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Info on Marlow, Henley, Thame, Chalfonts

(357 Posts)
Spanielmad Sat 19-Aug-17 22:38:50

Hello, we are thinking of moving into South Buckinghamshire for DH's work. Been looking at the impossible school situation already and earmarked a few areas with good (but oversubscribed) secondary schools.
Before I drive over to visit the area (we are a few hours away) I need to narrow down which towns we might like, as I can't visit them all in a day or two.

We like to be near or on the outskirts of a small town with stuff for my kids (young teen boys) such as a leisure centre, sports clubs, we like hiking in the hills/woods, I'd like a nice town with boutique shops, cafes, art galleries, art clubs etc. Low crime and peaceful would be good too- goes without saying.

Can anyone tell me anything about these towns? What are they like? I already know most of them are pricey- but would like to know more about atmosphere, crime, shops etc....
I have only done online research so far.

Marlow (my fav at the moment but hard to find a house),
Chalfont St Peter,

Any thoughts very welcome!! Thank you

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Spanielmad Sat 19-Aug-17 22:42:03

Not sure I posted this on the right sub forum... ugh, sorry.

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DSH1993 Sat 19-Aug-17 22:45:10

I love Marlow. So many nice places to eat and it's lovely in the summer.

Antenataldepressionworries Sat 19-Aug-17 22:48:30

I grew up in Marlow, ticks all your boxes also very close to high wycombe for main town. Henley again very lovely. Thame your closer to Oxford but surrounding areas are very 'village' like so can't take a short trip to a big town for shopping and entertainment. If you like walking, also worth taking a look within the chiltern AONB very close by. Chesham isn't anywhere near as nice as the others, chalfont good for trains. Don't know shiplake. Personally of the above I'd say Marlow. Lovely high street also and higginson park is gRest, fab restaurants/cafes/bars - low crime. Ahhh I miss living there!!

mumsiedarlingrevolta Sat 19-Aug-17 22:48:58


annandale Sat 19-Aug-17 22:50:43

Marlow by a mile but it's bloody difficult to get anywhere there.

Lindy2 Sat 19-Aug-17 22:53:47

I know Chalfont St Peter well. It has all the things you mentioned.
I'm assuming you know it is an 11+ area so as well as having over subscribed schools, entrance tests will also be needed for some.

Spanielmad Sun 20-Aug-17 07:43:51

Thank you so much everyone!! Loving the replies. So am definitely visiting Marlow. But it seems the hardest to find a house there or near there (in catchment).
So what should be my no. 2 place to check out?

And yes, I know about the schools and the grammar system and have no idea yet how on earth I will get my boys a place in a good school. But these locations all have good ofsted rated schools so it's a start.

Does Chalfonts or Thame have a nice town centre?
Is Henley busier than Marlow? If you live just outside Henley can you drive in and park somewhere in order to visit the high street?

Spotted nice houses in Chalfonts and around Henley. Am thinking Thame hasn't got enough High street and facilities?

Windsor apparently has Heathrow noise and we currently are spoilt by perfect silence so I doubt I'll get used to that.

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mumblechum0 Sun 20-Aug-17 08:00:26

I'm 4 miles outside Marlow and we love it here. We have miles of beautiful countryside literally at the end of our garden and it's only an 8 minute drive into Marlow centre

mumblechum0 Sun 20-Aug-17 08:02:32

These are all available now. What's your budget?

xyzandabc Sun 20-Aug-17 08:04:53

Thame has a nice town centre and plenty going on, food festival, carnival, literary festival, music festival, music in the park, Towersey Festival, a good community spirit. Has lots of afterschool activities/sports clubs. Not as upmarket as Henley or Marlow, though is trying to head that way. Recent new stores include Fat Face, White stuff, Crew clothing and Marco Pierre white planned to open a restaurant/bistro soon.

Doesn't have the river though but you would get more house for you money. Easy to get to Oxford for art/culture. Is not in the grammar school system, has a great comprehensive though if you opt to take the 11+ you can still get in to the grammars in Aylesbury.

I love Thame but if you're aiming for the Marlow/Henley set then you might find Thame a bit rural in comparison.

Virginiaplain1 Sun 20-Aug-17 08:08:25

Thame is great. Fantastic high street with a good mix of chain and independent shops - and currently on the up with new shops and restaurants moving in to town. Three good primaries and an outstanding secondary. Sports centre, good walking and cycling on the Phoenix trail, away from traffic.House prices are steep, but lower than Marlowe/Henley. Lovely villages around. Definitely worth a look.

SpaghettiAndMeatballs Sun 20-Aug-17 08:10:13

Consider Gerrards Cross or Beaconsfield perhaps too - but remove Chalfont St Peter from the list - it's fine but more village - town is pushing it - there's a Budgens, and (in my opinion) the best bakery in the area (on the little carpark, not the one on the hill), and some little shops, but it's really not a town.

These days I'd take Henley over Marlow - Marlow has just got so huge and expensive that it's taken the shine off it for me.

Virginiaplain1 Sun 20-Aug-17 08:10:28

Xyz - not Marco Pierre White! Raymond Blanc's White Brasserie - gastropub chain.

Ollycat Sun 20-Aug-17 08:12:18

Marlow and it's villages (see links Mumble posted to Frieth) - Frieth, Hambleden, Turville, Skirmett, Fingest - really lovely. Would chose above Henley any day!

What age are your children? Above locations would give you catchment for GMS, SWBGS, JHGS, and WHS and OOC but reasonable chance for Gillotts.

Ollycat Sun 20-Aug-17 08:14:12

Just seen you have teens sadly you will be appealing over subscribed schools. SWBGS takes extra 25 into year 9.

xyzandabc Sun 20-Aug-17 08:21:11

- not Marco Pierre White! Raymond Blanc's White Brasserie - gastropub chain.

Virginia's right, it's too early on a Sunday morning for me to sort my Whites from my Blancs from my Whites!

Spanielmad Sun 20-Aug-17 08:21:26

Kids are in Y6 and Y8 (10 and 12 years old).

Thank you!

Thame doesn't sound as quiet and rural as I feared... Dh would have to commute on the m40 though.

Interesting to hear Chalfonts is smaller hand has less amenities.the community college is rated as 'good' though.

Gerard's Cross and Beaconsfield don't have well rated schools so I crossed it off.

So maybe I should visit Thame, Henley and Marlow (If poss in a day). Marlow' housing market seems to be fast. There is the odd house under 1m but sells within days. We'll have to figure where to compromise:bigger house or nicer town. That's how it always goes, doesn't it!

And then there's the school places issue... arch.
Thanks so much!

If anyone has more on the towns listed, let me know!

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Spanielmad Sun 20-Aug-17 08:22:50

Oh and I certainly don't know my whites from my Blancs LOL ! grin

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Spanielmad Sun 20-Aug-17 08:26:03

Appealing for school places (based on what I don't know) is not on my wish list grin and don't know how tackle this one yet. Will call schools in September to find out if they have any mid year8 places, and primaries to look for a mid year6 place...confused

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Fernanie Sun 20-Aug-17 08:31:04

I went to Wycombe High (girls grammar) and girls came there from all the towns you've mentioned except Thame. The others are all quite close to each other, so wherever you found a house you could probably go to any of the good schools in that area IYSWIM. Have you looked at Amersham? Not quite as naice as Marlow but still lovely and should tick most of your boxes.

LIZS Sun 20-Aug-17 08:34:51

Where would dh be working?

Ollycat Sun 20-Aug-17 08:36:38

Just realised OP same as asked this question a few days ago - ignore me answered it all on your last thread!

Zodlebud Sun 20-Aug-17 08:48:35

Add Amersham and Great Missenden to your list. Chesham doesn't fit your description but is definitely on the up. I went there the other day and it has changed a lot though in the last few years (for the better). It is on the up!!!

Marlow is lovely but parking needs to be considered.

Spanielmad Sun 20-Aug-17 08:55:32

he he. yes Ollycat, trying to separate the school issue from the choice of town a little. Now that I have identified the decent schools, and compared with houses available that would suit our needs, I've come up with the list of towns.....
But since I live far and have never been to Buckinghamshire.... I am asking about the towns now... ;)

Not sure Amersham and Missenden has great schools and concerned Missenden might end up having a fast train line in the back garden soon?

Moving house with teenage kids is complicated!

Hoping to visit the area perhaps next weekend. Marlow high on the list and scared I might love it LOL! But it has two good schools (so perhaps higher chance?) and seems a lovely town with crazy house prices...

If not Marlow...perhaps Thame, Henley/Shiplake or Chalfonts.... hence my questions....

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