Leaving London(28 Posts)
Need some help. We are constantly talking about leaving London, but really don't know where to go... Need to be close-ish to London, not a daily commute but not more than an hour and a half by train. Quite like to be near the sea. We currently live in Hackney so very urban, multi-cultural etc and don't really want to end up in a Conservative hotspot. Brighton appeals but too pricey, Lewes, Hastings, Rye, or over towards Wiltshire. Any of you in any of those areas or know where else we should look.
We moved to Lewes when I was mid teens, I moved to go to Uni but go back fairly frequently. Schools are mostly v.good and lots of parental input given/expected.
Lots of music etc locally, plus Gardener Centre at Sussex Uni which does Children's things as well as drama etc. Even more in Brighton, especially at Festival time. There's a very active local theatre group in Lewes too.
Overall it's a pretty odd mix of politics, true blue for years but now the Lib Dem Norman Baker seems to be a really good local MP, and there's a fairly large old labour/green contingent too.
We moved to Warwickshire from Herts (not strictly London, I know) just over a year ago, and I love it up here. We've got a much better house, roads are quieter, people are friendly (not that I'm implying people in the SE aren't friendly, of course they are, but people seem less busy and rushed up here) Direct trains take about 1 1/2 hrs I think.
When we were looking at moving out of London we looked at Bushey in Herts: pretty, cheaper than London, commutable and High Wycombe: Cheap, multi-cultural, commutable, market town. Have also heard good things about St Albans.
I have a (childless admittedly) colleague who lives in Lewes and it sounds such an interesting place to live for people of all ages. Twink is right - lots of music and arts (close to Glyndebourne and Brighton), still a lingering Bloomsbury Set connection with the area so lots of artists and sculptors, and of course the Lewes New School, a small-scale and highly successful parent-run primary school. She loves it there. Shops are good, people are friendly etc.
I was up in St Albans the other day (dh used to live there) and that is also very pretty and prosperous. Because of the train commute it is also apparently very expensive indeed.
Not sure Hastings is great but CAM could give her views... I am in Tunbridge Wells - 30 minutes from the sea. It's the place for shopping in the South East (apart from Bighton but even then TW is pretty good!)-it's quite affluent but there is a good mixture. Good schools as well and 45 minutes by train from London.
Mid and North Hampshire is lovely, and have good rail connections up to London.
We moved to a tiny village between Basingstoke and Andover, and even though it seems isolated in fact you can get to lots of different places very easily.
We had moved to Reading from London 5 years ago, but we lived very central in the town, and it just became too much, but places on the outskirts of Reading are quite nice, and a very quick train time into Paddington. I think it takes 35 minutes.
I have to say I like the coast but wouldn't want to live there, living in a rural setting but only 10-15 minutes drive to a decent town is perfect for us.
Norfolk is really nice you know! Can't explain any further as my son needs the toilet!!!
Norfolk is a nice place, Norwich is quite up and coming and the property not too expensive. Also close to the North Norfolk coast and the Broads. Suffolk is also a good place to be but property a bit more expensive I think.
Keziah, are you a Norfolk mumsnetter?
My bro and SIL are off down to the Lewes area this very weekend to look for a house. Seems to be the "in" place to go!!
We're happy in N Hants. Only 30 mins to the sea, and 45 to London. Lots of space to runaround and grow up in.
Suffolk is lovely - we moved here from the south-east 18 months ago and love it, just 15minutes drive to the sea. Schools are excellent, property is very good value (compared to where we used to live) and people are wonderfully friendly.
However, opportunities for theatre/cinema etc are more limited, there are things going on but it is quite a drive away - we love it here but some of our visitors (esp. if they are 'young & trendy' do say that they would find it hard to live in such an 'isolated' place. A decent supermarket is a 40 minute drive away.
Good train routes to London though - about an hour & a half.
Tunbridge Wells is not alwaysthe tweedy town it's portrayed as being (but it can be!). The "problem" with the schools is that there is the 11plus system in Kent. The church comprehensines are outstanding (nationally) and all the primaries are fine. If my circumstances were different I'd look at Fairlight or Pett, which are small coastal villages in East Sussex, between Hastings and Rye. I imagine they might feel quite isolated in the winter. If you are considering Hastings choose your catchment for local schools carefully. Battle is pricey but has good connections to London, or Robertsbridge. Have you thought of Eastbourne (still reasonable prices) or Bexhill on Sea?
Yes, I am very happily living in Norwich spending days between playgroup and park! Although I don't get much chance to experience culture etc(!) I think that Norwich isn't as backward as it is made out to be sometimes. When I went to Uni in Sussex no-one I met even knew where Norfolk was!
Just got back from Norwich after a lovely break staying with my friend. I sooooo want to move there! Its a lovely place to bring up children and there doesn't seem to be many 'rough' areas. I love the city centre as its so compact but has everything you need. The house prices aren't too bad at all are they (not that I'll be buying anything for a few yrs at least!)
Lucky you Keziah - I was v gutted that the super-duper water park place was closed til April though, dd loves it there!
Was very interested to read this thread,as Iam currently living the same dilema.
At the moment we are living in a two bed flat in Pimlico. Although it is very spacious we are desperate for a garden for our two aged 4yrs and 5mths. We are seriously considering moving out of London. Faves we are looking at are Sevenoaks and Tunbrige. We are lucky that our flat has more than doubled in price since we bought it 7yrs ago and we have no mortgage on it.
Even so the prices are steep.
So, shall we all move to Norwich then? I want to get out of London soon too and it'd be great to have a ready made collection of mates with kids!
someone else suggested Faversham to me today, any north Kent dwellers out there?
I went to school in Faversham, many moons ago, and my brother has lived there for donkeys years. It's quite historic and olde worlde, nice buildings and so on. The surrounding countryside is pretty, it's only 9 miles from Canterbury and the M2 motorway is close by. It's probably the one place we'd consider living if we ever moved 'darn sarf' again.
Frequent visitor, not resident, but Faversham is really lovely and surrounded by pretty, varied countryside. Oare Creek ring any bells SueDonim?
Train journey to London quite long and awful old trains but people do commute from there.
All migrants to Norwich welcome!!!
I used to live in Whitstable many years ago - haven't been back for years so it may have completely changed but it was very nice in 1970's.
My niece had a house near Oare Creek, Marina. I didn't actually live in Faversham so didn't hang out too much around places like the creek. I like the feeling that time has passed Faversham by, though!
Keziah, we lived in Whitstable when we first married, back in the 70's. We rented a flat across from the Hotel Continental, by the sea. It was crummy then, v posh now. The wind didn't half whistle through the cracks in the windows in winter, brrr!
I would love to end up by the sea eventually. DH needs to get to Arsenal home games (v sad I know)so don't suppose it will be for a while.
This town is so ugly and the houses aren't cheap it seems daft to stay really. The grass is always greener I suppose. R
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