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Berkhamsted or Ruislip?

(23 Posts)
siluria Tue 16-Apr-13 20:34:25

Hi there. Advice please!

DH has a new job in Amersham in South Bucks and I work on the Strand and get the tube to Holborn. We currently live in Cambridgeshire and have a 21-month-old DD and another DD due in August smile I'm having 9/10 months of maternity leave, going back in late May next year.

We've been looking around the area at places to move and will be renting in the first instance, for around £1200 a month (hoping to get a small 2 bed house or a 2 bed garden flat for that). At the moment I like Berkhamsted - it seems to be lively, it has all the amenities in one place (unlike Beaconsfield and Amersham), has good schools and plenty of things to do with babies and toddlers, and lots of restaurants and the cinema for the day we finally go out alone as adults again! But it's 35 mins to Euston and then I'd still have to get the tube to Holborn, so I reckon an hour door to door.

We haven't been to Ruislip yet and are hoping to visit this weekend. It looks okay on paper, but perhaps not as lively/trendy as Berkhamsted and possibly not with as good primary schools? (At secondary I think Berkhamsted has option of Chesham Grammar school, but also has an up-and-coming comp and a private school, not that we can afford that.) It also looks a bit duller? But West/South Ruislip are about 35 mins on the tube straight to Holborn, so it looks like my commute would be way better. With two little ones, that might be worth it? DH would have a slightly longer commute to Amersham, but still under 30 mins I think.

Anyway, what do you know about these areas? Would you prefer to move to one over the other? What do you think of Ruislip, in particular?

Thank you so much in advance smile

Numberlock Tue 16-Apr-13 20:35:55

Ruislip every time.

siluria Tue 16-Apr-13 20:41:22

Why do you say that, numberlock?

Also, are there any areas to prefer/to avoid in Ruislip? It's a bit confusing with all its tube stations ...

hermioneweasley Tue 16-Apr-13 20:42:14

Berkhamstead is really quite far from London, I'd be inclined to go for Ruislip I think, but I know people who live in
Berkhamstead and really like it

siluria Tue 16-Apr-13 21:13:07

Can anybody say what they like about Ruislip apart from its transport links?

CerealMom Tue 16-Apr-13 21:23:14


We live in a village close to Berko and DH commutes to The City in about 1hr 10mins door to door.

Plenty to do with DCs. Lovely countryside around here. Good day to day shops/amenities. You'll also find things in Hemel and St Albans - Saphire gymnastics club/swim/dance/tennis etc...

The (Rothschild) Natural History Museum Tring
Ivinghoe Beacon
Alford Arms - Frithsden
Cholesbury/Hawridge - lovely walks, NT land again

siluria Tue 16-Apr-13 22:22:05

Thanks cerealmom - these are the things that are really drawing me to Berkhamsted - I think it would be an hour door to door for my particular commute, which is doable. I forgot to say that though i'm full time I only have to be in the office 3 days a week and do the rest when DD is in bed/DH is at home, so I'm not commuting every day.

The Waffle House and the Ashridge Estate look amazing!

Are there any bad things/places to avoid?

newgirl Wed 17-Apr-13 17:49:20

Berko is fab place to live - canal, schools, the best cinema in uk! Ruislip has pretty lido and woods though far busier. I'd choose berko and change jobs ;)

siluria Wed 17-Apr-13 19:27:57

No way I can change jobs! It was hard enough to get the job I've got ;)

CerealMom Thu 18-Apr-13 18:01:02

Hmmmm bad things.
I think the usual scrum for school places, but I don't think there's a 'bad' school in Berko.
Schools, Berko is changing from 3 tier system (infants/junior/senior) to 2 tier at primary levels. Or is it the other way around - someone else needs to tell you about that, sorry! I know this is causing a few problems with places but will sort itself out. There are some village schools which do depending on local yearly intake, take Berko children.
If you're going independent schools you can pm me.
Parking, usual problems with older housing roads not originally built for (multiple) car owners. Lots of the roads are resident permit only.
Parking at train station - if you're too far to walk is expensive, but then so's everywhere.
Depending where you buy you might be doing a fair bit of hill walking. You'll have a pert bum after a while :-)

I think the only things to consider are distance to the station and parking.

Places to avoid
Attic Cafe (top floor of Home and Colonial shop). Lovely food and cakes <eyes tummy>
Waffle House - has spoiled me and DS for any other milkshake. Mmmmm malted choc <eyes tummy again!>

BallerinaZeena Thu 18-Apr-13 18:31:00

Sent u a pm OP smile

LittleFrieda Thu 18-Apr-13 21:10:57

Berkhamsted is a funny place. I have family who live there and I find it dull (and so do they). Why not St Albans, much more of a city vibe and much faster trains.

siluria Thu 18-Apr-13 21:18:19

Thank you for your really helpful PM, ballerina, and for your reply littlefrieda. St Albans is a bit of a pain for Amersham for DH (it's not exactly too far, but we'd both be over half an hour away from DD's nursery which would be unworkable if she got sick during a nursery day, plus logistically we prefer to have a bit of a base so we're not all travelling here, there and everywhere every day). St A is lovely though.

Funnily enough, somebody said to me that Ruislip is dull!

We're also considering Amersham and Beaconsfield...

siluria Thu 18-Apr-13 21:19:41

And ha ha about avoiding all the fattening places, cerealmom. I am pregnant and eating my body weight in terrible food each day at the moment, so that sounds very appealing!

msrisotto Thu 18-Apr-13 21:23:14

I live in Ruislip and like it here smile
What's not to love about the lido, there's woods and parks as well if you like outdoorsy stuff, some nice restaurants too.

I haven't been to Berkhamstead but it is very far out.

GoldenGreen Thu 18-Apr-13 21:24:42

I have family in Amersham, Chesham, and Ruislip and would concur that Ruislip is duller than the others grin. Berkhamstead looks lovely.

LittleFrieda Thu 18-Apr-13 21:25:10

I would choose Beaconsfield out of all of those. It's lovely.

mollythetortoise Thu 18-Apr-13 21:37:51

I don't know anything about berks but know ruislip v well. It is rather suburban and family/ retiree sort of place but if you are a famiky then that can be great! Plus it has 4 tube stations, central line, piccadilly and met libe si you can get inti central london or anywhere v easily if you crave an exciting day out. Lots if parks pkus lido and ruislip woods/mad bess woods. North ruislip nicer than south or the manor. Ruislio has great libraries, new pool and nearby uxbridge lido which is fab. Lots of kids groups/actvities etc. Outstanding primaries eg newnham/ sacred heart and others. High schools good too but that is a while off for you yet. High street not too bad, big waitrose and sainsburys etc. I wouldn't describe it as trendy though! But central line to work is a big plus.

siluria Fri 19-Apr-13 10:05:56

I guess it's working out what 'very far out' means to different people - I currently commute from Huntingdon which is a lot further out than any of these places, so they all feel amazingly close to London to me! But I don't want to miss an opportunity to reduce my commute, either, since this is most probably a long-term move ...

Thank you so much for all your replies. Maybe the property will decide it.

Winceywoo Fri 19-Apr-13 18:57:20

Amersham is a lovely town too - although your DH may not be so thrilled living so close to work? It is on the Metropolitan line as is neighbouring Little Chalfont which I hear has an excellent primary school. Once you have two dc it may be a blessing for one of you to be local. I would also recommend Bucks if you favour the 11plus system. Bear in mind though that the HS2 link is going to affect some of that area. (But that may work in your favour). Personally, I would stay local to Amersham as you will save on one persons travel expenses and possibly settle more quickly. Chorleywood is also nice (nearby) and has three good primaries and an excellent comp. Just down the road from that is Rickmansworth which is bigger with more amenities. All these places are within 20ish miles of London and close to M25/M40/M1. Very popular with commuters, as all these places are on met line (overground) and also I think are served by chiltern railways who run a fast service to Marylebone.

siluria Sun 21-Apr-13 19:36:46

You're totally right about us having a base, winceywoo - I think in the end that has ruled Ruislip out on its own. We recently moved house (!) so that we could have only one of us commuting to work and nursery/home/DH's work in one place (no option of me living close to my work, unless I suddenly find a couple of million on the street ...).

Amersham definitely an option, too, as are Beaconsfield and Gerrard's Cross/Chalfont St. Peter's and Little Chalfont.

Thanks for the info x

bretta73 Wed 24-Apr-13 15:53:47

Obviously you're not comparing like with like as Ruislip is an outer lying suburb of London whilst Berkhamsted is a (lovely) self-contained town in the countryside.

From my point of view, places like Ruislip fall into the camp of offering the 'worst of both worlds' ie. the headaches of urban life (traffic, crime, mediocre schools etc.) without the upside of country life (space, quiet etc.), and certainly without any of the buzz that real urban living can offer.

Whilst Berkhamsted is indeed geographically further out, the combination of both a fast train line and importantly excellent road links (the A41/M1 combo can get you to the West End in under an hour) mean you never feel isolated. You would do well to drive from Ruislip any quicker.

Of the other places mentioned, St Albans is overrated in my view (awful traffic, too spread out, rough around the edges [two pound shops next to each other on High St]).

siluria Wed 24-Apr-13 21:02:50

That's my fear about Ruislip, though I STILL haven't visited it for myself (unexpectedly busy last weekend - hopefully we can go this weekend).

But you're totally right about the times - geographical distance doesn't matter, it's commuting time that matters.

In fact, since even Berkhamsted shaves 30 minutes off my current commute each way, and since I work from home a lot, I think it's worth it.

We're also considering Amersham/Beaconsfield, and I think that what will make the difference is what we can find to rent - not a huge amount of choice in our price bracket and considering the space we need for two children (i.e. it has to have two double bedrooms).

Anyway, thank you all for your replies. I think we've ruled out Ruislip now, especially after talking to some friends who know it better than us.

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