Help me choose a place to live - Hayes, Cheam, Horsham, Liphook... or somewhere else?

(28 Posts)
WinnieLoves Tue 27-Oct-20 10:58:07

Name changed for this.

We are moving from Croydon borough, from a town that gets disparaged whenever I see it mentioned on mumsnet. Main aim is to move somewhere with a safer and happier environment for teens to grow up in. We don't need (and can't afford) somewhere super nice, but most places further out of London will probably seem an upgrade from where we are now as it's very busy and city like with the usual crime, gangs, etc of your typical south east london town.

We would like to be within an hour of parents (Purley and Wimbledon) and would rather stay on the shorter side of that if we can.

Main priority is good co-ed Secondaries. (We don’t want to be in a grammar school or religious school stronghold, and we aren’t considering private). Doesn’t have to be Ofsted outstanding, just want a well regarded mixed sex non-selective school in / near a town that’s well connected for teenagers.

Walkable to a train station (AKA not completely out in the sticks so I become a full time taxi driver to my children).

Catchment for primary schools is not such a consideration as we will be doing in year transfers so it will be wherever has space.

Ruling out boroughs to the north of London and Essex as it’s too far from family. Aside from Bromley, Kent is mainly grammar so ruling out most of Kent, too.

Top budget £700k for 5 beds. Could maybe stretch to £750k for the right house. Happy to also look at lower budget fixer upper 3/4 beds that we can eventually extend into a 5 bed, ie over the garage and loft conversion.

Areas we are considering:

Hayes, Bromley

Close to where we live now, could even keep kids in same primary school which would minimise disruption and be a big bonus if there are a lack of school places (we have 3 children across different primary year groups to move). It’s been hard to find a house that fits our requirements, though. Been looking a few months and they are either too far from school catchment, tiny gardens, or too expensive for us. Hence now widening our search area.


Cheam high catchment. Good house and garden sizes within budget (although I suspect the houses I’ve seen on Rightmove are not on the ‘nice’ part of town. Good triangulation between family - 20 mins drive to both parents. I don't know much about this area but it's close to places I've lived / worked before like Kingston and Esher so I feel a bit of familiarity with the places we'd visit and shop etc.


Quite like the idea of being 30 mins from the coast (husband has ruled out Worthing as he doesn’t want a long commute - if he ever goes back to the office regularly post-covid). I know Tanbridge House is well regarded, but confused as to where you actually need to live in order to get in. And Bohunt Horsham is very new, but the Bohunt schools are usually decent so I’m sure it will do OK.

There seem to be masses of new builds in and around Horsham? Guessing the area has been massively developed recently with more to go - not sure what positives or negatives that has.

Liphook and Liss

Another Bohunt school option. Like the idea of being in a greener area, closer to the coast than we are now. Don’t mind quiet if there is a sense of community and big enough towns nearby for the kids to hang out (Guildford, Haslemere, Winchester, etc). Although given the choice would probably choose to stay closer to London and family if we can find a house within budget.

Would love any insights Mumsnetters have in regards to the places I've mentioned. And are there any other areas I should look at? Bonus points if house prices are lower than the ones I’ve listed here 🙏😂

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JoJoSM2 Tue 27-Oct-20 12:20:49

I can comment on Cheam. I’d say it’s definitely super nice for a family. Lovely village centre, great parks, just over a mile from the green belt countryside for bike rides and walks. There a David Lloyd, Nuffield Health and a public leisure centre, library. Lots do to for children eg. tennis, rugby and cricket clubs but also things like ballet, scouts, pottery cafe etc.
Sutton town centre is only a mile away with a cinema, wider range of shops and other amenities. It’s v safe so a nice spot for teens being independent.

It’s zone 5 with trains into London Victoria and London Bridge + a short bus ride/Uber to the tube. It’s probably a 15min drive to Wim Village and not too far from Purley either.

Cheam High is lovely but it has quite a small catchment. Right in the village bit or south of the station 700k won’t cut it.
It’s cheaper towards North Cheam, and some parts will still be under a mile from the station but many commuters just catch a bus to Morden from there instead. West Sutton could be an option too - I think there’s a Victorian 5 bed on Tate Rd on budget - comfortably in catchment and walkable to both, Cheam and Sutton stations.

sarahb083 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:01:17

Agree with @JoJoSM2 about Cheam, it's lovely. I'd consider expanding your search a bit as well - Worcester Park, Ewell, Epsom or even New Malden could work, or Sutton itself. I'd avoid Banstead to the south if you'll be commuting to London - the trains are very slow.

WinnieLoves Tue 27-Oct-20 13:13:21

Thanks both. Houses in Worcester Park, Stonleigh and Ewell also come up when searching on Rightmove for places close to Cheam High. Finding it quite difficult to work out a specific area to hone in on. Close to a station would be a bonus, and walkable to a high street (don't mind travelling to get to bigger shops / shopping centres etc but a coffee shop or two, supermarket and local pubs would be nice). I'll check out West Sutton, too.

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JoJoSM2 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:35:55

Epsom and New Malden are fab for single-sex schools. Banstead is pants for schools. Worcester Park a bit of a black hole unless you’re just in catchment for Cheam High and further from the station.

That’s the school distance checker for Sutton. I’d be surprised if you can get a place at Cheam High from Ewell.

Sutton also has Glenthorne High (co-ed, National teaching school with a Performing Arts Stream). The catchment is pretty affordable. Mostly 30’s suburbs, close to the sports village too but it’s past the ‘Asda End’ of Sutton High Street so doesn’t necessarily feel that fancy (a nice residential area, though, not dodgy/dirty/deprived and fundamentally fine).

Greenshaw High is another successful co-ed school. The Poet’s Estate (Shirley, Milton Ave as names suggests) would probably be within catchment and affordable. They’re on Sutton/Carshalton boarders. The latter has a charming village centre with a lot going on.

Finally, there’s the co-ed Harris Sutton near Royal Marsden. No exam results yet but it’s v popular already. Specialising in Science with amazing facilities. It’s located in a very affluent area and generally expected to be successful.

So generally worth exploring the whole area as apart from all the grammars, it’s fab for great co-ed secondaries.

JoJoSM2 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:45:42

Also, with family in Purley, have you considered Riddlesdown? They’ve now stopped the feeder system and admit on distance. Croydon still ends up the nearest big town centre, though.

peach1234 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:55:38

Ewell and stoneleigh don't have much around them although they're nice. Worcester Park has more of a high street that's also next to the the station, not amazing shops but there's a Waitrose, Superdrug, some beauty salons and a few chain restaurants like Nando's and pizza express etc. The 213 bus runs through Worcester park high st and is very good too, goes to cheam and sutton one way and new malden and Kingston the other direction so lots of choice of other town centres within easy access.
Cheam village (closer to the station/village the better in cheam) is really nice with cheam and nonsuch park nearby. North cheam is fine but not quite as nice.


peach1234 Tue 27-Oct-20 13:58:16

Meant to say the old malden end of Worcester park is really nice, really quiet and full of families and people that have lived in the area a long time and everyone's really friendly. Also towards stoneleigh in Worcester Park is nice too, down the avenue opposite the station.

WinnieLoves Tue 27-Oct-20 14:50:24

Thanks @JoJoSM2 will have a look at those schools you mentioned.

I am keeping an eye on Riddsledown area, although I didn’t know they’d changed the feeder school situation so that’s useful to know. Not so keen on Sanderstead though for various reasons (no pubs being one 😂)

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WinnieLoves Tue 27-Oct-20 14:52:19

@peach1234 thanks Peach that’s useful to know. So hard to get an idea of a place and the sense of community it has just by seeing some houses and driving around the area.

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friendlycat Tue 27-Oct-20 17:15:31

Hayes and Cheam both very nice and both have charm. Easy access from both into London and countryside. Can’t comment on Horsham.

Liphook and Liss both a completely different proposition as both rural. You will get far more for your budget but how rural do you want to be as there is such a difference from your first two choices. Liphook has had mass new build development that it’s almost become a new build country village. Yes it has a Sainsbury’s and a handful of very low key shops. Liss is very much a village with a Tesco Express and a few shops. Liss has more charm and is split into various sections Liss Village, West Liss and Liss Forest. Closest shopping the market town of Petersfield. You are in countryside proper in Liss and Liphook.
The coast is easy from these two. The stopping train longer into London as the fast doesn’t stop between these two stations.

My sister has lived in Hayes for years so I know it well and grew up nearby. I worked near Cheam for years. I now live in Hampshire near to Liss having moved out of London. There is a World of difference from your current location , Hayes and Cheam to rural living in Liss or Liphook. Public transport really isn’t great for teenagers. Buses infrequent, stop early and fairly non existent on Sundays. You will be a taxi service. As long as that’s the country life you want all fine.

Londonmummy66 Tue 27-Oct-20 17:33:47

If you are looking at Liss/Liphook then you might just as well look to Petersfield as the fast rains stop there so the journey is much the same. It is less villagey and more town like than Liss and Liphook.

WinnieLoves Tue 27-Oct-20 19:58:22

Thanks @friendlycat I figured they would use the train line that runs between Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, haslemere, Guildford etc to get about, but I suppose that relies on their friends living walking distance to the train stations, too. It certainly would be a big change from where we live now and some of the other places we are considering. But might be the only one on our current list where we can actually get nearly everything we want in a house for the budget we have. Me and DH don’t mind being that bit more rural, but not sure about the kids.

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WinnieLoves Tue 27-Oct-20 19:59:38

@Londonmummy66 thank you. I mentioned Liss and Liphook because they are catchment for Bohunt. Haven’t researched the schools near Petersfield yet.

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friendlycat Tue 27-Oct-20 21:33:18

I actually live in Petersfield and moved from Wandsworth to here. We don’t have children so I can’t really comment much on schools. Though I know some people here have children at Bohunt.
I still struggle a bit with the rural side even though there’s lots to love! It’s so, so different from London and surrounding areas. If I was a teenager I would have hated being moved this rural. I’m adapting but it’s a slow process.

If it were me with Teenage children (Moving from Croydon) I would plump for Hayes and then a close second Cheam, unless you all have a real desire for rural country living. There’s just not the same amount of things for teenagers to do and public transport is an issue unless all friends live near stations. Ubers don’t exist, mini cabs cost a fortune, buses run but even say Midhurst to Haslemere the last bus is 7pm at night, the bus to Winchester may be one per hour etc.

gubbbbbddaaaa Tue 27-Oct-20 21:42:31

I live in Horsham , dd went to THS. You need to live near and around that side of Horsham and Broadbridge Heath for the catchment . There is also an exceptional girls school the other side . It is expensive though you would get a house for your budget .

gubbbbbddaaaa Tue 27-Oct-20 21:45:32

An example of a 5 bed in THS catchment

Be aware the houses near the station won't be catchment and this is a car / bus ride away with limited parking at the station .

WinnieLoves Wed 28-Oct-20 08:17:41

@gubbbbbddaaaa Thanks for the info. So houses near the station won't be in catchment for THS? In contrast, I'm guessing the Bohunt catchment probably goes out quite wide at the moment? Would love to hear more about what you like about living in Horsham, we are hoping to visit the area in the next few weeks but it's not a town I know too much about.

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gubbbbbddaaaa Wed 28-Oct-20 15:58:49

Well it's pretty dull but safe , the town is very un exciting but if you like coffee shops then it's your place ! Brighton , Guildford and Crawley are all very near though so easily accessible for better shopping .
Houses near the station will be catchment for Millais , forest and bohunt( which is currently in porta cabins somewhere near there ) .
The college is exceptional ( Collyers ) which serves all the schools and is near the station . Any more questions I'm happy to answer .

gubbbbbddaaaa Wed 28-Oct-20 16:31:17

@WinnieLoves sorry should have tagged you . Pm
Me if you want to .

Murmurur Wed 28-Oct-20 17:27:17

I can't comment on places closer to London but agree with PP that Petersfield might be more what you're looking for than Liphook or certainly Liss. I'd pick the Petersfield School over Bohunt too but others may say different. Petersfield has tonnes of pubs and restaurants. Nothing wrong with Liphook IMO and it's not what I'd call rural but I think your kids would find it more limiting.

WinnieLoves Fri 30-Oct-20 15:13:42

Thank you @Murmurur I've had a bit more of a look at Petersfield now and also The Petersfield School. Looks like a nice place to live with a bit more going on. What do you like about TPS over Bohunt?

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househunting19 Fri 30-Oct-20 17:08:44

Here are some options - all within 60min to Wimbledon and Purley and close to good secondaries + public transport.

Some areas that came up which you hadn't previously mentioned were Mitcham and Sutton.

Here's an option in Streatham that's close to the station and also two outstanding secondaries.

WinnieLoves Fri 30-Oct-20 17:52:19

@househunting19 Thanks. That Streatham house is similar to the house we have now (if we converted the loft), except ours is valued at £500k. Looking for something that gives us a bit more space inside and outside all round, and definitely quieter and further out of London than Streatham. We live only about 15 mins from there now and that’s part of the challenge we have really - most of the neighbouring areas are 100k - 200k more for the same sort of house we have now. So I think we need to go further out to get make an upsize move rather than a lateral move, but not TOO far out if possible.

I’ll have a look at the other link you posted

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JoJoSM2 Fri 30-Oct-20 18:31:18

This house came on today and made me think of this thread. It’s in the perfect location for Cheam Village, Cheam High, the station and very close to the parks too.

That quadrant of roads is still relatively cheap but the houses tend to sell like hot cakes.

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