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Family friendly rental areas in London

(31 Posts)
Siarie Sun 14-Dec-14 22:40:45

Hi everyone,

Me and DH currently live in central London but we've only been living here for a year. Due to circumstances we need to be flexible so buying isn't an option and rental currently suits our needs at the moment best.

We live in a two bed apartment around 1500 sq ft which suits us just fine right now. However we are expecting our first baby next year and while we could easily accommodate the new addition I don't feel that where we live is really family friendly enough (Canary Wharf).

We picked Canary Wharf as DH works in central London but I don't like the noise of living centrally and currently DH commute door to door is about 30 mins. DH is happy to extend that though so that we can move but with such a huge amount of areas to pick from I'm some what left unsure where is best.

Rent wise we pay around £3,500 - £4,000 a month now and ideally would want to decrease this if paying more for comutting in perhaps to £3,000. Key things for me is a family friendly area, 2/3 bedrooms, easy access to central London or Waterloo train station.

I know some areas that have come up on TV (good old location, location) places like St Albans? We've had good recommendations of south west London in general and Hampstead has popped up a lot too.

We're looking for somewhere we can settle in, it's likely we will be in London for years to come. I suppose schools will come into play eventually too.

Siarie Sun 14-Dec-14 22:41:24

Sorry that's so long! Any recommendations of areas would be welcome.

TheBookofRuth Sun 14-Dec-14 22:45:44

Hampstead is lovely and very family friendly, so are nearby Primrose Hill and Belsize Park

Two years ago you'd have got something for your budget - don't know about now though.

TheBookofRuth Sun 14-Dec-14 22:48:03

Oh, and I just noticed you mentioned St Albans - that's where we moved to from Primrose Hill. It's uber-family friendly. Hard to imagine a place more set up for families, really. There's a reason it's where North London comes to breed grin

Bisgetti Sun 14-Dec-14 22:52:27

Maida Vale, Little Venice and Queens Park are family friendly. Queens Park is where a lot of my friends have moved since having children.

Primrose Hill and Hampstead amazing if you can afford it, which it sounds you can. Holland Park is also very family friendly.

Theorientcalf Sun 14-Dec-14 23:09:40

SW London is nick named nappy valley for a reason! Clapham Junction, Richmond, Balham, Wimbledon, Barnes, Putney. Very nice places to live and lovely with a baby. Wandsworth has the cheapest council tax in the county. I used to live in Clapham Jct and loved it, Northcote road is very desirable, good shops/cafés/pubs. Very child orientated.

audrey01 Mon 15-Dec-14 00:31:59

I second that - Between the Commons (that is between Wandsworth and Clapham Commons) is very family friendly. Try to search for SW11/SW12 rental properties, you might get a nice house for your budget of £3k/month.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Mon 15-Dec-14 00:46:11

Try SE London. My jaw hit the floor at your budget - we rent a 3 bed in zone 3, gorgeous area, v leafy, amazing stuff for kids, nearish to Greenwich, for £1700 a month, and that's about average.
£3k a month is bonkers! Can't believe you're paying more than that for a 2 bed flat, either!

Somethingtodo Mon 15-Dec-14 10:01:28

Where in central London does your DH work - do you want to head out to suburbs or commuter land (SW London/St Albans) - or do you still want to be central city living - Kensington/Marylebone/Angel etc

specialsubject Mon 15-Dec-14 10:08:06

St Albans is very nice but it is on the wrong side for Waterloo. And the cost of the train fares will be eye watering.

lightgreenglass Mon 15-Dec-14 10:18:48

I baulked at your budget too!

Obviously you want to live in a well to do area. I would suggest Dulwich which has fantastic private schools and nurseries for the little ones. Or blackheath and for your budget there you'll get more than 2 bed flat - a nice 3 bed house.

shaska Mon 15-Dec-14 11:28:59

Is it bad that I feel genuinely sorry that you've been living in Canary Wharf? I live nearish, and honestly there are SO many places you could go for that budget that are SO much nicer.

I wouldn't bother with St Albans etc, you've got enough money to be much closer in, in a lovely area. But your options are very wide so it'd help to narrow them a bit. What do you like doing? Are you sporty people? Culture people? Eco-people? With your budget, schools won't be that much of a problem, as you'll be able to afford to be in catchment for some lovely ones I imagine.

Somethingtodo Mon 15-Dec-14 11:43:31

V good Qs shaska - also not surprised that OP has nt warmed to Canary Wharf either - what a desolate place to live

And yes also personally would be looking to stay central on that budget with that budget -- I would be looking at lovely green villagey places near parks such as Primrose Hill, Highbury, etc...move out to SW London suburbs when your children need more outdoor space etc.

Schools wont be an issue as if renting OP can move quickly and easily in 5 years time when she is a position to decide which school dc wants to go to.

Siarie Mon 15-Dec-14 11:52:48

somethingtodo DH is a contractor so he works currently for a client near Vauxhall but easy access to Central in general would be desirable for contract changes.

I don't want to live in central (Kensington etc) as we looked there before moving and I found it too noisy. So looking for something a bit more rural feeling, somewhere I can park (all our family live SW of England) so we still use our car a lot for visits. I suppose what I would like is a normal area in London where people can get into central but aren't feeling like its on top of them all the time?

shaska Lol I have heard that before, when I was trying to decide where to move to originally l know lots of people find CW quiet but we have really enjoyed being high up and facing all the CW buildings along with the quiet weekends there. But it's not quite suiting for a family, even though people do it.

We aren't really sporty people, we love food and nice cocktail bars but those days may be over! We both grew up in a much more rural area than London so are looking for a friendly area, CW is very much business (which I love but won't be as much as fun for a small baby).

Really appreciating all the suggestions, it helps narrow down the rental search and we are going to go scope out some of the areas to get a feel for

shaska Mon 15-Dec-14 12:25:04

Greenwich/Blackheath? It's well nice down there and there are loads of fun bars/restaurants. It's also all a bit more relaxed and vibrant, I think, than the south west. And this is lovely:

Then again, Richmond/Hammersmith/Chiswick etc are also very nice - not sure about transport as I'm an easterner but I imagine it'd be pretty quick.

If it was me, I might go on zoopla and draw a line along the riverside on both sides, because you could do this sort of thing (might be a bit small?):

Or this:

Alternatively, I do think Crouch End has the best 'village/proper London' balance of all the centralish parts of London - near to the Heath, Highgate Woods, and it's very nice and very friendly. It's north though, and relies more on trains than tubes - probably why it has the atmosphere it does. Stuff like this is nice though!:

DialsMavis Mon 15-Dec-14 12:35:28

Ealing if it isn't too far into the burbs for you.

Nancy66 Mon 15-Dec-14 12:40:56

I'd go for Richmond - straight into Waterloo and lovely area.

Nancy66 Mon 15-Dec-14 12:41:51

Earlsfield worth a look too. Again, direct to Waterloo

minipie Mon 15-Dec-14 13:03:20

If you commute via Waterloo and your family live in SW England and you want family friendly then that all points strongly to SW London.

Look around Northcote Road - you can't take two steps without tripping over a toddler - ridiculously family oriented, great preschools/schools, 2 parks, quick commute from Cl Junction to Waterloo. Balham or Earlsfield are similar but cheaper so a bit more space for your money. Gardens generally small and parking generally on street (residents zones) however.

Or Richmond/Barnes/East Sheen if you want a bit more garden/bigger green spaces and are happy to be further out, still a quick train into Waterloo. Wimbledon too (not sure where the trains go to but think Waterloo). Again all very family friendly areas, perhaps not quite so completely sprog oriented as Northcote road. They all have their own high street/shopping/restaurant etc scene so you don't need to go into central London but it's very quick if you do need to.

Some of the N London areas mentioned above are also family friendly but with your Waterloo commute/SW England family I can't see why you'd consider N London (and you get less for your money).

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 15-Dec-14 13:33:25

I know that you say that it doesn't make sense for you to buy now, but I would look at renting in an area that you can afford to buy in to try it out. It would be very difficult to spend two years as a yummy mummy in Blackheath/Dulwich/Richmond and then realise that your budget means that you need to be much further out for a family home of your own near a reasonable state school.
You will also build up a new set of friends with children your own age and it is a bit of a wrench to leave it all behind for a new suburb.
If you are considering an independent school you may need to register for nursery/private prep before your baby is 3-6 months old so you'll be surprised how quickly the whole "school" thing becomes an issue.
You don't say what you do or whether you plan to return to work. It's also worth thinking about who will do childcare drop offs and pick ups or if you will employ a nanny. You will need to register an interest in a good day nursery as soon as the baby is born if you want to hope for a place around the 8-12 month mark. Ideally you will want to live within 10 mins walk of said nursery or have it on your way to/from the station.

Renting gives you a lot of flexibility as you can simply up sticks and move if required.
Just under �3k a month gets you this in SE10 in the catchment area for an outstanding primary school, and beside a pretty little park but pretty close to the A2.
this a bit further up the hill in SE3 which is handy for commuting into town but not so handy for a corner shop/local restaurants.
this 2 bed grade 1 listed apt in central Blackheath in between two highly rated prep schools.

Riverland Mon 15-Dec-14 13:44:20

Op. You want to get into Waterloo. You have a big budget. You want to live somewhere pretty and countrified and chic.

You want Barnes. London SW13.

mothermirth Mon 15-Dec-14 14:50:27

Agreed Riverland smile

mothermirth Mon 15-Dec-14 14:53:07


Somethingtodo Mon 15-Dec-14 14:57:21

If you want to be heading off at weekends to the SW - you will need access to M4 or M3? -- so SW London (Barnes/Chiswick) is where you should focus...nothing worse that having to trawl across London in traffic on Fri night and coming back in again on Sun night for no reason at the beginning or end of a long journey....SE or Nth London would be a pita.

CremeEggThief Mon 15-Dec-14 16:12:16

East Dulwich/Forest Hill or Wanstead in East London (on the central line) are my suggestions for you.

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