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Moving from US to London, seeking advice on nurseries/housing

(1 Post)
sks2015 Wed 28-Jan-15 21:46:33

Hello all! We will be relocating to London around July/August, and our daughter will be almost ready for preshool (she will be two in October). We are very excited, but I am a bit overwhelmed at the high demand for both good nurseries and real estate. I have been researching as much as possible online, but would love first-hand advice from others. I know London, but as a grad student, and life will be completely different now.

My husband will be working near Liverpool Street station, and with long hours would prefer a quick and direct commute by tube. I will be taking a break from work, possibly having a second child, and the transition itself is a big one for me. We both enjoy urban environments, and given that I will be at home I would love to be in more vibrant area - safe and not overly congested, but active with cultural and other amenities. We live in that type of neighbourhood in Washington, DC now. Also, being a Canadian/American/multi-cultural family, a diverse and open environment is important to us. We are lucky enough to afford certain comforts, but I am experienced enough to know that affluence doesn't always breed open-mindedness!

My plan is to work on my writing and other projects from home, and as mentioned, with this transition to staying at home I'm hoping to meet other creative types and form connections. We have some friends and family in London, and I don't expect our social circle to be only expats. There seem to be lovely residential neighbourhoods a bit further afield, but we've always lived very urban and I'm nervous about being lonely in a beautiful but quiet setting. A balance would be ideal. We are looking to rent a 3-4 bedroom house or flat, with parking and some outdoor space (or access to a garden).

As for our daughter, I would love her to start in a part-time preschool with various activities and outings - preferable a warm and progressive approach, rather than a strictly traditional one. She has been with a nanny so far, but is social and curious so it's time for more. We aren't sure whether London is long-term at this point, but we will be there for at least a few years, and if longer I would like a school with good connections for the next stage. When I have called a few of the good preschools, I was told waiting lists are going into 2016 (and that would be her year of entry for schools strict about the 2.5 year entry age). I'm hoping that we can at least start her somewhere in January, if not this September.

Based on my late-night excited/anxious online researching, the areas we are looking at are:
1)Notting Hill/Holland Park
2)Primrose Hill (St. Mark's Nursery)
3)South Kensington
4)Islington

If you're still reading, thank you! I would be very grateful for your advice and suggestions, on schooling, housing, anything else I should consider. Many thanks in advance, look forward to hearing from you!

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