Sutton vs. Bromley vs. St. Albans(16 Posts)
We have recently become parents and realised that living in a flat in central London is not very easy in terms of space etc. Would be great to hear from people who lived in central London for a very long time and then moved to suburbs after having a kid. We ourselves have been living only in central London and not too far away from work so clearly we are very spoilt and really lost in terms of which suburb to choose for relocation. Also we are not sure how easy is the commute. Commute wise we need Mayfair and the city. We have quite a few friend living in Bromley (close to Chiselhurst and Petts wood/Orpington) and they love it there. Some friends are pitching St.Albans which has good links with the city and that about it. Sutton is a complete terra incognito for us but we got a family who is highly recommending this area as one of the best in London. Apologies for a bit messy message but tried to explain the situation in short looking forward to hearing all your opinions!
I lived in Bromley years ago and commuted to Mayfair - I used to walk from Victoria station as it was a nice walk across Green Park but i also got a bus from time to time or the tube as it was only a stop or two
Pretty sure Bromley North station went to the city
I live in Sutton (well Carshalton) and love it here. There are loads of good schools, primary and secondary, brilliant parks and facilities and the people are generally lovely and friendly. I am not sure about the commute though, the trains go into Victoria (they also used to go into London Bridge but I think that Southern cancelled that service) but the line is run by Southern and they are appalling. The northern line runs from Morden though.
You have to change at Bromley North for the London Bridge etc stations if I remember correctly. Chislehurst goes to London Bridge and Bromley has frequent Victoria trains and also a non-stop service to Victoria, which is handy but always very busy.
I grew up nearby and it was a good childhood. Plenty of parks/greenery but not too far to the city for days out!
Bromley is quite large. Bromley is a town centre, but it is also the name of the local authority/borough.
Bromley North and Sundridge Park stations serve the city (London Bridge and Cannon Street). You would catch the Bromley North/Sundridge Park/Grove Park branch line, and then walk over the bridge at Grove Park and catch a London Bridge/Cannon Street or Charing Cross Train.
Bromley South has fast non stop trains to Victoria in 16 minutes or so, as well as the Victoria line train that stops everywhere and goes on to Blackfriars and St Pancras.
Other stations that you can commute from in the Bromley borough are Petts Wood and Chiclehurst (they go via Grove Park) or Bickley (they go via Bromley South). Orpington is another town in the Bromley borough and it has fast trains to London Bridge and Cannon Street (and Sevenoaks in the opposite direction).
Bromley primaries and secondaries are generally very good. Some are very large schools though, with lots of primaries having three form entry. It is a very residential and family area. Big variety of housing stock. Parks, decent shopping, lots of supermarkets etc.
Moving to Sutton tomorrow. Family friendly, very good schools. It's a big area though so you would need to choose particular areas close to transport links for communting
Do you need to move to the burbs? There's good bits of inner south-East London, for example.
St. Albans is great, child friendly and an easy commute- lots of trains. It's expensive, but you would be OK coming from London I would think.
I used to live in Blackheath, moved to Dt Albans and my commute was actually quicker (although more pricey). Trains go into St Pancras, you might need to take tube to Mayfair?
Sutton is a great family area with wonderful schools. I'd recommend Carshalton, Wallington, Cheam Village and South Cheam to start your search.
Petts Wood is a great place to live. The commuting options are wide as you can get to Victoria, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon St and to Canary Wharf with a simple change at New Cross or Lewisham. The events for small families and general community feel is lovely. Good choice of state, grammar and independent schools. Open spaces but also only 20 minutes from London Bridge. Whilst I have lived in the area all my life I have friends who've moved from more central London and love the choice they made. They thought there'd be problems with transport but there are trains from Charing Cross at just before 1am and they recommence at 4.30am. They thought the shops might be worse but we do have late night supermarkets too and nice boutiques and a pub that won a nationwide award for the quality of its beer and service. The restaurant choice means we ony seek to travel too far as there is so much on our doorstep. Lots of clubs for children, brownie packs and sports clubs, football clubs and DD's favourite of fencing. Lots for the adults too!
Not comparable really.
Sutton and Bromley are well within the greater London area. Whereas st Albans is a distinct Home Counties town outside of the M25. Great train service into London from St. Albans though
Commutability, housing and schools are key IMO. We ruled out northern home counties on the first criteria. In some places most families have 2 cars, which we wanted to avoid.
Train line prices are also very different: the line from St Albans is £££.
The sutton "grammars" are super super selective (lots of tutoring etc).
Friends left chiselhurst because they found it very UKIP/BNP.
The Sutton grammars are selective but I wouldn't say super selective. My DSS goes to one and wasn't tutored, nor were many of his friends. We're fortunate here because many of the non selective schools are also really good.
They have a very high ratio of applications (from bright and frequently tutored/privately educated DC) to places.
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