Hampshire, Surrey and beyond? 😳(22 Posts)
Hello folks, well, I've made two momentous decisions this year (and we're only in March! 😂). Firstly, to finally join Mumsnet (check), and secondly, to exit London (flat on the market). I know this a well drilled topic, but I'm desperately looking for some up to date info on the best areas to consider. We started off looking at Fleet, then Farnham and the surrounding areas. Then it was Haslemere and Godalming. Planning to explore Petersfield this weekend, but wondering if we should also check out Camberley??? Anywhere else? We have the usual requirements of needing train links to London and good schools, but really want to find a 'nice' environment for us to bring our daughters up. Looking for the 'forever home' so feeling the pressure!!! 🙈😬 Thanks in advance for any advice 👍🏻
What;s your budget and what do you want for it? Do you need to commute?
Hi! Budget would be £600-650k. Hoping to get a four bedroom place, ideally with open plan kitchen, large garden etc. Husband will be commuting, so also need good trains into Waterloo 😬
Look between Alton and Farnham. They're only about 6 miles apart but Alton end is far cheaper. Good schools, always get a seat on the train (it starts in Alton so anyone who gets on for the first 5 stops gets a seat) and good access to the A31/2. Farnham is considered posher and Alton less so but we live between the two and both have lots of plus points.
Thanks for that. I'll be honest, I'd avoided looking at Alton as hadn't read great things. Is that unfair then, do you think?
A bit. I moved here about 18 months ago from a town about 20 miles away and had only visited a few times. (TBH we all used to say it was full of inbreds etc). Our village is halfway between Alton and Farnham and for me, I'd sooner pop to Alton if I need anything. Two DSDs are at a senior school there and love it (and are doing really well) and have opportunities that I would have killed for when I was their age.
Also, Alton has Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Aldi, and a Tesco Express!
I find the folk in Alton amazingly friendly compared to the large town I grew up in. I pop in to get a prescription or some veg in the grocer's and end up staying for a 20 minute chat. There's a lot of community spirit. I think Farnham has a lot more commuter people and it's feel and town centre reflect that (bit more polished and worldly) whereas Alton feels more like it's a market town. Hope that helps!
Look at Woking - we made the move from London a few years ago but it's great
Quick into London, lots of ex London families and tonnes of activities for the children.
Lots of investment going into woking centre so will carry on getting nicer too!
I'd say that the bad things are probably unfair. I know Alton fairly well and obviously there are parts that aren't as nice as others, but for the money you're looking to spend you'd be able to get a lovely house in one of the nicest parts. As the pp said, the schools are good and it's a nice safe town. If your partner doesn't mind a drive to the station, maybe look at some of the villages around there, four marks, bentworth, medstead etc, or between Alton and Farnham, such as Bentley, although I'm not sure how much the price goes up for those kinds of places. My personal preference would be Farnham, as I think there's a lot more there in terms of shops and places to eat etc, but retains the small town charm.
Again, this is a personal opinion, but I wouldn't chose camberley, especially as a commuter as I believe (could be wrong) the train line is slower into Waterloo. I do have friends who live in Basingstoke, which is again further out but they like it and it offers great value for money and a fast train line into town. Have you considered Guildford also? Petersfield and fleet are both also nice places, but as I said, personal preference above all others would have to be Farnham.
Other side of Farnham are Frensham and Tilford which are both gorgeous. Great schools too.
I suggest you really look at the railway routes. I'd suggest Haslemere over Camberley. Frensham and Tilford are nice but a bit of a drive to a station.
Also Godalming, Guildford (you can afford some houses there, just maybe not what you want), Woking. (And I'd probably look at Farnborough and Basingstoke before Camberley too - fast trains).
Godalming is nice, three stations in the town & adjoining villages
Gosh, I wish I'd joined up earlier! This feedback has been so helpful, thank you all very much (and do please keep it coming!). Definitely going to check Alton out now, and some of the other areas mentioned. Hadn't thought of Woking to be honest ... One potential issue at the moment is that I don't drive (another 'to do' for this year!), although I am more than happy walking, getting public transport to places. Do any of you know Petersfield well? I'd read about an open air swimming pool, weekly markets etc. and thought it all sounded rather idyllic. I then read a lot of dodgy comments about the 'Heath' on that awful 'ilivehere' website!!! 😬 Though, to be fair, it has dodgy comments about everywhere from what I can see!
Petersfield always seemed pleasant when I was there BUT if you don't drive then I'd definitely look closer in. Godalming could be a good choice; 3 areas Godalming itself, Milford and Farncombe; all with a station and shops and things to do! Guildford has a market and a monthly farmers market, a Lido and two very good leisure centres/swimming pools. So lots of the things you liked about Petersfield are available much closer in. Woking has nice "village" areas with shops, and can be pretty walkable - and has good buses.
You do need to be aware that when you move out of London Public transport can be quite limited (one village I quite like has one bus an hour at the best).
Thanks for that. I really liked Godalming to be honest, but there doesn't seem to be that many properties on the market? A good sign maybe, as people possibly stay put once they're in? Yes, good point re the public transport! 😳😂
There isn't much on the market - although Godalming does have some areas of new housing - so is better than a lot of places.
Just don't move to Leatherhead. What a dull and boring place.
Ok, if you don't drive then don't look at Frensham or Tilford. Farnham or Godalming are my recommendations then. If you go for Farnham, look at 'south' Farnham, so that your children can go to one of the feeder schools for Weydon School. That's the best non-selective in the area - other's are either selective on religion, or selective on wealth iyswim.
What Julia said. There are two buses a week(!) in our village! Market day and Saturday! Some are much better and have hourly buses to Bordon, Alton, Basingstoke and Farnham (Bentley and Kingsley for definite but others will too).
I've only visited Petersfield a couple of times but loved it, which of course is very different to living there.
Thanks ladies. Looks like I maybe need to investigate Godalming and Farnham a bit more. Hopefully something will come up in our price bracket. Thanks for the heads up on the buses ... I was thinking more like one bus an hour! 🙈 #citygirlneedstoadjus
WIth your budget, you could get something fabulous between farnham and farnborough - Ash Vale has a very fast train into London (under and hour) and good schools - brilliant 6th form in Farnborough. Ash Vale itself is tired and run down, but there are some nice places in Ash, Ash Green, Tongham, Mytchett, Hawley, Frimley. Lovely walks etc.
GUildford, Wanborough, Normandy, Pirbright - all nice areas.
In Farnham and surrounds, you have frensham, tilford, Churt, Seale and Sands
do eg a 10 mike radius search from Farnham
I would agree with others to avoid the villages if you don't drive!
We have a house a few hundred yards from Farnham station, within the catchment areas of South Farnham School, and have no problem letting it out - mainly to London families with small kids.
Farnham is quite buzzy - it has the University of Creative Arts, and also The Maltings which has some good stuff going on. It has a Waitrose, Lidl's and 2 Sainsburys.
I'm never quite sure about Alton... It has a v good selection of supermarkets, but I still can't quite get my head round the fact that I couldn't find a kindle/HTC charger in the whole of the high street a couple of years ago. It's several hundred yards long!
However, in my sewing class, I am surrounded by Alton residents, and they all love it Your budget would buy something pretty large.
My DH commutes from Farnham. Has done for 12 years. He says the line is more reliable than the Haslemere one, because it's less effected by problems further down the line. There is only Bentley and Alton after Farnham, whereas the Haslemere trains go down to Portsmouth. He did 7 years from Haslemere, so is pretty qualified to comment.
I would strongly recommend that you find somewhere and rent for a year to see if you like it.
You could also consider Horsham in Sussex. It's a market town with a direct train to London. I don't live there myself but have friends who do and love it.
The old part of the town is beautiful, the parks are great and the shops are pretty good too.
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