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Choosing where to live: distance to tube station vs distance to school?

(16 Posts)
ParentOfOne Mon 20-Nov-17 11:40:22

Partner and I have decided we want to move to another area of London, as we have recently both changed jobs and commuting has become a bit too long for both of us.
We have found a property to buy that we really like and is within our budget. It is about 150 metres from a primary state school rated outstanding, so admission should be pretty much guaranteed. The only thing we don’t like is that it’s 1.2 km (0.75 miles) from the tube station. We timed ourselves and it takes between 12 and 15 minutes to walk there; there are no busses to the station.

Of course this is very subjective, but I’m curious to hear opinions. Would you say that a 15-minute walk to the station is too much? On one hand it kind of defies somewhat the point of shortening our commutes, especially when you are rushing to work after dropping off a child at school etc.: if we lived next to the station, our commute would be 30 minutes less, this way it would be 15 minutes less, which is not much; on the other hand it seems a reasonable price to pay to be so close to an outstanding school.

Staying where we are is not an option, for a number of reasons. We have been keeping an eye on the local market for more than one year, and properties like this are quite rare. We’d need to have moved by next September for school applications, so, given how long a chain may take, the most realistic alternative would be to rent somewhere in the area, but we’d have to do it for a couple of years (can’t buy and move out during the school application process), which would be expensive.


WhistlingBrooks Mon 20-Nov-17 11:59:58

Personally I’d value the comfort of dropping the kids to school within a short distance over my own commute.
In my view, having the kids’ school very close has distinct advantages. Not needing to put them in the car/bus etc saves a lot of time, as everything with kids takes longer than for adults.
A house within such a short distance of an outstanding school, will always hold value (if school maintains being outstanding/good). After school events (e.g. parent teacher meetings ) that are held in school premises, would mean that you are close to home anyway, thus not needing an extra travel.

I’d say 15 minutes walk to the station ( should be London standard I’d think?)

I have only recently moved to a house that oversees my child’s school. There is not a single day that I don’t congratulate myself on my ‘wise’ decision.

Closetlibrarian Mon 20-Nov-17 12:08:52

You're kidding, right? 12-15 minutes is nothing. If it really bothers you, buy a bike (either a folding one, or one that you leave locked up outside the station).

SilverSpot Mon 20-Nov-17 12:11:28

Something has to give unless you use a massive budget. Personally I'd take proximity to the school given you have children.

Wear trainers. Get walking fast. Enjoy the exercise.

Are there busses into town or to other stations?

I'm 8 mins (fast) walk from one station and 18 mins from another one that is better for work. I like the walk in the morning but I'm the evening it's slightly annoying. I'd rather live seconds from a tube station but I didn't have more cash so this was the compromise!

QuitMoaning Mon 20-Nov-17 12:12:04

My walk from station is 20/25 minutes.

To the station is about 15/20 minutes as it is downhill.....

To be fair in bad weather it is irritating but coupled with the 20 mins at other end it is good to get some exercise.

RidiculousDiversion Mon 20-Nov-17 12:12:47

How much do you use the tube outside commuting, and whether you both have to commute every day (might you from home, or part-time)? If the tube is your main transport, then the location (with no buses) would put me off. If you mostly could get buses / drive easily to all your non-work commitments, it's much less of a big deal.

chewiecat Mon 20-Nov-17 12:13:09

15 minutes is nothing... maybe get a bike as pp suggested or a little scooter thing so you can get to the station quicker. Also think of how many steps you will have on your Fitbit grin

Being so close to a good school is great

KyloRensLightsaber Mon 20-Nov-17 12:24:33

Definitely the right choice to be close to the school and this distance from tube, I wouldn’t even consider it.

I live almost exactly that distance from the tube and it’s totally fine. Before I lived 5 mins from one.

Something has to be a compromise in a house, I’d say that’s a pretty good compromise!

TurquoiseDress Mon 20-Nov-17 12:25:44


For me, the proximity to the outstanding primary school would trump the walk to the tube station.

From the sounds of things, getting your child into a decent school/the one you want in London can be a bit of a nightmare!

It sounds like you would be v close to the school and hopefully would get in.
That would swing it for me.

We are applying for primary schools soon and are also trying to buy in SE London- we are FTBs.

Despite the doom & gloom predictions, we are keen to buy- mainly to get away from renting.

I would say go for it!

specialsubject Mon 20-Nov-17 12:26:46

assuming you are able-bodied - total non issue with this tiny distance.

wear normal shoes, not staggerers,and make the most of some free exercise.

I thought Londoners were happy with walking?

150 metres from the school might get irritating though - bad parking, litter, noise. Your kids won't be attending it forever.

ParentOfOne Mon 20-Nov-17 12:50:28

Thanks for all the feedback.

We don’t have a car, nor do we plan to get one in the near future. All the transport links (busses and tube) are where the tube station is. There are no bus stops near the property. In fact, there isn’t much of anything near the property: just the school, a corner shop and a hairdresser.

The 1.2km distance can easily be the equivalent of two tube stops; e.g. that’s the exact distance between Marble Arch and Oxford Circus on the central line (two stops – Bond street is in the middle).

The distinction between those who have reproduced and those who have not is clear smile Friends with no kids wouldn’t like the idea of living this far from the tube (or think the price should be much lower), whereas most friends with kids find the proximity to an outstanding school more valuable.

Personally, I am not obsessed with school rankings etc., but I am terrified at the risk of being assigned a school that’s miles away because all the local ones were oversubscribed – that would be a logistical nightmare.

We’d take the tube ourselves every day Monday to Friday to go to work, and tube or busses at weekends with the little one to get around London, visit friends, etc. I mind distance to the tube more than distance to the high street: it’s nice to walk at weekends but less so when you are rushing to/from work, but, granted, something’s gotta give.
To be fair it’s not only a matter of budget, but also of time available and of limited stock: most housing stock in London is quite poor and, even with a bigger budget, there would be no guarantee of finding a better place in the timeframe we have in mind. The most likely alternative would be renting, but like I said, it would have to be for 18-24 months and would be considerably more expensive, unless house prices crash big time in the meanwhile – oh, where is a crystal ball when you need one?

RidiculousDiversion Mon 20-Nov-17 15:03:01

I have kids! That's why I asked about other travel - having to cajole a tired 5yo to walk 1.2km from tube to house after a long day with family / on a trip / whatever is really hard going. I used a sling on my back for exactly that reason right up to 4yo, just for that last walk at the end of the day when their legs give out.

It's a tricky one - school places are important so it might be worth sucking it up for a few years, but not planning on being there forever. Or perhaps using a car club, if there's one nearby? Though that's tricky unless you've got two adults available whenever you need a car (one to get the car, one to stay with the kids) as you can't carry two HBBs to the hire car, and you can't bring the kids back in the car without car seats...

Closetlibrarian Mon 20-Nov-17 15:17:01

Have you actually visited the school? Just because it’s ‘outstanding’ doesn’t mean it’ll be right for your DC. Most schools are doing their open days at the moment...

anastasiakrupnik Mon 20-Nov-17 16:16:36

Even if you lived nextdoor to the tube one of uou would have to do school dropoff anyway, which could easily be a 15min walk from another property. Live nr school and you don’t have a multipart round trip. We’re applying to schools and 5 of 6 nearest are all 12/15 mins walk, only 1 of which could be considered vaguely in the direction of the tube, which is also 10mins away. Def nr school (but check past admissions distances to be sure 150m is nr enough to get in)

lalalonglegs Mon 20-Nov-17 16:17:11

1.2km might be the distance between two tube stations in central London but outside zone 1, tube stations are much further apart (I'm zone 2 and my nearest station is 1.75km from the next one along). Honestly, a 12-minute walk is nothing. If you work somewhere that demands a certain dress code, buy yourself a smart tote that will hold "nice shoes" and wear trainers to the station. As for children walking to the station, most get used to it especially if you buy them scooters smile.

ParentOfOne Mon 20-Nov-17 20:00:26

I have heard good feedback about the school from people living in the area but we haven't had the chance to attend an open day. The first available slot will be in January, so we'll have to make a decision before then. I appreciate it's a risk, of course.

The main risk, however, is what happens to the housing market. If prices stay flat, selling now and renting for 18-24 months before buying again will be more expensive. But it doesn't take a massive drop in house prices (just a few percentage points) for renting to become the same cost, if not cheaper, than buying now (from the perspective of current homeowners who'd sell then rent for a while).

I'd ask my good friend in number 10 what she plans to do about Brexit , but it seems that even she doesn't have much of a clue! smile

Jokes aside, the truth is no one can know, of course. But I have digressed - this is a separate topic.

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