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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!

VBisme Tue 21-May-13 23:23:07

Bristol is lovely, I live close to stroud which is lovely but would much prefer to be in Clifton village Bristol.

You can always go to the farmers market in stroud on a Saturday morning.

Herhonesty Wed 22-May-13 02:52:37


hannahbarbera Wed 22-May-13 03:36:37

Brilliant advice from everyone here, it's really helping - thanks a lot!

VestaCurry Wed 22-May-13 03:49:43

Given the commute is to Reading, Londonwise, Ealing is worth looking at, there are some lovely spots, naturally being London it's not particularly cheap. It has a good vibe to it, Pitshanger Park is lovely, has a summer festival each year. At weekends you can easily get in to the centre of London for the galleries/museums/parks and whatever else you want from the city.

Marlow is a super place for families but as others have said it's pricey too.

I'm not a Henley fan, it's v boring.

Alanna1 Wed 22-May-13 04:05:25

There's a big alternative-yet-mainstream community in Bristol (google Bristol Green Week), but why give up on London? With the jubilee and northern line there are places near waterloo. The less posh areas of london often have more of a community sense to them. Kennington and pimlico both have strong communities eg. Dont forget about crossrail when looking at plaxes.

AlfieBear87 Wed 22-May-13 04:57:47

I used to live in Wallingford and I miss it!

The vibe in the summer was amazing with loads of stuff going on in the town. The bunkfest was one of the highlights for me.

The riverbank in the summer is always full of laughing, happy people having bbqs, whilst their kids play in the river. There's also an outside swimming pool and paddling pool for younger kids (the paddling pool is free).

The local countryside is beautiful and it's practically right on the Ridgeway, so there's lots of lovely walks in all directions. There's a walk called 'Grims Ditch' which is literally overflowing with bluebells in the early summer.

My sisters kids went to crowmarsh primary school which was fantastic. We both (my sister and I) move around a lot but we have both made good life-long friends in Wallingford.

I feel quite nostalgic!

AlfieBear87 Wed 22-May-13 05:01:33

And yes, Marlow is definitely better than Henley.

I used to work in Henley, and every year it gets inundated with rich men in straw hats and weird blazers (for the regatta!)

mumblechum1 Wed 22-May-13 09:38:43

yy I used to work in Henley too and Regatta week was unbearable; hundreds of red faced, braying toffs. Although we're half way between Marlow and Henley we always avoid Henley if we possibly can. Marlow's a very similar town in terms of expensive shops, nice park etc but the people are more normal.

hannahbarbera Wed 22-May-13 13:43:41

Thanks I'll look in to Wallingford and Marlow - and I know Ealing quite well. I love England in the Summer - my big fear is the cold, dark months, that's when I want to be in a town with a vibe, or I might go crazy. Also, stupid question perhaps - but do your kids spend a lot of time outdoors even in Winter? I have horrible images of English children indoors in the central heating watching TV whilst their Spanish counterparts spend most the year outside. Please, someone tell me I'm wrong!

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 22-May-13 13:58:03

The children just have to run faster in the wintergrin. How much time they spend outside is determined by you encouraging them and the quality of their clothes. Winter time for us is a time of board and card games developing other skills and then brisk refreshing walks.

mummytime Wed 22-May-13 14:20:41

I do wonder if you should really be looking at Reading itself, it might surprise you. It certainly has a vibe.

hannahbarbera Wed 22-May-13 14:29:04

thanks mummytime, a few people have said that. Someone mentioned Caversham. Where else would you recommend? I went to central Reading once early on a Sunday morning, and it was like a disaster scene - vomit, beer cans, take away packaging, almost knee deep. I was a bit shocked. I hope the UK isn't all like that now smile

mummytime Wed 22-May-13 14:46:09

The thing is the UK is either edgy and funky, or very safe and not at all edgy. I would probably look at the University area as well as Caversham. My niece lives in West Reading, in an area I wouldn't want to live in, but she seems to quite enjoy it, and has lots of friends with young families.

Early Sunday morning is often not the best time to judge a place, especially if its got a lot of students and other young people, or Reading during the festival etc. But last time I was there on Sunday morning it was buzzing as there was a triathalon happening. I really like what they've done to the canal area too.

hannahbarbera Thu 23-May-13 10:33:37

Thanks MT!

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