Advanced search

London: stay or leave? So conflicted...

(36 Posts)
LittlePickleHead Mon 23-May-16 16:55:45

Argh need some advice as can't work out what to do. Neither option seems 100% right.

Bizarrely given two other current threads, we are torn between staying in Forest Hill or moving to Berkhamsted. Our DC2 starts primary next September, and given how hard in year transfers can be at ks1 I feel like we have to decide soon if we are going to leave and do it before applications (dc1 going into y3 so hopefully will be easier to move). . We know we will outgrow our current flat in the next few years so will be looking to move regardless of if we stay. Whatever we decide to do, we want to make it a final decision until the children have left home.

I've listed my pros and cons. Does anyone have any insight? Has anyone left and desperately regretted it?

Pros (moving to Berkhamsted)
- much closer to both sets of grandparents, and all family
- close to v good friends
- on door step of beautiful countryside with fab shops restaurants etc close by
- good schools
- ok commute for DH
- wouldn't have to face the horrible journey just to get out of London to visit people/go on holiday

- prices no cheaper than here so either option means increasing mortgage to afford a house
- will be difficult and expensive for me to carry on with my part time job in London so would have to find local work
- have to change schools and find childcare/holiday care
- daughter settled at school and worried about moving her
- have in last couple of years made a lot of friends locally in FH and would have to start again
- I love London and worried if I don't live or work there I'll miss it and regret leaving
- forest hill is a lovely place to live, it's improved so much over the 10 years we've been here.

The main reasons for considering moving are to be closer to family and countryside and because we've just always assumed we would move out. But now it's come to us making an actual decision I feel terrified! I don't want to miss the boat on moving and then disrupt the children further into their schooling.

Any thoughts/advice?

Solasum Mon 23-May-16 16:59:46

How hard would it be for you to find a job?

What does your ideal weekend look like, both now and when DD is a bit older? Would FH or B work better for that?

Are circumstances likely to change a lot, eg are your parents likely to need any/more help?

How bad would DH commute be?

LittlePickleHead Mon 23-May-16 17:08:25

Not sure re: job. Apparently lots of jobs in Milton Keynes (according to my friend who lives nearby). But I have a part time role at the moment which I know are like hens teeth!

DH commute would be fine assuming walking distance to station. Obviously we also need to factor in season ticket so likely we'd have less disposable income by moving out.

Weekends are usually kids swimming etc, then meeting friends or going to nt properties, visibly museums etc. Or just a walk and then lunch. We like nice cafes for brunches etc. We spend a good proportion of the weekends visiting people so either way wouldn't change too much (aside from less driving to see people!)

Parental circumstances unlikely to change, however we'd both love to see more of them. We are out on a limb from all our family and don't get to see them as much as we would like.

Threesoundslikealot Mon 23-May-16 17:19:54

We moved from Forest Hill last year owing to a new job for my partner. I miss it very much. We loved our daughter's school, we had friends, we had good childcare and enjoyed the cafes and parks etc.

We are gradually getting used to our new surroundings. We moved somewhere completely different - far more different than Berkamsted will be - and I've felt like a fish out of water very often.

We've gained - more family time, beautiful surroundings, we are renting a house far bigger than the one we own in London. We've lost - we knew no one when we moved here, we miss London in many ways, including the diversity, our daughter has had a few tricky times settling, I miss her fantastic primary, which had an ethos you don't get here.

Sorry, I can't give you a definitive answer! But having talked for ages about moving out of London at some point, we now talk about moving back there when we can!

LittlePickleHead Mon 23-May-16 17:36:08

Ah three, I wonder if you daughters school was the same one? It really is fantastic.

That's exactly my fear - that we'll move and I'll pine and want to move back. Which would be impossible to do due to moving costs.

Maybe it's a case of my heart says stay but my head says move?

pinkdelight Mon 23-May-16 18:14:41

If your heart stays say, I don't think the pro's are strong enough to swing it. It's not like Berko is that far. Sure the journey out of London may be a pain, but it's not like the choice between FH and somewhere properly up north or Devon or somesuch. There's really not much in it. Your family can presumably travel to FH pretty easily and there's plenty of woodland around FH and quick routes out to countryside in Sussex and Surrey if that's what you want. But it doesn't sound like you're in the 'sick of London pining for the country' zone or that the cost or lifestyle benefits of moving outweigh staying. I may be biased as I looked all over before deciding to stay put in SE London and have never yet regretted it. Doing something because you always thought you would is not a reason to go through with it, and I've found I 'use' London and appreciate being here more as the kids get older.

whois Mon 23-May-16 18:23:19

You won't get a nicer house and DH will have to commute and you'll loose your job. Other than the in/out weekend journey when you go away I can't see any benefits?

London only gets better as kids grow up, your children will thank you for staying in Forest Hill!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 23-May-16 18:29:01

Stay for the time being.

It seems to me you are trying to find reasons to move, and to justify it to yourself. Not everyone has to leave london!

LittlePickleHead Mon 23-May-16 18:33:46

Well family are Birmingham/Cotswold way so journey would have been reduced to 1.5 hours rather than the 3.5 hours (on a good day) currently, missing out the motorways. I think you are right in many ways, but m25 plus London driving does put people off visiting I'm sure. It's probably not enough of a reason on its own.

I just worry that in a few years our local friends will start moving away anyway and we'll wish we did it!

But agree with London getting better and better as the kids get older. I often think how lucky dd is that her school trips are to amazing museums and world famous locations

tootsietoo Mon 23-May-16 18:43:03

Well I am an out and out country bumpkin, I hated living in London and was so much happier when I had space and green and a small community. But there are a lot of downsides to not being in a city and I tend to feel that unless you really dislike city living and really want to be in a small town or a rural area then a city is much better. You have all the things you enjoy on your doorstep and as your children become teenagers you won't have to become a taxi driver and they will be able to take advantage of all the great things cities provide. And especially if you wouldn't be able to get more space for your money then that is one big reason to move gone.

Family is a biggie. But if they're still 1.5 hours away and not on your doorstep then I'm not sure it's worthwhile moving for that?

I absolutely knew in my heart where and how I wanted to live, and it sounds as if you do too!

LookJustCancelTheCheque Mon 23-May-16 18:44:53


But I'm biased. I love London and hate the idea of living anywhere else.

Saying that, your list of pros sounds pretty compelling.

LittlePickleHead Mon 23-May-16 19:24:18

Sorry tootsie that was confusing - family are currently 3.5-4 hours away. Moving would reduce that to 1.5 hours which would be amazing. We've never had anyone close by for help with the kids or just to pop by and see for a day. I am very jealous of those that can see family more often.

We are both from more rural settings and whilst I definitely remember the down sides of that as a teenager, we both definitely get pangs when we visit the country. Berkhamsted seemed like the best of both worlds, close to London but enough going on in its own right, plus perfectly placed for visiting family and our oldest friends. But it's not cheap as obviously a lot of other people love it too!

hydrangea78 Mon 23-May-16 20:35:09

We left SE London for Kent a year ago. We were desperate to buy a house with garden and garage and couldn't even stretch to a two bed flat in the London borough we were renting in.
Although we love our new home and it's fine for work and the primaries are outstanding... we still miss London sooo much.
I find myself having to drive everywhere whereas in London everything is at your fingertips. Even finding a playground is a chore. We stay at home more rather than go out. I miss the London parks on a sunny day. The buzz. Have put on quite a bit more weight. Walking with a pram is hazardous on the country lanes. When we go back to visit friends I feel so much more full of life.
It's a tough decision. Grass is always greener!

indigo88 Mon 23-May-16 20:41:57

Schools in London are now out stripping those outside. Not such a significant pro now.

concertplayer Tue 24-May-16 09:28:50

You said neither option is100% so what about looking for a
3rd option?

albertcampionscat Tue 24-May-16 09:42:10


MuddhaOfSuburbia Tue 24-May-16 09:46:09

stay in South East London

we did

SO glad we did

<waves from down the road>

tootsietoo Tue 24-May-16 10:15:21

But if family are still 1.5 hours from Berkhamsted, it will still be occasional visits rather than just popping over. Although granted you could do day trips rather than having to do overnighters.

I vote stay!

LittlePickleHead Tue 24-May-16 11:02:23

Haha I feel like I'm in my own Brexit campaign grin

Stay seems to be winning and I think I feel happy about that.

No idea what a 3rd option would be concert. emigrating?

DiggersRest Tue 24-May-16 11:16:57

I would stay. If my family were only 3.5 hours drive away then London would be my home forever smile

As they are a 24 flight we will eventually leave London but l know l will miss it. You've been here too long not to love it!

WriteforFun1 Tue 24-May-16 11:22:11

here's a thought OP

I am a lifelong Londoner. I'd love to leave but that will probably have to wait till retirement for various reasons.

but you said you think you would miss it. I could leave and never look back. That's a big difference. So I think you should stay.

cestlavielife Tue 24-May-16 11:43:05

3rd option would d be move right next to family in Birmingham/Cotswold

seems pointless moving just to gain an hour in travelling when you having to start all over again and no advantage on prices

ExtraHotLatteToGo Tue 24-May-16 12:04:41

I moved out, primarily to buy a house as I couldn't afford to (on my own) in London but also, like you, because of the difficulty of visiting friends & family. I live closer to them all now and probably see less of them than I did before.

I'm only 40 minutes away by train, but really 2 hours away by the time you factor in the commute each end. Plus the hassle, plus the expense BUT the thing is, even if I could be bothered to go more often it's not the same. It's not 'living there'. I feel like a tourist in London now, not part of it, & I hate it sad

I'm working out how I get back.

If I were you I'd stay exactly where you are for now, there's no hurry to move. Your kids can change schools later - they're not sitting their GCSEs for a long, long time.

Save the moving costs until you KNOW you want to move and you KNOW it's the right thing to do - whether that's out of London or just to a bigger house.

You're putting yourself under immense pressure for no real reason that I can see. Enjoy living where you are, make the most of everything London has to offer, then if you do move away at some stage you at least won't regret wasting your time while you were in London.

WriteforFun1 Tue 24-May-16 13:00:38

Extra "I live closer to them all now and probably see less of them than I did before. "

is that because transport outside London is more of a faff or just general busy-ness? My parents often tell me transport outside London is awful, I have no idea, neither do they, they just tell me that to put me off leaving!!

LittlePickleHead Tue 24-May-16 13:13:59

Wow thanks for sharing your experience ExtraHot I'm so sorry that you regret the move sad

You've really made me think. I've got myself so worked up about making a decision prior to DC2 starting school that I'm not able to think about it clearly. Other than that, there is no reason to rush into anything. The thought of waiting a couple of years and reassessing makes me feel relieved so that probably tells me everything I need to know!

Cestlavie - currently DHs job is very London centric and would be very hard to relocate outside of commuting distance. Not impossible but would require an industry change and it's not something he wants to do right now.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now