Commuting from Guildford/Worplesdon
to City for work
Hi everyone, this is my first post and I'm sure i will receive the best advice. DH and I are currently house hunting to buy and have shortlisted a few lovely houses in Guildford, Worplesdon, Banstead, Epsom, Ewell, Pinner (Harrow), and Oakwood (North), our budget is max 425K. I know the list is huge, but we are a little biased towards the South since we have been living in Battersea and Putney. I would love to hear about pros and cons from anyone who lives/has lived in any of these areas. Good Primary schools for the future and well connected to the city (bank, moorgate) are factors important to us.
I lived in Ashtead (one stop further out from Epsom) and commuted to my city job near Liverpool St for six years. I have to say it was absolutely horrible and soul-destroying. On a good day it took 1.5hrs each way, and that was if everything was working perfectly. If there was any delay on the trains or tube, it was easily 2hrs or even 3 each way. The journey from Waterloo to Bank is fairly horrible as well, often I would have to wait for the fourth or fifth train as it was so packed. And then think about the walk to and from stations at both ends. What looks like a reasonable commute into London (45 minutes) is actually less than half the total journey time.
The pros were that we had a better house than if we'd stayed in London, and the schools were pretty ok, and it was a nice affluent middle-class commuter town. My situation was possibly more difficult than some others' because I was a single parent and my children were little, so I was dependent on childminders and au pairs and it was all highly stressful. Perhaps if you are in a couple it's more manageable, but I would never do it again, not for any money. I've decided that my maximum commute for any job, anywhere, has to be one hour or less, for the sake of my mental health. Having said that, I now have to drive 1hr 10 minutes to work but I only have to do two return journeys a week.
Also I should add that this was a few years ago, I think the trains into London from the south-west suburbs are a lot better than they were. Still very expensive though!
Thanks DaisyBD for that honest answer. I went to Guildford last weekend and felt that your house has to be close enough to walk to the station, otherwise it will be a pain, waking up each morning and thinking about catching the train in time..
I'd still like to hear from people who are doing the commute everyday.. thanks..
Guildford to London is pretty quick and the service is regular. You would need to get to the station though.
Would have to agree with what DaisyBD said - City to Epsom/Ashtead hasn't really improved in terms of time and if both parents are working it raises issues for drop offs and pick ups at nursery or school.
Guildford is a lot quicker but also (I believe) a lot more expensive, particularly if you're planning to drive to the station and park in the station car park.
One bit of advice I would give is to look at the true cost of the commute from each of your possible stations - include getting to and from the station, parking (if needed) as well as the cost of the season ticket. Oh, and don't forget to factor in annual increases of 5% or so...
Guildford has 2 stations - main station and London Rd. Don't do the commute myself so not sure of the service from London Rd but you could check.
Primary, Junior and importantly Secondary schools are all pretty good in central Guildford. You should be looking at Burpham, Merrow, Sandfield, Holy Trinity, Sandfield, St Nicholas for primary/junior and County, St Peters ( Catholic) and George Abbott for Secondary. Property prices are expensive and you could struggle a bit on £425k, depends what you are after? How many bedrooms do you need?
Thank you all for your replies. Dededum, you are right, the places we have found are north of the A3 or Worplesdon. We have seen the individual roads and they look quite nice and close to Stoughton Infant school. Houses we have shortlisted are between 1 or 1.5 miles to the stations, so I'm imagining we could walk or cycle to the station.
Does anyone know about Pinner or Enfield area?
We (DP and I) have recently moved out to Surrey (house in the countryside near Dorking) after living in central London for the last few years.
- swapping our tiny London flat for a gorgeous 3 bed detached house with lovely big garden, without drastically increasing our monthly mortgage repayments
- living somewhere that is civilised, no noisy drunk people outside our house at 2am and I no longer wake up to find beer cans abandoned in my front garden
- being in the countryside, which we both love and being able to go for lovely walks and bike rides from our front door into the countryside. At the weekends we almost feel like we are away on a weekend mini-break, it is so nice to get away from the hussle and bussle of London To be honest I think you would have to look at moving a bit further out than you are currently considering to get this
- Decent schools, for when we have DC
- Some things are cheaper out of London, like going to the cinema is £7 instead of £12 in London and my gym is now £30 a month compared to £70 in London
- Our friends love to come and stay as they all live in central London. I was concerned when we first moved that no one would visit but that has not been the case at all.
- THE COMMUTE!!! This is the ONLY negative thing about our move out to Surrey as far as I am concerned.
Our commute from home to work (work in the City near Bank) is 10 minute drive to the station, 5 minutes to park up and get onto the platform, 50 minutes on the train to Waterloo, then we have to get from Waterloo to Bank.
The drive is fine, not too much traffic on the roads at the time we drive (tends to be about 7am). The bit on the train is fine as well, the trains start in Dorking so we always get a seat so the train bit is quite civilised and I tend to read or do emails on my Blackberry, arrange my diary etc. South West trains are quite good and we have not experieinced many delays, just a few unavoidable things like when there was a person under a train the other week.
However getting from Waterloo to Bank can be an absolute nightmare. Some days you will walk straight onto the Waterloo and City line, other days you can queue for 20 minutes before you even get on the platform. I would recommend considering an alternative like running from Waterloo to Bank (if you are able and have showers in your work) as this takes same length of time as getting Waterloo and City Line and gets you fit.
I would also point out we only get seats on our train because Dorking is the first stop on the line. By the time the train gets to Ashstead (only the fourth stop on the line) the train is full and people who get on there have to stand, despite still being 35/40 minutes out of London. So depending on where you decide to live, don't expect to get a seat on the train, even if you live quite far out of London. Coming home I would say I get a seat for the whole journey 50% of the time, although I always get a seat for the last half of the journey once people get off.
On a good day, our commute takes just under 1.5 hours each way, on a bad day it can take a lot longer. I don't actually mind the commute that much, as I tend to read and make use of the time, but I know some people would just hate it. Although having said that at the end of a long day when I don't leave the office until 9pm or go for drinks after work I curse the commute - and our trains are only 1 per hour from Waterloo after 8pm. Also the Waterloo and City line shuts at 9.30 so can be hard getting home later on.
I wouldn't let it put you off, but you should definitely be realistic about the commute before you make the move. For me I would say that although the commute is a pain in the arse, the pros of living in Surrey outweigh it, so I think it needs to be a balancing act for you personally, whether the pros outweight the cons.
Also consider cost of commute - for me season ticket £3012 per year (includes tube), parking at station £85 per month, petrol to station about £50 per month.
We looked up and down the Surrey/City commute train line a few years ago, and settled for Woking. Train is 25 mins to Waterloo, and runs every 5-10 minutes in peak hours. This means DH can do door to door in an hour or less - when he's trying to get home to see young children before bed that is the most important thing! He cycles to the station at this end, takes 5 minutes, but he could walk it in 20 mins.
Yes, it is not as pretty as Guildford, but (in Horsell part of Woking anyway) the primary is outstanding, secondary is getting to outstanding (and we'll worry about the middle school in a couple of years...).
I suppose the Worplesdon commute would be similar, just slightly longer, than the Woking commute. But I think you are potentially in a bit of a schools wilderness if you are looking at state schools.
I would love love love to move to Dorking for the prettier countryside, but its really not worth it in terms of the cost to family life from that awful commute. Even Guildford we discounted as the journey is that much longer, and the trains don't run nearly as frequently (plus its harder to find a nice house/good schools/nice area near to the station, so that would add to travel time also). I reckon anything more than an hour each way is impractical and soul destroying, unless you work part time or flexi, so don't have to do it every day.
For us the countryside was the main reason we moved (otherwise would have just stayed in London) so it had to be near Dorking
All about working out your own personal priorities. We don't have kids yet so priorities will no doubt change when we do
Absolutely right Gemmylou82 - priorities definitely change with children. A bearable commute when you are childless can turn into a deal breaker when you are faced with a week without seeing your children, or are completely sleep deprived and need to try to get some time at home that isn't just sleeping (or even just to sleep more!). All depends on what working hours you are able to negotiate and how
ridiculously male hours-focused your sector is.
I have family who live in Dorking, with children, and it is only a reasonable commute for them as they do part and flexi time between them, so it isn't 3 hour chunk out of their day every day. I'm not saying it isn't possible, its just probably not worth it for the location in itself, in the early years of your children's lives. We might consider moving over there when the children are much older, eg for secondary school, so are in bed later and more self sufficient. But for now I'm happy with semi-pretty countryside, and the Downs a 20 minute drive away. Plus its nice to still be able to have nights out in London with friends, and not have to leave at a stupidly early hour for the last train or the babysitter!
The commute is a killer (from a family point of view too). I wouldn't even bother from Worplesdon, so many people get on at Guildford there is usually not much (or even no) room left and not all of the trains stop there anyway (my friend lives close to Worplesdon station but actually drives to Guildford now).
Guildford is ok if you can walk to the main station. It looks good on paper but you also need to account for train failures (ex-p even got stuck over night once, he wasn't pulling a fast one either, the disruption was so bad it was on the news. I was at home with the DC's and a newborn, exhausting). Socially etc, you can never ever bank on doing anything through the week, it is all rather train dependent.
You could always live in Burpham, just a tiny bit north of Guildford (lovely schools too) and and leave super early in the morning and drive in. Burpham only has a slip roads to get onto the A3 northbound and one to come off again southbound.
I actually wish we lived in London!
Even taking the horrible commute into account, I would not move back to London for all the tea in China!
You also need to take into account the fact that, to buy a house in London for £425k, within catchment of good schools, is a pretty tough challenge. It certainly isn't going to be in the centre of town, so even if you are technically 'in' London, the commute is still likely to be at least 45 mins door to door. So, for example, Woking is only 15 mins extra (and you get a garden for your money), Guildford is maybe 35 mins extra etc.
MrsStark - we've never had a problem with train failures, even in the worst snow when no-one else was going to work, DH still made it (much to the children's annoyance). If you pick somewhere that is on a couple of different route lines, the chances you will have a problem are remote.
i agree with RationalBrain - ime Wimbledon to Waterloo and Surrey to Waterloo in some cases is just 20 odd mins more, yes it's more expensive but you get a seat. You still have the journey from Waterloo whatever, unless you go for somewhere like Reigate that goes into London Bridge. Not a killer for me or my DH.
Train failures rarely an issue - they are generally faults around clapham/vauxhall anyway.
Have a look at Effingham/Bookham/Horsley, if you can drive to Effingham Junction that is on a much faster line to W'loo than Dorking. Good schools.
What would the commute be like from Farnham side?
Everybody's advice is just great! Thank you all so much, I feel more convinced about Surrey now. When we search we make sure we only shortlist houses that are in the catchment area of an outstanding school. (checking the latest catchment from council website) and also close to the station. So we have already restricted our choices a lot but I guess it will help us make an informed decision. I am also looking at Pinner and Hatch End which seems to be a very nice part of Harrow.
Thanks a ton again!
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