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help - do we move out of London to Oxford?

(40 Posts)
abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 09:43:27

DH and I have had to drink lots of wine over last few nights to come to a decison and just can't. All help really appreciated!


I need some help trying to make the decision whether we should move to Oxfordshire. We have 2 sons, age 2 and 4 and currently live in SW London in a great place but house that is 'cosy' with a fairly small garden - not really big enough for boys to play football or cycle their bikes.

Last Autumn after a Summer of visiting lots of people in the country etc we decided that we should make the move out of London to get more space and hopefully slightly increase the amount of time DH gets with the boys. He can relocate to the Oxford office of his company so job wouldn't change, but staying late ethos etc should improve.In terms of his career it should be neutral to slightly negative (he will probably still go into london a day or so a week).

I have a great job 2 days a week I will probably have to give up.

We are thinking a market town rather than rural location -don't think we are ready to go cold turkey on the urban life.

We've had our house on the market since then (MONTHS of keeping the place tidy) and now have some first time buyers lined up, but suddenly we have cold feet. Grrrr

I think the problem is we don't HAVE to move, where we are is great but we will outgrow it in the next few years (esp if we have another baby).

We can afford to increase our mortgage but it won't buy us anything different around here and I think we both feel (stupidly?) that we should do so instead of piling up cash in our current account.

We could stay where we are and 'do' something with the cash and start this whole process again in a few years time (Oxford office will still be there!)



So all you MN-ers out there who've made the move:

is it worth it?

should we wait or jump at FTB with open arms?

should we do it now before boys start school, and before we have no.3?

am I just put off by the thoughts of hassle in coming weeks of finding house / selling this one? Or just afraid of having to be the 'newies'

Did anyone do this and rent there first?

Kelly1978 Wed 16-Feb-05 09:53:02

I have a friend who moved from Vauxhall, london, to a small town just outside Oxford soemwhere and she is so happy. She reckons it the best thing she ever did. She found the locals very friendly and has made friends fast.

alicatsg Wed 16-Feb-05 09:56:18

I've done this recently moving from a lovely "cosy" house in SW London (Earlsfield) to a village in Surrey. We have never been happier. The house is a better size for a growing lad and hopefully growing family, we are close enough to London for me to commute so I can maintain the career thing, and moving has allowed DH to give up a career he loathed and take time with DS to make his plans.

That said I miss the ease of London - no delivery of takeaway round here, you have to plan ahead because the all night garage is a way away if you run out of milk etc.

We spent a long time getting to know the area and checking out schools/amenities before we moved so I do recommend that.

We also moved knowing no-one in the region. Its worked out fine - our neighbours have been hugely welcoming and our old friends love coming to the country for home cooking.

It is a risk - but one that has worked well for us.

PhDMumof1 Wed 16-Feb-05 10:02:19

Hi there abb - we made this move 25 months ago, DS is 21 months, so situation slightly different. Went ot the other Oxbridge too, so not the same part of hte world, but same feel.

is it worth it?
- in my situation: pregnant, working on a PhD, worried about lack of childcare near me in London: on those counts, yes, it was worth it

should we wait or jump at FTB with open arms?
- Jump at FTB because these things are never as quick as they appear ... so you could still be selling to FTB in 6 month's time

am I just put off by the thoughts of hassle in coming weeks of finding house / selling this one? Or just afraid of having to be the 'newies'

being the newies is a pain but with 1 starting school plus toddler groups for the other, NCT etc you should be able to find new friends - incl ones who have done the same as you

Did anyone do this and rent there first?
yes we rented first and it helped us make our decision

Despite missing friends and the delights of the bright lights in London we are pretty happy here, DH especially. I work from home so get a little bored occasionally but lots of new friends plus groups every day so never at a loss. Plus London is only 45 mins away on the non-stop so I am down there twice a month.

Issymum Wed 16-Feb-05 10:15:03

We also made the move from cosy house in SW London (Kew) to Surrey about 18 months ago. We didn't take such a big step as we moved to central Guildford, which is a big town in its own right.

We moved just before #2 arrived and so before both girls went to school. It seemed like a good time to move as avoided the disruption of changing schools and has given us time to choose a school carefully.

It really has worked for us, not least because a lot of our friends in Kew (four families with pre-school children) moved out of Kew within months of each other. The extra space is fantastic, we've been welcomed by our neighbours and have made a few new friends. Making friends has taken time, but that's partly because I work full-time so I'm not linked into the mother-network.

After 18 months I still don't feel like I 'belong' here, but that may be the same with any move and I am happy here. A small part of me wonders if we should have taken a bigger step and actually moved into a small town or the country. Eek!

kymbo Wed 16-Feb-05 10:16:37

Hi,
I understand why you are now having cold feet. I moved to Maidenhead(nr Slough) from Oxford really quickly,and am now wondering whether I have made the right decision. Maidenhead is so dead compared to Oxford,especially Cowley Road.
But that's just me,and I think I'm feeling like that because I grew up in Oxford and all of my friends are there,I'm finding it difficult to ajust here.
Why did you want to move out oF SW London intially? Are the reasons still there? If so then you probably should go sooner rather than later.
Oxford is a lovely place(although that's not everyone's opinion) and there loads to do with the kids.
Good luck in whatever you decide!

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 11:01:01

thanks so much for all the posts - maybe we should just close our eyes, hold noses and jump in at the deep end...

Twiglett Wed 16-Feb-05 11:04:56

I think I'd jump TBH

What is the worst that could happen .. in a couple of years if you are not completely happy you could apply for another transfer and move back to London

But really Oxford is a large town .. you could move into Oxford maybe?

If I could take my entire life (all my neighbourhood friends) to a town like Oxford from London I think I'd be happy .. I don't take advantage of London that much tbh .. I just stick to my leafy little suburb and surrounds with the occasionaly day trip to the centre for the museums .. you could still do that from 40 miles away easily

what have you got to lose?

OldieMum Wed 16-Feb-05 11:38:31

We live on the edge of Oxford and I commute to London, while DH works in Oxford. We both like Oxford and would not want to do it the other way round. Oxford is a good place to live. It's small enough to get to know people; there are lots of green spaces; there is plenty to do; the schools are OK; the surrounding countryside is beautiful and yet London is only an hour away. There are several smaller places you could also consider (Witney, Abingdon, Thame, Charlbury, for example). House prices are lower than in Oxford and they are all nice places, but I would choose Oxford itself over them, because of the amenities and cultural mix. The only downsides to Oxford are traffic congestion and unexciting shops (apart from excellent bookshops, of course).

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 18:52:10

Oldiemum. thanks for post. those are exactly the kind of towns we are considering as my husband's office is in Botley area, and as he needs to get back to London we are considering the Didcot route rather than the Oxford one.

Do you have any ideas re whitney vs Abingdon. I think traffic from Whitney is going to be awful and also he likes to cycle to work and Abingdon closer from that point of view.

I think we are just coming around to thinking about Oxford itself so I have no idea what our money will buy us and getting more garden space is a major reason to move for us. We are probably looking for somewhere quite culturally vibrant but not too trendy (though a bit trendy!!) and we are slightly lefty / greenie a bit too. Any recommendations on areas in S - W - N Oxford to look at? State Primaries also a big consideration. Again as he is a keen cyclist notorious traffic problems may not be too much of an issue. He's also thinking about living close to the regular bus route to London.

Really really appreciate all the posts as is really helping making my mind up today. thanks

prunegirl Wed 16-Feb-05 19:28:20

Message withdrawn

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 19:37:19

great thanks prunegirl, just the kind of info I need - reflects lots of our thoughts too. Some of those area are coming up in our price bracket so that's good too.

I know we looked at boar's hill but can't remember it - think it felt a bit on the small / spread out side. One good thing about our house taking so long to sell is that we have moved away from 'let's do the good life thing in a small village' to thinking we need to be near stuff and I think we'd have made a mistake if we were buying last November.

OldieMum Wed 16-Feb-05 20:44:54

OK:
1. I live on the south-west side of Oxford and commute from Didcot. I would recommend this as a commuting route. There are more trains to Didcot than to Oxford (as it's on the main line) and it's a faster journey. Also the train service from Hereford through Oxford to London has gone haywire recently (a mark against Charlbury, and difficult for the commuters who moved there precisely because it has a station). But Charlbury is greeny, lefty and charming. DH lived there for 3 years and we liked it very much. Eynsham is another, similar place, much closer to Oxford.
2. There are plenty of greeny lefties in South Oxford (Abingdon Rd area) and the local primary school, St Ebbe's, is OK, but the logical thing would be to commute from Oxford station, then.
3. Cumnor village is a lovely place, with an excellent primary school, but pricey. I have a good friend who lives on the Cumnor Hill/Botley border. It has a suburban feel, but she has a large garden and plenty of lefty neighbours, and can walk to the shops. Watch the catchment areas, though, as Botley School, though OK, is not as good as Cumnor. House prices will reflect this.
4. Boars Hill is one of the most expensive areas in Oxfordshire. Most of the houses are very large and cost £1m plus, but there are some smaller houses scattered amongst them. Wootton village has the local primary school, but most children from Boars Hill go to one of the (excellent) local private schools.
5. Commuting from Witney is a problem and, on reflection, I would avoid anywhere that makes you rely on the A40 in the morning (not true of Eynsham, as there is a little back road from Eynsham to Cumnor and down Cumnor Hill to Botley.

Hope this helps. CAT me if you want any more detailed info - I don't really want to say more about where I live, specifically, on this thread, but am happy to talk on it about Oxford.

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 20:51:29

oldiemum thanks so much - really great info. I'll CAT you too - thanks for the offer, though it may not be tonight. I am swinging so much towards accepting the offer and just going for it - major move from this morning's indecision!
thanks

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 21:42:56

PHDmumof1 sorry also meant to say earlier thanks for reminder about how long it all takes - took us nearly 5 bleedin months to buy this place (though more to to with EXTREMELY picky conveyancer we WON'T be using this time ....)

hewlettsdaughter Wed 16-Feb-05 21:48:28

I live in East Oxford - if I can help CAT me.

hatsoff Wed 16-Feb-05 22:19:09

Faringdon is a lovely market town about 20 minutes drive to Botley. It's a nice size, quite vibrant and - for a small market town - has its share of lefties (it's declared itself a fairtrade zone). lovely good quality shops - butchers, deli, cheese shop (tho the supermarket is a bit lacking in imagination). But personally I would go for Oxford itself - it's just the best city ever - you can be right in the heart of the city, two minutes walk to restaurants, cinema, take-aways etc and 5 minutes to the river or canal - cycle for 5 mins and you're in open country. If I could do it job-wise I would jump at the chance (but I do have family and riends there). I'd probably go for Jericho (close to river) but I think it's as expensive as SW London. East Oxford, as others say - very vibrant but you'd have to go furtehr out to get a decent sized house - the Cowley road area is mostly cosy terreced 2 and 3 beds

hatsoff Wed 16-Feb-05 22:20:50

"Decent-sized" sounds wrong. I don;t mean they're not a "decent" size, but I get the impression you're looking for something bigger iyswim.

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 22:21:46

thanks again to all. Farringdon too has come up on our radar. have heard great things about it. I am wondering about journey to London though - presume you have to drive to Didcot? Any ideas how long this would take?

abusybee Wed 16-Feb-05 22:24:02

hatsoff sorry postings crossed. yes ideally want 4 bedder with big garden and really ideally want 4 bed plus some way of getting a small office and playroom - don't want much do we!

Anyway will probably be settling for 3 bed plus box room or something

hatsoff Wed 16-Feb-05 22:33:58

yes - Faringdon to London would probably be easiest driving to Didcot. prunegirl - I used to work in Barton. Lovely ay?

OldieMum Thu 17-Feb-05 08:18:55

You will need to move away from the centre if you want a big garden. No big gardens in East Oxford!

Rarrie Thu 17-Feb-05 11:34:04

The drive from Faringdon to Didcot is probably about half an hour. Good thing is you can take the back roads and rarely get caught up in traffic.

I like Faringdon and it seems a nice place to live.

yoyo Thu 17-Feb-05 12:26:02

Jericho would be my choice in Oxford itself as it has a great mix of people and some really nice (big) houses. They will be expensive though.
Eynsham is very nice too and the cut through to Botley does save loads of time.
Worked in Summertown and think it is a good area as you have all the shops you need without having to go into town. Some parts of Wolvercote are okay - near the river and Common and has quite a nice feel to it. Used to be a Montessori nursery there. Would have to go to Summertown for shops though.
Lived in Rose Hill and don't think it's that nice - Cowley Centre for shops very grim.
Ditto Littlemore and Sandford.
Some parts of Headington are nice but be very careful with catchment as some of the schools are not that good.
I liked living on the Abingdon Road but that was before children. Some of the houses there do have reasonably-sized gardens but again not that good for local shops.
Would love to move back at some point but don't think we could afford it now. Happy hunting.

pootlepod Thu 17-Feb-05 19:06:39

Wantage is a nice market town to the south of Oxford, good links to Oxford and Didcot and the M4, near to countryside (the ridgeway)and loads of conveniences, including a tiny cinema.

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