw me pregnant, so with a newborn, never ever said anything apart from cold "Hi".

Sarah8729 Fri 02-Sep-11 13:47:33

Well we only moved here properly in May so im still trying to get my bearings so not sure how helpful I can be! I can tell you that I wanted to move to kent because I have spent a bit of time in whitstable and hated coming back to Ilford everytime we had to leave! We are renting so shortlisted the areas we could actually afford, that weren't too far from London and went from there, asking people's opinions, researching on the internet, looking on the property websites and finally one weekend we came up here, went into some estate agents to ask some advice and drove around all the areas on the shortlist to decide which were a no or a maybe. We had been talking about it for months. We ended up on Rochester High Street (near the castle) and i loved it, it reminded me of some of the places in whitstable. Once we started looking around for places i started to think we were't going to find anything. I came up one day to view a property and had another one booked for the next day, the estate agent couldnt get it swapped to the day i was there, so my "mother-in-law" who was with me at the the time said lets go and have a look at the road at least to see if we'll bother coming back for it, we got there and she just knocked on the door! i was so embarrassed at the time but it worked because we were the first to see it and now we live here lol! We live on a road just off maidstone road about 5 minutes walk to Rochester High street, there is a really nice park also a 5 minute walk from our house. I dont drive but once you get used to the buses you can to most places without much hassle or time. My son is in a really nice nursery not too far away and I've been looking up the primary schools and there are a few which seem promising. I dont actually work at the moment but my partner was driving into Barking each day which wasnt too bad, once you pass the traffic on the toll crossing it didnt take him long to get home. It would take him around 40 minutes at a time possibly an extra 10-15 if the crossing was bad.
Like I said I feel safer, more relaxed and laid back, I dont worry about as many things now. The people are nicer and friendlier, the streets seem cleaner and the air fresher!! The rent is half the price of what we were paying in London and we have more space and a garden now. I would imagine buying a house here would be cheaper too. Obviously there are good parts and bad parts like you get everywhere but its just a case of working out what suits you and where you'd feel comfortable. There were some places we looked at and i just wanted to run away as soon as we got there!!The medway towns are all so close together it was hard to pinpoint where one town ended and the other began! When we asked people's opinion though it seemed that Rochester came up as the nicest area the most.
I dont know if any of that is helpful at all but I would write down everything you would like to get from moving and then research the most important things and go from there.

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