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St Albans??

(23 Posts)
SuperPug Wed 10-May-17 23:05:35

DH and I have been deliberating over where to move for a year. MK, Surrey etc but have to be realistic about jobs.
Currently in NW London, have been visiting St Albans on and off, really love it and would like to move there. It's very good for my current job.
I'm aware there are several threads up but all seem to be focused on schools. This would be relevant but not right now.
We hope to rent and then buy after a year. How have other MNetters found it pre kids? Oaklands College seems to run some great courses and a lot seems to be going on. We will be living in the centre.
In terms of the Thames link train, is this awful past seven am? I used to catch it a few stops up several years ago and it was only really bad when trains were cancelled.
TIA.

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 07:22:48

Hopeful bump...

Mothervulva Thu 11-May-17 07:43:00

Bumping for you...

Don't live there, but know a few people who have 'made the move' from London. There's a good range of shops and the better chain restaurants and they enjoy living there. (Moved whilst pregnant).
Not massively helpful, sorry!

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 07:53:13

Thanks mother smile

Notonthestairs Thu 11-May-17 15:13:22

I like Dt Albans but then I have kids and it's great for that! You haven't really said what you want from it.
It has a good selection of restaurants, plenty of good pubs, access to nice countryside, decent cinema and gets a good selection of comics at the arena. And it has kings cross 22 mins away.
But property is hideously expensive, trains packed from 7.15, rail network all that reliable and the roads are very congested.
Would you rent first? Try before you buy.

Notonthestairs Thu 11-May-17 15:13:54

That should read "not all that reliable"!

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 15:25:53

Definitely renting first and want to buy later on. We can afford 2bed to buy but no more than that and that is fine for us at the moment.
Sorry, I have been a bit vague! Kids probably in the next couple of years but not right now , somewhere friendly and easy to take part in different hobbies like art, dance etc. Good to know about the trains and remember some issues when getting on at Mill Hill but not really awful. I will only be on the train for a few stops anyway although DH will be travelling through to South London.

Splinters6 Thu 11-May-17 16:21:30

I didn't like St Albans. Too busy and overcrowded. We much preferred Berkhamsted as it felt there was more countryside on our doorstep plus the train commute into Town was much calmer though still fast.

Splinters6 Thu 11-May-17 16:22:55

Plus for the long term, in Berko you have the choice of the Indy school, the comp or the grammar in Chesham which is great.

Teabagtits Thu 11-May-17 16:23:06

I grew up there and loved it but would prefer as an adult harpenden or some of the quieter towns nearby.

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 16:27:44

Thanks very much splinter and tea.
Annoyingly, a job in my sector came up in Berkhamsted but I don't think I would have got it.
Don't mind the busy aspect as I've lived in N London for most of my life. I don't drive and we are hoping to be near the station.
I guess my main concern, at the moment, is whether there is enough to do, having been in London for so long.
I work in N London and I'm really not keen on where we live at the moment - hugely overcrowded and lots of social issues.
I think another worry is whether people are fairly insular in a smaller city? I guess it's what you put into it as well?

HerSymphonyAndSong Thu 11-May-17 16:33:10

I have lived in both berkhamsted and St Albans without children, and St Albans is much better in that respect, with more people at the pre-kids life stage

Thameslink starts to get busier after 7.30ish, dp used to get a seat at or around 7am

Dozer Thu 11-May-17 16:37:16

Trainline is one of the most expensive in the commuterbelt.

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 17:12:09

Thanks Her, that's good to know.
Dozer, thankfully I'm fairly near but will be quite a bit more for DH. Trying to weigh that against quality of life here though.

Notonthestairs Thu 11-May-17 17:29:46

Most people living in St Albans will have jobs in London (pretty much the only way to afford a mortgage here!) which means it doesn't feel all that insular.
It has a couple of nightclubs but I can't pretend to recommend them. There are art classes (art shed is worth a look), no idea about dance.
We go out in London regularly - it doesn't take much longer to get home than it did in Zone 2.
I love it but I was very ready when we left London and it still took me a good year to get used to the lack of police helicopters overhead! .
It is a market town at heart, the local headlines generally hinge on planning laws, litter, cycle paths and most recently dog poo (that might be a bit unfair but you get the idea.)
Renting would be best.

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 17:45:13

Notonthestairs, that sounds good to me smile
I'll check out art shed.

TheNaze73 Thu 11-May-17 17:48:54

St Albans & Harpenden are both really nice. When I lived in London, it was a toss up between the two when I was moving out when I was going north but, went east In the end

tiba Thu 11-May-17 18:09:49

Love St Albans and Harpenden.

Ended up renting in Berkhamsted for a year which I loved too.

Now we are buying we unfortunately can't afford any of these places so are looking in Tring and Hemel Hempstead instead.

One day hope to be able to buy in St Albans or Berkhamsted

TisapityshesaGeordie Thu 11-May-17 18:29:00

St Albans is where North Londoners come to breed. We swim up river like salmon and spawn.

I love it here, it's a great place to raise a family and there's loads to do. Several theatres. The Arena gets some great live acts - opera, ballet, big name comedians. Restaurants are mostly chains, tbh, but there are hidden gems, and loads of lovely, independent cafes. They're building a new museum in the city centre, and there's a Roman one near by. Beautiful cathedral. Couple of small art galleries. Loads of markets - the "normal" one twice a week, a farmers market once a month, and a continental one once a quarter.

All that, and if you ever do get bored, you can be in central London in 20 minutes.

Just be prepared for the property prices...they are eye-watering.

Kokusai Thu 11-May-17 18:47:29

St Albans is where North Londoners come to breed. We swim up river like salmon and spawn.

I love this!

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 21:16:05

Thank you for the recommendations.
Tisapity, that's it grin. Didn't know about a new museum etc.
We've just put in an application for tenancy to see what it's like for a year (suggestions above helped me to decide) fingers crossed...

TisapityshesaGeordie Thu 11-May-17 21:29:25

Feel free to PM me for tips once you get here smile

SuperPug Thu 11-May-17 21:49:21

Thank you, will do.smile Hopefully it gets accepted tomorrow.

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