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Leighton Buzzard

(28 Posts)
Picklesandpies Tue 24-Jan-17 07:01:05


We are looking at moving so dh has a better commute into London and to an area that's more family friendly than where we are now. Leighton Buzzard seems to tick most of our boxes on paper so we are going to go for a look next week.

Does anyone live there? Would you recommend it? Please could you tell me what things there are to do as a family and where you go at weekends/holidays?

Important things are:

Lots to pop out and do within a few miles. Cafes, lakes, parks, farms, National Trust etc
Footpaths for countryside walking
Enough shops for day to day shopping
Budget for 4 bed house is £600K
Schools - decent primary/secondary
Friendly people

Our dc are 6 and 9.

Thank you!

Picklesandpies Tue 24-Jan-17 16:09:22

Hopeful bump!

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 10:00:09

Does anyone live there? Wondering whether it is worth considering after all wink

Floellabenjaminsearrings Thu 26-Jan-17 16:51:00

Hi. I don't live there, but we considered it when we were looking to move out of London. We decided against it when we visited as it wasn't to our taste <trying not to offend the people who live there, as I'm sure it is lovely>

We ended up on the other side of the M25 in Surrey (Mole Valley) it is lovely and has all the things you have listed, which were pretty much our criteria as well.

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 17:06:31

Thanks Flo. That's interesting. I know it's all down to personal preference but what were the things you weren't so keen on, if you don't mind me asking? I don't know how to pm you!

Thank you for the reply. I'll look at Mole Valley.

Floellabenjaminsearrings Thu 26-Jan-17 18:20:48

I can't really explain it, we just didn't get "the vibe". On paper it really fitted what we were looking for though, so it is purely subjective.

The house prices were very attractive. When we were looking 18 months ago, we wanted 4 beds with a budget of £550,000 and while we got that here, we could have got far more for our money there (detached etc)

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 19:20:51

Thanks very much for the feedback. We'll still go and have a look and see what we think. Commute time and house prices are certainly attractive but I also want to feel 'the vibe'!

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Thu 26-Jan-17 19:23:26

I grew up there and move away at 19. Mum still has a house there. If you can find something in Heath and Reach or Linslade rather than Leighton itself it's much nicer. Linslade would be ideal if your DH is commuting by train.

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 19:27:46

Thank you. I did see a house in Heath and Reach and it was on the edge of Rushmere Park which would be good. The only downside was that there also appeared to be a huge quarry a couple of roads away! Is it still active do you know?

buzzmoon Thu 26-Jan-17 19:30:44

I moved here last year and love it.
Ticks all your boxes in my opinion- you'd get a fabulous house for 600k mine is 3 bed 3bath 3 car drive, 100ft garden and was £250k last year.

Shopping is great, Tesco, Aldi, Waitrose, Iceland, wilko all in the town centre. Lots of cute and there are more and more popping up independent shops on the high street, lovely cafes etc

One of those splash and play parks which are amazing in the summer and 'the beach' which is a giant sand pit and a huge park.
Lovely walks in national parks (Rushmere) I think it's called
Lovely golf courses near by
You go 2 mins out of the town centre (by car) and you're in the countryside, lovely villages with cute pubs etc.
And then 15 min drive from Milton Keynes which has literally everything you could ask for!
Trains are great (occasionally rubbish but when they're working 28mins into Euston is perfect)

God I sound like I work for the bloody town committee or something 😂 I don't! But we have been really happy the past year!

There are deffo nicer parts like greater says, like all towns!

Hope that helps!

buzzmoon Thu 26-Jan-17 19:32:00

Oh and they always have great community things on in the town centre.
E.g the Xmas light switch on was a Christmas market, funfair and firework display!

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Thu 26-Jan-17 19:33:47

Not sure if the quarry's are still active but they were when I was young and we never noticed them and were certainly not disturbed by it.

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Thu 26-Jan-17 19:35:00

Yep mayday fair and carols in the high street with the Salvation Army band were annual highlights, rotary also used to do Father Christmas visits in December to collect letters from the kids.

buzzmoon Thu 26-Jan-17 19:36:47

Oh and there's even a miniature railway that goes through the town!

SplitEndsBushyEyebrows Thu 26-Jan-17 19:37:36

It's a bit 'drab' and tired looking to me old fogey vibes!
I personally wouldn't like to live there! Not a lot to do but there is an awesome farm.
Could you look a bit further in Bucks/Bedfordshire villages?

MabelBee Thu 26-Jan-17 19:43:14

Rushmere is just so beautiful! We spend a lot of time there. Don't know anything about Leighton Buzzard though, sorry! We live in a village north of Milton Keynes, still very commutable to London.

HeyMicky Thu 26-Jan-17 20:01:09

The nearby villages are nicer.

We're in Stoke Hammond - the Brickhills and Stewkley are a bit nicer, as is Soulbury and Wing. Budget should be ok still. Less than 10 mins to Leighton still, but very green, and near the canal, and quicker into Bletchley and MK.

One thing to consider re schools is that Leighton is Beds but some of the villages just outside are Bucks so you fall into the catchment area for the Aylesbury grammar schools, if that's of interest. Lovely schools in Wing and Great Brickhill.

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 20:29:06

Thanks for all the opinions! Really interesting. Unfortunately we have already been on a reccy to Bucks towns/villages and we are just priced out there. We were told by an estate agent 'you might be able to get a semi detached shabby 3 bed for that' - which pretty much confirmed what I thought would be the case!

I'm actually not keen on the grammar school system so I wouldn't mind avoiding that tbh. Although if everything else was perfect... Not sure dd1 would cope well with 11+ if she didn't pass. The secondary uppers seem extremely mixed if you end up there.

I guess it's what you are used to in terms of the feel of a town. We lived in a market town until we moved down here and live in a similar sized town now. Neither were 'buzzing' so I'm not too worried about shopping being amazing in the town, as long as I have access to good shopping (plus cinema, theatre etc) nearby.

Is the Tesco 24/7? Love the convenience of that wink

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 20:35:54

Just wrote big reply - posted and it didn't appear. Sob! Won't write as much now as bath is getting cold!

Thanks for all the replies. Really interesting to hear your thoughts.

Not too keen to be in 11+ situation. Dd1 wouldn't cope too well if she didn't pass and upper secondaries seem very mixed in Bucks.

Priced out of Bucks towns and villages sadly. We went to look a few weeks ago. We were told by estate agent we 'might be able to get a shabby 3 bed semi for that.' confused

I want to live somewhere like I did before where there was loads to do with dc on the doorstep - not driving for ages! Thought LB might tick that box with Rushmere and National Trust Ascott House nearby? Although Ascott House didn't seem to be very big.

We will definitely look at LB but open to suggestions for other places.

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 20:36:18

Aaaaand there's my first reply! Doh! x

buzzmoon Thu 26-Jan-17 21:08:06

It's not I think it's 6:00-00:00 but lots of local shops!

Happy to answer any questions you have OP!

buzzmoon Thu 26-Jan-17 21:10:19

Also, although bucks villages are of course beautiful and id love to live in one, to add an extra £1000 per year parking and 20 mins driving to the station a day is not worth it imo

Picklesandpies Thu 26-Jan-17 22:50:48

Thanks Buzz. I guess my biggest question is - where do you go for quick trips out after school/holidays/weekends? Things that are local and require no more than ten mins in the car ideally. We're not into things with heaving crowds and lots of noise (although will do those things if I have to!) For example - lakes/reservoirs to walk round with a cafe, paint a pot, National Trust, parks and countryside walking would be more our cup of tea. I know of Rushmere/Stockgrove Park, Ascott House and Mead Farm but is there anywhere else you would pop out to for a few hours?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer.

confuugled1 Thu 26-Jan-17 23:25:37

Come and check out MK!

It's a similar time into London on the train as there are fast trains from here that go straight to Euston (and semi fast and slow ones too obviously).

There are some great schools, primary and secondary.

Loads of things to do - there are loads of parks, woods and public bits of countryside to walk/ride/etc in, there are redways which are like bridleways crisscrossing the city on which motor vehicles are banned so great for walking or cycling safely with the dc, lots of events organised, loads of shops, from the massive shopping centre through to local centres to little one off shops, massive supermarkets and lots of local/metro sized versions too as well as several Lidl and Aldis and a great market open most of the week.

A Play Association that runs free play sessions for kids in most areas of MK in the holidays.

Great facilities - brilliant theatre and several smaller theatres. amazing museum. more history at Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing. Ski-ing, sky diving (over a wind tunnel), cinemas, libraries, swimming, dragon boat racing and all sorts of stuff to do in/on the lakes, good sports clubs for dc, and so much more.

It's organised into 'grid squares' thanks to the road layout - but the squares aren't exact squares, they fitted them around existing villages. Means that all the through traffic is away from the residential areas which are like villages, all have parish councils (some might be for two squares together) which do local things, lots of things happen within your grid square so good for meeting people locally.

You could get a great house for £600K - probably not an old really characterful property but a decent sized 4 or 5 bed in a nice grid square.
for example this one is spitting distance from the station so you wouldn't have to pay parking at the station every day if your dh was going to drive and get the train. Has 5 beds, reasonable garden, excellent schools locally (Glastonbury Thorn or Loughton Manor for infants, Two Mile Ash or Loughton for juniors, Denbigh for seniors), walkable to the Morrisons or a short drive to Sainsburys, 5 minutes drive from the main shopping centre and you can be in most places in MK in less than 10 minutes, 2 minutes walk from a lovely park in one direction, 2 minutes from a smaller play park in the other, main local play park about a 10 minute walk away or a couple of minutes by car.

It was MK's 50th birthday last week so there's loads of extra activities organised for the year but even without that there's a fab International Festival every other year with loads of fantastic things going on, many for free. Most of the news channels did features on it which might give you an idea of what it's like here (have recorded them but not had a chance to watch yet!)

Shout if you have any questions...

forgottenusername Fri 27-Jan-17 22:03:17

I'm in LB. There's not much in the way of NT type stuff as close as you're asking for. Ascott House is close but I've never been in 15 years(!) There are other historic properties in Bucks - Claydon House and Waddessdon Manor if that's your thing.

As well as Rushmere / Stockgrove, there's Ashridge less than 30 mins away, very lovely woodland. There's also Tiddenfoot Waterside park in LB itself, much smaller, but nice (popular though). The canal is quite pretty too. The park just off the high street has a play park and splash park that re very popular (heaving!) in summer. There are loads of lakes and other walking areas to go in MK too smile

Our Tesco in LB isn't 24 hours anymore, I think Bletchley still is though and is about 15 mins away at that time of night. I thought I'd really miss 24 hour Tesco, but it's not been a problem at all smile

My dc are at all stages of schools in LB. We decided not to go the 11+ route as we didn't want them on a bus for an hour every morning to get to Aylesbury. They've not regretted staying in local upper school. In a lot of ways the three tier system is very good as it's a more gentle increase in school size - the lowers tend to be pretty small mostly only 1 or 2 form entry, middle school then a step up to 500ish pupils and then upper at 1200 or whatever. It does have disadvantages - mostly as there are very few places still operating like this, so it can be difficult to attract staff. There's also the background worry that at some point they may switch to 2 tier which will cause disruption.

Although LB is a market town, you need to appreciate there are a LOT more houses here than there were 10 year ago. The amount of building work has been huge and the infrastructure isn't quite there yet. We really could do with another leisure centre / pool and another route over the canal between Linslade and Leighton - the traffic can be horrendous!

Milton Keynes is worth looking at too. Loads to do there and the houses are a good deal cheaper than LB in most areas. There are some grids you'd probably want to avoid, but there are some really nice areas with excellent schools. smile

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