Moving and commuting to London(48 Posts)
I am from New Zealand living abroad with a 2 year old, 5 month old and a dog. Just doing some research as my husband has told me his business might be moving him to work in London in April. I would really appreciate any recommendations or suggestions for good areas to live and commute to London. We would like to live no more than 1 hour out of the city by rail.
A friend has already suggested Surrey, specifically Guildford - although google research says it is expensive to live? Online it looks lovely!
We would like to rent somewhere that is walking distance (15-20mins) to the train station. With good preschools / primary schools as hubby’s work contract will be minimum 3 years. We are looking for a good places to walk the dog but still close enough to put both children in the stroller and get to the supermarket / farmers market / basic shops. As I taught Drama and a Theatre before having kids, I’d also love to live somewhere that has a least a small theatre close by to get my art fix ☺️
The big swing factor here is where in London his work will be based. Do you know?
Where will he be based and what's your budget?
Have you been to London before? It's a big move over with young dc and losing your support network.
I'm an Aussie and live in London but had my dc here so havent had to leave support behind but a friend has and is struggling with that.
Have you thought about Brentwood? It’s 25 minutes to Liverpool St from Shenfield station, you’d also be on the new tube line when it opens.
Schools are good (grammar county plus some excellent comps around). There is a small theatre in the high street. Thorndon Country Park is just a few hundred metres walk from the high street and there is also Weald Country Park close by. Shopping in the area had declined but is now on the up, with a market in the high street several times a week and a superstore very centrally located.
I go there fairly regularly, so PM if you have any further questions.
There are many places that will meet your requirements in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire etc. I would strongly advise you look into renting something short term that you can use as a base to do more research and visit potential long-term homes. Does his company provide re-location support, if so get in touch with them to sort something out for the 1st 6 months or so?
Rental with a dog will greatly reduce your choice. Surrey is lovely and meets all your requirements if the commute works and you can afford it.
St Albans would suit you down to the ground - it has several markets including a farmer's market, and five theatres (former actor here ), and brilliant connections into London - but it's as expensive if not more so than Guildford.
I would also say that your DHs work location is critical. It can take as long/if not longer to get across London as the initial commute into London. You will ideally be located to commute into the 'right' mainline station in London, so that he doesn't then have another long journey to the 'right' part of London.
It depends on where in London DH is going to work. We live in zone 5 in London (in South Sutton, but Carshalton is also worth considering) and there are direct trains into several stations in central London. There is open countryside and a few farm shops within walking distance along with a big country park + golf courses etc. It's a short drive to the Surrey Hills and less than 1h to the coast. However, it's mega easy to get into central London too and commuting costs are a fraction of those in the commuter belt (as you're in zone 5). The schools are as good as they get (the local authority is in the top 3 in the country for attainment). There are several small local theatres but it's very easy to go into central London anyway. It a friendly, family-oriented area and it's actually pretty cheap - rent or purchase prices are lower than most of London or Surrey.
Depends where in London he's working. His commute will bring him into which station? Guildford brings you into Waterloo. Is that best.
Guildford is indeed lovely. Maybe a bit too far out? Too quiet?
Have you considered Twickenham, Kingston-Upon-Thames, weybridge (if you can afford it!!) or Wimbledon?
Horsell, a village suburb of woking..... best of both worlds. Convenience, commute, countryside, community.
Thank you for all the suggestions to date! Lots to go on and research. And thanks for your thoughts GreenPurpleRed, I am concerned about building my support network, I have travelled to the UK as a tourist and taken a school trip, but I’m very aware that visiting somewhere is so different from living there. We moved to Dubai 10 years ago and found that tough as well. I would really like to locate somewhere that has a good community feel and hope to make friends with other mummies with families. But I didn’t want to choose somewhrere too small and far out that it limits my options or is too much of a commute for DH.
My DH will be working from home but will need to travel into London for meetings, so this gives us a littlie bit of flexibility, but we still need to be central enough to ensure he’s not traveling across London for another 40mins.
Budget wise once again I have limited experience of what is typical in London. We had thought to get a minimum 3 bedroom plus garden around the £350 - 400 mark? Is this achievable?
Your budget for what you are looking for will be a problem. For example Tonbridge, to rent a 3/4 bedroom house will cost you over £1100. You won't find anywhere within 1hr commute to London for your budget.
Is that a week or a month? You won’t find anything decent in nice areas for anything like that a month, it’ll prob be £1200 minimum.
Is that budget per week or per month? As another poster said, it's not realistic if it's per month and you want a house.
You really need to know where your DH's meetings are likely to take place eg mostly City, Canary Wharf, West End etc. It can easily take 40m-1h to get from one side of London to the other and if he commutes to a North London station like Paddington then has to get South eg Canary Wharf it would add massively to his commute time.
£400 per week seems on the low side for a 3 bedroom house to me (but I live in London itself where prices are ridiculously high) but it is easy to research rental rates. Just use the property listing website Rightmove and search for 3 bed houses to rent in Guildford. You'll soon get an idea if your budget is realistic.
Excellent! Thanks LoveYouTimMinchin I’ll look at the rightmove site. Yes that number was weekly so I was thinking between £12,000-16,000 a month. But as you said I’ll jump on the website and get an idea from there. I looked at one called Zoopla, but had read reviews that Guildford was expensive so wasn’t sure what to compare it too. Now with all your kind advice I do. Thanks ladies!!
Have a look at Margate, very arty and up and coming. Direct rail links to London via high speed trains and certainly lots of places for Dog walking. There are some real bargains on the market at the moment and rental isn't too high.. there's been a huge shift of London folk moving here in the past year and the regeneration is amazing. I'm up the road in Westgate On Sea, we have a fabulous School (not huge and very friendly) and there's a real sense of community here.
Which I imagine won't be enough for 3 beds and a garden in a lot of places within an hour commute of London but am no expert.
There are a lot of Australians / New Zealanders in Milton Keynes (and the surrounds). It’s a 30 minute train commute to London Euston, has wide roads which I think is the draw from conversations with various friends from Australia, and you can get nice rented accomodation walking distance from the station.
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