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Priced out of London - where to go?

(51 Posts)
HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:11:11

I really need some help finding a suitable area to move to.

I am a single parent to 2 primary aged DC. I work in London and have lived in London for 22 years. We currently live in a one bed shared ownership flat and HAVE to move. Prices in London are ridiculous and though I was initially thinking that we would buy another shared ownership flat, even those are now silly prices. Plus I could find myself at retirement age and still having to pay a massive rent/service charge etc.

So the idea is to move out of London and work from home. As I will be able to afford a bigger place outside of London, the idea is to have a work space/office at home (I need a PC, printer etc). Staying in London in a small flat wouldn't really be an option as I think I would go crazy living and working in a small space IYKWIM. Whereas I think I could manage in a bigger house.

I will still need to be fairly close to London as the DC's father lives in Hackney - and has them every other weekend.

Also I would need to be able to visit the office (West London) once every couple of weeks.

I am looking with an eye on great high schools/girls grammar schools etc, so in a few years the DC will be able to go to a good school.

Re other connections most friends live in south London. Many have left London recently for similar reasons to me and moved south too. I have no family connections apart from the girls Dad's family in east London, so i am fairly fluid, though south/east is a better location than north or west of London.

I've been looking at Folkestone - while it is a way out of London, it is very affordable & has high speed train link for visits to the office. It also has an excellent grammar girls school. On the downside it is a bit of a journey EOW for the DC to get to their Dad's though this burden would be shared between us.

I looked at Hastings too, but the schools don't seem to be that good there and the must promised HS rail link hasn't materialized.

Margate/Broadstairs looks amazing too but I am concerned over travel to London times but driving and rail - I think it is too far away location wise.

But there are probably lots of other location options I just don't know about. I'm hoping the mighty MN might shed some light/advice on this really important change in our lives. I really do need some help.

My budget is £250,000 - I could go a bit higher if access to London was relatively cheap & easy (ie monthly travel costs were down).

HeyMacWey Thu 26-May-16 15:15:26

Have you thought about Chelmsford, Kelvedon or Colchester?
Good access to grammar's (although v competitive).
Quick into Liverpool St - stops at Stratford so easy to get to Hackney or an easy drive down the A12.

BuddyC4t Thu 26-May-16 15:19:09

Agree with all these except Chelmsford. Prices have sky rocketed there in recent months. Witham is just a bit further down the a12 and you could get something suitable for 250k

albazavi Thu 26-May-16 15:20:02

If you come further north- huntingdon, Peterborough way you get excellent property for money and fast trains in (45 minutes into kings X from peterborough).

Some good schools in both- kings is a selective school (like a grammar but not) and excellent.

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:20:16

No I hadn't - I will take a look at those places, thank you.

Solasum Thu 26-May-16 15:21:45

Was just about to suggest Folkestone

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:22:14

Good stuff - I'm going to spend the weekend doing lots of research smile

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:22:34

Do you live there Solasum?

albazavi Thu 26-May-16 15:23:47

£250k would also get you something like this...

I found this property on the Rightmove Android app and wanted you to see it:

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:28:21


HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:29:50

(in a good way)

This has been such a terrifying process for me - it really means starting everything in life again. But I'm finally feeling ready.

Knowing we may be able to live in a house, that I could have a veggie garden (not to mention sleep on a proper bed) etc really helps.

Solasum Thu 26-May-16 15:35:16

No, but a good friend does, am pondering a similar move myself, but with DS rather than DDs, and there doesn't seem to be a boys equivalent to the girls grammar, so it wouldn't work for us.

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 15:45:47

I don't think there is - there is a great boys grammar in Broadstairs.

I am also amazed/surprised/astonished at how the majority of primary schools in the areas I've been looking are religious schools.

alazuli Thu 26-May-16 15:50:58

i was literally reading this article yesterday:

margate and folkestone would be a good place to invest. i think a lot of people in london with kids probably have the same idea as you.

i had a look on rightmove for places in margate and your budget could get you a nice 2/3 bed with a garden.

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 16:01:07

schools don't seem that great in Margate - just a general impression & hopefully they are improving.

I would LOVE Margate but I think 4 hour round trip to drop DC off at their Dad's EOW is massive.

I'm going to go to Folkestone next week as I have a couple of days off for half term.

Scribblegirl Thu 26-May-16 16:13:47


Can get into Hackney via the train stopping at Stratford. Fast train to Fenchurch St in 50 mins and then tube can take you west. There's grammars as well.

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 16:15:34

will check out Southend thanks

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 26-May-16 16:34:34

Ipswich might be worth considering?

Not much kerb appeal but v nice inside, has a home office in the garden plus 3 beds and in catchment for "outstanding" primary and 2 "good" highly rated local secondaries. Hospital on your doorstep.

Practicalities : Direct train from Ipswich into Liverpool St or into Stratford. Alternative into Kings X but requires a change. 1hr 14mins.
So bit of a sod of a commute to the West End but for once a month it's doable.
Depends if you would need to accompany the kids to Hackney EOW though as to whether you could wear it for a few years though.
Similar location - new build
Chocolate box cottage in the best part of town

Portobelly Thu 26-May-16 16:50:33

I live in Hackney. (Persuaded my mum to sell up and buy us a tri generation home where my husband and I had house shared for ten years when our baby arrived)

We often go to Margate
By train.
Direct route to Stratford international,
1hr 20 mins.
Quiet and smooth train line.

I like the beach, there's plenty of cool new shops etc, but our winter /spring adventures there mean that we're not ready to make the plunge.
It's grim but ripe in the way that chats worth road was in 2009-12
You can feel something happening but it's not quite there. From the outside at least.

Portobelly Thu 26-May-16 16:52:08

Should add, dad could collect from Stratford international. Buses stop there that go to Hackney quickly.
And you could have quiet trains to read/work/drink wine on

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 17:05:49

Thanks Portobelly - that makes Margate a lot more attractive!

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 17:07:39

link to Stratford would work well for handovers.

I'll look into Ipswich too Tread. Office is in Chiswick so total nightmare for getting here across London (Crossrail will help).
But if it was once a fortnight I'd cope.

HisNameWasPrinceAndHeWasFunky Thu 26-May-16 17:08:14

And you could have quiet trains to read/work/drink wine on
Do you know me? grin

alazuli Thu 26-May-16 17:12:09

i agree with portobelly - i'm in hackney too and have heard of a few friends of friends moving to margate. it's going to be overrun by hipsters in 10 years time.

don't move to southend - it's not v nice!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 26-May-16 18:53:49

If office is in Chiswick what about looking at Berkshire (west). Once Cross rail opens Hackney will be much easier. We may not have many Grammars, but in west Berks most of secondary schools are good. I have friend in similar circs. Her Ex collects DC from Paddington.

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