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House hunting - within 1.5 hrs commute Westminster

(68 Posts)
wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 14:56:25

Right - things are happening quickly so I would really appreciate your advice as I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. DP has just been offered promotion at work, but it means relocation. He'll be based in Westminster and is prepared to commute up to 1.5 hours door to door (by train).

We are currently in the Manchester area not far from my parents who are in their 70s. My sister and her family are in Warwickshire. Would be good to be near them and good transport links back up to my folks. DP has links to East Midlands but I'm not sold on some of the places he's suggested - prepared to be converted though!

Can you suggest some suitable areas for us to consider moving to? Our budget is around £350,000 although we could stretch if necessary. Minimum 3 beds. Our current house has cellars and a huge garage so we are used to spreading out. Near decent schools useful, but not essential. I like being near a city and all that has to offer. At the moment our kitchen is tiny and I would love to have a decent sized kitchen again. Links to places that look good will be very gratefully received.

Yikes - this is at least six months sooner than we had been planning and is pretty daunting.

MoreBeta Tue 21-Jul-15 15:11:41

First up I think you need to consider whether a 1.5 hour commute is something you want DH to do.

I know someone who lives in Oxford which is a fantastically expensive place to live because people just like your DH got a job in London but cant afford to actually live there but it is a nice place and there are very good schools.

The man I am talking about commutes every day and it frankly is killing him. His DW is SAHM with part time job. They barely ever see each other once he gets home at 8 - 9 each night.

Really I would consider whether it is worth it.

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 15:19:09

I understand the concern and DP is fine with it - he'd rather it were closer to an hour, but he has done it before, for 5 years. At the moment he is away all week.

MoreBeta Tue 21-Jul-15 15:27:45

OK. Now the question is do you want to be North of London so it is easier to stay in touch with family.

I know Oxfordshire quite well.

Avoid Oxford itself. Hellishly expensive but somewhere like Reading might be OK. Where is DH working and which is his nearest mainline London station. Remember the commute includes trailing through the Underground which itself can add 30 minutes to the journey.

Which mainline London station he gets off at is very important in determining where you live and how long a tube journey he has. Remember too that crossrail is happening so that might be a useful alternative option.

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 15:44:28

Thank you MoreBeta - we'd rather be north of London, well north west really, because of family. Yes, travel in London factored in - DP has been working in London for about two years now and stays in various different places and uses buses and tubes to get to the office in Westminster. Nearest stations are Victoria, Waterloo, London Bridge.

DP likes Wellingborough and that neck of the woods. I wonder about Didcot myself.

queenrollo Tue 21-Jul-15 16:21:36

East Midlands - my husband commuted to London 4 days a week for several years when he moved to live with me. Initially from Newark North Gate and more recently from Grantham (sometimes Peterborough).
The train is about 1hr15mins from Grantham, then add in from Kings X to Westminster. My husband often worked there and it's not a bad commute.

The thing to factor in here is that the roads aren't brilliant. We are 40 mins drive from Grantham (I have a son from a previous relationship 50/50 residency which dictated a small area for us to settle) - but if you don't have that tie it's possible to live somewhere within a much easier driving distance to a station.

I'd look at what stations are on the East Coast Mainline and see if anywhere looks suitable?

greencottage Tue 21-Jul-15 16:27:42

You won't get much in Oxford for £350K. You could try Didcot, which is an expanding town about 10 miles south of Oxford with excellent train links in to London (about 45 mins). £350K will get you something decent in the Didcot area (try the surrounding villages for "nicer" areas or the newly built Great Western Park development, which looks very nice).

greencottage Tue 21-Jul-15 16:29:05

Ah, just noticed you mention Didcot! I think it would be a really good choice. The secondary schools are good too.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Tue 21-Jul-15 16:30:08

Wellingborough isn't particularly nice. We live in a village about 12 minutes drive away, nearer to Kettering - fast train to St Pancras I think.

I know a lot of people (husbands mainly) who do the commute into London. The train bit is about an hour so depends where you are on each end.

MoreBeta Tue 21-Jul-15 16:32:15

wowfudge - I was going to suggest Didcot - Banbury area as *greecottage says. Villages nice but a bit isolating for you perhaps and also adds a fair bit to total journey time for DH.

Other problem is DH will be coming in to Paddington again adding to journey time.

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 16:59:59

Thanks for the suggestions so far. What about Swindon area for trains to Paddington?

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 20:24:50

Bumping this for feedback on Swindon area and anywhere else not yet mentioned. I have to say, I trawled Rightmove for The Didcot and Kettering areas and you get more house and more character around Kettering for the same money.

MrsJamin Tue 21-Jul-15 21:43:38

Didcot itself is pretty grotty, and the connection travel to one of the neighbouring villages will really add on to the total travel time. I live in West reading and actually love it. It's not the prettiest place ever but it's got great shopping, cinema, lovely countryside for leisure time etc. There's a connecting train from West reading I know a lot of commuters get. Well worth a look. You definitely need to come down and have a feel of the place though. Reading is on Crossrail line now.

orangina01 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:17:56

Have you considered St Neots Cambridgeshire? To get to Victoria there is the fast train is 38 min to Kings X and then the Victoria line is very quick. Warwickshire is an easy drive, 1 hr 15 min. You could get 4 beds easily for £350k. Cambridge is close too for when you want city life without going to London.

orangina01 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:28:06

An example...not chock full of character but you could try surrounding villages for that, will add a bit to commute though.

Applesauce29 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:39:31

Central Swindon is not a great place (lived there for 2.5 years for work and hated it). Old town is nicer if you want to be in Swindon, but 20min walk from station, otherwise short drive. Towns outside Swindon much nicer, Marlborough in particular, also Wotton Basset, but probably wouldn't work with commute to Westminster.

You're much better looking at towns around Reading, as there are some really beautiful places, though drive to station might be difficult with morning traffic, and trains v.busy so unlikely to get a seat (DH had to get a first class season ticket when he was commuting from Reading to Canary Wharf as it was the only way this journey was bearable for him doing that commute - you have people sitting in the aisles sometimes the trains get so busy at rush hour)!

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 22:44:19

Thanks for that suggestion orangina. Another area to consider.

DP is weighing up his options as there isn't a relocation package with his employer - he's thinking of staying with friends during the week so we can think about things and plan properly instead of rushing. That would give us time to sort our place out for sale (and enjoy the bathroom finally being put in!) and research where to move to. Also means he can be sure the job is right for him without uprooting us.

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 22:46:32

Hmm Applesauce DP likes to commute if he can sit and work/use his time effectively. We have a friend who commutes to the West End from Hungerford - that sounds fairly horrendous from what we've heard.

Katisha Tue 21-Jul-15 22:56:52

Leighton Buzzard or surrounding villages. We both commute to London from there - line to Euston, 35 mins. Going the other way on that line takes you to Manchester.
Nice little town, Milton Keynes near for major shopping. Decent schools. Nice countryside.
Not silly house prices.

Applesauce29 Tue 21-Jul-15 23:00:20

First Great Western line's probably out then!

Hungerford is lovely though a bit out of the way for commuting to London.

Can your DH not push for more in terms of relocation package i.e. they pay costs incurred in selling your place, costs to buy new place closer, moving costs etc? London property, and anything within commuting distance, is so out of line with the rest of the country.

My brother moved twice whilst working on the Kellogs grad scheme and got £2k plus each time even tho he was only renting so minimal costs - first job out of uni. Also know of someone who just relocated to Midlands and their employer (M&S) offered them a fab package!

Postchildrenpregranny Tue 21-Jul-15 23:01:59

Solihull/Warwick/Leamington perfectly commutable though not cheap-I would guess £4000p.a. And you get into Marylebone .Chiltern quite frequent and reliable Bicester expanding and nearer. £350,000 would buy you a decent 3bed semi(with potential) in good school catchment in these areas

orangina01 Tue 21-Jul-15 23:07:02

Your DP would get a seat from St Neots - it is the last stop on the fast Peterborough line to Kings X to guarantee a seat.

wowfudge Tue 21-Jul-15 23:53:28

Like I said, there is no relocation package so no help with relocation costs. Salary has London weighting.

TobikkoRoll Wed 22-Jul-15 00:06:10

I would second Reading, somewhere like the Caversham area: close to the station and with (currently) good school options.

Reading is on a direct line to Manchester too, train takes 2.5 hrs for visiting elderly parents.

Perhaps something like this?

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 00:17:55

More areas to consider - thank you.

Will look into Reading Tobikko. Not keen on that house though - reminds me of my first place and I'd like to avoid terraces.

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