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Relocating to West Cheshire or Wirral - where's best for families?

(77 Posts)
luckymummy2010 Tue 12-Jan-10 11:03:27

We are planning a move in about 18 months and its making my head spin! Have been looking at the Wirral and also the areas around Chester as possibles. I'm from the north west originally but have lived in the south east for over 20 years. My DP is from Surrey and has lived here all his life.

We currently live in a very nice village in Surrey. I actually love it generally and DD is at a really lovely rural school which only goes up to year 2 (hence the timing of our move). What I don't like about the area is that it?s very, very materialistic. It feels like having money is valued far above education, good manners etc - we are moving mainly to be nearer to family but I'd also like DD to grow up somewhere where "marrying money" isn't seen as a career! I?m a working mum and there aren?t many of them at DD?s school. On the other hand I do seem to be slightly addicted to living somewhere with nice local shops, cafes etc!

Schools are a very important factor in our move - ideally state schools but private is a possibility. Somewhere semi rural near a nice town would be ideal.

Any ideas or tips would be much appreciated. I have overloaded on Ofsted reports, property websites and Up My Street statistics! If you could chose anywhere to live in the Wirral or West Cheshire where would you live?

Thank you!

rebl Tue 12-Jan-10 16:55:38

I live in west Cheshire and have just moved to a little village which still has what I would call a heart. It has a shop, pub and school. Its just perfect for us.

Wirral wise people say Heswall and up, on the west coast though, not the east.

I was brought up in the SE and moved up here 15 yrs ago. When I visit the SE now I feel the same as you, its so materialistic and the pace of life so fast. I don't feel like I fit in there. I'm so happy up here, it feels like me. I don't feel like a misfit like I do in the SE.

Cheshire and the Wirral both have a lot of money in spots but there are the normal family as well iykwim, where both parents work. I would say that for us, we just fit in here so well. Its great and I wouldn't move from here unless it was to go to the Lakes!

smallwhitecat Tue 12-Jan-10 16:59:54

Message withdrawn

playftseforme Tue 12-Jan-10 17:08:35

I'm from the Wirral but currently live in Surrey - I still harbour fantasies about going back home...

I think the Wirral is a great place. Because it's a peninsula everything is quite compact and easy to reach, whereas I find Surrey quite sprawling. I always found everyone down to earth, no airs and graces, regardless of income bracket or where they live. Loads of options on location to live as everywhere is much more commutable IMO than Surrey, you can do the village thing and stick with the local school, or travel further for an independent. Loads of pressure on catchment areas for the grammar schools. Like Surrey I find it a nice mix of rural and urban - ie there are towns and cities (Liverpool, Chester), but countryside in close reach too.

3monkeys Tue 12-Jan-10 17:19:08

We're on the Wirral - the Bebington/Bromborough side. West Kirby etc gorgeous but further from motorway so takes longer to get anywhere. Fab place to live, loads for the children to do (and I'm from down south!)

We live on an estate with a school the children can walk to, the kids play out in the summer, in catchment area for the grammar schools too.

luckymummy2010 Tue 12-Jan-10 17:46:33

Thank you everyone that's really helpful

Rebl - your post nearly made me cry!! After 20+ years down here, I have made some good friends but have never really felt the fit was right. I love how friendly people are in shops etc when I visit family in the north(sorry those from the south..)

Any views on Heswall area, Thornton Hough, or Willaston/Neston/Burton (visited the last one and loved the views and the feel of the palce but its a shame that there's no shop/post office etc in the village)?

Any favourite villages near Chester? looked at Christleton which is lovely, but a wee bit too close to the city for me and obviously pricey - were hoping to get a bit more for our money although I'm concious that the myth that the north is massively cheaper than the south isn't true for good areas.

rebl Tue 12-Jan-10 18:24:51

Sorry to nearly make you cry!

Villages around Chester - look sort of Kelsall, Helsby, Frodsham, Tarporley, Kingsley areas.

Don't think Christleton school is very good but I maybe wrong, its not quite my area and I only fleetingly looked at it in the search for where to live when we were at the beginning of our house moving.

Sariska Tue 12-Jan-10 20:14:50

I'm from the Wirral and if I was moving back it would probably be to Heswall: good primary schools and (I think) in the catchment area for the Grammar schools. Also a few decentish places to eat out and plenty of outdoor space (Wirral country park, the Dales, the shore etc). Some of the villages are very nice - I always liked Puddington, in particular - if the lack of shops or public transport (a particular pain for teenagers, I remember) doesn't bother you.

luckymummy2010 Tue 12-Jan-10 22:09:43

Thank you ladies, much appreciated

what's the best area of Heswall? Had a drive through, Gayton looked quite nice and Barnston(sp?)/Thornton Hough for the more semi rural areas?

3monkeys - would be interested to hear about Bebington etc? The schools look excellent.

Last thought for anyone in Chester area - wondered about Tattenhall and Malpas. Maybe a bit too rural for someone used to Surrey suburbia? We have a little dream of buying a house with some land (or at least a large garden) but that's lower down our wish list than schools and a nice area

rebl Tue 12-Jan-10 22:31:38

Beautiful area Tattenhall and Malpas but I don't know more than that I'm afraid.

luckymummy2010 Wed 13-Jan-10 20:16:24


3monkeys Wed 13-Jan-10 21:11:31

Some of Bebington lovely old semis. Near to parks and shops and libraries and good primary schools. Fab for secondary if get into grammar school, otherwise not so great!

We live in Spital - very 70s estate, lovely quiet place to live, can walk to station, has a primary school right in the middle of the estate and it's own church

Heifer Wed 13-Jan-10 21:43:00

I'm on the Wirral. Moved here 2 years ago from Swindon.


I live in Oxton which is think is lovely. Close to the motorway (DH works in Wales), and DD attends a lovely Girls school which we can walk to.

The schools up here are much better than those back in Swindon, and so much to do here. Liverpool very easy to get to and so much to see/going on.

Love going to the beaches in the summer, although often the tide is out! As everywhere is only 20 mins away from the beaches you don't need to actually live nearby.

I know when we were looking at where to live we ruled out Heswall as the traffic seemed really bad, also seemed overpriced (as was West Kirby). But having now lived here a while I would consider Heswall.

There are lovely pockets all over the Wirral, even in parts that you may not initially consider.

luckymummy2010 Wed 13-Jan-10 22:57:07

It's great to see so many positive comments, sounds like a move to the Wirral has worked out really well for a lot of people.

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 13-Jan-10 23:18:09

I grew up in Malpas and although it's very lovely for adults the public transport is rubbish so you'll spend your evenings and weekends ferrying your children round half of Cheshire to meet up with their friends. Good primary school (Alport) and good soft play place 1 mile out of village (Boogles Barn). But, like many truly rural villages, there's virtually nothing to do for anyone between soft play and drinking age so be prepared for bored children. Still a lovely village, though - my folks live there and I live very nearby.

Tattenhall is better if you want to be close to civilisation. Good Primaries, still in the catchment area for Bishop Heber High School (v. desirable) yet better buses and only 8 miles out of Chester so better for commuting.

Farndon's also nice.

luckymummy2010 Wed 13-Jan-10 23:31:33

Harriet, that's really interesting. I am all over the place with all the things to take into account. We are hoping this will be a very long term move (in our early 40s now)so I'm trying to picture a place that will be good for DD now (she's 6) and also when she is a teenager (having grown up in a very boring place myself!). Last time I moved house it was 10 years ago pre DD and we were clueless, really just basing decisions on the proximity to work etc - it was pure chance that the village turned out to be good for children. So much more to take into account now...

One thing I wondered...quite a few people have said they have moved to the Wirral from elsewhere. Does the Wirral and Chester area tend to attract people from other areas? I worry a bit about moving somewhere and being seen as an "incomer" cos everyone else there has lived there for generations

HarrietSchulenberg Wed 13-Jan-10 23:37:55

Don't know about the Wirral but south west Cheshire is full of people from elsewhere. They're the only ones who can afford the house prices!!

We moved to Malpas from Chester 30 years ago and were seen as veritably exotic. Mine was the only working mum at my primary school and I have the dubious honour of being the first ever Halloween Trick or Treater in Malpas. Since then Malpas has changed considerably and the "real" locals are much more tolerant of incomers as they've realised how much money they bring with them - there wouldn't be such thriving shops if they relied solely on the farmers.

Same goes for Tattenhall and Farndon.

luckymummy2010 Wed 13-Jan-10 23:44:05

Thank you Harriet, that's reassuring grin

luckymummy2010 Thu 14-Jan-10 09:39:01


Heifer Thu 14-Jan-10 09:58:43

Most people I have met here have lived here all their lives or have returned.

But there are very welcoming. I was very worried about moving here, I had lived in Swindon all my life and was leaving some very good friends. People here are so friendly, have made some good friends already and people seem very happy for you to join their circle.

The people here have certainly made the whole move easier.

luckymummy2010 Thu 14-Jan-10 11:09:14

Thank you Heifer

A lot of the people I know in Surrey aren't necessarily friends but there is something reassuring about knowing even casually so many people from NCT classes, pre school and now school. I think its nice for DD too, although she is really keen to move and would like to do it right now cos she loves my family and would like to live nearer to them.

That said, after 20+ years down here, I can count only a couple of close friends and even then I'm not sure how much we will be in touch after we move, whereas I still have a group of really close friends in the north from school and university but that might be me! or that its easier to make close friends when younger. I work from home, so I won't make friends at work in Wirral/Cheshire and will need to rely on meeting mums via DD's school etc. So I'm glad you say people are friendly cos I'm not a typical northerner and quite shy/reserved and worry a bit about DP (who is very reserved but then men are rubbish at making friends!) and I feeling a bit isolated.

luckymummy2010 Thu 14-Jan-10 18:50:26


luckymummy2010 Thu 14-Jan-10 20:23:10

Shamelessly bumping my own thread again, just in case there's any more Wirral, Chester, West Cheshire mums out there...the more views the better!

Clayhead Thu 14-Jan-10 20:36:51

My dh was brought up there and his family are still there and love it. He says Dee Coast - Caldy, Heswall, Willaston, Parkgate, Neston, Burton, West Kirkby.

For commuting to Liverpool Irby, Greasby, Oxton & Noctorum.

Anywhere with a Merseyrail station means easy access to Liverpool.

We spend a lots of time there - trips to Liverpool, walks at Thurstaston, nice meals out, all good!

luckymummy2010 Thu 14-Jan-10 22:23:22

Thank you Clayhead grin

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