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Good places to live in midlands/south midlands, please - near motorway links but above all friendly people :)

(18 Posts)
jaamy Tue 23-Aug-11 10:38:07

DH and I have decided that we would like to make a fresh start - we have never really settled in to our local area despite getting involved with school, local parent groups, etc. We are currently in NW but DH thinks it would be more advantageous for his work if we moved further south. We are both home-based for work so we are quite flexible but DH needs access to motorway for client site visits. We have 2 beautiful DDs - 5 and 7 who are quite sociable and (I hope) will settle well in a new school. They enjoy after school clubs - dancing, drama, swimming etc so we need somewhere with the opportunity for them to do this. VERY important is that the schools are good (we are currently suffering a bad case of "hindsight" with current school) and have an active PTA! Both DH and I will need to make friends...we don't bite...honestly! wink
Do you live in a lovely welcoming town?? Could I possibly pick your brain if you have already scouted out the nicest places to live? All suggestions very welcome.

CMOTdibbler Tue 23-Aug-11 10:50:07

Thats a very wide remit - is there anything else you like about places ? City/large town, small town, village ? Do you want somewhere the girls can walk to school ? Will you need wrap around care and holiday club ?

I live in South Worcestershire, and I really like the town we are in (moved her from SE in 2007), but ds goes to school in nearby city as we needed robust provision for before/after school care and holiday club.

jaamy Tue 23-Aug-11 11:05:38

Thanks CMOT. TBH we are very open to anything atm. I am flexible with work so childcare is more of a "nice to have" rather than an essential. We would prefer large village/small town rather than city. We have promised the girls a puppy when we eventually do make a move so will need decent sized garden and pref somewhere to go walking nearby. Funnily enough, DH has just mentioned worcestershire. You have obviously settled in well. Did you know anyone there when you moved? Did it take a while to make friends?

CMOTdibbler Tue 23-Aug-11 11:21:24

Theres lots of choice in the small town with facilities round Worcester (and some lovely MNetters), and prices are pretty reasonable.
We knew no one here at all when we moved, and as we both work ft as home based workers, it has been hard to make friends, but when ds started school its easier to get to know people, and we know a lot through riding now.
The town where we live has a bit of a reputation as an oldies town, but it has a lot of facilities for a very small town - pool, leisure centre, community cinema/theatre, really good proper shops and lovely countryside.

From our experience of relocating - we just needed to be in the Midlands for dh to access his sites, and I needed to be reasonable distance to an airport - I'd advise staying in the area and touring round places and picking up all the local papers you can - you find out a lot that way

jaamy Tue 23-Aug-11 12:18:30

Thank you so much, CMOT. We know we are going to have to spend many weekends visiting areas but sounds like villages around worcester are a possibility. We are sociable but not much chance to do things here - even after 12 years!! All very cliquey (not even a PTA at school so I volunteer to make toast/read in class, etc.) Just want to feel at home somewhere!


Mammonite Tue 23-Aug-11 13:27:00

It is really hard moving to another part of the country. When we moved here the first place we hardly got to know anyone but fortunately that was renting and we then chose more carefully when we bought. People are generally pretty friendly round here though.

There is not much substitute for driving around and looking at places. I would suggest a small market town, if looking at villages make sure there is bus, school and shop. Don't get swayed by the prettiest house, it may have had a succession of lonely incomers living in it. Look at where your secondary school will be and is it near enough to walk/cycle? Leisure centre for all those dance classes?

Also, you just need to find somewhere that suits you in its kind of style - hard to explain but if you like little boutique shops delis and coffee bars, don't go for an earthy ex mining town where the social life revolves around McDonalds,Aldi and the working mens club. But if you are a pretty down to earth sort of person then you will find people to get on with in the second sort of place. I know that's a big generalisation, and all places have their hidden gems, obviously we all like to think we're down to earth, but different places do really suit different people.

Nowhere in the entire Midlands is more than 10-15 mins from a motorway so I wouldn't worry about that. That's what brought us to such a central place.

Jojay Tue 23-Aug-11 13:30:36

Leamington Spa is lovely, or Stratford. Both have a town rather than city feel, and have good facilities. Both very near M40.

taokiddy Tue 23-Aug-11 13:42:20

i can vouch for Kidderminster, or some very nice villages around Kiddy smile

Mammonite Tue 23-Aug-11 13:44:18

Or the Leicestershire direction - Bosworth, Lutterworth, Market Harborough?

jaamy Tue 23-Aug-11 21:02:35

Thank you all! I have returned with wine, biscuit and a map and will start planning our scouting trips. I do love Stratford to visit so must investigate surrounding villages/towns further. Don't know Kiddy at all, so ditto! DH went to uni in Leicester but that was nearly 20 years ago so will have to revisit that too. Good job house market is slow because this decision will take some time and lots of nice weekends awaywink

If you happen to see a somewhat lost Northwestern-looking (whatever that is!) family wandering down your street/in your local pub/at the park, please give us a smile - we could be your next new neighbours!

bigeyes Tue 23-Aug-11 21:09:07

Sutton Coldfield but maybe too far north, semi rural roundabout, 7 miles to birmimgham, great links to M42, M6 and M5. Check out four oaks if you mega rich and little aston, streetly v decent but some reasonable bits in terms of prices. Sutton itself is a mixture and has some lovely properties that you can walk into town for. There are tons of sports clubs - golf and tennis about and Sutton Park is fabulous just thought Id let you know in case you outdoorsy - bikes boats etc.

Next up Lichfield - I always wished we'd looked here.

All have private schools/grammar schools.

I thought id post these in case you dont get that feeling and want to cast wider.

jaamy Tue 23-Aug-11 22:14:25

Thanks Bigeyes - open to all suggestions. I've heard Sutton Coldfield is lovely and vaguely remember driving through once upon a time but I think perhaps above our budget. Will have a look at litchfield - getting a bit closer to relatives we have in south Staffs and may cause political problems in the family, ie moving away from one lot and closer to another confused. Same reason we have had to rule out Derbyshire sad

bigeyes Tue 23-Aug-11 22:30:08

Oh my re politics

Lots for kids to do, there are more reasonable priced stuff on the edges, we live near four oaks but bought just a little above national average at the time. It may be worth looking.

jaamy Wed 24-Aug-11 10:54:01

Thanks Bigeyes. Will take a look.

munstersmum Wed 24-Aug-11 11:01:16

DB & family live in Dorridge. With 3 boys they really like it; good schools & access to lots of activities. Over the years SIL has helped in school & with cubs.

senua Wed 24-Aug-11 11:06:00

link to similar thread.
North Worcester is v good - easy access to city and countryside. Absolute centre of motorway network (M5, M6, M42, M40). Schools are generally good, if not very good. People are friendly, in a quiet way. Property can be a bit pricey but there is a reason for that!grin

senua Wed 24-Aug-11 11:10:47

north worcestershire

Tillyscoutsmum Wed 24-Aug-11 11:14:38

I love where I live. It is a large village and very friendly. The infant school has outstanding OFSTED and has a very active PTA. Its surrounding by lovely countryside - loads of places for walking/cycling etc. and there are extra curricular activities for dc's either within the village or within 10-15 mins drive. The people are really friendly. We've been here 5 years and have honestly made loads of lovely friends smile. House prices are reasonable

It is probably 20 mins to the motorway though (J4 of M5)

FWIW, I have lived in lots of places around the Midlands (Knowle/Dorridge, Harborne, Sutton Coldfield included) and I have also worked as a residential acquisition agent so know lots of areas well. I honestly wouldn't want to live anywhere else

The village is called Kinver (its sort of West Mids/Worcestershire/South Staffs//Shropshire borders). About 15-20 mins from Stourbridge and Kidderminster

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