Does this place exist?

(108 Posts)
babymakesfive Thu 30-Jul-20 21:34:40

Hi! We're back to the UK after a number of years overseas, and frantically trying to find the place to move to!

Criteria:
- Picturesque/charming/very pretty town or large village
- Great public schools (DC will be joining in September so will need more than one good option as they will surely be waitlisted). DC in primary now but good secondary options a bonus
- With a buzzing high street or near a city that has lots to do
- Within reasonable commuting distance from London (the City) for a 2 or 3x a week journey in
- Safe
- Friendly and welcoming locals!
- Nature nearby for hikes etc

We've looked at St Albans and Winchester, would love other suggestions. Thank you in advance!

OP’s posts: |
babymakesfive Thu 30-Jul-20 21:35:17

I should add that we have a decent budget for rental, up to 4k a month or so

OP’s posts: |
BlueCowWonders Thu 30-Jul-20 21:47:06

Did you mean public schools? Or state schools?
Makes a huge difference 😄
St Albans is lovely and a short train journey straight into the City- no tube needed.

JoJoSM2 Thu 30-Jul-20 21:50:25

My favourite commuter belt town is Reigate. It’s smaller than St Albans or Winchester. However, it’s cute, with quite a cool, thriving high street from which you can literally walk into the countryside. You’re also on the edge of the Surrey Hills (AONB) The trains go into Victoria but you can change at Redhill for London Bridge or the Thameslink.

IlanaWexler Thu 30-Jul-20 21:51:49

St Albans is great if you can afford it. Hitchin also ticks all of your boxes and is slightly more affordable.

JoJoSM2 Thu 30-Jul-20 21:52:00

I also wondered if you meant state schools?

Baxdream Thu 30-Jul-20 21:52:45

Faversham?

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babymakesfive Thu 30-Jul-20 22:39:14

Sorry! I mean state schools... been living in the US and over there, state schools are called 'public schools!' blush

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JaJaDingDong Thu 30-Jul-20 22:42:52

Marlborough.

GreekOddess Thu 30-Jul-20 22:45:07

Beaconsfield
Berkhamsted

Pippioddstocking Thu 30-Jul-20 22:54:16

Winchester has the best state schools and sixth form colleges, hardly anyone bothers to go private even when they can afford it .
I'm not sure I would call it " buzzing " though .

AmandaHugenkiss Fri 31-Jul-20 10:03:58

There are some cute villages near Cambridge that would tick those boxes, and the line from Cambridge runs down to Liverpool St direct, going through some nice towns.

BeijingBikini Fri 31-Jul-20 10:18:36

You've just described Hitchin

DiddlySquatty Fri 31-Jul-20 18:44:53

Petersfield area? (Hampshire/Surrey/West Sussex border).
Fast train 55mins to Waterloo I think.
Ticks the schools box and the nature one (South Downs national park) and near the coast too.

Duvetdweller Fri 31-Jul-20 18:50:09

Do you want to be in the south? You can get the train from Wilmslow and be at Euston in less than 2 hours. Alderley Edge might fit your brief

Beetle76 Fri 31-Jul-20 19:08:04

Arundel? But it might be too far south? Another PP mentioned Berkhampstead, it was on our list but we never got around to looking at it.
Godalming/Guildford always seem popular, as is Farnham. Cranleigh or Dorking also come to mind in that area. Classic commuter belt. Loads of similar villages on or near to the Portsmouth line. (But not sure what your definition of “buzzy” is)

JorisBonson Fri 31-Jul-20 19:13:40

Canterbury

Treacletoots Fri 31-Jul-20 19:26:30

You've just described the Vale of Belvoir TBH.

Almost all schools are Outstanding, it's 55 mins on the train to London from Grantham, you're surrounded by the best countryside in the UK. (I'm biased) and you've got Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln all within 30 mins drive.

House prices can vary but are comparable to the South as it's very desirable. If you're prepared to be a little more remote then bargains to be had.

FinallyHere Fri 31-Jul-20 19:44:52

Oundle.
https://www.oundle.info

Oundle
https://www.oundleschool.org.uk

Commute from Peterborough.

MrsBobDylan Fri 31-Jul-20 21:16:21

Harpenden has brilliant schools, great high street, very nice community. I loath St Albans which isn't a problem since it is about 400k out of my budget 🤣

babymakesfive Fri 31-Jul-20 23:15:14

MrsBobDylan

Harpenden has brilliant schools, great high street, very nice community. I loath St Albans which isn't a problem since it is about 400k out of my budget 🤣

Curious, what is it about St.Albans that you loathe?

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babymakesfive Fri 31-Jul-20 23:16:39

Beetle76

Arundel? But it might be too far south? Another PP mentioned Berkhampstead, it was on our list but we never got around to looking at it.
Godalming/Guildford always seem popular, as is Farnham. Cranleigh or Dorking also come to mind in that area. Classic commuter belt. Loads of similar villages on or near to the Portsmouth line. (But not sure what your definition of “buzzy” is)

Arundel looks lovely! The train seems to take around 90 minutes to London, which is probably half an hour too long for DH to stomach, sadly.

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babymakesfive Fri 31-Jul-20 23:18:18

Pippioddstocking

Winchester has the best state schools and sixth form colleges, hardly anyone bothers to go private even when they can afford it .
I'm not sure I would call it " buzzing " though .

I love Winchester! Just got the list of school places from the local council, though... the waiting lists are HUGE! 25 kids waitlisted for year 5 in some of them. I worry we would only get in to the one nobody wants to send their kids to.

OP’s posts: |
babymakesfive Fri 31-Jul-20 23:18:58

JoJoSM2

My favourite commuter belt town is Reigate. It’s smaller than St Albans or Winchester. However, it’s cute, with quite a cool, thriving high street from which you can literally walk into the countryside. You’re also on the edge of the Surrey Hills (AONB) The trains go into Victoria but you can change at Redhill for London Bridge or the Thameslink.

Going to check out Reigate this weekend, thank you!

OP’s posts: |
MiniMaxi Fri 31-Jul-20 23:20:36

How about Oxford?

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