Backwards move into London with pre-schoolers

(81 Posts)
BikerMouse Thu 28-Jul-16 19:27:57

Has anyone else done it? We decided to move out for all the usual reasons, more space, cleaner living, idylic country life and good schools etc. Pretty much straight away I knew it was a massive mistake. Regretted it ever since. Now over 3 years on we're thinking of moving back in, are we completely mad?

Whenwillwe3meetagain Thu 28-Jul-16 19:38:33

I'm sure it happens more than you think! Good luck moving back-I'm happily staying a Londoner for a good few more years.
I grew up in the countryside and have no desire to go back!

BikerMouse Thu 28-Jul-16 22:11:12

Anyone else?

Our house is going on the market in a week and were fairly certain we'll have an offer by the end of the summer. But here we are still faffing with not knowing if we're making the right decision. Gah!

venys Thu 28-Jul-16 22:22:22

Have only ever had preschoolers in West London but I have to admit it will be hard to leave because there is soooo much entertainment even with the children's centres closing. But you do need money mind. We want to move back to New Zealand but I know we won't have the same facilities there, and with my son's learning difficulties I would struggle. My ex nanny's other family have just moved from West London to a small village outside Reading . I think the lack of things to do and the poor public transport to even the next village made it difficult to do the same sorts of things they were used to. That said, I wonder if some of our ENT issues are to do with the pollution. OH doesn't want us to stay too long here.

camcam1 Thu 28-Jul-16 23:02:36

Love living in Herts- so close to London, yet in countryside and much more peaceful lifestyle, but I'm on Rightmove everyday searching properties back in London. I miss it terribly. I even miss the traffic and the hustle and bustle. I basically miss everything I moved out for! The shops close to early, most of my neighbours are elderly, no amazing parks close by, and dining out is a big no no round here.
So I understand how you feel and as soon as we can afford to sell up and move back I will be back to London in a heartbeat, albiet in the subburbs not central.

BikerMouse Thu 28-Jul-16 23:19:18

Cam were in Herts too! I never thought 30 odd miles out would feel so cut off. YY to the amazing parks and dining out. It's either pub grub or ubiquitous chains, how I miss sushi. There's nothing going on where we are for kids. On a bad day I'm driving 60 odd miles just doing the pre-school run, gym, shops and back again it's nuts.

Anyway. Just need to figure out where to not south of the river And the added complication of oversubscribed schools which we didn't register for 4 years ago!

Puzzedhelpplease Fri 29-Jul-16 08:32:16

Can be a real pain living in the sticks:

More expensive, with having to pay for more wear and tear and fuel on the car.
Much of your free time is taken driving to work, driving kids to bus stops/schools/clubs.
Slow internet. Mine is currently 1.5mbps.
Provincial minded people.
Missing out on the buzz of metropolitan life.
With Brexit, things are going to get worse in the rural areas with more public services and jobs cuts.

Not great prospects for DCs.

No, you won't regret it.

Closetlibrarian Fri 29-Jul-16 10:42:41

Watching with interest. We moved out a year ago and I miss London too. Desperately at times. For us, it's not so much the lack of amenities or things to do (in fact, there's quite a lot to do for kids around us and more outdoorsy stuff, which we've enjoyed), but the lack of like-minded people and lack of 'community' (see my other post on this). We've really struggled to meet anyone we 'click' with and as a result we feel increasingly socially isolated and lonely. Especially tough during the school holidays when none of the local pre-school groups or activities are running.

So we too are thinking of a move back (to the suburbs of London). But while that would take us closer to our London friends, I still worry whether we'd find the sense of community we seek there.

It's so tough to know what to do! We agonise over it daily...

Needmoresleep Fri 29-Jul-16 11:14:49

We stayed in London and did not regret it. Schools were a pain and everyone ended up tutoring, getting religion, renting in other catchments or paying, but DC loved the richness and variety of their London childhoods.

The other pain was the cost of housing, but as long as you can buy, the mortgage becomes a bit like saving into a pension.

BikerMouse Fri 29-Jul-16 13:08:16

YY to not meeting people we click with. It's been very isolated here. And the majority of our friends have stayed in London.

There are lots of outdoorsy stuff to do, farms, National Trust etc. But I've discovered that I'm not really an outdoorsy person, especially in the colder months. blush We took for granted the museum/gallery free events that we used to do with dd1 and that kind of thing is non existant when you're not in a major city.

Closet For us we've got to the point where we need to make a massive change. Rural living coupled with an hour commute and H's long working hours has taken a toll on all of us. And in hindsight we should not have done it. If it makes you all happier, definitely make the move back.

Anyway, I've been calling round schools this morning. Needless to say, they are all full with 40+ on the waiting lists. Not quite sure what we'd do if we went as far as buying a house but didn't get a school place for January 2017. Gah!

On the plus side we've seen a doer uper come back on the market after going under offer. I'm trying very hard not to fall in love with it!

Twowrongsdontmakearight Fri 29-Jul-16 13:12:38

You obviously left London for a reason so it wasn't the idyll you're seeing it as now. And surely there's a middle ground, maybe a small town with a community and things to do instead of being in the sticks.

We left London years ago, just before DC. I knew I couldn't live in the country so we moved north to a suburb of Manchester. Excellent state schools with swimming baths and cinema etc in walking distance. We have a lovely group of friends and have been involved in the local community through my job, Rainbows and rugby coaching between us. London is great for a visit but we're always happy to escape back.

Maki79 Fri 29-Jul-16 13:21:23

Where have you moved to??

I do really understand, it took me about 4 years before I stopped mourning London and started to love going there to visit but being so happy we'd left. The 'turning point' in my mindset was meeting 3 or 4 people who I really get on well with. In london it's easier because barely anyone is 'from' there whereas outside lots of people have never lived anywhere else so are not looking to make new connections.

We live in a beautiful liberal area, just under 2 hours on the train to London, near to Bristol which is lush! And you can get a 4 bed house with a garden for 250k smile

thecatfromjapan Fri 29-Jul-16 13:24:40

We stayed in London and I've never regretted it. We've put the children through Lindon schools (state) and it's less scary than people think. I also suspect London is safer for teens than outside London (less drunk driving - a horror I remember from my own rural adolescence).
London is so large I think it is easier to meet like- minded souls. I suspect people 'burrow' in London and ende up effectively living in villages of their own imaginary making, peopled with neighbours they are in sympathy with. It's very cosy.
I'm aware how much London-hate there is bubbling under the surface at the moment, so I'm not going to be as enthusiastic as I might be. I do love London, though.
That said, it must be lovely to be able to smell dampening fields at sunset, and country things like that.

BikerMouse Fri 29-Jul-16 13:48:35

We moved to Herts. This was supposedly the middle ground, best of both worlds, an hour from Dh's family, 50mins from Cambridge. We were incredibly unlucky in that two better houses fell through for reasons not in our control. This house we are in was a compromise location wise.

We can't move further from London. Dh's comute is 1hr 20mins as it is. He's at his desk for 7.30 and is often not home till 8 or 9pm.

For me, when I visit London I'm always a little sad to be heading back out to the sticks. Yes you're right, the reasons why we left London originally are still there. However, financially we are much better placed than we were 4 years ago. We have a decent budget to allow for a 2000 sqft town house. Dd's won't have as large garden to run around in but we'll make do with local parks etc. My only sticking point is schools. There is no point uprooting us all only for Dd's not to have a good school place after the move.

Oh I don't know...

donuts1980 Fri 29-Jul-16 14:33:52

You are me! You are me! And we are nearly three years down the line. Still umming and arring about what to do...

Needmoresleep Fri 29-Jul-16 14:34:11

We ended up paying for schools, rather than spend the extra on a neighbourhood with good schools plus commuting. Remaining central meant it was relatively easy for me to get a well paid job, though the busy years when they were around 8-14 were tough.

In the end though, they had a fantastic education. London private schools are usually very good, with international study bodies and high aspirations. The mortgage is on its way to being paid off, and I got a small pension from my work.

It was tough in many ways, but the children benefitted, and we are better off than we would have been.

I loved DC doing something like Tudors at Primary School and being able to take them off to the British Museum. However in some ways they are stuck. DS stayed in London for University, and DD struggled hard to think of somewhere else she would like to live. (She settled on Bristol, though considered Dublin.) Both talk of remaining in London after University. I can see them living in another capital but would be surprised if they chose somewhere rural.

kirinm Fri 29-Jul-16 14:37:34

Why does everyone claim to dislike South London?

donuts1980 Fri 29-Jul-16 14:45:26

Be so interested to know what u will do. I agree I think I haven't really clicked with many people either. I've got friends here but not really that like-minded. I think for me it was a huge huge shock being the one stuck here on mat leave when dh up in London. Nothing to do compared to London and feeling so so lonely. That said I could not meet closer friends in London so it's hard to know what to do. All my friends have moved out really (and don't seem to have the issue I do). I don't mind it here as much as initially but still pine for London. We are hesitant to move back as 1) get less house for money obvs (for me it's more the garden size) 2) I do like being close to proper countryside and also not getting stuck in jams 3) moving DS from amazing childminder
I just can't work out if I would still feel the same back inondon as we moved just before first baby so all a bit mixed up feelings there. I just imagine if feel less lonely even if I hadn't met close buddies as there is more to do and others mooching about too.
We moved to commuter Surrey. Thinking of moving back to either N London (commute better but pricey) or SW outer burbs (more green but commute as long as where we are now) Ho hum

donuts1980 Fri 29-Jul-16 14:47:29

I think the prob comes when u still have to work in London as either end up with better location but massive commute (and not seeing dh and/or kids / paying for nanny etc) or shorter commute but living in commuter vile which I find is neither here nor there

drspouse Fri 29-Jul-16 15:11:31

Following with interest as we've considered this. DH could transfer to his London office, but I have interviewed for a couple of London jobs only I didn't get them.
Pros for us: much more available to do, more choices of kids' classes etc. More diverse, one of our DC is mixed race (though not unusual here there will be people from their birth country in London). If racism outside the capital gets worse and touches our (medium sized) town it might be our best move. I have a feeling we'd have more choice on childcare (many schools here have nothing - no CM that pick up, no after school provision - and others are a bit minimal). Probably more choice of secondary schools (very odd set of choices here).

Cons: Expensive, we'd have a tiny flat instead of a large house. Possibly worse access to SN and health services, schools more under strain. DS and I are both very outdoorsy! Can still be quite segregated.

I lived in London pre- DH and he lived in another large city. So we know we like it.

DiggersRest Fri 29-Jul-16 15:27:39

Very timely thread as I'm on rightmove looking at houses outside of London. I do think we'd miss London though as we first talked about moving out over 3 years ago and instead we're spending money on making more room in the house hmm

Good luck with the move back in OP.

Closetlibrarian Fri 29-Jul-16 15:30:06

Surely OP if you move by the schools application deadline in January you won't have any issue? Or are your DC already in school and you're looking at in-year applications?

Closetlibrarian Fri 29-Jul-16 15:35:50

Oh, and yy to realising you're not outdoorsy! We have this large garden that I hardly ever go in. And DC are too young to really get much out of the countryside type stuff on offer - too small to walk far (or walk at all, in DC2's case) and DC1 just isn't that physically adventurous so will never be one to just enjoy running around in fields.

We're quite up for moving back, but we just can't decide whereabouts in London to move back to (we lived slap bang in the middle before - tiny flat too small for a growing family). I don't want to end up in some suburban wasteland.

BikerMouse Fri 29-Jul-16 15:55:16

Nice to know we're not the only ones in this position.

Yes, we'll be paying for schools. But given that we didn't register at birth for either children how do we get in? I can't imagine the 40+ children on the waiting lost suddenly disappear at the start of term. Unless of course people hedge their bets in several schools?

I don't worry so much about them being stuck in London. I'm sure they'd eventually settle where ever they wished. I moved to London at 17 for Uni and pretty much never left. apart for the last 3 and a bit years

And I don't dislike south London, it's just I've never lived there. Always lived north of the river and know it like the back of my hand. We have considered Dulwich because a few friends are there already and the schools are good. But a 45 minute commute into the city isn't a lot better than where we are now. There is not much point in considering anything further out than Zone 2.

DiggersRest Fri 29-Jul-16 16:06:48

Do you mean the City or just somewhere in London as we're 40 mins from SW London to the City for dh and he passes Dulwich?

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