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Funky town to live within about an hour from Reading

(139 Posts)
hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 09:22:43

Hello mums
We are moving back to the UK from a lovely place where kids are idolised, food is fresh and strangers are friendly and open minded. Is it an impossible dream to find something similar within about an hour's (probably train) commute from Reading, where DH will be working? We would probably like lots of organic food, a community minded place where different lifestyle choices are accepted, low crime and kid friendly. If it could be arty and with good schools too, so much the better. So far I have come up with Stroud. Am I right about Stroud? Is there anywhere else in any direction from Reading? We have a budget of around 400-550k for a 3-4 bedroom house, preferably nearer 400!
Thank you so much!

Pantah630 Mon 20-May-13 09:28:53


hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 09:32:35

Thanks Pantah - I thought about Brighton but I then I discovered (I think) it's about 2hrs on the train to Reading sad Otherwise would've been great!

ArthurCucumber Mon 20-May-13 09:35:03

I don't think I can help (we lived in Wokingham, near Reading, which was nice but not particularly funky!). But can I just cheekily ask where it is you're moving from? wink

Mintyy Mon 20-May-13 09:35:13


MrsApplepants Mon 20-May-13 09:36:18


ArthurCucumber Mon 20-May-13 09:36:20

But we have friends who lived in Stroud and they're very funky, alternative lifestyle, organic and arty types who seemed to love it.

hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 09:44:48

Thanks everyone. The London trains go from Paddington or Waterloo. The Paddington one is quite fast but I don't think we could afford anything around Maida Vale etc with our budget. The Waterloo train is so slow we'd have to live no further in to London than Twickenham. And twix is still quite expensive for us. Arthur we are about an hour from Barcelona. Thanks for the info about your friends!

Ragwort Mon 20-May-13 09:47:07

Stroud, Cirecencester, Chipping Camden - those sorts of areas? How would you commute - train or car?

Oxford is rather nice. smile

hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 09:49:24

Thanks Ragwort, preferably by train. Yes I had thought of Oxford. Someone told me though that we might not get 'low crime' for our budget. What do you think?

hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 09:51:16

Also, has anyone moved to Stroud from London? I'd like to know how quickly you settled in, if you get restless after the big smoke etc. I am not in London now and don't want my kids to grow up there but I did myself, so am wondering how it will be for me...!

Doodledumdums Mon 20-May-13 09:58:08

Oxford is lovely, but I would think that you'd need to spend nearer to the top end of your budget to get what you want, unless you buy in a not so nice area. My in laws live in Oxford and their three bed semi is on the border of a not so nice area, and is worth 450k.

What about Cheltenham? I have no idea about house prices or schools there though.

I think I need to move to where you are currently living, it sounds great!

specialsubject Mon 20-May-13 09:58:35

for organic food, all you need is a garden and the time.

MadBusLady Mon 20-May-13 09:58:55

Depends what you mean by "low crime". I don't really think any of these towns are "high crime", but there aren't that many places in Britain which have the proverbial go-to-sleep-with-your-back-door-open culture.

Ragwort Mon 20-May-13 09:59:26

Oooh yes, Cheltenham is lovely and probably better value that Oxford.

Not sure it is exactly 'funky' but there is a fab new 'Whole Foods' store open grin.

MadBusLady Mon 20-May-13 09:59:42

(That are also urban, I should say.)

MrsEricBana Mon 20-May-13 10:04:22


hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 10:04:27

Thanks All. I've been away from the UK for years and had kids in the meantime so my ideas about places are hopelessly out of date, and I really appreciate your help. Reading on here it seems that somewhere like Brighton or Totnes might suit us but of course both are more than an hour from Reading. Hmm, Cheltenham seems to be 1.5hrs which might be doable at a push - is it much nicer than Stroud, friendlier, etc?

MrsEricBana Mon 20-May-13 10:05:33

Both dh and neighbour's dh commuted from Bath to Reading every day for years.

hannahbarbera Mon 20-May-13 10:08:20

Bath has been on my radar. Could we afford something in a nice safe area? I don't need it to be posh but on my returns to the UK over the years, I have noticed a certain feral culture growing in some places that I want to avoid if possible. I'm not talking about class or money by the way, I just mean I want to avoid anti social, aggressive, selfish, brash people of any description. Well, I want to avoid wherever they congregate in any case!

MadBusLady Mon 20-May-13 10:09:41

I also think definitely look at Oxford. You won't be in the posh northern bit of town but unless you're looking for something particularly grand there's plenty of 3/4 beds for £400-450k. Not necessarily that near the station but then the trains only take half an hour, so if you can get there in half an hour you're sorted. Obviously very bike-friendly too if your DH doesn't mind riding to the station. Arty, open-minded, good schools, it invented most of those! Downsides are traffic, traffic and traffic.

LittleMilla Mon 20-May-13 10:09:56

Bristol! Moved here from London just over a year ago and would say it ticks all your boxes.

I love it here and we have a beautiful Victorian house that cost 380k (doer up-er).

Doodledumdums Mon 20-May-13 10:10:57

I can't compare Cheltenham to Stroud as I have never been to Stroud, but DH and I love Cheltenham! If it wasn't for needing/wanting to be near family, then we'd move there in a heartbeat!

Leamington Spa and Warwick are also lovely- though not sure whether they are a realistic commuter distance?

MrsEricBana Mon 20-May-13 10:12:01

South side of Bath - Widcombe area - very short walk to the mainline train station and is the more artisan side of Bath I would say. Arty, good farmers' market every Saturday, decent state and private schools (both mixed and single sex), centre of town v close to open countryside, lots of cultural stuff going on - theatre (main Theatre Royal, Ustinov, The Egg (kids), Rondo, Mission), galleries, independent and mainstream cinemas, lots of music, festivals (Litfest, Children's Litfest, International Music Festival, Fringe Festival, Mozart Fest, food festivals etc), fab museums and lots more. Am I selling it yet? grin Good parks too - Victoria, Alice Park, Alexandra Park, all with great playgrounds, cycle track etc. Bath Uni at top of the hill with amazing sports facilities. Lots of fab places to go in the surrounding area.

turkeyboots Mon 20-May-13 10:12:08

Stroud is reputed to be rather a hole of a place locally. Got a good farmers market but can be v rough in the evenings and there is little local employment.

Tetbury or some of the Cotswolds villages might be more up your street. I'd look at Wantage too.

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