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Moving to London...need advice on family friendly neighborhood with good primaries(51 Posts)
Hi there, my family will be relocating to London from Canada this summer and I'm hoping to get some advice on family friendly neighborhoods. My two little ones are 5 years old and 18 mth old so will be looking for areas with good primaries (state schools) and nurseries. We will be renting with a maximum budget of 2,500 GBP per month and ideally within a 30 mins commute to central london. We won't have a car so will need good access to tube or train. We will need a minimum of 2 bedrooms but would love to have 3 bedrooms if possible (understand that it's more likely 2 bedrooms only if we want a good location..)
These are the areas we're considering:
East Dulwich (how's the commute?)
Richmond (love the green space and read that it has lots of outstanding schools however worried that we won't be able to get in because they are over subscribed?)
What about North London? We have friends who recommended Queens Park but I'm not sure if the primaries are good in that area? Muswell Hill? Swiss Cottage?
Any other neighborhoods?
Thank you so much!
East Dulwich is a long commute into central London unless you want to go to London Bridge (or Victoria at a push but I doubt you could get there in 30 minutes). I'm not too sure about rental prices. But it is a nice area, full to the brim with young families, and great state primaries (not so well served by state secondaries unfortunately).
East Dulwich is a 40 min commute into London Bridge, Victoria and Blackfriars (the latter two via heading to Denmark Hill)
You can rent a two bed house for that price and there are a number of great state primary schools. Try to be in the catchment for Harris Primary East Dulwich (you need to be within about 500 meters). It is very oversubscribed but If you are near to it you’ll be in with a good chance of getting into Goodrich and Heber Primaries which are decent alternatives.
Also, East Dulwich has great state secondaries. If you live where I’ve suggested you’ll be in the catchment of Charter East Dulwich and on a good year the Charter North Dulwich which is one of the best state secondaries in the country.
I’d also recommend Herne Hill in South London. The station offers very fast commutes into central London and it’s also very family friendly. Judith Kerr primary is one of the best state primaries in the country and has places in Year 1 according it it’s website at the moment though reception is oversubscribed. You could commute to it from ED in a pinch so keep that school in mind as an option too for that location.
All nurseries are incredibly oversubscribed locally with very long waiting lists. Childminders and nannyshares may be a good alternative. I can personally recommend Gumboots but it’s a very long wait to get a place.
Finchley North London. East Finchley or Finchley Central. Both on the Northern Line, good bus system, lots of parks. 15 minutes into central London, good schools both primary and secondary, nice restaurants and cafes and is the first part of the suburbs which feels quite “London” look at postcodes N3, N2 and also consider NW11 which is Golders Green / temple fortune
Chiswick has a lot of flats and easy access to green spaces, but the District line can be a bit slow.
I love muswell hill I'm so happy here. Fantastic primary schools it's so family friendly everyone I know here is really happy. You can get a good 3 bed for that price. We have a beautiful 2 bed in amazing location for 1950. Commute is 40 mins to Oxford St, 30 mins to Kings Cross.
Really depends on where abouts in London you need to commute to.
Do you know where your offices will be based?
My sister lived in Muswell Hill for years and it's lovely.
Good schools, transport links
I loved visiting her
I should say London Bridge from East Dulwich is 15m. My note was within 40 min you could reach all 3 central London terminals. You can also get to Shoreditch / the City / Canary Wharf via the overground service at Denmark Hill.
There are good primaries all over London. If this is a long term move and you don't fancy upping sticks again in 5 years, I'd be thinking what your options are for secondary.
The commuting time from each place really depends where in central London. Give us a clue?
Richmond is usually more than 30mins to central london it is nice though - but right under the flight path! Twickenham is nice as well and good schools...but possibly more like 45mins
another option about same distance is Ealing ..parts of it are very green and there are great parks/loads of kid stuff and if you're there long enough crossrail will start and commute will shrink massively!
I think you are going to have an issue with good schools being oversubscribed in lots of the areas you are looking at - as you wont be able to apply for a school without an address...and reception admissions closed in Jan - although if DC already 5 you maybe looking for yr1 in which case the councils should have the spcaes available at different schools
2,500 GBP rental will comfortably get you more than 2 bedrooms in any family friendly area - the only places it won't are in the really posh areas where there are no kids 'cos it's too expensive.
The real thing is finding a good commute, so knowing where the job is makes more important than anything else in terms of where to live.
Also, if the job holder is healthy cycle commutes can be much faster than others - remember the weather is Vancouver-like not Toronto.
Go East. Redbridge has excellent primaries and high achieving secondaries. Wanstead is pricey but has a good community feel, a high street with independent shops and easy access to huge open spaces at Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats. Good train access to central London on the central line, or you can change at Stratford for access to other areas of the city.
You could also try parts of Newham, which is a bit cheaper and rougher, but has very good schools both primary and secondary. Forest Gate has some lovely streets of older houses, has decent transport links now and will have amazing transport access once the Elizabeth line gets going and again is close to the open spaces of Wanstead Flats. There are not many other places with a London postcode where you can hear skylarks in the day and owls at night. OK there are parakeets as well.............
Look at southwest eg Earlsfield, Wandsworth
But Muswell Hill has no tube or train right? Isn't it a bus to Finsbury Park or similar, that's not most peoples idea of an easy commute! Same for Crouch End I believe..lovely areas but crap transport links.
We live a 15 min walk or a 5 min bus from Highgate tube. It's really really easy. The buses come every 2/3 mins. It's no hardship the commute, hundreds of people do it every day. DH and I have lived in Muswell hill 6 years and worked all over central London. For the beautiful green space and lovey community I can deal with a 5 min bus ride!
When I looked 2 years ago for outstanding primary schools, green space, and <15 minutes walk to an underground station or <20 minutes train ride, Our choice set was: Wimbledon, Clapham South/Balham, and hither green.
Walthamstow! Good primaries and nurseries, green space, family vibe, lots going on. Trains unto the City, plus it's on the tube.
100% of Camden primary schools are rated 'good' or 'outstanding' - parts are very international, some excellent secondary schools, very green with Hampstead Heath on your doorstep and typically very well connected.
It's more expensive than other boroughs, but your budget will get a lovely 3 bed place. Schools are definitely more liberal than other boroughs. Loved it so much going to school in Camden, I moved back there from overseas so my kids could live there too!
I would look at the crime figures in some of these places... especially if you’re not coming from a big City. I think Dulwich is nice but I’ve worked near there ( police) and find some nearby areas less desirable. From a safety point of view I like South West London, Putney, Barnes, Richmond, Wimbledon, Raynes Park. Etc ( along the district line). Surbiton has a really fast train into town (15 mins). More than one train line is really useful if you’re commuting ( eg overground and underground) to give you flexibility.
I would also recommend Herne Hill/North Dulwich. The schools in that area are great, Brockwell Park is amazing, and the commute would be easy, just a few stops on the train -- though I agree it would be helpful if you narrow down 'central London', it's a huge area!
You can definitely get a 2 bed in your budget, probably even a 3 bed.
There are some pockets of dodgier streets to avoid but you will find that almost anywhere in London.
Chiswick is also very lovely with good schools, if the commute is into the west side of London then that would also work.
I would go North. Either Barnet/hadley or even out of London to Potters Bar or st albans.
20 minutes into kings cross on the over ground trains.
@Seeline @SW16 @dreamingbohemian sorry I should have mentioned my husband works in Mayfair so probably the west end would be closer to his work. I will likely be looking for work as well but won't know exactly where it is until after we moved.
One of my husband's co-worker lives in East Dulwich and recommended it, that's why it's on our list to consider but wonder if it would take an hour for him to commute?
@sirfredfredgeorge yes my husband loves cycling so that would give him another option for commuting. Funny enough we currently live in Toronto but he had previously lived in Vancouver for 5 years so he's used to the rainy weather!