Moving to Manchester(59 Posts)
I’m looking for some help and advice if possible. It’s my first post here, so please forgive if I get anything wrong!
Basically, we’re going to be moving to Manchester at the end of the year, and are hoping to buy somewhere when we move, and avoid having to rent while we work out what’s what. We’re in the Midlands at the moment, and will be moving for work – neither of us knows Manchester at all, so we are completely at square one. I’ll be working at the Uni and will need to drive to work; DH will be working in the City Centre too (Spinningfields) and could either drive or use public transport.
We have a DD, who is two, so we really need to make educational choices a big part of this decision. I’ve heard that in Manchester/Cheshire, as is probably true everywhere, the areas with good primaries are often over-subscribed, so even if you’re in catchment etc, you can struggle to get a place.
So, I’m looking for help. We have six months to work it all out, and I’m hoping that, with the collective wisdom of all you good people, you can help shed some light on the options.
What I would really appreciate is thoughts or comments on the areas that people have mentioned to us at interviews etc. The ‘short’ list comprises: Sale, Altrincham, Didsbury (in various directions East, West and so on), Heaton Moor/Chapel/Mersey, Bowdon (though possibly unaffordable based on what I’ve seen on Rightmove), Bramhall, Marple.
I’ve watched enough Phil & Kirsty (or should that be Kirsty & Phil?) to know that you never get everything you want, but the things that will matter to us are:
•Schools (nursery, primary and secondary) – we’d prefer state as that’s more our sort of thing, but aren’t ideologically wedded to it
•Gardens/Greenness of the area – we live in a very leafy, tree-y place where you get lots of families and can get a decent sized garden with a house and would like to keep a bit of that if we can in the place we live
•Stuff for kids to do, and ways for our daughter (and us, as well) to make friends in our new home – could be sports or other community things.
•Commute – we love our daughter and would rather spend time with her than on trains/trams/traffic jams, so a reasonable commute is important
•House Prices – we can’t compete with footballers!
And that’s about it. If you live in/know these places, and would be willing to tell me what you think, I would really, really appreciate it.
Thanks in advance
With your budget I'd be looking at West Didsbury - the metro takes you to Deansgate so a better commute. Not exactly rural though
If you have Heaton Moor on your narrowed down list, you would get a lovely large Victorian detached for that amount of money.
Trains to manchester from Heaton chapel station say the 8.18 will get you in picc 8.29 he could then jump a tram from same stn to Victoria stn 5 mins to spinngfields.
You going to the oxford road campus would use the A6 and cut across onto oxford rd, or go onto A34 kingsway and cut across to oxford road.
Nurseries are plenty between 6-7 all within at the 3 miles.
Primary schools Heaton Moor Tithe Barn, 2 more on Didsbury Road C of E and RC. Few independent schools prob 4 or more all very close.
Have a Zoopla
Chorlton is overrated Imho as is Didsbury. Chorlton has a very high crime rate but is trendy I suppose? Hale is nice as is Timperley.
I agree with discounting Chorlton, we currently live there and whilst it was great for bars in our child free days I don't think it's too child friendly, you really struggle to get a pram in a cafe.
I'd avoid Chedale too, although lovely to visit it's under a direct flight path... unless you don't mind the noise.
We are moving out of Chorlton soon and a combination of schools, village feel, large gardens etc our search area is Didsbury, Heaton Mersey, Heaton Moor & Gatley.
There's a massive difference between North and South Manchester (technically the Heatons, Gately, Chedale etc come under Stockport)
I work in spinningfields and live in sale moor. From door to door the journey takes 45 mins by foot and tram and that includes school drop off.
By car to john dalton building (mmu) takes about the same leaving at 8am. (There is a particular route to use to get there in that time). Leaving after 9.15 takes no more than 20 mins.
You can get a lot for your money in sale within walking distance of brooklands, sale or Dane road tram stops.
As pp has said, it's a really lovely area. The parks are particularly good, as are nurseries and schools. Sale town centre is no match for hale, but it's got everything you need and lots of stuff that other places don't have. lovely restaurants and cafés, library, canal, very family friendly theatre, leisure centre etc. motorway links are great too, you're a few mins away from m60, m56, m62.
Good luck with your hunt.
So, things are moving on - all starting to get a bit real now, which is both exciting and scary! Based on your helpful input, we've done a first recce of various of the patches recommended by you good people. Can I share my thoughts so far, and invite anyone who knows the places better than I do (i.e. anyone who knows the places) to tell me if I'm getting it about right?
We could only manage to get up for one long day, as my parents were able to look after DD, but to be honest, our heads were exploding by the evening so we will need to come back a few more times.
We ruled out Bramhall/Marple/Worsley for this visit because it does sound as though the drive into Manchester at peak times is just too long. We focussed on Heatons, Didsbury, then the road back through Sale, Atrincham, Hale and Bowdon.
So (deep breath), here we go:
Heatons - good housing stock, affordable in comparison to nearby places like Didsbury/Bramhall. We'd promised ourselves to be shameless in asking for advice, so spoke to some mums in cafe who said good nurseries, nice vibe to the place, but interestingly several planning to go private for education - not sure what to read into that? Lots of trees (a positive), but not much by way of park and amenities that we could see. Overall, I did like the areas, but I think I�d be worried about schools and transport � several prospective colleagues have said it�s best to be near a tram line if possible .
Didsbury - really liked the bits around Fletcher Moss, and the park. Seemed to be lots of pushchairs, so while we didn't get to do in-depth research, I thought there had to be lots going on. Had rightmove on the ipad, and was a bit worried about the prices � it would be right at the top of our budget, and if we didn�t get a place at one of the good local primaries, I would have to think about going private. It sounds as though there is a problem, as we were told that the local C of E school operates a system of having your church attendance monitored by way of stamps on a card! Did like the feel of the place � it actually didn�t feel too urban. West Didsbury seemed to be younger and more at the chi-chi bars and restaurants end of the spectrum, compared to the main part. If I�m honest, I really liked that I would be able to get a bus into work, and not worry about getting there in time to get a parking space � which is a source of stress currently. We drove round the motorway wondering if the price premium and school uncertainty was just too much to take on, though � DH liked the idea of a cheese shop, but since he has a 38� waist now, he�d be barred!
Sale � a real tester. Houses seemed good, and we�d get more for our money. Lots of families living there, good schools � even an Art Cafe where DH managed to sneak an order of cheese on toast past me in a moment of weakness on my part! Several people said that there is lots going on for toddlers and young children. The centre was, if I�m honest, a real disappointment � I�m used to a community that has a defined �heart�, and Sale seemed to lack that. There was strong feedback that the main road is a nightmare � one person told us that it was not uncommon for you to be allocated a school place the other side of the main road, which could just take forever if you had to drive there and then get back on to the A56 to get to work. We were told that pretty much all the schools were good, which takes out a worry, but there is also a collective psychosis which grips parents of 8, 9 and 10 year olds ahead of the selective exams � tutoring and paranoia rule in some households and I don�t want DD to feel the pressure of keeping up with everyone else. Parks-wise, not much, but if we are in the position of having a decent sized garden and DD�s schoolfriends nearby, I guess that would be okay. Was told that it was possible to drive to Hospitals in 30-40 minutes, and DD would use tram, but all bets off on match days at Old Trafford re timings. Couldn�t work out areas/schools within Sale that well, but some of the more expensive roads on the Ashton on Mersey side were all electric gates and that�s a turn-off for me � I want to be a bit more integrated than that. Brooklands was recommended, as were the roads near Worthington Park, but I think where the schools are would be a big factor here considering the transport issues.
Altrincham � nice environment, but worried that the commute becomes less feasible, while houses become pricier. Still okay for DH, but more of a problem for me, and my work won�t move, whereas DH could change jobs in due course and be working somewhere not in the City Centre. We didn�t get to spend much time there as it was getting late, but did have a good drive around. Nicer shops and centre than Sale, but it�s not as non-urban as, say, Bowdon, while it didn�t have the city conveniences of, say, Didsbury. I could be doing the place a major disservice, but that was the first impression. Have been told there�s a fabulous nursery there (Oakfield), and, much, much later, if DD were to pass the exams, you�re on the doorstep of Altrincham Girls � I don�t know much about the other school options there, so would need to do more research. If there�s anyone on here who commutes from Altrincham to Manchester by car/public transport, I�d really appreciate getting more of an insight into the realities of it.
Hale and Bowdon � Bowdon was lovely in parts, but I just didn�t know if we�d fit in � I felt we�d be the poor relations in the old part of Bowdon, and the newer part seemed a bit less of a community. Hale had a nice High St, but again, it seemed to be quite expensive, and I think we�d worry about not fitting in as we�d be at the very top end of the budget range. Add in the commute issues from being further out again (me) and the need to add in a longer walk/drive into Altrincham (DH), and I fear that neither of them would quite work.
So, that�s it. We reflected on the way back and in the last few days, and I think out of the places we�ve seen so far, it�s between Sale and Didsbury, but with Altrincham a real possibility depending on some practicalities. We�ve thought about coming up and renting, but in truth, it�s the impact on DD that puts me off that � I could cope, but she may struggle more with all the chopping and changing.
The other absolutely huge worry is whether we can get a nursery place � it is genuinely keeping me awake at nights. By the time we�ve found and bought, DD will be nearing three, and (if it�s anything like where we are now), the nurseries are full. She�s at a brilliant nursery now 4 days a week, and is thriving on it � I really want her to be at another place she loves and will grow in. I�m really worried that, at short notice, at best we�ll only be able to get into a nursery that isn�t as good, and may struggle to find any places locally. If anyone knows about nursery availability in Sale/Altrincham/Didsbury, I would be so grateful for any insights on that.
Next steps are to decide whether another broad sweep is needed (this time to look at some of the other suggestions that have been made) or whether we just need to start focussing in on areas that seem like the most appropriate options so far. If anyone has any comments or thoughts they could share either to correct any misapprehensions on my part, or to say that I�m on the right lines, I would be genuinely very grateful .
I don't know why so many people are considering private education in heaton moor because tithe barn and didsbury road primary schools are excellent. Priestnall high school is excellent too.
Perhaps people have more choice about choosing to pay for education in Heaton Moor because the housing stock is cheaper than didsbury and Hale etc.
Trafford has very good schools but lots of children there are tutored in readiness for the 11+ which skews the year 6 sats results somewhat. Out of all the areas you are considering I personally would only avoid Chorlton and Sale but lots of other people love those areas.
Would you consider using public transport to get to the uni? Trains to Oxford rd would make a commute from more leafy areas quicker than driving. If i had £750k to spend I would probably be looking at Hale, Heaton Moor, Marple Bridge, Disley and high lane. I think you can't put a price on the peace and quiet that living in a more leafy area brings and they are usually more villagey and community feeling as well.
Sorry, I haven't read very carefully but i noticed someone said thread that there's no metrolink in heaton mersey but the east didsbury stop is on the edge of heaton mersey with abundant parking.
There are currently a few places for September at freshfield nursery in heaton mersey and it's excellent. Usually oversubscribed. Outstanding ofsted etc
Also be cautious with heaton chapel as the catchment for priestnall secondary school is to the heatons side of .the A6 not the Reddish side
Flixton is nice. So is Urmston. Very family friendly, nice schools. On a railway line, 10mins to Manchester Oxford Rd. Lots of choice of houses, community feel.
I live in sale - near Walton park - and my daughters go to woodheys primary (one nursery, one just finishing year one). We moved here 2 1/2 years ago. I actually really llike it. The town centres not cool but it's friendly, and has some good cafes (I see you've already tried bean and brush!). If you want your fix of boho chic it's only ten mins drive from chorlton. Similarly altrincham is ten mins the other way. Loads of stuff going on for kids. My husband gets tram from brrokland to Manchester most days and it's usually ok (rarely gets a seat in the mornings tho). We paid £250 for a nice bur needing tlc 3 bed detached - you'd get something lovely for your budget.
MuttonCadet's suggestion isn't a bad one. Based on everything you've said, you would probably love Lymm. It is further out, but ironically, given where it is positioned if you are travelling to Manchester via car, it can be shorter on driving times than some of the places that are closer that you have mentioned during rush hour. (Certainly, Altrincham is a total nightmare in the mornings and if you are driving, its just as quick to come in from Lymm). Its an odd mix of being like a town, but also like a village at the same time. Very leafy and green and sits surrounded by greenbelt.
There is a good community feel, and most people living there are commuters too. There is a good mix of older and newer houses. Whilst there is a lot of very affluent people, its not as bad as Bowdon and Hale and there are a number of spots where there are a lot of shared ownership properties, which means there are quite a few people who aren't quite as rich as their neighbours. (Though with a budget of 750k you wouldn't be one of the poor neighbours by any means.) Its by no means cheap, but you'd get a very good quality of life for your money.
The schools are all good, and though they are full, if you live locally, you should get into one of the primaries without too much problem. They are not heavily over subscribed. The local high school is good, and again you should get in, if local. Unlike Trafford, it is not selective.
Public transport is the one area it does fall badly though. You would need to drive.
Lymm also has the advantage for being great to commute to a large number of places in the North West. If you did decide to look for jobs elsewhere, you have the possibility of a wider net to cast.
Knutsford also wouldn't be a bad idea. Direct train to Piccadilly.
Wow...OP your post is so thorough looks like an excel spread-sheet would be in order!!.......my advice is RENT for 6 months....the money you "waste" in rent will be a wise investment and save you tens of thousands in not getting it wrong -- if you are spending £750k - you will have massive SD costs and if you get it wrong and you need to sell again in a few years - you would be p***ing away double EA and SD fees by doing it all again. Are you sure that you both will be in the same job and house for 10 years? Do you really need to choose secondary schools at this point (ratings will change no doubt in a decade). I would RENT for a few months and try to think what is really important to you as a family for the next 5 years .... so nurseries and primaries ... if you are planning more children then how (and where) do you want to spend you mat leave?....do you think that you will spend weekends travelling to visit family?
explore where, WHY and how your work colleagues live over this time.
I have a lot of friends in these areas although I live down south I visit lots -- many aspire to Lymm...
I would also advocate renting. We moved to the area in 2008 and although I had lived relatively close by previously, what I thought I wanted was completely different when we actually came to buy. It enabled us to build up a relationship with the local estate agents, narrowed our search area down to a select few roads.
I have a few recommendations for nurseries / pre-schools so if you want PM me, I'll give you the info local to me.
Hi not sure if you saw it but I sent you a pm. Good luck.
For those advocating Lymm, I just can't see how it would be easier to travel into Manchester from than Sale, Altrincham etc. You'd still hit the traffic in the rush hour eventually.
I also second renting. We moved 3 times within Sale before finding our 'spot'. We love it though and commute into Manchester easily.
Go for Didsbury within spitting distance of Beaver Road primary, unless your heart is set on church school.
bughunt, you'd be surprised. I know its not logical.
I walk past this house every week on the way to the shops at the end of the road. Always loved it and now it's for sale!
Very top end of this area, great school round the corner and 10 mins from tram. Bus at the end of the road goes to the university or a 40ish min drive in rush hour (20 mins in the evening)
Sale moor also has at least 3 good nurseries, we used sale private day nursery which I liked a lot. We now have an amazing childminder. Templemoor school nursery is excellent too.
Thanks for the suggestions. Love the house in Sale, it's really nice and has pretty much everything we would want. The fifth bedroom is one of those "optimistic" bedrooms that you'd struggle to get a bed in, but the cat would adore it! That house is the kind of place that would attract me - it's got a nice garden, plenty of space about you, and I bet DD would be able to have loads of friends near her.
Where is good for activities? DD loves singing and dancing, and does baby ballet every Saturday. She'd be really sad if she didn't get to do music and dance, and I know we could drive to other places and find classes, but it'd be better if it were local.
Re Lymm, it does have loads going for it, though the prices are definitely more than Sale, and I'd worry about having fewer school options? DH spoke to one of his prospective colleagues who lives there about it, and he reckoned it was quick into town, but you absolutely had to be out before 7.30. That was driving into Spinningfields though, so might be different to the Uni.
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