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If you love London but cant afford to live there, where would you go?

(120 Posts)
kissmyheathenass Mon 28-Jan-13 11:08:58

Having moved away 14 years ago, we are totally priced out of the London housing market. I am so so bored with where I live, (south coast dull retiremnt place) I yearn for city life. Where can I find a city like London but with lower prices (350,000 ish for a family house) AND good schools - primary and secondary.

jaynebxl Mon 28-Jan-13 22:50:58


jaynebxl Mon 28-Jan-13 22:53:44

Pressed return too soon!

Anyway another vote for Sheffield here. Busy, interesting city with loads going on but also cheaper house prices and great countryside on your doorstep. If it was by the sea as well it would be heaven on earth!

fackinell Mon 28-Jan-13 22:54:58

Can't you just go to the London outskirts? I loved Twickenham, Ham and Kingston. Much more affordable but a stones throw from the big smoke. grin

kissmyheathenass Mon 28-Jan-13 23:08:45

Delgirl!!Hello smile. Well, we dont actually have a dog yet but I have told dh that I am getting one! TBH I've had it with the south coast, I am sure Brightin is a million times more exciting than bournemouth but I realy would love to live in a Northern city. I have lived down south for nearly all my life and a change is due. I am sure you of all people can appreciate the urge to move away and start anew! Dcs are keen (I think it might have been the dog that swung it for H) AND we can be mortgage free (hooray). xxx

kissmyheathenass Mon 28-Jan-13 23:11:36

London outskirts - still hard to find a biggish property for £350000 I think. Certainly the places you listed - I know them well but we need a house big enough for 2 offices and 3 children.

Sheffiled - do you know Yewlands school? or Bradfield school? Where are the good areas and where are the shitty ones?

Goodwordguide Mon 28-Jan-13 23:22:12

I'll say it again... Newcastle - near the beach but not a seaside town, a decent-sized city but surrounded by gorgeous countryside. It's small compared with London or Birmingham but has lots going on.

Schools, I only know the east side where Gosforth High and Heaton Manor are good (I have no experience of SEN I'm afraid).

I would live in Tynemouth or Jesmond/Gosforth, near the town moor.

whatmattersmore Tue 29-Jan-13 00:53:58

I vote for the London outskirts as well! But then I am a stubborn die-hard Londoner who stopped at one child so we could stay in our 2-bed shoebox because I can't bear to give up the buzz of city centre living... grin

I have a child with SN and I think provision is too dependent on the borough/type of SN for you to rely on generic answers though. There are quite a few posters in London on the SN boards though, if you wanted to know about a specific area.

Would a 4-bed be big enough for your needs?

Walthamstow is very family friendly these days.

Wood Green is supposed to be good value.

Palmers Green - a bit sleepy for London, but schools/open spaces are good.

DelGirl Tue 29-Jan-13 09:43:06

Yes I can see you oop north actually and of course I appreciate why, though I still regard it as my now second home. Don't move before I get chance to see you in the summer, unless of course you plan on coming here for a holiday ;)

lalalonglegs Tue 29-Jan-13 09:47:02

Hmm, I lived on London outskirts for a few years (zone 4) - it didn't feel like London, it was just an enormous pain to get into the centre and there was very little going on culturally. I moved to zone 2 and my life was transformed.

I'd definitely prefer to live in another city rather than deep in the burbs. I'm very envy that you live in central London, whatmattersmore.

RillaBlythe Tue 29-Jan-13 09:52:54

yes to lalalonglegs. My NCT group started off in Brixton: 5 years later none of us live there anymore & we all hanker for it those of us in Manchester, Bristol etc are happier with our move than those who went to Bromley, Nunhead etc.

guineapiglet Tue 29-Jan-13 09:59:48

Hi - we have just moved to SE from Manchester area (CHeshire/Derbys Border) - would move back tomorrow! - Manchester was our big city for shopping/culture/events/sports etc.

Grew up in Norwich, its a fabulous city, good choice of schools, but 6th forms a bit of a nightmare re competition so do your research. Also lived in Sheffield ( great city, lots to do, wonderful countryside, friendly, good property and schools) and Newcastle - would also happily return there tomorrow, as others have posted, it has got the lot, coast, great schools and shopping, 2 hours up the road to Scotland, the amazing Northumbrian beaches, etc,. Very strong identity and very much its own place.

Norwich is a busy, interesting city, nearish the coast, has its own identity, lots going on - there is another thread on here about places to live around Norwich, so that might help you decide, guess it depends on how far north you want to be and how old your kids are re schools etc.

FlouncingMintyy Tue 29-Jan-13 10:06:38

Oy! there's nothing wrong with Nunhead!

kissmyheathenass Tue 29-Jan-13 10:14:40

Guineapiglet, that's really useful information - thank you.

Rilla/Longlegs , that's interesting. Im a londoner and much that we have a lovely life by the coast (friends, beaches etc), I hanker after the city life and have never really felt this is home (been talking about moving for years but this is the right time now). I loved growing up in a city, so much to do and always exciting. Here is slow and provincial, a bit dull really.

whatmattersmore, I know what you mean! the buzz of city life <sigh>.

Hi Delgirl, one day we will come and visit, I promise. You're my inspiration! Hearing how well you have settled and started anew gives me this kick up my arse that I need to get going with this!! xx

kissmyheathenass Tue 29-Jan-13 10:15:16

Im sure Nunhead is lovely - where is it?

WillieWaggledagger Tue 29-Jan-13 10:20:10

agree about norwich, my parents are there, v good culture, food and shopping, only problem is trying to get to other areas of the country is a bit of a pain, though they are improving that with finally dual carriageway-ing the elveden bit of the A11 (god i am a bore!)

newcastle also great, felt like a big city and a small town at the same time (like norwich!)

kissmyheathenass Tue 29-Jan-13 10:22:23

willie, Newcastle or Norwich? Which would you choose?

dashoflime Tue 29-Jan-13 10:24:40

I loved London and couldn't afford to live there!
I went to Glasgow.

Once you get some distance from London you may find it wasn't all that. As well as the shocking price of things I'm also glad to be away from the casual rudeness/hostility of strangers, the stupid faff involved in getting anywhere from anywhere else and the stressy workplace culture.

Glasgow has all the advantages of a big city without the downsides

jeee Tue 29-Jan-13 10:25:12

OP, just a thought, but have you ever lived in London with children? As you moved out 14 years ago, did you have children then or are they more recent additions? Because you might find that London with the restrictions of children might seem rather less buzzy.

Disclaimer: I hate city life, so I'm probably talking rubbish.

Hope you find an area that you love.

guineapiglet Tue 29-Jan-13 10:31:06

If you asked me to choose between the two I would find it difficult having lived in both - alot depends on where your family is - I still have friends and family in Norwich and visit alot, it is a bit tricky to get to, particularly travelling from west/north to east, there are no motorways and alot of Norfolk is VERY rural, large distances between places etc. It is a long drive to Newcastle up the A1 but really worth it, it is a great city and fantastic area. We loved it there, so I would be looking at schools for your kids and go and visit both to get a feel for them both - the obvious other point is climate, East Anglia is much warmer and drier, the NE is colder ( not wet Mancy cold!)

WillieWaggledagger Tue 29-Jan-13 10:41:54

exactly the same as you, guineapiglet, i find it difficult to choose. my family is in norwich and i grew up there so i go there lots. went to university in newcastle and adored it.

the thing i particularly love about both is that you can go from buzzing city to rural countryside within a 15 min drive (depending on time of day/direction!)

Nancy66 Tue 29-Jan-13 11:25:46

can you get a decent family home in Brighton for £350k or less?

I'm always looking at Brighton on Rightmove and it seems pretty much on a par with london to me (price wise)

airedailleurs Tue 29-Jan-13 11:35:35

I'll say what I always say in these cases:


Can't beat it for combo of proximity to London, great local shopping, very good state primary and secondary schools, affordable housing, proximity to lovely countryside, airports, ferry terminals, seaside...etc...

no time to research specific houses but £350k will get you want you want here :-D

DewDr0p Tue 29-Jan-13 12:27:45

There are some nice cities in the UK but don't expect them to be like London OP. Reading this with interest - we left London for rural life nearly 10 years ago and are considering heading back SE (for work reasons).

Are most of your family/friends in the South? I'm quite fond of Newcastle but it is a looooong drive up there.
Also what do you do for work? Can you do it anywhere? We've found employment options have narrowed drastically with the recession and self employed folks finding it hard too. (hence considering our move)

I like Manchester a lot but find it cold and grey.
Liverpool is very buzzy these days, totally transformed from when I was a kid. Lots of culture and very friendly, the redeveloped city centre is fab. Property is cheap too.
Don't know Leeds as well but liked what I saw.
Nottingham has great shopping but I'm not sure what it's like to live there.
My neighbour used to live in Bristol and loved it but I think schools might be an issue?

Sheffield lovers, please tell me what there is to do there. I don't live there, I just go to shop (shopping not great imho) Feel like I must be missing something.

guineapiglet Tue 29-Jan-13 12:42:47

Well I am a 'Sheffield lover' - tho' slightly different for me as I have lots of family there so ended up doing lots with them - when I lived there used to go horse riding, hiking in the Peaks, NT -ing around Bakewell, Haddon etc, cinema/Crucible in Sheffield, ( I agree shopping in the city is not as good as it was due to Meadowhall) -good churches, good pubs etc, the Leadmill and dry slope skiing. Plus only a couple of hours to Lakes, couple of hours on train to London, it is a very central location for doing lots of stuff. Houses around Nether Edge area lovely, you can be urban and rural whichever suits!

I confess that when I worked at the Uni it was in the days before kids, so others on here might be able to add more child related stuff.

kissmyheathenass Tue 29-Jan-13 12:49:52

Nothing in Bromley in that price range - we do need quite a big house as we run 2 businesses from home. Thanks anyway!

DwrDrop - is Liverpool wet? I assume being West it is. Would love to be proved wrong. Bristol - yes the schools are an issue and decent areas are pricey. Nottingham looks good - I have looking into schools there - but a bit of a reputation for gun crime - dont know how reliable this reputation is tho.

Do you know sheffield schools Guineapiglet?

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