Oxted/Hurst Green/Limpsfield or Tunbridge Wells?(26 Posts)
Not sure which area would suit us better? We have two young children so need schools. Preferably state primary and maybe private secondary if necessary. Too early to tell if they are grammar school material!
Both need to commute to London (one in Chancery Lane part time, the other to Cannon Street full time).I know TW goes to Cannon Street sometimes, but Oxted is quicker line (though is Southern!). I've heard mixed things about commuting from TW - some say fine, others say a bit stressful when having to pick up kids. I think the reality will be 2 days both parents in London. Maybe a nanny would work better than a childminder?
Love rural but also love stuff to do. Also thinking of kids when they get older - I can't decide whether a rural upbringing or more to do upbringing would be better. How do others know? Go with gut?! I love the idea of them being able to run around in fields, but then I also love the idea of them being able to have opportunities to try out different hobbies and things to do, which TW would offer far more of, for example Bewl Water very near for water sports, or plenty of drama classes, or just walking round to a friend's house for tea would be easier.
What else can I tell you? Used to London life, but actually grew up in a very rural way so used to both. I love London but perhaps now with kids be good to have a bit of space?
We both are quite liberal and adventurous people, love being active and are sporty. Enjoy cafe culture but also getting out into wilderness! Would love a period house with a decent garden. We have a budget of £1.2 max.
I've looked around TW - the only problem I can find is the houses near to Claremont and the station are tiny and small gardens whereas houses further from station are bigger but a bit less likely to get into a decent school. Maybe I've got that wrong?
Oxted - schools at primary seem ace, but secondary is not as good as TW. Less going on, but more chilled out and rural.
TW is obviously much larger with many more facilities and is a lovely town but I'd be reluctant to go that far out if both of you commute to London.
Any reason you've not mentioned Sevenoaks or Tonbridge both are faster to London than TW with more frequent trains. Countryside round both is attractive and both are a bit larger and have more facilities than Oxted. Sevenoaks is probably the more upmarket of the two with a nice high street but you get more for your money in Tonbridge. Schooling wide primaries are excellent in both, for secondaries girls grammar is opening soon in Sevenoaks but there are several state and private options as well. Tonbridge has great secondary options.
Have you thought about Reigate? May solve your conundrum about mix of country and town - plus excellent schools and family friendly things to do. You'd get quite a nice house for your budget and the commute from Redhill to London is pretty good. On the southern line but the trains should be sorting themselves out within a year or so...
I went to oxted school by the way. Very nice area - plenty of young families about but I personally would go something a little livelier if you like cafe culture.
We felt Sevenoaks was v expensive and a bit of a black hole for primaries/secondaries unless you were mega rich. Tonbridge we would consider again if the primaries were better. We couldn't seem to make it work near the station and get a good primary?
Croydon Road, Reigate
cant comment on the schools but generally, I'm a big fan of T wells. we moved out from london nearly two years ago and havent looked back.
we lived in tonbridge for commuting reasons for 18 months to try it and it wasnt for us. I love all the amenities of T wells and there is much more going on.
I commute happily in and out of cannon street on a daily basis. what is your criteria for walking time?
also re primaries, have you considered private? that is generally the done thing here, then grammar for secondary. that would widen your search area for primaries.
There is a big water sports centre about 20 mins drive from Oxted. Kids from Oxted go to various private schools namely Whitgift, Trinity, Hurstpierpoint, croydon High, lingfield Notre Dame.
Not so much in actual Oxted though. To be honest the idea of some rural idyll is not going to happen. Children do not frolic through the bucolic fields of the South East as most are farmed, surronded by busy roads so go where there are good parks and places to go. Have you looked at Horsham? It might meet what you need. Haywards Heath also nice although bloody awful traffic. Reigate is horrible for traffic and congested. Dorking is nice if you like antique shops!
Thanks for info. Looked at Reigate but think commute a bit tricky. It's a shame the trains are not direct from there. And preferred TW as a town to Reigate too.
bumble why didn't you like tonbridge?
Possibly would consider private for primary....
Walking time probably no more than 15 mins. Don't mind High Brooms either.
Any pluses for Oxted way out there?
Tonbridge is poor relation of T Wells, prob why bumble said that.
Personally I'm a huge fan of Tonbridge, and Hildenborough. Very honest areas. Love them.
We're in a village somewhere near all those you've mentioned.
Oxted is bland imo.
Tonbridge is much better for commuting. What is your budget? You'll get a better house in Tonbridge close to the station than in TW. Hildenborough also pretty good. Tonbridge has a big park/sports field if you want outdoors type stuff.
Crowborough could be another option if you're willing to drive to Eridge station. Cheaper and less busy than TW but still plenty to do, and right by Ashdown Forest. Good schools. My sister lives there and they can walk to a pub, have lunch, then walk across the forest before getting home. She also commutes to Lindon once or twice a week, although not rush hour. Kids can go to Tonbridge or TW schools for secondary.
High Brooms is not considered a great area, Tonbridge better. The Robin Hood area of High Brooms can be a bit rough.
Southborough is walking distance to HB station, if you don't mind a steep hill at the end of the day. Some areas on TW also walkable to HB station. You do have to change at Tonbridge sometimes.
Tonbridge has far more trains than TW. Also the last train at night is later if you're likely to have social stuff in London.
I have to say I really don't like Southborough though - not enough to do and highly congested. I grew up there and still get depressed just going back to visit.
I spent my Friday evenings in Tonbridge rather than TW but you may not want your kids to do the things I got up to as a teen!!
What about one of the villages around Sevenoaks and Tonbridge?
Have a look at Shipbourne, Hildenborough, Idehill, Leigh, Penshurst etc.
All have good primaries and are a short drive to a station for the commute.
I have to say I actually really like Tonbridge, it's a normal town with lots going on and less stuck up than some other places in the area.
Oxted isn't that bad! It has a large leisure centre, council offices, park, coffee shops and restaurants. Limpsfield is at the posher end with arts and crafts detached houses. Several good primaries (infant/junior transfer) , Oxted School is a large secondary academy but well regarded, easy access to at least 3 independent secondaries within 15 mins plus Croydon and Kent schools slightly further afield (Kent 11+ perfectly possible).
its a personal thing - I grew up in winchester/henley - I just prefer T wells. the high street and all the boutique shops in T wells are things I value and I love wondering around the lovely interior design shops. I like being able to pop into space NK and sweaty betty at the weekends.
we also find the range of restaurants and bars much wider in T wells. we have a great selection of places to eat and drink at the weekend and that is important to us. we are both generally too tired to cook friday nights and want to eat out, there arent really any options in tonbridge. our local pubs in T wells are also very nice, something we missed in Tonbridge.
Have you looked in st Johns area? its about 15 mins walk. I would avoid high brooms, its a bit rough. you also will struggle to get a seat if you get on a high brooms.
How about one of the surrounding villages? We live in one and it's lovely to pop into TW for shopping or dinner, but nice to escape again into the countryside. Some of the village primaries are lovely. Chiddingstone is outstanding for example.
Downside is you need to drive to a station, I do this and it is a bit of a pain but I'd rather live where I live than in a town and able to walk, but personal choice obviously.
We felt Sevenoaks was v expensive and a bit of a black hole for primaries/secondaries unless you were mega rich.
Can't comment on primaries (I realise the catchments for the outstanding schools are very small) but kids in Sevenoaks go to grammer schools in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, so Sevenoaks is definitely not a black hole for secondary.
It is expensive though!
Yes sorry I meant high brooms for commute not to live.
DH doesn't want to do drive/commute, which rules out villages (unless we go to somewhere like frant).
I think I prefer TW over Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, even though commute longer, as it still feels buzzy plus I do like the shopping!
Also DH has said no private primaries as we can't afford lol! The primaries in Oxted seem much better than TW, but then TW has the grammars (though I see that perhaps you could get in from Oxted?) Not I know whether my kids would get in, but we both went to grammars so hoping they would be up there? Anyway thanks for thoughts so far....
Having a budget of £1.2m suggests that you do have the budget for private primaries though as you would need to get a £1m house instead? Anyway, both areas are absolutely lovely but very different from one another which is why I think everyone is struggling to advise you. One is a big busy town and the other is a much smaller rural town with a much faster commute. I suggest you go along and have a look round both and get a feel for the kind of house you want and how you feel in the areas. Perhaps rent for a year or so to get a feel for the best places to be (if schooling is not imminently required of course).
We moved from SW6 to Toys Hill last year, I work from home, hub from SW11, teenagers at Dulwich C. TH is perfect for us - and yes even idyllic. Lots of kids, lots of space, very friendly area. Oxted an easy 15 mins, and Clapham junc/vic half hr train - but yes, southern! But on opp direction 7O also 15 mins drive on LB/CC line do we get best of both. Driving is a shag but easy parking at both stations. Great primaries all round us, sec inds trickier but if you have smart kids, grammars in TW and Ton accessible by train from 7O. Oxted is sleepy, 7O tbh also provincial compared to london and TW but endless traffic, distance from london and sprawl of TW put us off TW. Just couldn't face moving from city with its traffic to another city with traffic. Try looking along A25 oxted-7O corridor, pretty and historic setting, but set back from main road. Stunning countryside, and if you can live with not being walking dis to station, highly recommended.
I'm posting these links more as property porn than in the hope of finding what you're looking for OP, but will do it anyway.
If you like old, character and rural
www.onthemarket.com/details/2822659/ although the communal aspect of the grounds might be a dealbreaker.
Modern and belongs to people who've been on TV
It's a short drive to the station for all though.
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