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Looking to move to the Home Counties area

(17 Posts)
Nodders Sun 16-Nov-14 22:59:35


We could really do with your help.
We are looking to move to the Home Counties area.

Ideally Hertfordshire, but at this stage wouldn't want to rule out Bucks or Berkshire.

Looking for a mix of rural/town vibe but not too far from good primary and high schools. Decent links to London would also be a bonus.

Tring, St Albans, Welwyn Garden City, Hitchin. These have all been mooted.

Budget of 240-300k - 3 bed min with a good garden and in a safe area for bringing up a young family.

Any help much appreciated.

Originally from London so not too familiar with this far out so any tips or where to try and where to avoid would be much appreciated.

Thank you

WantToGoingTo Tue 18-Nov-14 08:25:03

Hello! I grew up on the Hampshire/Berkshire borders in a village near Newbury in Berks. Newbury has direct fast train to London Paddington (approx 45 minutes), and has plenty of surrounding villages within a couple of miles that have good reputation state primary schools. Newbury itself has 3 secondary schools which are state and 2 private (one all girls, one mixed) and plenty of primary schools with good rep. All but one of the state secondary schools are good, one arguably slightly better than the other. Newbury is very low for crime and recently got some sort of crime-free award (I fail to remember exactly what though). Lots of young families around the area, particularly in the villages. Newbury also has had a lot of development in recent years including a new shopping arcade, but it still maintains its historic market town feel. It has a canal that runs through it too with a large park which is nice for kiddies especially in summer. E.g. (not that I am biased!!)

Villages around Winchester (Hampshire) are also very pretty and Winchester has good schools and good london links, but is much much pricier and not sure you would get something for your budget. E.g. Whitchurch, Micheldever are very nice, but pricey and may not get much for your money.

CantSleepWontSleep Tue 18-Nov-14 23:42:02

Do you have specific questions about the areas that you have mooted?
I currently live in a village on the outskirts of one of them, and am moving house to another of them! Your budget won't go a long way in the areas that meet your criteria re schools etc. Have you seen any on rightmove that you could link to as an example? You mention both primary and secondary schools - how old are your children currently?

Nodders Thu 20-Nov-14 22:10:06

Thanks for the wise words, its much appreciated.

We will take a look at Newbury as that sounds one worth considering.

Specific questions about the areas to move to are the usual ones really.
I would put the most important as schools, feel of the area and things to do in and around that area for a young family. Links to London also preferred.

Here is a link to one property in Tring that particularly caught our eye but went before we had a chance to investigate further:-

There was also a new development in Hitchin Road, Stotfold, Hitchin SG5 which looked quite appealing. There was a 3 bed semi for £265k but its now been removed from the web.

Look forward to hearing more views. Thank you.

CantSleepWontSleep Thu 20-Nov-14 22:56:25

You don't get as much house for your money in WGC as in Tring, but this is near good schools and within your budget

Stotfold is also an area where you get more for your money than other bits of Hitchin, but I think it comes under the Beds school system (3 tier) rather than the Herts one, so I'm not sure of the options up there.

CantSleepWontSleep Thu 20-Nov-14 23:05:35

That WGC one is near to a little stretch of shops, a good park, and a walkable distance to town, where there is a place called 'campus west' which has a library, new soft play, small cinema, theatre, cafe, rollerskating etc.

Do you need to find jobs wherever you move to as well? That house is walking distance to Tesco head office as well!

Nodders Sat 22-Nov-14 15:12:35

Thanks for the low down on WGC. We will have to take a closer look at that area.

Any idea what Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard are like as options?

mewkins Sat 22-Nov-14 22:07:24

That wgc one is nice and Knightsfield is a nice area. You will get more for your money in letchworth and generally the further north you go. Knebworth is good and has a good primary school. St Albans, Harpenden are really expensive....hemel is cheaper.

CantSleepWontSleep Sat 22-Nov-14 23:09:26

Knebworth is terrible for secondary school though isn't it mewkins? My friends who live there are all trying to move before end of primary!

I don't know Aylesbury or Leighton Buzzard I'm afraid.

mewkins Sun 23-Nov-14 22:30:29

Yes you're probably right... Stevenage for secondary schools I guess as you're probably too far to get into Hertford or wgc ones. Maybe Hitchin is a better idea.

Smitten1981 Sun 23-Nov-14 22:40:53

I live in Stotfold and it's not really near Hitchin, despite the misleading address, it's about a 15 min drive away. Also, there's no train station and the town is woefully ill equipped for the amount of houses that have been built, this year a lot of kids couldn't get a school place (although they are hastily extending the school at the moment to cater for more children as there was an uproar) and trying to get a doctors appointment is very hard.
However, I've been here for three years and it's ok, but the main reason we moved here was the affordability of the houses. I think you would struggle to find anywhere in Hitchin town for anything less than £350k, the area has really boomed over the past few years.
Neighbouring towns to Hitchin are Letchworth and Baldock, maybe look at Biggleswade and Royston too. They all have good train links to London and you get a lot more for your money than you do in Hitchin. Hope I've been of some help.

Smitten1981 Sun 23-Nov-14 22:42:47

Oh and don't touch Stevenage with a barge pole.

Nodders Wed 26-Nov-14 23:32:34

Its really tricky isn't it? Well nothing worthwhile is ever going to be easy.

Most of the houses that come up in our Hertfordshire search seem to be either Stevenage and Hemel. Are they both that bad?

This was our favourite find so far but it went quickly:-

CantSleepWontSleep Thu 27-Nov-14 11:33:58

Well obviously there are people who like Stevenage, as otherwise no-one would be living there, but it's rather like a giant housing estate with a smattering of shit schools. (The first house I bought myself was in Stevenage, but that was pre-kids and pre the massive expansion that happened when Great Ashby was built).
If you do consider Stevenage, def make sure that you are nowhere near Thomas Alleyne, as it has the worst results in the whole of Hertfordshire.
There is certainly a reason why the housing stock in Stevenage is cheaper than much of Herts!

I don't really know Hemel. We only used to go for the aquasplash that was there, but they shut that down a couple of years ago sad.

I think that if you are looking seriously at Herts, then you need to work out whether location (ie good schools etc) is more or less important to you than a big/lovely house, or whether you can increase your budget to get both.

bilbodog Thu 27-Nov-14 16:10:39

have you tried looking on 'life after london' which is a site set up specifically for people moving out of london into commuter land? You can post questions on there about particular areas and people from those areas will get back to you - not dissimilar to this sight of course! I live in the chilterns i.e. amersham/High Wycombe/Aylesbury area. Lovely countryside. some of this area is very expensive but not all of it so worth a look and you can commute into london on the Chiltern line. Good Luck.

ginzillas Thu 27-Nov-14 20:59:27

I can recommend Hitchin. We love it here. It's expensive though. House prices have shot up since we moved here last year. It's a fab town to live in. Really buzzy with lots of families and the commute into London is good.

Nodders Thu 27-Nov-14 22:45:17

Thanks for more kind tips.

Looks like we're have to try and maximise our mortgage capabilities then if we are going to get a decent pad in one of the better areas of Herts.

What are the likes of Amersham, High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard like?

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