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help me choose where to live - does this magical mythical place exist?

(162 Posts)
addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:33:59

Our budget is 350k, we have 50k deposit. That is our absolute max, and with DH commuting to London and what we'd spend on travel we'd prefer to be spending more around the 330-340 mark.

Min 2 bedrooms, prefer 3 but 2 is fine. Prefer garden but not 100 per cent essential. Prefer house but perfectly open to a nice flat/maisonette.

We want:

1) Less than an hours' train journey to London (I desperately wanted to stay in London itself as I am born and bred but I think it's impossible on our budget for what we want - please say if you know somewhere in London I might be overlooking)

2) Area not too dull. I would die of boredom living somewhere there was a big Tesco, a school, some houses and not much else. No offence meant to those who currently live in such places, but it's just not for me. Would love to live somewhere there was a nice high street with a different mix of shops/cafes etc.

3) Good community of families with kids. Ideally fairly diverse mix of people (ie, from different social backgrounds and ethnic groups)

4) Ideally near nice countryside/park/large area of green for dog walking etc.

5) Area relatively safe to walk around late etc.

6) not massively bothered re: schools as long as there are some there.

I had considered Cambridge as that provides all of the above but it seems to be too expensive for us sad Ditto St Alban's (please feel free to contradict me).

Am I being completely unrealistic, and if so can anyone recommend some places to buy where I could achieve at least some of the above?

Thanks very much!

MargolottaOfUberwold Wed 29-Apr-15 11:35:25

Depends where in London you need?

addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:38:47

Not heard of Redhill, thank you!

Not bothered about where in London really, open to anything.

SevenAteNine Wed 29-Apr-15 11:45:34

How about Reading? 40 minutes to Paddington by rail. Or Oxford, but it's more expensive.

addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:47:02

Seven I had considered Reading but have a few friends who live there who think it's not a very nice place to live. I am happy to have their opinions contradicted.

iK8 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:48:42


SpiritOfTheRitz Wed 29-Apr-15 11:49:15

We are also looking at moving commuting distance from London, and have done lots of research grin

What part of London do you want to arrive at? Kings Cross area, I assume?

Are you going to commute by train? Do you need to be within walking distance of a station or will you drive?

sebsmummy1 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:50:29

I'm sure there are lots of places in Herts where £350 would be enough and would tick those boxes. We used to live in a village outside of Watford and the fast train would get you into London in half an hour.

LaPomme Wed 29-Apr-15 11:51:37

PM sent grin

sebsmummy1 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:51:43

IK8 I live just outside Huntingdon and it's not a nice area I'm afraid, sorry for those who live there blush

addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:52:20

Spirit yes King's Cross would be the best but DH is open to other stations. I won't be commuting, only he will. He would prefer not to have to drive to the station and I don't drive at all at present (will learn!). So walking distance to station is preferable (he's very tall so can walk longer distances fairly quickly)

sebsmummy1 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:54:40

Look at Kings Langley in that case OP. We used to live 20 mins walk from the station.

soozm73 Wed 29-Apr-15 11:58:55

Have you thought of Bedford? Better trains than Cambridge. Some rough parts some lovely Victorian houses in nice areas. Very good parks, beautiful riverside. Close to Cambridge by bus or car.

sebsmummy1 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:00:19

Ha ha scrap that lol. I've just looked on Right Move and the properties there now seem to be London prices!! We sold our family home for a reasonable amount there in 2000. Shows how crazy the housing market has got in easily commutable places outside of a London shock

sebsmummy1 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:02:29

Bedford is fine in places. I lived there for 15 years and my parents still live there. The Embankment is lovely, Castle Road is quirky there is a good mix of houses and just outside Bedford is really lovely. The train ride is within the hour just but the train station would be a bike ride more than a walk I think.

EdithWeston Wed 29-Apr-15 12:05:23

For 1 hour on the train into King's Cross, you could look up the East Coast line as far as Peterborough or Grantham at a pinch (billed at 1 hour 5 mins, but I've no idea if that's optimistic of realistic timing),

addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:05:36

Sooz I have friends who live in Flitwick and was considering there or one of the surrounding villages as have heard they are nicer than Bedford itself, is that not right do you think?

HarrietVane99 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:12:32

Medway towns in Kent, if you're willing to go Sarf of the River? High speed service around 40 min to St Pancras, about 45 min to Victoria from my station. Area is a mix of cafes/touristy bits and less nice bits. Quite ethnically and socially mixed. Local public transport not bad - better than many places, altho' not as good as London. Country parks and riverside walks. There is quite a lot to do locally, plus easy access to London and coast and proper countryside.

You won't need to worry about a big Tesco - ours is one of those that's closing!

Amrapaali Wed 29-Apr-15 12:16:48

Baldock in North Hertfordshire. LOOk at this property.

Its an old market town, not too huge but surrounded by lovely countryside. Sorrynto say it has a Ginormous Tesco. grin. But it also has fantastic schools, very family-friendly, an art gallery, few cafes, loads of lovely pubs. Hitchin (supposdely better on the culture) and Letchworth Garden City are just a few minutes drive away.

Kings Cross is a 40 minute train journey and Cambridge around 40 min the other way.

SpiritOfTheRitz Wed 29-Apr-15 12:27:00

St Neots is nice, and might be the sort of thing you are looking for. I am always a sucker for places on a river (though I suppose you have to think about flooding). Definitely lots of green space for walking a dog. Easy to get to Cambridge, on the line to KX. Seemed busy with lots of shops and cafes when I was there.

I don't think it has a massive Tesco grin.

It's not particularly big though, don't know if you were more thinking of a city?

MargolottaOfUberwold Wed 29-Apr-15 12:32:20

Somewhere like here?

addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:34:45

thank you for tip on Baldock amrapaali, looks good.

Nothing against a big Tesco btw, just meant didn't want that as the only shop in town smile Currently live in nice area of London (renting) near an ace fruit and veg shop and several fab asian grocers, going to be very difficult to give that sort of thing up.

spirit if there was an affordable city/town within commuting distance of London I would definitely move there. I was thinking along the lines of cambridge/st albans before realising they were out of our price range.

Wantsunshine Wed 29-Apr-15 12:35:01

What about Windsor or Maidenhead. That is very quick to get into London.

addstudentdinners2 Wed 29-Apr-15 12:35:08

not heard of earlswood before, thank you margolotta

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 29-Apr-15 12:44:38

Hitchin Herts 33 mins to Kings Cross 3 bedders for under £350000 and if memory serves me well a nice high street

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