First time buyers relocating to Market Harborough or Uppingham, advice?

(54 Posts)
Nightshade26 Tue 13-Apr-21 13:20:07

Good afternoon, Mumsnetters!

I'm a long time lurker who, until now, didn't have an account. I've found all your insight and community both helpful and inspiring while trying to narrow down areas in which to relocate or to buy.

We're based in the South East and, like most people who rent here, we've been completely priced out of the property market. There's just no question, anymore. We'd love to stay here with our support network, family, and friends, but this is the sad reality of low wages and sky-high property prices.

Since the big C hit in 2020, DH and I have been working from home. Our company has dragged its feet coming to decision about whether this will be a forever situation, but all signs say that it will be. The company have indicated that, as long as we can make it into an office site once a month, they can't tie us down to living within X miles of an office.

Now, to the material point.

Because of the C-who-shall-not-be-named, we haven't been able to leave our area to explore where we might relocate to. We've relied entirely on google maps, crime statistics, reviews and, of course, the good word of mumsnetters to get an idea of what it's like to really live in certain areas.

DH and I are quite taken with the idea of Market Harborough.

It reminds me of my childhood in and around certain parts of Devon, it seems to have a nice sense of community and, most importantly, we could afford a two to three bedroom house with a garage (garage is very important to DH). We both understand that it is considered a more expensive part of the general area but, believe me, it doesn't have a patch on our current location.

In fact, we are so indoctrinated into the idea that a house is beyond our means that we question what might be wrong with it if we can afford it!

The other advantage of Market Harbs is, of course, the high speed rail line which I would be entirely dependent on to reach an office as and when is necessary.

During our investigations we've also considered Desborough as it's close to Market Harbs, but have heard mixed things about it.

We also looked at Uppingham (which seems lovely and makes me think of little Cornish and Devonian villages), but noticed that it's a bit of a pain as it doesn't have a train station. As a byproduct, we also looked at Oakham, and have heard mixed reviews about this area, too.

We aren't looking for an area where we would flip a house, sell it, and move on. This isn't an 'investment'. We want to own a home and stop throwing money at landlords. We would like to build a life that isn't transient which, lets be honest, renting always is if you have fickle landlords.

I would love to hear what you all have to say about any of the above areas, your honest experiences, whether you think we might have trouble moving into certain communities, safety (I was a victim of a burglary situation as a child while we were all home and, although it's people and not places that cause crime, I am always wary of areas that generally feel 'unsafe'), what you would avoid, what you can recommend, etc.

We'd like to narrow it all down a bit so that we can make plans to visit some of these lovely places when it's safe to do so.

Many thanks in advance for anything that you have to say, good or bad.

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Wale90 Tue 13-Apr-21 13:26:29

I live locally with two siblings in Uppingham. They have good access to towns (Stamford) and surrounding villages full of pubs etc and love living there, that said they have family and friends locally and travel to Leicester which holds a wider community of friends and family.

They have good friends in the village that they founded there though and I understand it to be good community for raising children and socialising etc.

You would need to get to Oakham first for the train which may make it more of a pain than Market Harbourgh but if its only once a month not an issue.

Less familiar with Market Harbourgh but along with Peterbourgh has a lot of London commuters.

You really need to try to stay over in both of them for a weekend to get a feeling for yourself.

ArtemisiaGentle Tue 13-Apr-21 18:05:05

Friends of ours live in Harborough. We visited once! shortly after they moved there before l**kd**n 1. It's a nice town, nice park in the middle, a bit of history about the place, and a decent market the Saturday we were there. The train from London was very quick. Traffic into the town centre is a bit off-putting, our friends usually walk or cycle in. Housing is naice with 1930s big front window semis and newer stock further out of town. Can't comment on schools. You're not far from Leicester if you want a bigger city vibe. We are a bit too "city" to move there ourselves but if you are looking for a nice town with quick links to other places I'd recommend it.

TwinnyMummy321 Tue 13-Apr-21 18:13:50

I'm not too familiar with Uppingham but I know Market Harborough quite well and would happily move there. I would definitely consider it safe and there is a good community feel. Desborough is much cheaper, you can get a lot for your money there, but it is a bit "meh". It's fine but nothing special. You could try neighbouring Rothwell which is also cheap but a lot nicer and a bit more quaint. Both safer than many places (especially bigger towns). MH has more going on than both of those places. The general area is lovely and IMO a bit of a hidden gem.

Happy to answer any other specific questions about north Northants / south Leics smile

Beebumble2 Tue 13-Apr-21 18:32:47

I know MH well. Lots of individual shops, cafes, leisure centre, parks, theatre etc.
Schools are good Welland Park secondary school is rated outstanding. Countryside around offers lots of activities, Rutland water, sailing and cycling.
Other large villages near are Great Glen and Kibworth. Uppingham is also lovely, but very busy with tourists and the Public School is right in the centre.

WaitingforDolly Tue 13-Apr-21 18:40:11

Either MH or Uppingham would be good choices, depends on your lifestyle really, much more going on in Harborough and it's easier to get out of by train or road (Uppingham you can drive to Kettering/Corby or poss Peterborough for fast train to London or north). MH is probably more down to earth as well but Uppingham is quieter and prettier. Not Desborough! I don't like Oakham much either, but I couldn't really say why. What do you want from where you live?

Nightshade26 Tue 13-Apr-21 20:32:34

Thank you all for your comments!

It sounds like the general consensus is that Market Harborough is the strongest contender for us to look into!

Ideally we're looking for;

A three bedroom (or a two bed with a study/office) house with a garage under £220,000. We're not afraid of cosmetic work on a house, and, for obvious reasons, want to avoid leaseholds at all costs. We should have our deposit at the end of April, our moving costs by the end of May, and can start our process (after visiting the area and seeing if it's for us).

I grew up in a tiny Devonian village with a population under 2000 people so Uppingham's quiet nature doesn't unnerve me. DH grew up in Croydon but he's getting old and likes the balance between quiet and convenience.

Market Harborough has a population close to the town we're currently living in. We're past the nights out at the club age, but would like date night dinner spots, nice pubs, and places for walking or cycling. DH is into his motorbikes so any comments you might have on general road safety, dangerous spots, etc. would be greatly appreciated. We have one road here that has several accidents a month and I hate when he needs to use it.

Convenience for groceries (I usually order online because I don't drive but would be interested in the variety available, we're out in the wild here and not many stores deliver to us). Also realising that I'm turning into my mother because this is something I'm thinking about this.

Originally, our goal was to move up to Scotland but it seemed like a leap too far for our first move. We do intend to be in the house and area we find for a while.

I don't like moving, lol.

I won't lie, I'm pretty nervous and upset about the whole thing. We've lived here for almost 12 years. If we could afford to stay then we would. All our friends are here, our memories, our lives. Uprooting wasn't part of our long-term plan.

I'm a bit of an introvert, more so now that we're working from home, and I am nervous about getting to know new people and building a new support network. It's important to me that we can still visit here and our friends, but I also want to be a part of a community and support local businesses and people. So, I'm hoping that Market Harborough is a place that supports that.

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Beebumble2 Tue 13-Apr-21 21:24:17

I’m afraid you’ll struggle to get everything on your wish list for under £220k. 2 bed terrace just under that price.
There are several great restaurants ( hopefully still there after Covid shut down). Supermarkets in the town, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi. All virtually next to each other. The canal runs through the town, with miles of walking and cycling.
Friend has motorbike and enjoys the country roads, not much traffic. DH cycles early morning doesn’t see a soul.

Nightshade26 Tue 13-Apr-21 21:30:05

@Beebumble2 we've seen some nice houses come up around the £200k to £215k range with garages. Some need work and others don't have gardens, but we're willing to compromise. They do seem to be a bit like unicorns, though! And they're snapped up quickly.

Did you have any recommended haunts for dinners in Market Harbs?

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Beebumble2 Tue 13-Apr-21 21:43:42

Ascoughs, Taste Social, The Waterfront and Wildwood are ones that I’d recommend. There are loads of bar/ restaurants for casual dining. Also quite a few coffee shops. Surrounding villages have farm shop restaurants and good pubs with restaurants.

WaitingforDolly Wed 14-Apr-21 07:46:31

This one just came up - www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/79584906#/ - this area is okay - no parts of Harborough are terrible though there are a few roads that I probably wouldn't want to buy on.

Beebumble2 Wed 14-Apr-21 08:10:15

Waiting that seems a well spotted gem. Near the wonderful Farndon Fields farm shop and restaurant.

Nightshade26 Wed 14-Apr-21 08:17:03

WaitingforDolly

This one just came up - www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/79584906#/ - this area is okay - no parts of Harborough are terrible though there are a few roads that I probably wouldn't want to buy on.

That's a lovely little house! A little bit concerned about what might be damp up on the kitchen ceiling, but I guess that's what viewings and surveys are for!

Could you let me know which roads you'd avoid? We keep seeing houses pop up on Lathkill something? It had a row of terraces and then a row of new builds.

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TedMullins Wed 14-Apr-21 08:24:38

I grew up in market harborough. I don’t know if you’ve got kids but growing up there I found it unbearably dull, it might have changed now but there wasn’t much for kids and teenagers to do. Having said that, I see it differently as an adult. It is a really nice town, picturesque, with cute little independent boutiques and walking distance into the countryside. It is very accessible to London on the train but the tickets are incredibly expensive. If you’re only going in once a month though that shouldn’t be an issue, if you needed a season ticket you’d probably faint at the cost. There’s nowhere in MH thats really rough or unsafe. I don’t know about community as I moved away as an adult but as with many small towns the locals can be a bit insular and narrow minded. I think more people are moving in from elsewhere though (and driving the house prices up) so you’d probably find a community of other non-locals. It is VERY white and Tory, but Leicester is 15 mins away on the train and much more diverse, the local arts and music scene in Leicester has always been really strong and there’s lots of stuff to do there in non covid times.

Nightshade26 Wed 14-Apr-21 08:29:47

@TedMullins this sounds a lot like the village I grew up in. I didn't see anything close to diversity until I moved to East Sussex. The little town we're in now is very Tory but, thankfully, still quite diverse.

We don't have kids currently, we've talked about the potential for them or maybe adopting at some point but it was always a 'house or kids' situation and we know we really need the house before we think seriously about the other.

I did discuss a job in Wimbledon with a manager and checked the MH to London annual ticket. Ten grand! That's almost half my salary! The railways in this country are a horror!

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EdithWeston Wed 14-Apr-21 08:33:15

If you want to be well connected, go for Market Harborough - on the train, more shoos etc. Uppingham is lively, but a bit of a backwater.

The 'Big C' usually refers to cancer - but I guess that's not what you mean her? But if it is, I think both towns send patients to Leicester, but Market Harborough has more services in the town itself

TedMullins Wed 14-Apr-21 08:36:21

Yeah commuting from MH to Wimbledon would be a nightmare. It’s an hour to St Pancras but then you’ve got to factor in the journey from your house to the train station (if you’re on the other side of Harborough to the station it is a LONG walk) and then getting the tube to your destination once you reach London. Also, there is next to no bus service in Harborough, I think there might be one an hour to Leicester but it stops pretty early. If you don’t drive I’d definitely avoid Uppingham or any of the surrounding villages, you mentioned Desborough (shithole) and again there is an infrequent bus there that I really wouldn’t rely on for getting to a train station. I don’t drive either and if I was to live up here again it would have to be in MH or Leicester for easy access to the train.

Maves Wed 14-Apr-21 08:37:14

Don't move to harborough it's awful now I've just escaped from there due to the trouble. Check out the local news Leicestershire on line and see all the recent stories no way did I want my kids growing up there.

Maves Wed 14-Apr-21 08:40:26

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Nightshade26 Wed 14-Apr-21 08:40:53

EdithWeston

If you want to be well connected, go for Market Harborough - on the train, more shoos etc. Uppingham is lively, but a bit of a backwater.

The 'Big C' usually refers to cancer - but I guess that's not what you mean her? But if it is, I think both towns send patients to Leicester, but Market Harborough has more services in the town itself

It wasn't, but knowing about the local medical services is a good thing as both DH and I have medical issues, so it's good to know that MH is better set up with services. There's also a history of that particular C in both our families so I wouldn't rule out that never being an issue for us.

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WaitingforDolly Wed 14-Apr-21 08:40:58

Lathkill is fine, there's an older road and then it goes round the corner to the newer estate, i was warned off that newer estate about 10 years ago but I don't know of any trouble. Any of those older streets off Northampton Road and again around Logan Street are fine afaik. If you look on Google Street map you'll see which roads are a bit ropey.

Mine have liked it as teens as they've had a lot more freedom than their friends in Leicester at an earlier age and it's easy to get the train / bus / taxi into Leicester.

It is very white, but increasingly less so. It's grown in size so much that there are loads of non-locals too!

If you want a cheaper commute the non-intercity trains going into Euston are much cheaper, but they would be from Rugby, Long Buckby or Northampton.

WaitingforDolly Wed 14-Apr-21 08:43:12

Though parking can be a pain on the roads with Victorian terraces, you can generally find somewhere if you don't mind walking a bit!

Nightshade26 Wed 14-Apr-21 08:43:14

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MasterGland Wed 14-Apr-21 08:47:03

You might struggle with your budget in uppingham. I live in a village not far from uppingham, and it's nice to pop into for the shops or a coffee. I used to live near Market Harborough, but it was too big and bustling for me! grin I think Harborough would be great for you getting to work. I used to get the train to London occasionally from there. There were quite a lot of London commuters. In terms of a social life, it depends on what you want. There is no cinema, for example.

Nightshade26 Wed 14-Apr-21 08:50:30

WaitingforDolly

Lathkill is fine, there's an older road and then it goes round the corner to the newer estate, i was warned off that newer estate about 10 years ago but I don't know of any trouble. Any of those older streets off Northampton Road and again around Logan Street are fine afaik. If you look on Google Street map you'll see which roads are a bit ropey.

Mine have liked it as teens as they've had a lot more freedom than their friends in Leicester at an earlier age and it's easy to get the train / bus / taxi into Leicester.

It is very white, but increasingly less so. It's grown in size so much that there are loads of non-locals too!

If you want a cheaper commute the non-intercity trains going into Euston are much cheaper, but they would be from Rugby, Long Buckby or Northampton.

I've looked at crime maps for the area (although I know numbers are likely skewed by lockdowns in place) and I didn't see many stand-out areas in terms of serious crime. But, then again, I imagine like any town it has spots that are just a bit iffy that you don't want to hang around.

It's good to hear that it's diversifying!

I was worried that it might be a little bit 'this is a local shop for local people' like the village I grew up in. A place where, no word of a lie, a woman once stood up in a village meeting to discuss planning permission for some fields and shouted in a heavy Devonian accent 'we don't want no outsiders in our village!'

I love little villages and communities but I don't know if I can ever go back to anything quite so insular as that! 2000 people is far too few for me, methinks.

OP’s posts: |

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