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what are the best yet affordable London suburbs?

(66 Posts)
allchangeplease Wed 14-Nov-12 16:52:30

My Mum needs to move from abroad so we are looking for somewhere quite safe for her. Either suburbs or the counties within an hour travel time on trains, no more than an hour! Prefer trains to long noisy/rattling tube journeys but would consider the tube.

By 'best' I really mean not too sleepy and lifeless in the weekdays, low crime rate, easy commute to Paddington or Victoria, at a push Waterloo, also some choice of shops and cafes right there without having to travel by transport to the nearest shop. She doesn't drive. Also not too old an area even though she is in her 60s.

Looking for a 2-bed plus study or large loft storage, or even a 3-bed for about 280K max! she would have guests staying, maybe even a lodger in one room. Ideally period property as good ceiling height/light space is a must,
the garden can be minimal or none, but with a park nearby somewhere, and she would prefer a large conversion flat or top floor maisonette (no basements) to a house, for less maintenance and security issues. Ah and also somewhere in good-ish condition for that price.

Does such a place exist?

allchangeplease Thu 15-Nov-12 19:01:27

yes, had a look at the high st. on Google street, very run down... will stick to looking in Bromley for now, and Teddington - about to have a look.

mamaonion Thu 15-Nov-12 19:08:18

I live near to Bromley and Beckenham, and I prefer Beckenham. It had a more villagey feel and more character. Has useful shops and supermarkets. I find Bromley utterly soulless with no independent shops just clone high street shops, but it is a useful town centre for lots of things. We live a bit further in in Sydenham and are discussing a move to Beckenham!

mamaonion Thu 15-Nov-12 19:10:12

Although Croydon might have nice bits that I haven't discovered I wouldn't fancy living there. Heard Shirley is quite nice though!

bamboostalks Thu 15-Nov-12 19:14:09

What about Palmers Green in north London. Quick trains into town, tube via a bus. Affordable housing and nice area.

Fairylea Thu 15-Nov-12 19:16:28

No to croydon unless you are very rich and can afford good security!!

I spent 28 years growing up in norbury / Thornton heath and it changed beyond recognition. In the last four years before I moved to Norfolk I was mugged twice, flashed twice in broad daylight and had managed to collect two stalkers. My husband and his brother were also mugged twice, his brother after getting off a reasonably early bus and set on by 4 guys and attacked brutally.

I moved after that.

I would not live anywhere near norbury, thornton heath, croydon or streatham however anyone sells it to you. And we lived in a big ish house in a better part of norbury.

Iggly Thu 15-Nov-12 20:08:49

I grew up in Croydon. Thornton Heath and those places are rough. Other places are lovely!

Devora Thu 15-Nov-12 21:35:29

Teddington is lovely lovely lovely. And though it is generally expensive, there are bargains to be had if you're looking at flats and especially if you don't insist on Victorian. A friend of mine just bought a great 3 bed flat in a (genuinely) lovely 60s development at the heart of Strawberry Hill. It's so spacious and airy, and out of every window there's views of the lovely grounds, loads of flowers. The storage is fantastic (including big cupboards just outside the front door) and it's all very thoughtfully designed. It cost £230k. I would live there like a shot.

Fairylea, I grew up in that area. It's ALWAYS been rough. Really rough. You couldn't pay me enough to live in Thornton Heath or Croydon.

Solo Thu 15-Nov-12 23:36:25

Bexleyheath high street is not run down at all; it has had quite a lot of shop closures over the last couple of years, but things seem to be improving a lot recently and they are currently doing/finishing off some improvements on the road and pavement area and don't forget, Google street is probably from a couple of years ago, not current. As for the escorts on buses etc, well, they have a lot of school children and keep order by having mainly Community Police in the area at the school out times and sometimes on the buses themselves. I see this as a positive actually as an ex bus driver...IME, the childre in Sidcup were far worse than the Bexleyheath lot.
There is a lot of good things about Bexleyheath and there are both slow and fast trains into London.

doinmummy Thu 15-Nov-12 23:42:34

I grew up in Welling and went to school in Bexleyheath. my family all still live there. Its a nice place. No flight path, trains only take half hour to London Bridge.

Solo Fri 16-Nov-12 00:50:09

See!! grin

Mamf74 Fri 16-Nov-12 10:03:48

I live near Bexleyheath and certainly think it's worth a look. The town centre is very chain-y but that's no bad thing in a way; you can get everything you need without resorting to the big supermarket barns each time.

Buses are frequent and most places have access to bus routes without a big trek. Bexley Borough is one of the greenest in London and we have some of the best crime figures too.

Also, Bexley has a reasonably aging population which means that there are plenty of things aimed at retired people - it's certainly got things like evening classes specifically aimed at over 60s so could be a useful way to meet people.

skandi1 Fri 16-Nov-12 11:52:23

The best park around is Kelsey Park in Beckenham. It has a massive lake which is a bird nature reserve. It's fab for all ages. Your mum could get a lovely flat overlooking Kelsey Park (look at Wickham Road for those).

Clock house is ok but the other side of Beckenham is nicer.

MurderOfProse Fri 16-Nov-12 15:37:15

I used to live near Bexleyheath too and it's alright! Like most places there's probably a few less than ideal parts, but that is the same of everywhere in London. There's also a lot of nice parts too. Danson Park nearby is lovely, there's great links to the A2 and out of London, the shops are improving - even if there is a slightly rough end of the shopping centre, that would apply anywhere in London really short of Chelsea or something.

The train station isn't in the centre of town but that's the only "catch", and who lives in the centre of town anyway? It's all shops there!!

It's not uber posh, but it's perfectly fine for London!

bamboostalks Fri 16-Nov-12 17:40:37

Avoid Bexleyheath, very BNP ish and culturally barren imo. My black friend lived there and had substantial racism shown to her in shops, restaurants and by services. Horrid place.

Solo Sat 17-Nov-12 01:21:14

Well I've never encountered racism here! my Dd's school is quite ethnically populated and my African and West Indian friends have never mentioned anything to me that would indicate that they'd been racially abused, attacked or harassed in any way. My Dd's father is black and he had no problems save the black shop assistant in the supermarket that asked if Dd was his (she's very white/blond/blue eyed)! that was the only offensive thing I've heard of!
Yes the BNP are around, but I think you might find them all over Britain.

allchangeplease Sat 17-Nov-12 11:55:43

from what posters said so far, I like the sound of Beckenham and Teddington most (though I still think Tedd is too expensive as Mum is not a fan of modern flats with open plan or low ceilings, and period flats too expensive). I've been to Bromley South briefly and agree with poster above htat it is a bit soulless, but it does have good points, especially quick commute to victoria - again a question of finding the right place not to far from station.

I must go and look at Beckenham properly - where is the villagey bit, mamaonion? and which station as there are a couple in B.

Bexleyheath sounds 'so so' so it's lower on the list but an option to consider if the house is right. Is High st the same as Broadway? as that's the one looking shoddy on Google, but it's true that google maps can be couple of years old!

Oh I know about Thronton Heath - been there once and no desire to come back grin - it's always been rough!

Palmers Green - any better and worse areas? is there a train link and to where (as the tube woiuld take ages, she tends to go to Sw side of the centre of Lon for museums etc). It was on Location location i think, so possibly that means prices are on the rise (they recommended it as up and coming, kind of).

allchangeplease Sat 17-Nov-12 11:57:28

skandi thank you for info on the park, are the prices still in that range (250-275)? I m going to visit as i mentioned, maybe you also know where the villagey bit mentioned by mama is?

skandi1 Sat 17-Nov-12 13:43:13


High st is quite villagey. There is an independent butchers called village sausages, independent coffee shops best one is Fee and Brown plus big chain like costa and cafe Nero. Plus a number of nice restaurants. There is also an independent fishmongers. And it's passes the Waitrose test. And there is an M&S food.
There are these at less than £250k not overlooking the park but 5 min walk away and 2 mins walk to high st:;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23gallery;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23gallery;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23details;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23gallery

These are over £250k:;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23gallery

This one overlooks the park:;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23description

And a semi detached house;;jsessionid=AA0F50BED089FBB0F9679832B50E4E81?page=8&cc=html5%2Fhomepage.html%3Fgoto%3DHOMEPAGE%23gallery

There are lots of options. You should take your mum down here and look around.

If you walk to the other end of Kelsey Park (away from the High st) and exit you will find a small parade of indi shops at the bottom of Wickham Road. It has a lovely bakery a cafe and a proper old fashioned grocers/butchers selling organic produce.

skandi1 Sat 17-Nov-12 13:55:28

Oh and the stations are
Beckenham Junction which is by Waitrose at the top of the High St. That takes you to Victoria in circa 20min. This line goes via Herne Hill if that helps you.
Clock House which is a 10min walk from the centre of Beckenham High St. That's for London Bridge in circa 30min. It's via Lewisham so you can connect with DLR for Greenwich and east London.
And Beckenham Junction has the tram to Croydon and Wimbledon.

Autumnmumm Sat 17-Nov-12 21:34:42

Op London borough of Croydon is a big place. Agree the Thornton h end not so salubrious but south of the borough is worth looking at.

Shirley and west sick ham. Warlingham. Sanderstead, Hamsey green, whyteleafe coulsdon and kenley . All lovely places with good transport into town on fast trains, near motorways and lovely parks and woods.

Autumnmumm Sat 17-Nov-12 21:35:00

West wickham

MrsMelon Sat 17-Nov-12 21:38:34

Ashford, Surrey. 25 mins to Waterloo.

redandwhitesprinkles Sat 17-Nov-12 21:50:00

Ealing 9 mins on train to paddington. Lots going on in terms of Ealing 'groups' to get out and about. Lots of shops, restaurants and cages and parks galore.

redandwhitesprinkles Sat 17-Nov-12 21:50:34

Cafes not cages!

Solo Sun 18-Nov-12 00:33:43

Bexleyheath Broadway is what I think is the pedestrianised part and then you have the remainder of the high street that is not.
I do think for your money, you could do far far worse.

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