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Moving to Berkshire from abroad (with small children) during COVID-19

(20 Posts)
cphtoberkshire Fri 26-Jun-20 10:05:18

Hi everyone,

Looking for some honest advice on living in Berkshire with small kids!

We are moving to Berkshire from Copenhagen DK this fall as DH has a new job in Maidenhead. Neither of us have been there to see it so this is a big move for us! We have two small children (both under 3) and are looking for a place that is good for little ones (ie. close to parks/green areas, close to shops/attractions, close to good nurseries, etc.). We are a very active family who currently bike/walk everywhere so finding a place that's easy to get around is important to us. We will have a car, but would like to know we can walk/bike to shops, doctor appointments, etc., if possible?!

We have a decent housing budget and have considered Twyford, Bray, Cookham, Henley-on-Thames, etc. We've also considered Windsor, but the commute (by car) might not be ideal... anyone have any insight on this?

Unfortunately we've never been to any of these places... Due to COVID-19, we haven't had a chance to go to Berkshire and see it for ourselves. I'm a little worried about the culture shock, especially going from a bigger city to smaller towns with kids, but we look forward to living closer to the countryside and green areas smile

We're doing the best we can with online research, but it's tough to make decisions on where to live without being there in person. I'm not too familiar with Mumsnet, but I thought it was a good place to start asking for advice. Grateful for any/all honest advice on this topic!

Thanks smile

OP’s posts: |
ilovethislife Fri 26-Jun-20 11:09:48

Hi, welcome to England smile
I live near Slough, from my experience I would recommend you to live at a Maidenhead it's a nicer area with very good locality and schools. We ourselves planning to move to maidenhead for better social life for us and the kids. I had to send my kids to private as schools around Slough area is not great. Also all the other extra curricular classes options are good from Maidenhead.
Have you considered moving to Maidenhead?

sleepismysuperpower1 Fri 26-Jun-20 11:11:41

Marlow might be worth a look? It's a 10 minute car journey to Maidenhead (30 minute bike ride), you have a choice of nurseries, there are several primary schools (which your dcs get into will depend on catchment areas), there are several nice parks, toddler groups (will link to the details of this below)
all the best with your move x

ShaunaTheSheep Fri 26-Jun-20 11:19:39

Think about the journey to work. Traffic can be hideous - 10 minute drive from Marlow is very optimistic! Where in Maidenhead is your DH’s office?

Beware aircraft noise is Windsor as much of it (including the castle) is under the Heathrow flight path. However it’s a nice town.

Maidenhead has a good community. The town centre is rather dull but undergoing some regeneration. Plenty of good parks, and easy to access the river and countryside.

Ariela Fri 26-Jun-20 11:23:08

Too many questions, but without an idea of budget it is tricky, Twyford for example is a lot cheaper than Maidenhead.

Waspie Fri 26-Jun-20 11:32:25

I'd look at Maidenhead itself rather than Henley and Marlow which are the other side of the A404. That whole stretch of A404(M) from M4 J8/9 to M40 Handycross roundabout can be a traffic jam for large parts of the day, as are the approach roads to it.

Windsor is the other side of the M4 so I wouldn't look there unless you love 'plane spotting and sitting in traffic!

BurnIt Fri 26-Jun-20 11:35:58

I would love in Marlow rather than any of those places but they are all nice. Maidenhead is being regenerated and a new leisure centre was supposed to be opened this summer. I love in high Wycombe which has it's nice and not so nice bits. And is really hand for the M40

zurala Fri 26-Jun-20 11:42:35

Henley is lovely but insanely expensive. I'd find somewhere in between personally.

KittyMcKitty Fri 26-Jun-20 17:28:40

I would look at Cookham or Marlow (much nicer then Henley). These would give you more outside space then Maidenhead. You don’t have to cross the A404 as you could go down Quarrywood Rd and up towards Winter Hill.

If you are planning on being there long term you need to think what you would want from secondary schools as Bucks & Berks offer totally different systems.

Maidenhead would give you more for your £££ then Cookham or Marlow.

Xiaoxiong Fri 26-Jun-20 17:51:49

The main problem with Maidenhead is the town centre is a bit of a waste - if you're coming from Copenhagen you're likely to be pretty disappointed! I'd look in Windsor myself, that's actually a town centre with shops and restaurants like you're likely to be used to. We have friends in Maidenhead who live near st mark's hospital and were just saying to me the other day they want to move because they have to get in the car to go anywhere. Somewhere with easy access to the bypass and up to the M4 wouldn't be too bad a commute, or you have the alternative going through bray depending on where the office is. Or, you can get the little train up to Slough and quick hop to Maidenhead if you don't want to drive and the office is near the station on the Maidenhead side.

The aircraft noise is honestly not that bad, it cycles around so it's only overhead once every few days and you get used to it (and there is none at all at the moment anyway and I wonder if it will ever go back to the way it was).

You'll def get more house for your money in Maidenhead, but I think Windsor is a much nicer place to live. And you can't beat the great park for green spaces.

ripple11 Fri 26-Jun-20 19:26:57

I know a couple of young families who moved out of London to Marlow and love it. I would put it near the top of your list , although you have mentioned some lovely places to live !

123456abcd Fri 26-Jun-20 21:07:44

If you're moving from Copenhagen I think Windsor would be a much better fit, Marlow is lovely but smaller. Cycle commute Windsor to Maidenhead is flat whereas Marlow to Maidenhead involves a giant hill! As others have said Berkshire and Buckinghamshire have different secondary education options (Bucks has 11 plus) but both have good schools. Maidenhead town centre is being redeveloped (not before time!) but honestly you can't even begin to compare it with Windsor. Windsor also has access to Windsor Great Park.

AThousandStarlings Fri 26-Jun-20 22:49:15

Marlow - lovely town with everything you need on foot. Access to the river (and cycle tow path), good playground and running at Higginson park, also garden court leisure. The A 404 has heavy traffic but in rush hour it heaviest in the other direction. There are quite back road routes into maidenhead. The town gets busy.
Maidenhead - maybe look around boulters lock, Ray mill Island and the riverside garden playground area. There's a train to paddington that takes 20mins- but you can't walk to the shops.The town centre itself is regenerating.
Bray - lovely, v small and quiet, - good cycle paths and access to the river, new braywick sports centre - but you can't walk to the shops.
Windsor - good shops, lots of people and tourists (v busy/congested in summer), A404 traffic into and out of maidenhead can be really heavy, (although again if you lived in windsor and commuted to maidenhead the heaviest traffic is going the other way), access to the great park (which is lovely)
Henley is lovely - shops, river access, playgrounds, facilities, but it gets really busy with traffic and visitors in summer (not just for HRH), so depends how far you're happy to commute for work.
Twyford ares is worth a look too, town has good facilities, lovely countryside.
If you're keen cyclists look at the sustrans website - there are lots of cycle routes (completely away from the traffic). Bray rowing lake is super place to teach the children how to ride (it sits on a cycle path) - accessible from Bray or Dorney.
Im local - its a lovely area to bring up little ones.
Good luck !

Xiaoxiong Sat 27-Jun-20 09:52:30

I just ran into our Dutch friends who live in Clewer Village - that's walking distance into Windsor, and they regularly cycle to Maidenhead to go to the cinema and say it's a really easy cycle, all flat, 30 mins. So if you are keen cyclists, that's not to be discounted as a commute!!

NellyBarney Sat 27-Jun-20 16:56:27

Move close to a cross rail station like Twyford and you can soon be in central London in 20 minutes.

NellyBarney Sat 27-Jun-20 17:03:11

Or Taplow, for easy access to the station. Maidenhead and Windsor town centres are really a bit meh and surprisingly shabby giving the house prices in the area, so it's nice to be able to go streight into London for shopping and culture.

CraftyGin Sat 27-Jun-20 19:22:08

These location threads on Mumsnet get ridiculous really quickly. Marlow???

Maidenhead itself is absolutely fine. There is everything you could want. Just keep it simple. That's what lockdown has taught us.

Delta1 Sat 27-Jun-20 19:40:48

Ascot and surrounds? That area is stuffed with good schools, parks, forests etc

JennyWren Mon 29-Jun-20 20:18:09

How about the areas on the edge of Maidenhead? I grew up in Cox Green - Village feel, with fields and farms to one side, but easy cycling to the station and into the centre of Maidenhead, a choice of two primary schools and a secondary school in Cox Green itself, and cycling distance from Desborogh (the boys’ secondary) and Newlands (the girls’ secondary) if you prefer single sex when your children are older.

underneaththeash Mon 29-Jun-20 20:39:01

Centre of Maidenhead is horrible - not somewhere I'd choose to live.
Cookham and Cookham Dean are nice, as is Marlow.

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