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moving from Belgium to UK, where to live?

(20 Posts)
BelgianGirl Sun 25-Jul-10 09:16:06

Hi,

I am moving from Belgium to the UK in autumn, because my husband has found a job in London. Being foreigners, it is not easy to decide where to live... We have a 15 months old little boy, and are looking somewhere in south east England, so it would be easy visit our family in Belgium. Or should we be looking in London? And should we allready be considering schools? Lots of questions...
All advice would be very much appreciated!

tvfriend Sun 25-Jul-10 09:34:20

Hi BelgianGirl

London v South East will depend a lot on how much money you have to be honest and how far your husband will be willing to commute.

Do you want to live in the countryside/small town/urban area?
Do you want to be able to walk/bus everywhere or happy to drive?

Wouldn't worry too much about schools although if you want to go private you could start looking at them when yoi get here.

You may want to think about nurseries though.

Kent is handy for Folkestone/Dover but London good for Eurostar.

I live in SW London and it is a very family friendly area with loads of things for children which makes it easy to meet people too. It can be fairly pricey though.

Where is your husband's new job based?

BelgianGirl Sun 25-Jul-10 09:55:01

Thank you so much for responding!

My husbands job is based in the center of London. In Belgium we have a good sized garden, so I wouldn't want to give that up! I have to admit that I am a little undecided about urban vs countryside. I lived for a few years in Brussels, liked it very much (however Brussels is still a small village compared to London...), now I live in the countryside around Brussels, which is also very nice and I think a lot of fun for my son.

Kent is indeed very handy for Folkestone and Dover, and because my parents are partially moving to France, (just for fun, apparently we all needed a change!) it would be nice to be able to take the car to France and Belgium...

LadyBiscuit Sun 25-Jul-10 10:09:37

My sister's husband is Belgian and they live near Sevenoaks - the trains are pretty fast to get into London, it's easy to get to Belgium and the schools around there are pretty good too. I would definitely think about schools now otherwise you might have to move again in a few years' time.

LadyBiscuit Sun 25-Jul-10 10:10:32

I grew up there by the way so if you tell me what sort of place you like living in Belgium, I can suggest places that are similar here

tvfriend Sun 25-Jul-10 10:24:52

Yes- schools. Meant that you wouldn't need to choose for a while but definately worth going somewhere with good schools so you won't have to move.
If you want a nice garden probably best to avoid central London unless you will have lots of money ....

BelgianGirl Sun 25-Jul-10 10:55:26

Thanks for all the help!

Sevenoaks was indeed on our list. I also allready figured out that the trains are pretty quick from there... It looks like we would best rent a few months before buying a house, because it's very difficult to buy a house in UK when you don't have an adress there yet. And it just seems like a good idea to see if we like living in the town we 've chosen.

Of course my own (future) job will also be something to consider. I'm going to take a few months to 'settle in'. But I am afraid that I will only find a job near London in my job area... So would it be possible for us to travel both to London (we also have a boy to consider...)? Or will I hate myself and wish I never started that in the first place?
It's a lot of speculation when you're moving to another country, but I have to say it's also a lot of fun!

LadyBiscuit Sun 25-Jul-10 11:05:19

It is a long-ish commute for both of you if you're both working and you will have to get a nanny I'd think. You might be better off going for South East London - around Dulwich is nice and there are lovely parks there and good schools. It's only about 20 mins on the train from there into central London too

alicatte Sun 25-Jul-10 11:17:37

My sister lives in Croydon - which is nice too and she works in Central London, its a do-able commute and there is a bit of space around including a lovely 'dinosaur' park and an athletics stadium close by. Its nice

BelgianGirl Sun 25-Jul-10 11:54:07

Besides Sevenoaks we were also thinking about Bromley, Bexley, Dartford, Maidstone,... But I have no idea which of these places are ok to live in with a little boy. (or even to live in without a boy )
We just looked on a map, and figured from where it would not be to difficult to get to Belgium or France...

BelgianGirl Sun 25-Jul-10 12:18:53

I figured it wouldn't be the best idea when we are both working. I didn't think about Croydon yet... thanks for bringing this up!

The next time we're in London to arrange some stuff I will visit a lot of places, I think that will immediately give a good idea...

tvfriend Mon 26-Jul-10 09:53:53

My mother in law lives in a lovely village near Maidstone but Maidstone itself isn't that great..
Probably the same can be said for Dartford although someone from Dartford may disagree!)

LadyBiscuit Mon 26-Jul-10 10:59:41

Dartford and Maidstone aren't that nice - very industrial. Bromley is ok, don't really know Bexleyheath

scaryteacher Tue 27-Jul-10 10:15:30

Hampshire is doable to Belgium as well - flights direct to Zaventem from Southampton airport.

Norfolk Lines best deal for ferries - we live just outside Brussels and find going to and from Dunkirk rather than Calais means more time to sleep on the ferry and is closer to Brussels (sets us up for dealing with the Ring on a Sunday night).

Dh used to do a 6 weekly commute to Cornwall from Brussels until I kicked in my job and moved out here. Can't say I want to move back in a hurry as I like the lifestyle here.

BelgianGirl Thu 29-Jul-10 17:47:18

We're looking at Ashford now. Because there is a good HS train to London, and it is still easy to go to Belgium... I had indeed heard Maidstone isn't so great. But at first sight Ashford looks nice. Or am I bad in first impressions?

I'll check the ferries from Dunkirk, untill now we mostly use the chunnel to get to Dover...

Thanks for all the postings!

enzo65 Mon 17-Nov-14 20:50:19

My wife and I are thinking to move from Belgium to the UK probably next year to be close to my parents (in their 80s). We are concerned for our daughter who will be 11 and been in French speaking school. Seeking advice from others in similar situation, what support is there in the educational system to help non English children integrate into school, should she stay in primary school for one extra year before moving to secondary school. She has only spoken English.

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Mon 17-Nov-14 21:28:18

Inwould really consider bromley/beckenham areas. 17 mijs to london by train, good parks locally, lots of rural bits and countryside a short drive away. Ebsfleet is not far and neither is dover etc. Good primary sxhools and secondary schools.

Billabong21 Wed 19-Nov-14 17:59:46

Ashford has a fantastic link into London, is near the Eurostar and has lovely countryside around it. It is also affordable but I personally wouldn't want to live there.

PancakesAndMapleSyrup Sun 23-Nov-14 10:36:53

Also just to point out bromey have a new billingual school french english which from what i understand is thriving.

HappydaysArehere Mon 01-Dec-14 22:04:36

I agree with Pancakes although I would add West Wickham which has lovely walks but good transport from adjacent Hayes and Bromley South into London. West Wickham is part of Bromley and has decent schools. The Coney Hall area is very green but also has excellent transport links.

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