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Looking to move outside M25 (west) with good commute to central London - so many choices!

(43 Posts)
marushka82 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:20:51

Hi everyone,
My DH and I are currently expecting our first DC (due at the end of July this year) and are thinking of moving outside of London to get some peace and quiet and a bigger place. We are currently in Ealing in a one bed flat (we love the area, but we probably won't be able to afford to rent a 2 bedroom place), DH works in Hayes & Harlington area, I work around Farringdon/Chancery Lane/King's Cross region).
The plan is to buy a car and drive around Buckinghamshire, Berkshire etc to check out a few places before we move around June. DH would drive to work and I'd like to be within a 40-50 minute commute to Paddington/Marylebone or King's Cross so I can go back to work after maternity leave.
Initially we'd rent but we'd be looking to buy something in a year or two. I read a few threads on these boards and I have a few places in mind, but need to do some narrowing down. Ideally I'd love to be somewhere nice and family friendly, with a community and a bit of a high street (you get it, not in the middle of absolute nowhere without a shop or a playground in sight!).

On my list are Marlow (though the commute scares me, as apparently it's about 70 mins to Marylebone!), Beaconsfield, Iver (though it seems like there's not much there), Amersham, Great Missenden, Harpenden, Windsor & Eton (long commute to Waterloo, but apparently possible to catch a train from Slough - are there any reasonable bus links between Windsor and Slough train station?), Chalfont St Giles, Princes Risborough, Burnham, Chorleywood, Taplow, Denham.

Phew, as you can see I haven't really narrowed it down and I'm totally confused! We haven't been to any of these places yet, but of course are planning to visit; in the meantime though, any tips/opinions would be much much appreciated!!!! Thank you ladies! smile

BreadForMyBREADGUN Mon 18-Feb-13 18:23:20

What about Thame? About 40 mins out iirc. Taplow/Marlow all good but expensive. You'd get more for your money elsewhere.

marushka82 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:38:34

Hi BreadForMyBREADGUN, thanks for such a quick reply! smile
Is that the Thame close to Haddenham and Thame station? I didn't notice it on the map, but will add it to my list!

redandwhitesprinkles Mon 18-Feb-13 18:46:37

How much are you looking to spend on rent and to buy? How big does house/flat need to be?

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 18-Feb-13 18:49:41

There is a link train from Windsor Central to Slough which takes just a few minutes.

Check out the train fares from the places you are interested in. I found out the other day that the fare from Reading to Paddington is £49 per day!

marushka82 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:08:52

redandwhitesprinkles we're thinking of spending no more than £1000-1100 on rent (£1100 being the absolute maximum, especially since I won't be on a full salary while on maternity leave plus travel will cost more and we'll have the added expense of a car). We're currently paying £1150 in Ealing for a 1 bed which I feel is a total rip off, considering how small the place is; but hey, Ealing's expensive! We're looking for a 2 bed, doesn't have to be huge; we've moved so many times since we came to London that we'd love to stay somewhere for a bit longer, especially now we've got a little one on the way (and needing a room at some stage!)
Knowsabitabouteducation <gulp!> that IS steep! I just checked out some 2 bed flats to rent in Thame and there seem to be a lot well under £1000, but the fare is around £260 a month! yikes. I've got a season ticket loan thingy going on at work, so that could help a bit... Gah, tough choices!

Eglantyne Mon 18-Feb-13 19:15:52

Windsor Riverside is really slow into Waterloo, nearly an hour, but it is the end of the line, so you will get a seat every morning. And Windsor is a lively place to be on maternity leave. You will be able to rent a 2 bed for much less than £1k pcm. There is a train to Slough which takes 2 mins, then the fast train to Paddington takes less than 20mins.

marushka82 Mon 18-Feb-13 19:25:46

Eglantyne what you said is like music to my ears! I did a bit of a virtual tour of Windsor and I'm in love, it looks beautiful! I tried not to think too much about it because I was convinced the only way into central London was on South West trains! Waterloo is a bit too far from my work, I could take a bus but that would be another 30-40 minutes (especially in morning Fleet Street traffic!). Paddington on the other hand is perfect!

BreadForMyBREADGUN Mon 18-Feb-13 19:30:10

Sorry yes, Haddenham and Thame.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 18-Feb-13 19:44:43

Windsor is lovely. I lived there years and years ago. Happy memories.

thegraduand Mon 18-Feb-13 21:06:23

You would easily get something in Reading, have a look on rightmove for anything with an RG4 postcode. The commute to Paddington/ Marylebone/ Kings Cross is easy (and quicker than some of the stations closer in). The only downside is the cost, an annual season ticket must be well over £4k by now (not needed one for a couple of years). RG4 (Caversham and Emmer Green) is lovely, lots of families, green spaces.

marushka82 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:42:18

thegraduand thanks, but I think Reading is a bit too far! I know the connection with London is very good, but have to say that shelling out over £4k scares me!

Has anyone heard much about Burnham or Chorleywood?

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 19-Feb-13 10:31:12

Burnham is suburban Slough. It has a nice village centre with independent shops. Traffic and parking is awful. The housing is very mixed.

Near to Burham is Taplow - gorgeous village. It has a station where you can get trains to Slough before picking up an express to London.

marushka82 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:01:11

Knowsabitabouteducation thanks! When you say traffic is awful, do you mean getting out onto the motorway, or traffic in the city? Thanks for the Taplow suggestion - will have a look!
I never realised that Slough is so spread out! Is Langley considered its suburb too? Is it any good?

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 19-Feb-13 13:00:52

Burnham is a bit more prestigious than Langley, but Langley has the better grammar school. The villages to the north of Slough are probably the nicest - Farnham Royal etc.

But it all depends on what you are looking for, how close you have to be to the station.

Burnham's traffic is because there are too many cars parked on narrow streets, and on the pavements, with people trying to do rat-runs to avoid the endless traffic lights on the A4.

It really depends on how much you have to spend on your rental. Money won't go far in a chi-chi village.

You could do a lot worse than looking at Egham or Staines (just on the M25, 35/40 minutes from Waterloo. You get more modest prices, but with the shops, playgrounds, toddler groups, high streets, restaurants.. The primary schools are OK.

marushka82 Tue 19-Feb-13 13:23:39

Knowsabitabouteducation thanks again! DH will be driving to work in Hayes and Harlington area and I'd like to commute into London after maternity leave, ideally to Paddington/Marylebone/King's Cross. Ideally we'd be somewhere relatively close to the station (not a huge drive/walk). We're looking to spend £1000-£1100 on rent for a 2 bed (unfurnished probably). £1100 would probably have to be the maximum rent wise as travel will be much more expensive!

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 19-Feb-13 13:28:09

Have you had a look at

Put in your chose central area, eg Slough and then stretch the search area to 5-10 miles. That will pull in most of the places mentioned on this thread.

Select 2 bedroom rentals, and your price range. You will soon see the type of areas that come up again and again.

Honestyisbest Tue 19-Feb-13 14:09:30

Chiltern railway line is fab. Good rentals in Saunderton and Princes Risborough.

LadyMetroland Tue 19-Feb-13 14:34:05

I think somewhere on the chiltern line would be best for your needs. Trains are clean and reliable and good fast train services in to Marylebone. Most of the towns are near the M40/A40 so would be good for your dh.

It gets less expensive as you move up the line: Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield are nice but super expensive. Wycombe is mixed, large town but good connections. Princes Risborough and Thame are both nice, a bit less expensive.

Don't forget in Bucks you have the Grammar school factor which raises house prices. Thame is in Oxfordshire so may be slightly less expensive for that reason.

The other branch of the chiltern line goes to Amersham. That is v expensive but nice. Too busy for my taste but will feel like a backwater if you're used to Ealing.

Renting before buying is definitely the way to go. Will give you a good sense of an area before committing. Impossible to know what somewhere's really like until you've lived there imo.

LadyMetroland Tue 19-Feb-13 14:43:01

Oh, Chesham is worth considering too. That's on the tube (last stop!) and is cheap - relatively speaking. Loads of baby groups etc.

Another thing I'd really recommend is signing up for the NCT now in one of these areas as the classes fill up quickly. Definitely the best way to meet other first time mums and you will find having a ready made group of 'friends' invaluable if you're new to the area. Beaconsfield has a branch and Chesham too.

marushka82 Tue 19-Feb-13 14:47:54

LadyMetroland thanks for all the suggestions! I have to say, after paying £135 for an Oyster for the last few months made me forget how expensive commuting from outer London can be... Just checked season tickets from Princes Risborough and they are £380 (Oyster included)...
Thanks for the NCT tip; will definitely sign up once we decide on an area!

marushka82 Tue 19-Feb-13 14:48:42

oops, meant to say paying for an Oyster made me forget, not after paying, yikes!

JaxTellerIsMyFriend Tue 19-Feb-13 14:57:09

The Chiltern line is expensive so commuting into London costs a lot. And they keep putting the prices up. But fast train can get you into Marylebone in 40 mins from Missenden/P Risborough.

Houses are expensive but thats because the schools are good. It really depends on what sort of lifestyle you have or would like to have.

HappyJoyful Tue 19-Feb-13 14:59:54

I'm really sorry to sound a bit cynical or to shatter your dreams on moving out to 'rural' pastures but I think you will find some of the places you've listed being, as costly, if not more than Ealing.

Places like Princes Risborough, Old Amersham and Chorleywood are all mega expensive.

Am an 'Ealing expat' in Chesham - there's a few of us, but to be totally honest I'd give my right arm to be able to afford to live in Ealing again.

I certainly wouldn't rush into buying anywhere and rent somewhere to see if you like it. Generally in Chesham 2/3 bed 'cottages' terrace houses are rented out for somewhere in region of £995 I think from a quick google on Rightmove.

But yes, please do consider it long and hard, it has pluses yes but it's not particularly diverse and there are a lot of negative sides to the area's I feel. Happy to expand should you wish to know more!

Know Ealing exceptionally well but obviously don't know where your 1 bed is - have you considered looking at some of the 'cheaper' parts of Ealing / Ealing-Brentford, Ealing / Greenford, West Ealing ? As I say, there's places I never thought I'd wish to live but do now rather than Chesham.

marushka82 Tue 19-Feb-13 15:23:46

HappyJoyful don't worry, I appreciate any feedback and tips really, as we've always been around London (the furthest we were was Bromley and we really loved it there, but DH got a job out west and his commute from Bromley was a horrendous 2.5 trip one way with 3 changes - nightmare!).
I looked around Ealing and so far I see a lot of 2 beds for £1200 which are either super old and crusty or really poky and not really close to the station. We are now v. close to Pittshanger Ln and I think the rent is higher because of the good catchment area (which gives us nothing at the moment as the baby's not here yet, let alone school age :D
We're definitely not thinking of buying anything just yet, we want to rent and suss out the area first before committing. Besides, who knows what's going to happen in 2-3 years? I honestly, honestly don't know how people afford to buy houses these days. Is everyone on an 60k+ salary? I try not to think about this too much as I find it very depressing really. I'm not unrealistic and not expecting to get a mansion for the money we are prepared to pay for rent, but I doubt we'll be able to afford a higher rent if I'm going to pay £300-350 for commuting...
I reckon it's a good thing we still have time to think about this, but I'm getting more and more confused. Also now depressed thinking we'll rent forever and always be poor sad I sometimes just want to leave everything and move to Australia (we discussed this as a possibility ages ago, but then my parents would not have that many chances to see their grandchild). Eh, it's all depressing as hell...

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