This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Welwyn garden city vs Hitchin vs Hertford?(32 Posts)
I’m looking to relocate from London to Hertfordshire but it’s so big I don’t know where to start. I have a 2yo daughter so good primaries and secondaries schools are important. My partner and I work in Central London (Bank and old street) so would need to be close to Station. Budget is 650k for 3-4 bed house with garden (terraced, semi, detached , don’t mind)
We have visited all 3 of these places and Hitchin is by far our favourite and ticks all our boxes but just struggling to find anything in our budget.
Found lovely houses in Hertford too but a bit put of with the 50 mins commute to London.
My partner really likes the idea of Welwyn garden city as it seems you can get a lot of house for your money and very easy commute to London. We would likely be on the west side. But I’m less keen as I didn’t feel it had as much going on as hitchin and Hertford. Also forgive me if I’m wrong but heard schools are not great In particularly secondaries with the exception of monks walk but there’s no guarantee daughter will get a place there.
Any mums here can help me ? Anyone know the west side of wgc? What’s it like, are there stuff going on?
Need to find more info on schools, catchment areas, community , pros and cons to each of these places. ect To help us make this decision.
Hi, I was bought up in WGC. Lived in Templewood/Pently Park area, really lovely. I think Templewood School was always desired, haven’t read recent Ofsted reports though. We attended the school many many years ago then Monks Walk. That area of WGC is pricey but it’s one of the best parts along with the Sherrards Park Road area, Mandeville Rise etc. You have the beautiful woods there too. WGC has a good town centre with a JL, Waitrose. The station with excellent run into London. Sports centre, Stanborough Lake. When we married we couldn’t afford to buy in WGC so we bought in Hitchin. A really lovely market town, great shops & cafes etc. As far as areas to live in there & schools I probably can’t tell you much as I’m a bit out of touch, we moved from there 25 years ago, we do visit family back in WGC & Hitchin though so I can ask questions if you pm me. Great train link to London from Hitchin. I can’t help much with Hertford, we used to visit many years ago, again very nice. Good luck with your search!
The problem with WGC is the lack of very good secondary schools. None of them are awful but they aren’t very good either - things could change over the next few years. As you have a DD you could consider Bishops Hatfield for secondary (many girls from WGC go there). Some children also go to Dame Alice Owen (selective school in Potters Bar).
You should be able to at least get a semi for your budget on the west side.
I would avoid WGC as it is becoming very rough. Sorry to be stereotypical however I moved from London and have lots of friends who bought places in WGC with kids and have regretted buying there due to teenage gangs/bad schools.
I would say Hitchin is by far the better option
Hitchin is lovely! I've lived there twice each time for 5 years. I really love it and miss it terribly. Try Knebworth? Excellent large village close by where we lived for 8 years. As for schools, bishops Hatfield is excellent and you can go to St Albans Girls school or Hitchin Girls if you want single sex then for secondary/ sixth form train to Cambridge. You may need to rent then swoop in and buy.
You should be able to get something in Hitchin for that budget- something like this would leave you enough to do it up to a very good standard.
Hitchin is by far and away the nicest of the places mentioned and there’s plenty in budget-
This: www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-80652559.html Is a great family home and massively under budget.
Or this: www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-80480359.html less than 1/2mile from the station, quirky and also hugely under budget.
There are some on budget ones too but they aren’t to my taste 🤣
The one of walsworth road particularly not my taste but great location.
Hitchen is considerably cheaper than Hertford and WGC is cheaper still.
Hitchen is the furthest north from London. The train into Kings Cross takes about an hour. The fast train from Hertford East into Liverpool Street takes about 40 minutes. Hertford has better schools in my opinion.
My choice in order would be Hertford, Hitchen and begrudgingly WGC.
Watton at Stone is on the Kings Cross line, so is Bayford, Cuffley etc.
From Hertford East you have Ware, St Margarets, Hoddesdon and Broxbourne. All very nice.
I wouldn't go any further than Broxbourne TBH
Sorry phone spelt Hitchen not Hitchin
Have you thought about St Albans? Quicker links into London, good state schools, nice feel to it.
Letchworth is also worth looking at - it’s a garden city the same as Welwyn but with better schools and cheaper.
Oh really that’s interesting! I didn’t feel it was rough when I visited but then again I just looked around town centre and felt it was too quiet .
Sorry that was replying to Barrett1 about wgc
Culuchaynjis I saw that one. We don’t want to do that much work. We currently live in a new build flat and just too inexperienced 😆 but have found this one near that house which looks nice.
Partner just has high expectations and keeps sending me gorgeous houses in Hertford a wgc which to be fair are beautiful but I’m trying to convince him hitchin is an amazing town to live with amazing schools
AppleKatie Yeah I looked at walsworth one and didn’t like it either. First one is too far for us but the bowsman one is perfect but partner is underwhelmed by it. I’m trying to convince hiM he’s not going to get an amazing house especially in sg4 catchment .
Sooverthemill The grandparents live in Knebworth and agree it’s lovely and easy commute but it’s just too quiet for us having lived in London for 15 years . That’s interesting about secondary schools. St Albans and hitchin girls would take kids from Knebworth? Didn’t realise catchment was so big
BayandBlonde Thanks for responding. I believe there’s a fast train to kings cross that takes 28 mins.
I didn’t find Hertford or wgc to be cheaper that hitchin. Especially once you factor in the proximity to station. Perhaps it’s just that there’s lack of property on the market in hitchin compared to Hertford and wgc
Don't forget if you use the Hertford East line it would drop you off in the City at Moorgate or Old Street so no tube or changes needed and you always get a seat as it starts there. You also have the alternative route from the other station at Hertford North if there are problems on the lines. There is very little ability to park at either station so you would have to walk though - perfectly doable as the town is small. The town centre is being redeveloped at the moment so its a bit desolate for shopping but there is a thriving night time economy, lots of restaurants and pubs/bars. Very safe too
Hitchin is also lovely but a bit "far out"?
I work in Welwyn and am very glad we never bought a house there although I do like the shops. Quite a few problems with youths around the hospital areas and local shopping centres. Schools aren't brilliant either. I would live in Hertford and shop in Welwyn.
Please feel free to message me if you want any more information.
toria658 Yes I love love love at Albans and ticks all my boxes but you just don’t get a lot of house for your money Within walking distance to station . For £650 you would get a 3 bed terraced house That’s well under 1000 sq foot and a small garden if your lucky
I live in Knebworth, am from North London London originally. Commuting is great, if you have a drive so no parking fees. Although a big village it has a great feel about it but St Albans, WGC are all close enough if you need a bit more. School wise, Hitchin Girls and Hitchin Boys are within catchment but villages are given proportional entry so some years more are let in than others so it's a bit chancy, some years only a couple of children get in. My boys go to Hitchin Boys and the train journey is cheaper than getting the buses to the more local schools! Bishops Hatfield Girls is also within catchment. Otherwise you will end up with the schools in the Stevenage area, which aren't so great imo. Local primary and another up the road in Woolmer Green which my children went to. I found it a good balance between all the areas. I disagree with the above post re WGC getting very rough. It's not as quietly gentle as when we first moved here but no means rough if you are from most parts of London.
Especially if you are looking at West Side which is still very quiet. The issue areas that verge into Hatfield are developing the issues re wannabe teen gangs. But in my experience this happens in most areas eventually.
Sluj that is a very good point. We would be able to walk from work from Moorgate and old street which would solve the commute problem. I did quite like Hertford good restaurant and bar scene like you said. Just felt that there was more going on in hitchin but definitely worth another look as it seemed a really nice town. Not too quiet and not too busy. Saw this right next to the station. We will book an appointment once lockdown is over
That's a nice house actually and right near to Hartham common which is where the outdoors life happens. Lots of wild swimming canoeing and fun going on there at the moment. More importantly its in the catchment for Simon Balle all through school so your little one starts at reception there and goes through to sixth form if they want to. Outstanding school. Did you know there is actually a day nursery in the Hertford East railway building?
Google Hartham and the Meads for a look at Hertford's playground.
Thanks everyone for your help. Think we have decided that it will be Hitchin or Hertford. Fingers crossed we will find something we both like.
sluj That’s great Simon balle is in catchment, heard great things about it and would really like my daughter to go there is we end up in Hertford. That nursery looks lovely too and being in the station would make my commute so much easier.
Still happy if you want to PM me. Happy house hunting