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Beckenham, chistlehurst or dulwich...please HELP

(99 Posts)
Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 09:25:10

What are the pros and cons with these places? Possibly relocating back to the uk from sydney around Christmas time and are not familiar with these areas at all, but they are all within commuting distance from my husband's prospective new job and all looks like nice places to stay...if you can believe the estate agents.

My son will turn four in September so any advice about preschools and schools would be most welcome. Also I am Scandinavian and my husband is African so I am very keen to find out if this could be an issue in any of the above mentioned areas.

Any information at all would be helpful. Panicking big time about making the right choice as we desperately want to settle somewhere.

Thanks in advance

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 09:30:59

Sorry chislehurst

Apatite1 Fri 10-Jul-15 10:08:14

What's your budget? Dulwich is significantly more expensive than the others. Your mixed family I think would be most happy in dulwich, which is in London rather than Kent. But tbh the others shouldn't be an issue.

It really comes down to budget and how big a house you want, plus whether you opt for private or comp schools.

Applesauce29 Fri 10-Jul-15 10:16:48

If money was no object, I'd go Dulwich, Chislehurst, Beckenham.

I'm currently looking in the above areas, also, Greenwich (beautiful park, tho lots of tourists), Blackheath (village like, tho expensive), Charlton (more affordable).

The good non church state schools in Chislehurst are around a mile from the train stations (Chislehust, which is on a hill, and Elmstead Woods which is the one closer to London). My friend lives there near the schools and gets a taxi to the station every day (£4). There is a nice mix of people, and a village non-London feel. The houses tend to be mostly from the 1930's or later, so most have big gardens (by London standards). Apparently lots for children to do there.

Dulwich has better train links into the city and the houses tend to be older Victorian / Edwardian style. More crowded and city like than Chislehurst.

Beckenham isn't as upmarket and is a bit of a mix between the two. Don't know this area as well so hopefully others can help.

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 10:43:04

Thanks Apatite1 we would rent initially and hopefully be able to buy in the next two years or so. I am aware that dulwich is expensive, very, and it would stretch our budget.

My son would not go to a private school.

Applesauce29 thanks for all the info. So hard isn't it.

Apatite1 Fri 10-Jul-15 11:10:05

I'm not good with schools (still pregnant, sweating and uncomfortable with first child) but I'm moving to dulwich in November. There are lots of good private schools, but I think state schools aren't that great. If you are renting, be warned that even if renting is affordable, if you can't afford to buy later if you want to stay, it can be a real wrench to leave! I far prefer dulwich to chislehurst or beckanham.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Fri 10-Jul-15 11:14:55

Where is your husband commuting into?

Some of those areas have one or two great state schools (with tiny catchments) but the rest are dire. If you aren't interested in private education then you may be better off going for somewhere with a spread of good/outstanding state schools even if the area as a whole isn't as "naice".

I'd put Beckenham/Hayes above Greenwich for state schools for a start.

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 11:38:37

TheWildRumpyPumpus My husband would be working in dartford and I am a SAHM. My husband has got relatives in North London.

It would be nice with an outstanding state school, but I would be happy with a good one. Keep on hearing that schools can be an issue in dulwich, but do not quite understand the implications. Could you end up having to travel far for a school?it is all a bit confusing for me having grown up in a village with one primary school.

Apatite1 good luck with your move.

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 11:42:36

Applesauce29 we were looking at Greenwich as well put felt that it was perhaps not as family friendly as the other areas i.e many flats. Don't really know though as I have only been to that area of London once and that was well before my mummy days.

Apatite1 Fri 10-Jul-15 11:44:02

Ulla, I think it's important that you look very closely at the catchment areas of the state schools you want, then buy there. Some areas are very small. If you were going private then I'd say hands down dulwich. What you don't want is buying a nice house, nice area and finding out you kids cannot go to a state school of choice, because you live just outside of the catchment area. They are very strict on this.

Seriouslyffs Fri 10-Jul-15 11:47:38

State schools in Dulwich are excellent but have tiny catchment areas. Dulwich is like Mosman right down to the shops and people! but without the beach
Try posting on the East Dulwich Forum for advice.

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 12:15:28

Is the issue with good state schools better in beckenham and chislehurst?perhaps not so tiny catchment areas?planning on settling down so need to have a good primary and secondary state school.

Seriouslyffs thanks i will have a look at the forum.

So depressing having to be in the right catchment area for a good school and how inevitably the house prices are higher there.

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 12:18:20

Thanks everyone for your help. Since I haven't even been to any of these areas I was wondering if anyone has some more general info i.e. Things to do, parks, cafes, people in general etc

Seriouslyffs Fri 10-Jul-15 12:25:16

I don't know Beckenham I'm afraid. There are excellent schools everywhere- the problem is that as they become good their catchment areas shrink, so parents in the adjoining areas go private or move away and the schools there become perceived as less good...
There's also a bilingual German/ English free school in Dulwich (different entrance criterion) and well regarded secondary school.
There's a lovely park, loads of cafés, a cinema and easy access to central London. How will your husband get to work?

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 12:41:37

Seriouslyffs my husband would eventually buy a car. I do like the sound of dulwich....but the house prices are soooo depressing.

Mintyy Fri 10-Jul-15 12:54:27

Dulwich is one of the most expensive areas of Zone 2 London. Honestly, it is very grand indeed. Unusually for London, it is surrounded by lots of green space (all owned and managed by the Dulwich Estate) woods, playing fields etc and this is one of the reasons it is a destination spot. It also has many very well regarded private schools on the doorstep - again, another attraction for people on very high incomes who can pay very high house prices. The state secondary school - The Charter School - is very good but, as seriouslyffs says, it has a truly miniscule catchment area. It is one of those where people rent nearby to get their first child a place, and then move away to a cheaper neighbourhood 3 or 4 miles away whilst sending all the siblings there.

I don't know much about Chislehurst but it is quite a way out - not really London at all.

Beckenham is like a commuter town just on the outskirts of London. It is pleasant enough and has good leisure facilities and parks. Much much much cheaper than Dulwich (not as beautiful and not as grand) but you could get a 5 bedroom house with a large garden for the price of a 3 bedroom terrace with modest garden in Dulwich.

vez123 Fri 10-Jul-15 13:01:33

Does it have to be one of these three areas? If you like the sound of Dulwich check out Forest Hill, Crystal Palace or Brockley, all nearby. Where is your husband's work going to be?

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 13:18:57

My husband would be working in dartford.

At the moment we are focusing on these three areas.

Thanks for the info mintyy.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Fri 10-Jul-15 13:34:21

Dartford is a fair way out of London, properly into Kent. Is there a reason you want to live in London? You could buy a really nice, big house in a village near Dartford for same money as you'd be paying within London, and have the benefit of the Kent grammar system in the future.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Fri 10-Jul-15 13:35:15

Also, do you have an approximate budget for buying in the future? Would help with narrowing down!

Mintyy Fri 10-Jul-15 13:49:12

Oh then forget Dulwich. Dulwich to Dartford is not an easy commute.

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 14:07:51

I just like to be in or close to london.Not really a village village type girl at heart. Also some areas close to dartford appear to be pretty hostile...

Budget at the moment would probably be around 500 000, but could possibly go a bit higher.

Mintyy I thought dulwich to dartford was something in the region of a 40 min drive?am I wrong?

Thanks again everyone for all your input

Ullaviking Fri 10-Jul-15 14:09:48

Almost forgot to ask, are these three areas relatively safe areas?

Fleurchamp Fri 10-Jul-15 14:19:16

If your DH will be working in Dartford I would suggest Bexley Village, it is leafier and more suburban (dull?) than Dulwich but the schools are good ( both the Bexley and Kent grammar school systems) and much, much more affordable. It's on the train line into Charing Cross and Cannon Street and so London is still pretty accessible.

Mintyy Fri 10-Jul-15 14:22:29

More like an hour, possibly more in rush hour.

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