Beaconsfield, Amersham and St Albans are less multi cultural than Chesham. Bucks has grammar schools and a few independents but St Albans has good independent schools as well. DH is from Chesham and we know Amersham and Chesham very well. I would also recommend Great Missenden and Wendover as well as Beaconsfield and Amersham as great places to live with good schools. In Bucks, it is very important to live in the catchment area of your preferred school as they may not have enough space to take children from outside catchment area. Bucks CC can give you maps of catchment areas. Lots of the villages around have good schools too but these usually take 4-7 years old and then children transfer to a combined school at 7. Beaconsfield is expensive and very attractive and closer to M 40. High Wycombe has a hospital as does Amersham, but offer different services. I think you need to have a look around and see what you think. Come and stay for a few days then you would get an idea of what you like and don't like. Old Amersham is also attractive with individual shops and Wendover is great but might be spoilt by HS2. I really like St Albans but have never lived there. I know it is expensive but has a much bigger central shopping area and, of course the Abbey, so it a much bigger place than the other towns you mention. I know a lot of people in Harpenden. They love it there. Chesham is more of a multicultural town but the High Street is a bit of a disappointment. Quite a lot of parents in Chesham send children to the schools in the surrounding villages. I am sure you will make friends anywhere you go. Good luck.
I am wondering if anyone could give me advice on schools (generally Primary and Secondary) and what it is like to live in any of the above areas?
I am moving from South London towards Bucks or Herts and have to basically choose where might be the best place to bring up kids and it's hard to just pin point somewhere on an Ofsted rating map, and really understand what it might be like to live there.
London has been too busy and difficult to drive around with a baby. I am looking for a high street or good town with good amenitie (docs, dentists, hospital etc), good schools, (outstanding or good), safety, friendly community, some multiculturalism (I am Asian).
Basically if anyone can tell me what they think of the above areas or can recommend somewhere nearby I would be interested in hearing people's views. When you live in London you automatically know which areas are sought after but moving somewhere totally new is very hard!