Moving out of London - where to?

(120 Posts)
bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 11:26:17

DH and I currently live in a small 2 bed flat in very central London with a baby on the way. We are trying to shortlist places that we might like to move to in a year or so. Budget hopefully 500-600k or so.
DH grew up in beautiful rural Scotland and is craving more green space. I grew up in north London and love our friends, the community and the general feel. We're both liberal sorts of people.
Key points for us would be:
1. Good commute to London (city area, DH to Canary Wharf or city)
2. Feeling of space and greenery - decent sized house and garden and green space around
3. Fun young families - not too much Daily Mail!

I'd be very grateful for any thoughts!

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FiveGensOfLove Sat 20-Jun-20 12:16:12

Sussex/Essex borders? South Cambs? Both will take you on the train line into Liverpool Street, and both are good for young families while having lovely rural feel. Good schools too.

I think you’ll struggle to escape ‘Daily Mail’ out of London tho! Although they won’t be problem neighbours, at least, and keep their hedges tidy grin

Depends on your budget and what you’re looking for....

FiveGensOfLove Sat 20-Jun-20 12:17:48

Sorry, just saw you did specify budget. You’ll get a decent 3/4 bed for that in those areas. I’d avoid proper commuter territory in the Home Counties as the commute would be less easy and prices higher

bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 12:24:43

This is very helpful, thanks!!
Do you have them names of any villages/towns we could look at specifically?

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Lightsabre Sat 20-Jun-20 12:25:49

I would look SE for that budget. Blackheath/Greenwich/Charlton all very good for a Canary Wharf commute, good schools and transport, thevriver, Greenwich Park and tons going on. Charlton is cheaper than the other two but has solid Victorian houses in your price range. Sevenoaks if you want a small town feel although your budget might not get you much there. Or maybe somewhere like Petts Wood/Orpington/Sidcup/Bromley - safe, pleasant towns with excellent schools and short journeys to CW and Central London.

Or you could look East - Highams Park seems to get good reviews on here.

I don't think you'll get a house in North or West London on that budget unless it's a gritty area.

Lightsabre Sat 20-Jun-20 12:28:45

Further out, places like Horsham are commuter corridors but are pleasant places. The commute costs ramp up obviously the further out you go so don't forget to factor that in.

bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 12:29:35

Great thoughts, thanks. My feel is DH might want a bit more rural...Bromley could be a good compromise though. How about Lingfield/Tunbridge Wells?

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FiveGensOfLove Sat 20-Jun-20 12:31:19

I hear the villages around Sudbury in Suffolk are lovely (and I think in catchment for the very good grammar schools in Colchester), and in South Cambs people on here rave about Royston, Saffron Waldon etc. Don’t know them personally, though.

FiveGensOfLove Sat 20-Jun-20 12:33:07

I wouldn’t call Bromley rural, btw.... South East London is cheap but it’s very suburban still.

You could look at Sussex too but you’d be relying on Southern Rail, which is dire, and house prices are not dissimilar to the capital. It’s beautiful, though, and good access to the coast.

bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 12:37:28

These are all great ideas. We're thinking of driving out to Lingfield next weekend to have a look as the commute looks great, but schools I'm not sure about. Kent definitely appeals too due to the schools.
I love the idea of Sussex, just wondering about reality of us both commuting to London from there.

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Chilly567 Sat 20-Jun-20 12:38:26

Another vote for Petts Wood/Chislehurst. Lots of woods and fields within a 5-10 minute walk and we can drive to open countryside in less than 10 mins. Very safe with quite a villagey feel. Very good commuting options and you could get a 3 bed house for your budget.

Lobsterquadrille2 Sat 20-Jun-20 12:40:40

I live in Tunbridge Wells - grew up here and returned after years in London and overseas. I really like the open common, green areas, schools, commute to the City is about 50 minutes (I live very close to TW station). I would really recommend it although I am not sure about "liberal" in some areas. DD went to private primary and I was in a minority of one as sole parent who worked full time. Lovely school though.

bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 12:47:27

Thanks so much. Like sound of Petts Wood and Chislehurst! Tunbridge Wells sounds fab too - in terms of "liberalness" as long as I can find some nice friends to have fun with that's all that matters really.

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BurningGubbins Sat 20-Jun-20 12:47:52

We were in the same position as you a few years ago and went for Bromley. An expensive mistake - nice on the face of it but it’s an identikit town, you could be anywhere. Plenty of Daily Mail types round there too. Avoid!

bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 12:57:12


We were in the same position as you a few years ago and went for Bromley. An expensive mistake - nice on the face of it but it’s an identikit town, you could be anywhere. Plenty of Daily Mail types round there too. Avoid!

Thanks - this is interesting and I do definitely fear making an expensive mistake! Did you live again in the end?

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bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 12:58:29

*move again!!!

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TwoKidsStillStanding Sat 20-Jun-20 12:58:34

Herts/Essex/South Cambridgeshire borders might be a good option.

Bishops Stortford is excellent for schools and you would get a decent sized house for that sort of money. 40 minutes or thereabouts to Liverpool Street on the train but the commute is pricey (around £5-6k per year). Easy access to the countryside.

If the commute is less than daily, or only for one of you, you might want to look at villages nearby or at places like Elsenham, Saffron Walden (nearest station Audley End) or Great Dunmow. More house but a longer/more expensive commute and for the latter two you’d need to factor in the cost of parking at the station.

Basically, if you want countryside, you probably need to fork out for the commute. If you’re happy with green suburbia, then you could look to stay within the TfL zone.

Susanna85 Sat 20-Jun-20 13:09:17

Hertfordshire excellent schools in hertford. Family vibe. Quite easy into London with 2 trainlines in. One goes to Morgate the other Liverpool St.

Lobsterquadrille2 Sat 20-Jun-20 13:12:24


Thanks so much. Like sound of Petts Wood and Chislehurst! Tunbridge Wells sounds fab too - in terms of "liberalness" as long as I can find some nice friends to have fun with that's all that matters really.

You would definitely find nice friends in Tunbridge Wells and I don't know anyone who admits to reading the Daily Mail!

Desiringonlychild Sat 20-Jun-20 13:15:47

High Barnet? Zone 5, good schools (QE Girls, QE Boys) and accessible on the northern line.

I live down the line at East Finchley and north london is not a daily mail type area at all, so I don't think it can be too different as it is only 20 minutes away. It seems to have a good high street.

sleepismysuperpower1 Sat 20-Jun-20 13:21:17


AJPTaylor Sat 20-Jun-20 13:34:18

I wouldn't describe Tunbridge Wells as liberal. Bonkers middle class obsessed with range rovers, house prices and the eleven plus is how I would describe it. But each to their own!

bertiebadger Sat 20-Jun-20 14:28:13

Interesting thoughts, thanks everyone. Will definitely check out all these places

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BurningGubbins Sat 20-Jun-20 14:38:24

@bertiebadger We did end up moving, but because we were leaving the UK. We’re back now but have not gone back to Bromley - it was a good chance for a fresh start. We’re somewhere with a longer commute now and hoping that the shift to home working will last!

Lightsabre Sat 20-Jun-20 14:54:06

Tunbridge Wells is solidly middle class Tory territory! Not very diverse either. However it has lots of independent shops, great schools and countryside on the doorstep with the seaside a short distance away too.

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