Should we live in Chiswick and if so, which part?(6 Posts)
We will be moving to London from the U.S. next year. Based on my DH's job location we are strongly considering living in/near Chiswick. I will be staying home with 2 small kids and I tend to be a hermit if it's too much trouble to get out and do things, and since I won't know anyone there I'd like to be in a location that is convenient to lots of things so I can hopefully get out and meet people. We will have one car but my DH will probably be using it most weekdays.
We are looking at the international schools as well as British independent schools, which we are told are plentiful in that area, and we are told we should be able to find a good one with space available. So we are not concerned with school catchment, although we would like to live near other families.
Our budget is PS4500-5000 per month. We need at least 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, and ideally 4 bedrooms/2.5 bathrooms. We also want at least a small garden of our own and hopefully a kitchen that is not miniscule.
We've looked on rightmove and it seems like we can get something suitable in Chiswick within our budget, but we have no idea of the pros and cons to various neighborhoods. We'd love to be close to the underground as we want to explore London as much as possible, but really the priority is convenience for everyday stuff like shopping, playgrounds, casual restaurants, etc. For our budget, which parts of Chiswick should we focus on? Are there any particular areas that we should avoid?
Also, our housing is paid DH's company and it is twice as much as we pay for our mortgage at home. The company is also paying for independent school tuition. I'm certainly not complaining, but I just want to be sure that we will fit in in the neighborhood. We aren't the types who have a BMW and a $1,000 stroller and kids who stepped out of a Boden catalog. I usually wear jeans and Converse and most days no makeup, and if my kids' clothes aren't torn or egregiously stained I consider that a good day . Is everyone in Chiswick way more posh than we are? Would we fit in at an English independent school? (And am I supposed to say English or British in this context??)
Thanks so much for any advice. As you can see I am pretty clueless!
I don't know Chiswick very well but it is a lovely area - some beautiful houses, pretty open spaces/river walks and is generally considered a very safe and attractive neighbourhood. There are tons of boutique-y shops, gastro-pubs, restaurants and the like. I think you will meet plenty of other American expats there if you want them. As you have already pointed out, you have a generous rental budget and should have no problem finding somewhere to live there.
Reasons you might not like it: well, I have friends there who admit it can be a bit keeping-up-with-the-Joneses. Like many middle-class areas in London (and I live in another of them so I'm not being unnecessarily bitchy) it can be a tiny bit pleased with itself and a bit monocultural. The mothers I pass at drop off at the independent schools in my neighbourhood do tend to be on the polished side but hopefully you will get to visit lots of English private schools so just pick the one whose vibe you like best (it's fine to say English in virtually any context unless you actually mean Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish or are referring to something that covers the whole of the UK ). If you are planning to get out and about - and I wouldn't suggest you use a car to do that <nightmare> - then I find the tube a bit of a drag in that direction. It feels much further than it actually is, iyswim.
I can't advise you on streets at all but hopefully someone will be along who knows the area much better. Ideally, what would you want from a London neighbourhood and maybe some MNers can suggest some.
I'd look around Turnham Green tube for easy transport, several playgrounds / parks and lots of cafes etc. I don't know about soft play and baby groups around there but I'd be surprised if there aren't playgroups in the church hall just near the station.
Where is DH's work? I would choose Battersea over Chiswick - I think Chiswick was massively desirable c.12-15 years ago, before even Fulham became naice, but when people already couldn't afford Notting Hill etc. Battersea (around Clapham Junction) is much better for transport unless his work is at Heathrow or out west of London.
I live in Chiswick and would recommend the area near Turnham Green station or anywhere else near the High Road - for example the roads on the 'Glebe Estate'. Both of these areas are near the shops and the main transport links - the tube and several bus routes, including one that takes you into the centre of a London. However you might want to take the location of the school that you choose into account when deciding where to live. For example, there is a boys pre prep school that is located in the Grove Park area of Chiswick. This is not in central Chiswick but is only 5-10 minutes from the high road on the bus. The houses in this area are larger and it has a neighbourly feel to it.
There are a wide range of groups for the under 5s. In fact there is a church in the centre of Chiswick that provides soft play and parent toddlers groups nearly everyday. There are also several fantastic outdoor spaces and playgrounds to choose from.
I have lived in Chiswick all my life and have witnessed the area become ever more wealthier. However there are people from a wide range of backgrounds in the area and I don't think that you would feel out of place. I know a number of American families in the area and they seem very comfortable here. I also know (from personal experience) that children who attend independent schools come from a wide range of backgrounds and (as someone on an average salary myself), I have never felt uncomfortable.
I would also add that all the state primary schools in Chiswick are good or outstanding and (if you wanted to consider this option), they all have a great sense of community.
I meant to say in my last post - if you want to get a feel for the area (good points and bad points), have a look at Chiswickw4.com - especially it's forum. This is a community website and is an excellent source of information and advice.
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