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Need advice-moving to Hitchin/Welwyn Garden city

(21 Posts)
Skelly2014 Sun 12-Jul-15 19:29:17

Hello people,
I was wondering if you can help. We are thinking of moving to Hitchin or Welwyn garden City. We are thinking renting first to see if the area is where we would like to buy and then buy next year or so. Currently live in Golders Green and have been living here for 5 years.
However, we can't afford to buy here. We are a family of 3. Our daughter is 7mo. I work as a consultant and work from home a lot so commuting is not a problem and husband works easy distance from Kingsx. So commute wise both areas suit. I have done some research and we have visited welwyn garden City. For a Saturday it seemed very dull. We are not exactly party animals but I like to socialise. I would really like an area when we can make new friends with other parents. I know schools are good. But really if someone can give more info about what it's like living in either of the areas. We are both in our 30's, like to go out to restaurants every now and then. Like to have BBQs with friends and also like meeting new people making friends. Want an area that also offers some good activities for our daughter.
Sorry for such long message but I am just so confused right now.

Looking forward to your replies.

Thanks

SleepShake Sun 12-Jul-15 19:31:56

What's the housing price difference between Hitchin and Cambridge for example? The commuting distance might actually be the same.

SleepShake Sun 12-Jul-15 19:32:11

Sorry I mean commuting time.

Skelly2014 Sun 12-Jul-15 19:47:35

Well I have not looked at Cambridge..just short listed Hitchin and Welwyn garden City based on what we can afford, commute, population etc. Cambridge is affordable but too far. Welwyn garden is 25 mins from Kingsx and Hitchin is 40min.
Thanks

itdc Sun 12-Jul-15 19:51:33

Welwyn garden city isn't cheap at the moment especially the west side catchment areas also the transport to London time (cost) is not better than St. Albans or Cambridge. But it is a garden city so it attracts a certain type of family. If you found it dull I guess you should also consider to stay in outter London area such as High Barnet/Pinner/Edware etc

PestoSwimissimos Sun 12-Jul-15 19:51:40

Welywn is a nice place to be, with it's own dry ski slope & John Lewis - What's not to like grin

33goingon64 Sun 12-Jul-15 19:52:26

I don't know Hitchin at all. WGC has some v good facilities (new hospital, John Lewis, centre with cinema, soft play, etc) but you might find it dull after Golders Green! Try looking at the villages too - Wheathampstead is nice.

Skelly2014 Sun 12-Jul-15 20:04:40

By dull I meant not many people but I agree that Golders Green is pretty busy and lots of restaurants. But I did think that Welwyn was pretty and at the moment we can afford to buy there. I am just a bit scared of moving to an area where there is not much to do or not many people to make friends with. Also for my daughter I would like her to have lots of things to do. It's a big move.

BrookeDavies Sun 12-Jul-15 20:24:14

Hitchin is great, much busier than wgc. There is lots to do with kids, eg lido, soft play's, giant bench smile letchworth just down the road with a fantastic splashpark, and independent cinema and another lido. Lots of beautiful countryside and pubs surrounding.

Non stop trains are faster than 40mins.

Schools very oversubscribed though so check catchment area's carefully.

Skelly2014 Sun 12-Jul-15 21:44:13

Thanks a lot people...inclined towards WGC now smile

frangipani13 Sun 12-Jul-15 21:53:35

Hitchin is pretty fab I think, good bars, restaurants, shops pubs but also a market town. We live in Royston the next town up from Hitchin. It's not very rock and roll but we like it- nice market town with great pubs, a few restaurants even a cool cocktail bar...plus the commute to London is 37 mins direct into kings cross. Welwyn is nice seems like a bit of a ghost town the few times we've visited.

Belleende Mon 13-Jul-15 00:02:42

I moved to hitchin about 3 months ago from hackney and love it. The town has a real buzz about it. I am currently on mat leave and am really suprised that it seems to be constantly busy.
There is a good restaurant and bar scene- way better than wgc. There are also more independent shops than you might expect, which I really like.
Great walking and cycling routes all round and You can get a train to kings x in 25 mins.

roseteapot101 Mon 13-Jul-15 00:18:42

i live in hitchin nice place but be warned there are very good schools meaning hard to find homes to rent.If you want a outstanding school for your children you will need a sg4 postcode .

here is a really nice town soft play and lido too great for kids and letchworth very nice down the road not as good schools though

TremoloGreen Mon 13-Jul-15 15:37:54

We've just moved to Hitchin from London and we like it a lot.

The SG4/ SG4 9 postcode thing is just a load of propaganda made up by estate agents. In reality, there are plenty of SG5 postcodes and SG4 0 where you would get a place at the good schools. There are also SG4 9 postcodes that are in primary school deadzones, where you would end up being sent to a failing school across town. Do your research carefully and don't listen to EAs about catchments!

I will say that trying to buy a house here with a budget under half a million is absolute hell as there is huge demand and very little supply. We've been trying since November and had three vendors pull out on us. The vast majority of the EAs are greedy, lying bastards and many of the sellers are not much better. It is making me slowly wish we hadn't moved here.

Pedestriana Mon 13-Jul-15 15:54:06

I've got friends in WGC. There's a shopping centre, some smaller shops in town, a good park, and Hatfield not far away. I think if I didn't live where I do, it would be an area I'd consider.
From what my friend says, there appear to be a good choice of schools.

I also have friends in Hitchin but I don't really know the area as I've only visited once!

SleepShake Mon 13-Jul-15 17:01:59

Cambridge is 50 min direct to kings cross and very regular trains. I would go for Cambridge! Fantastic schools and hills road sixth form.

CantSleepWontSleep Mon 13-Jul-15 20:22:52

I know both areas well.
Hitchin def better social scene, but Welwyn better for shopping.
WGC has some good and some not so good schools, so choose carefully if you are looking round there. The West Side around Knightsfield is generally sought after.
I presume you don't have the budget for Harpenden, which is largely full of people who have moved out from London, has outstanding (but oversubscribed) schools, and a good vibe?
If either of you were likely to want to change jobs in future, WGC houses Tesco head office as well as several other firms (eg PayPoint, Roche) on Shire Park.
There are also lots of great villages in the area, where it's probably easier to make new friends than in the towns, but I don't know if you'd consider them too quite if you are used to the hustle and bustle of Golders Green.

PlainHunting Mon 13-Jul-15 20:35:18

WGC much better for shopping
Hitchin is much more lively and better for everything else.

Agree with pp - I wouldn't trust Hitchin estate agents re:school catchments or much else! They will say anything to get a sale and much of their knowledge is woefully inaccurate ime. If that's an issue your best bet is to speak to the schools themselves. Traditionally those with SG5 postcodes could get places at Hitchin Boys and Girls Schools, last year lots didn't. But your dd is only young and secondary schools could change an awful lot bu the time you need them!

Skelly2014 Wed 15-Jul-15 23:18:42

Thanks a lot everyone. Will visit hitchin as well. Very useful information from everyone. Although still confused smile definitely renting for a year to see if we can settle outside London or not and plus wherever we decide to buy. Will buy once completely happy with the area/ house.

AlphaBravoHenryFoxtons Sun 26-Jul-15 11:53:17

WGC makes even the dullest place seem exciting. I go there reasonably often and I'm shocked at how dreary it is. The West Side is creepy: like something out of Salem's Lot.

Pooseyfrumpture Sun 26-Jul-15 11:57:04

Have lived in both pre-kids and Hitchin is much nicer. There's really not much going on in WGC - even for shopping.

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