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Do normal people live in Harpenden too?

(14 Posts)
HopBopPop Thu 11-Feb-16 20:55:49

Looking to do the long term forever move out of London with our toddler DC. Harpenden is ticking all our boxes for obvious reasons - commute, schools, lovely surroundings, closer to our midlands-based parents. But even though we're moving from London, the stratospheric prices mean we could only afford a house near the outskirts. Having done a few visits and viewings, and reading around online, I'm a bit worried that a large majority of people we meet will be extrememly weathly and that as crusty lefties we won't really fit in? Also the level of competition to secure the right house to get into the good schools are scaring us a bit. It all just seems really competetive and cutthroat, it almost seems "too nice" for the likes of us, and I wonder if we'd be happier somewhere that's not so super popular...

So.. do non super-weathly normal people live in harpenden? Is the competetive and pushy atmosphere in my imagination?

Belleende Fri 12-Feb-16 02:51:20

Ooohhh was there last weekend for Sunday lunch and know exactly what you mean. Everone bsr me looked like they had just had a blow dry. Diverse it is not. Have you checked Hitchin out? It ticks your boxes as well, but has none of the Stepford Wives thing going on and a bit cheaper (and a better waitrose).

TremoloGreen Fri 12-Feb-16 09:22:38

Agree, Hitchin is more chilled out than Harpenden and you'll get much more for your money. Excellent school choices. It's still small town Hertfordshire though - Telegraph reader central.

ChopOrNot Fri 12-Feb-16 12:09:47

Grew up there. Don't live there anymore but still have friends and family there. And yes they are normal people. But despite being normal people they are living in a weird alter-world imo.

At one point we looked at living there - the attraction of the three great secondaries (and great primaries) was a lure. But there is such a "Harpenden Mummies" culture of uber competitive, uber snobbish (can't think of a different word) that I feel uncomfortable about it all.

It has a great train link (so does Hitchin, Baldock, Letchworth, Biggleswade). It has great schools. But people are too precious to pick up their own dog poo. Or park properly. And their child needs to go to every babygroup/toddler group/tutoring possible. It seemed to be the kind of place that as Belle says is a bit "Stepford Wives" about it.

And house prices! A min of 400K for a teeny 3 bed? In the less desirable part of town? You'd be better saving that money, going somewhere cheaper and going private.

FatherReboolaConundrum Fri 12-Feb-16 12:35:46

I grew up very close to Harpenden and a lot of my friends lived there, so I've known it for over 30 years. Even compared with other parts of dormitory town Herts, I've always found it stifling, as if all the life has been sucked out of it. Nothing on earth would induce me to go back for longer than a couple of hours to visit a friend. I think it probably peaked when Jane Austen wrote about it in P&P and it's been getting progressively less exciting ever since. It would be a hell of shock to the system if you're moving from London.

If you want a quietish commuter town in Herts, any of the others already mentioned would be a lot cheaper and much less/not at all Stepford-like (maybe Royston, too). If you wanted somewhere a bit more lively and probably a little bit less expensive with really good schools, St Albans is worth a look.

bojorojo Fri 12-Feb-16 16:58:24

St Albans is very expensive too. Tring is a lot more reasonable. It is highly unlikely you would be the only Labour voter there!!! Berkhamsted is great too but with Harpenden overtones.

thatsthewayitgoes Fri 12-Feb-16 17:10:15

Hertford ticks every box and is much cheaper than Harpenden (but don't tell everyone - we don't want everyone moving here!) grinwink

HopBopPop Fri 12-Feb-16 19:51:13

Oh dear, sounds like my fears are justified. We're not really London people tbh and would rather be in the countryside. Vut yrs so far wece also been looking at Berkhampstead, Tring, Thame. Trtibg to avoid Bucks as don't want the stress of grammar schools

Belleende Fri 12-Feb-16 20:50:22

Seriously check out hitchin. You will get more for the £ than all those places (for now). Schools are excellent. 25m to kings x. Fantastic walking & cycling. Not a stepford wife in sight.

BeStrongAndCourageous Fri 12-Feb-16 21:00:50

Aw, no, please move here!

I don't like being the only socialist....

PseudoBadger Fri 12-Feb-16 21:03:10

My friend moved there recently from inner London to the 'wrong' side of the rail line and she loves it. She is a chameleon though and adapts herself to yummy mummy/city dweller depending on who she's with wink

228agreenend Fri 12-Feb-16 21:11:49

Another ex-Harpenden mumsnetter (left school in 1987) - waves to everyone.

FiftyNineOhEight Fri 12-Feb-16 21:18:18

Come to Bedford instead smile we are nice here, and you will always get a seat on the train - you won't get one if you get on at Harpenden on a morning commuter train.

namitababe Sun 22-Oct-17 01:26:39

nice shops, good housing, no area is terribly bad. I prefer St. Albans though.

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