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Moving back from Canada to London/south with twins but where?

(39 Posts)
sariska7 Sun 09-Nov-14 20:11:28

Hi all - We are an English-French couple who have been been living in Canada for the past 6 years and will be moving back to the London/S.E. in summer 2015. We'd really appreciate any suggestions you can give on where might be a good place for us to look at further. We are a bit lost as we are now happy parents of 4 year old twins and so thinking more about the suburbs/further out versus our previous two bedroom inner city flat. Basically our criteria are:

- we really want a house, our budget = £550k
- 3 beds essential ideally 4 as one of us works at home
- or with a large garage (for serious DIY)
- we will need state primary school places for our girls
- we must have a good commute into London Bridge and/or Waterloo
- within 30-45 mins of Warlingham near Croydon

We have been thinking of Bromley for the new bilingual primary school that has just opened there. Any other ideas?
thank you

Pooka Sun 09-Nov-14 20:14:10

Lots of good schools in bromley and it would work with your commutes. How about petts wood (in London borough of bromley).

Pooka Sun 09-Nov-14 20:18:22

Or Hayes, bromley (but not sure how easy to london bridge - think is quite a slow train).

sariska7 Wed 12-Nov-14 01:53:23

Thanks Pooka - will follow up with Petts Wood and Hayes for sure. Anyone know if Worcester Park and around Sutton also fit our what we are looking for? tks

splendiferous Wed 12-Nov-14 22:08:10

If you'll be driving to Warlingham then I think you could find what you're looking for around the Bromley area. We're in West Wickham one stop up from Hayes and its about 30mins into London Bridge (takes a bit longer to waterloo east) and c20min drive out to Warlingham. I'd say it fits your bill perfectly actually, with (relatively for London), affordable housing and good schools although perhaps a bit far from the french school if that was your reason for looking at Bromley. Travel to London Bridge / Waterloo will be a bit disrupted over the next few years whilst London Bridge station is being upgraded though so that my be an issue for you depending on your exact travel requirements. That said, I imagine most rail services into London Bridge will be disrupted to some extent unfortunately. If you want to travel by train to the Warlingham area then I think you may need to focus more around Croydon borough - look at the train routes to see which areas are best for commuting. I believe Sutton is quite nice but have no personal experience of the area.

sariska7 Sat 15-Nov-14 19:21:33

Thanks splendiferous - very helpful indeed. West Wickham is a good option, for sure. We will have a car so getting to Warlingham would be relatively easy as you say. One further question - any thoughts on which areas to look at around the Croydon borough specifically? I was originally brought up in Streatham and so used to know those areas well but am totally out of touch now. Croydon itself seems to have a dodgy reputation but I don't know if that is well deserved or just out of date gossip? We are looking for a family friendly but also pretty interesting little suburb that has a couple of nice café's/shops etc too. Where would you recommend researching further? Or am I being hopelessly unrealistic for our £550k budget and actually all the nice café's/shops are in the more chi-chi and therefore expensive neighbourhoods like E Dulwich, Crystal Palace etc? Thank you

Ihatemytoes Sat 15-Nov-14 20:27:54

I live in Hayes.Lovely area, great schools. Prices have gone a bit mental round here recently though. A house opposite ours sold for £620k recently.

Theorientcalf Sun 16-Nov-14 14:33:36

Having recently lived in Streatham it's an area that's definitely on the up. Balham and Tooting are getting unaffordable so people are moving to Streatham.

They've knocked down the old ice rink and have a built a big new leisure centre and Tesco. Streatham Hill is full of little deli's and coffee shops.

forago Sun 16-Nov-14 14:40:14

Why don't you live in Warlingham, arbsurrounding areas, Caterham, Kenley, Coulsdon, all on fast lines into London Bridge or Victoria.

LittleBairn Sun 16-Nov-14 14:43:53

I would reccomend Clapham for lots of French speaking families and good state schools if you can get into Honeywell or Belleville but unfortunately property is very expensive.

I would be very surprised if you could find a house with a garage in that region for your budget. A house possible but a garage would be hard to find.

RyanAirVeteran Sun 16-Nov-14 14:44:46

Alton to Waterloo 1 hr 10 minutes roughly at peak times.

Bentley a bit cut off and quite spenny

Farnham 55 minutes to Waterloo

Aldershot (not you would want to live in some parts of Aldershot)

Farnham is over run with good schools, The Bourne, Polycarps etc.,

RyanAirVeteran Sun 16-Nov-14 14:46:04

In our house Croydon is known as the concrete end of Surrey.

Theorientcalf Sun 16-Nov-14 14:56:42

Love Clapham, great for bringing up kids. But way out of your budget, houses go for millions. Tiny school catchment areas, think it's Honeywell that only takes from about two roads. Good thing with Streatham and Tooting is you aren't far away.

Theorientcalf Sun 16-Nov-14 15:01:12

Just to add, there is a fairly new French/English nursery in Streatham.

LBOCS Sun 16-Nov-14 23:22:20

Sanderstead? You could live within walking distance of the station, 15 minutes to Warlingham and three 'outstanding' primary schools in the area.

splendiferous Sun 16-Nov-14 23:33:26

Hi sariska, sorry, been away all weekend. Tried to reply on phone but obv didn't work!

Afraid I don't really know Croydon. I think the south of the borough is generally considered nicer, more leafy etc. You could try Purley, Sanderstead and even Warlingham itself. Sanderstead has good train links but don't know anything about schools in Croydon. TBH I'm not sure chi chi really exists outside Zone 3! Many areas further out are very family friendly and have good amenities, just not generally the same sort of posh delis, boutique shops etc on tap. Lots of countryside to explore though smile. Personally I think there's a an invisible line you cross somewhere around Penge / Beckenham in SE Lon where the 'London feel' disappears. On the flip side though you then start to get more value for money in terms of house/garden size for not much extra travel time. As you'll no doubt already know there's a similar change beyond Hayes in Bromley and in southern Croydon, where everything becomes more rural and villagey.

I think for your budget you should still have some choices but they'll involve compromise, so you'll need to decide what your real priorities are. As another poster mentioned, house prices have gone through the roof in London the last few years. Also, as you'd expect, prices reflect popular school catchment areas. Areas of SE London like Brockley, Forest Hill, Crystal Palace, Sydenham have all got very expensive since the new overland opened up. Even Streatham as someone else mentioned. All getting very nappy valley now - you'll probably find it quite different to 6 yrs ago. If cafe culture etc is very important to you then you should still be able to get a small house / decent maisonette somewhere more central, particularly if you're open to non-period and ex-council, but you're unlikely to also get a large garden / garage and popular school catchment. Have a look on Rightmove to get a feel for things. I guess the other thing to bear in mind is the commute to Warlingham - if you're more central then that could be more difficult too with the London traffic.

When we moved we decided a big garden was really important to us, plus 4 bedrooms, decent commute (near a station and within greater London) and good state secondary school were essentials. We just couldn't get all that for our budget where we were in central London, so chose to look a bit further afield and forego the other stuff. Every family is different though so have a good think about what's most important for yours.

BTW I see your kids are 4yrs old so assuming they're either already in reception or you'll be applying for a reception place after the January application deadline then you probably won't get much say in which school you're allocated unless you go private. Not much you can do about this, but it should also mean you have a bit more flexibility in terms of areas and therefore price wink.

Good luck with your move!

Bunbaker Mon 17-Nov-14 00:14:31

I'm from Croydon and visit regularly. South Croydon, Selsdon, Purley and Warlingham are all worth considering. There are stations in Sanderstead, Riddlesdown, Purley and South Croydon. I used to commute to London Bridge from South Croydon, and during the rush hour they run fast trains that don't stop at all the stations.

Cherryblossomsmile Mon 17-Nov-14 09:43:37

Splendiferous has explained brilliantly what's happened in recent years in South London. You would struggle to get what you need on your budget. I know because we were looking for similar 3 years ago.

You could get what you are looking for in North Surrey/Croydon borders. Fast trains from Upper Warlingham to Clapham Junction. Coulsdon South to London Bridge. Look around these areas.

I would recommend visiting Caterham on the Hill, Coulsdon, Woodcote, Kenley all lovely areas with good schools and great connections to M25 and South Coast too.

We moved from Nappy Valley out here. We now have a beautiful house, big garden. Commute is actually quicker and more pleasant. Great schools, lovely surrounding countryside and a surprisingly good mix of people.

We don't miss the chichi shops and cafés of Northcote Road. If I feel the need its a short drive to Reigate.

Norfolkandchance1234 Mon 17-Nov-14 10:03:48

I am from the Bromley area although I do not live there now and haven't for years. I have family and friends still there who we often visit. The prices have and are rocketing there. I would advise you to still avoid the areas you would have avoided when you lived near there as fundamentally the areas have not changed much and the majority of people are still of the same mindset. Plus you need to move very close to your school of choice or you have no chance of getting a place. I would explore cherry blossoms advice.

Norfolkandchance1234 Mon 17-Nov-14 10:10:46

Lots of places on the 'up' are still the same as you would have remembered them which impacts on the school you will be sending your DC to.

forago Mon 17-Nov-14 12:39:16

Upper Warlingham also fast to London Bridge - takes about half an hour or so.

Sanderstead couple of stops closer in and has some good primary choices.

Warlingham/Caterham the good primaries are mainly private, but the area has 2 decent state secondaries - Riddlesdwon and Warlingham.

We moved to this area from Clapham and really like it - great compromise for people with kids as you can still get a 4 bed family house with garden and parking for less than a million (really don't think this is possible in S London anymore) - but you're only half an hour or so on a train to London for work or going out, you can get back pretty much all through the night via Clapham Junction on hourly trains and the M25 is very close for getting down to coast or further a field.

Schools aren't straighforward and you have to live very close to get into the desirable state options, and there are dodgy options, but probably no worse than S London I imagine.

LBOCS Mon 17-Nov-14 14:42:31

... Which is why I wouldn't recommend Selsdon, although it's a nice enough area with a good little high street - the primary options are limited and not great; we're looking to move before DD gets to primary age.

Bunbaker Mon 17-Nov-14 14:53:49

I see that Greenvale gets an ofsted good report. My nephew went there and my sister was happy with the school. I notice that Selsdon Primary requires improvement though.

Gilbert Scott is also good, but I imagine you would have to buy a house in Forestdale to get in there.

St Peter's Primary in South Croydon is also good.

splendiferous Mon 17-Nov-14 15:10:37

Just to respond to Norfolk's comments which I assume were referring to the people of the Bromley area, I would like to add that you should manage to find plenty of nice, friendly, 'normal' people around. Not everyone has 'mindset' issues! Ditto for Surrey.

Norfolkandchance1234 Mon 17-Nov-14 16:14:05

Splendiferous - you have no idea what I mean so why on earth make your assuming comments - it has nothing to do with nice friendly normal people of which there are plenty. Saraskia will understand if she lived in the area.

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