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Advice on moving to Bath

22 replies

m0therofdragons · 03/10/2020 11:34

Dh and I live in a small town in Dorset. Fairly settled with 3dc 9-12. During a conversation about career progression and our future I mentioned working in Bath although I’d be commuting for 2.5 hours every day and dh suddenly announced he’d happily live in Bath and always loved it there. So I’m very much at a thinking it through stage.

Please can people who really know Bath advise on areas to live/avoid and which secondary schools we need to be looking at/avoiding (state schools). Any advice much appreciated.

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GlubGlubGlub · 03/10/2020 12:00

Honestly, if you are in Dorset (which I love) I would think carefully before moving. Bath is incredibly expensive and you are unlikely to be able to buy a similar size property, unless you currently live in somewhere like sandbanks! You are looking at £1 million plus for a 4 bedroom townhouse with a small garden and no parking. There are “cheaper” areas, such as Oldfield Park, which is lovely and Twerton, which is not.

You will get much more for your money in some of the neighbouring villages or towns. Bradford on Avon is particularly lovely with a train link to Bath.

Emmapeeler2 · 03/10/2020 12:11

Bradford on Avon is also expensive so I also think it depends on your budget. For towns outside Bath, my friends live in Trowbridge and really like it though it was previously considered less desirable. It has great transport links, apparently good schools, things like cinemas and leisure centre and an M&S foodhall! Keynsham is also good for quick trains and buses to Bath and has a good secondary school (Wellsway) and lots of primaries. Saltford primary was always particularly good. Bath itself I don't know about schools now but Larkhill is nice and not too £££. I personally like Weston and Newbridge but not sure about budget or schools there.

m0therofdragons · 03/10/2020 13:41

If I worked in Bath it would be for a job on next step up so pay would significantly increase to director salary. I love Dorset (near Sherborne) but as the dc grow dh and I like the idea of theatre and museums on our doorstep.

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Emmapeeler2 · 03/10/2020 15:10

Well it definitely has those! Might be worth asking on the property page as there have been similar posts asking about Bath city schools etc. I knew people who took the bus from Newbridge to Wellsway and girls who went to Oldfield. I also have friends who teach at Ralph Allen and like it.

LittleMissEngineer · 03/10/2020 15:25

I have lived in Bath for 25 years. One DC (10).

Agree it is expensive, but fantastic city if you can: compact, friendly, low crime, beautiful, surrounded b countryside, good schools. Great for families and great as kids get older (as in relatively safe and compact).

schools - state or private? There is a great choice for private schools. State, would look at Bathwick St Mary’s, Weston All Saints, St Stephens, Widcombe Infants, but quite a few others (Newbridge, Bathampton...). Senior schools: Hayesfield (girls), Beechen Cliff (boys), St Gregory’s (Catholic), maybe Ralph Allen.

ScrapThatThen · 03/10/2020 15:35

I'd rate Oldfield, St Greg's, Wellsway and Beechen as successful and caring schools, more so than the others mentioned. Newbridge primary and Saltford primary are excellent. Private I think there is The Paragon for primary, Prior Park, Royal High for girls and Kingswood. All decent I think.

LadyCurd · 03/10/2020 15:47

I would prefer Dorset to Bath. Bath can be a bit up its arse At times.
Newbridge or combe down Are my faves. Oldfield Park too studenty.
What’s your budget and housing requirements. Bet we can find you something.

JudyGemstone · 03/10/2020 15:53

I wouldn't. It's pretty but dull and has no diversity or soul.

Bristol is a million times better and a v short commute. I love Dorset but I wouldn't commute for 2.5 hours every day that's ridiculous.

m0therofdragons · 03/10/2020 16:05

If you think Bath is up it’s arse you’d think the same about Sherborne - up in arms when Tesco tried to come but welcomed Waitrose lol!
I love Bristol centre but find driving there stressful. I’d rave drive round Trafalgar Square!
I know people have an idyllic dream of Dorset and it’s very pretty but I’m a city person at heart and the thought of retiring to a village feels quite lonely and isn’t my dream. I see myself aged 80 in a city centre apartment.

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AuntyFungal · 03/10/2020 16:21

What about further left into Somerset - around Frome. Plenty local to do, short hop in car or train into bath, not as scary house prices.

LadyCurd · 03/10/2020 16:25

Bath is hopeless to drive in. Very hilly too so newbridge or larkhall is level walk to town- lots of other bits up hills.
Do you want Georgian grandeur, a Victorian terrace or what?

LittleMissEngineer · 03/10/2020 17:44

Bath is definitely a “middle class bible” on the whole, although there are some poorer areas (Snow Hill, Twerton and a few other areas. But “middle class bible” can be nice.

Racial diversity is better: DS has a reasonable mixture of Chinese, Asian, Black (although not enough), other European and Mixed Race at school. Being a student town also ups the ethnic diversity.

Private schools, King Edwards (mixed) and Royal High (girls) are very academic, Kingswood (mixed) good all round, Prior Park Catholic (mixed), Monkton very CofE (mixed).

Driving is very easy when you get used to the one way systems: not like driving in a city as such (more a town).

Living, lots of great areas: Newbridge, Combe Down, Lansdown, Larkhall is quite bohemian and popular. A few new developments around, if that is your thing.

If your kids are sporty, lots of options here.

Agree that Frome is another option: I know a family at DS’s school who live in Frome. Supposed to be lovely there.

LadyCurd · 03/10/2020 17:46

Schools are somewhat crap round Frome though. One good thing about bath is no bad schools.

S0apMaker · 03/10/2020 18:46

We got really bored of living in Bath.

m0therofdragons · 03/10/2020 22:00

Definitely don’t want to live in Frome!

Schools would be state school secondary for all 3 dc (can’t afford private if we’re buying a house in Bath). Budget would be about £650k.

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LittleMissEngineer · 03/10/2020 22:43

What sort of house would you like? New build? Period? Don’t mind? Something that could be renovated? Garden / privacy important? Minimum 4 bedrooms?

Think that money definitely goes further in the out-lying villages (Bathampton, Bathford, Batheaston). £650k doesn’t seem to go that far in Bath at the moment...). But prices are buoyed by people moving out of London and that may be increased at the moment.

Probably the best deals are:

  • ugly (1960s/1970s/1980s) houses on good plots with potential to renovate/extend. (I can say this - my house was built in 1980...),
  • new builds IF you can strike a deal and will go for beautifully new, low maintenance, small gardens, lack of privacy.

I think that you pay premium for period. Many more affordable are in student areas (Oldfield Park).

I know quite a few people (including us) who live in beautifully renovated modern-but-not-too- outwardly-good-looking properties. I have also seen a few nice new builds (yet thy rut are compromises).
HorsesDogsNails · 03/10/2020 22:51

Bath is properly snobby, Bristol has horrific traffic, Swindon is 30 mins on the train but doesn't have the culture you're after, Devizes is lovely but is a smaller market town.

amieejust · 03/10/2020 23:01

Personally I would stay in Dorset. Bath is very pretty but expensive, very middle class and hilly. Also quite studenty in parts.

Tricky one way system too, easy to get lost. Good public transport links though.

Perhaps consider outskirts such as Bathampton, Bradford On Avon or a bit further out, Beckington or Warminster. I see Frome is not an option else would have recommended it.

ThePug · 03/10/2020 23:13

I live in Bath with two small DC and my MIL lives near Sherborne, which is where my DH went to school. We like it here and it's a lovely place to bring up a family. Would you or DH need to commute anywhere regularly (London by train, or M4 access) as that might guide which side of the city you look. In a nutshell:
North - Lansdown - top of a big hill but has P&R bus into town. Expensive due to easy access out to M4. Couple of good primary schools, also home to Kingswood & Royal
High private schools. No secondary schools. Look at Ensleigh new build development - £650k might just get you a 4 bed townhouse if there are any left. No shops or village centre, but a good pub.

West - Weston & Newbridge - both lovely family areas with good primaries and Oldfield Secondary. Prices in Weston are more reasonable, you'd get a nice 4 bed (but poss 59s/60s) for your budget. Both have a few shops.

East - Larkhall / Fairfield Park. Loads of people go nuts for Larkhall, call it "The Village" - it has a deli, butcher etc but I personally hate it as it's all narrow streets and hills! You'd probably get a Victorian terrace for your budget.

South - Oldfield Park used to be a family area but now largely students. Combe Down is nice, good primaries and Ralph Allen secondary. More of a village feel, and has shops, Drs etc. Mix of housing but you'd get a 4 bed 50/60s there but may need work. Bear Flat is popular and a bit cheaper than Combe Down. Decent primaries and home to Beechen Cliff (boys) secondary which is competitive to get into. Twerton/Whiteway/Southdown are not going to be places for you.

Central - Bathwick and Widcimbe both have good primaries, access to train station and city centre on doorstep. Your budgets won't go far though and I personally would t want to live in either due to all the traffic and pollution, although a clean air zone congestion charge is coming in next year which could help.

Feel free to ask me any more specific questions, or post links to example houses and I'll tell you good/bad points on areas!

MrsMoastyToasty · 03/10/2020 23:46

I'm with Ladycurd about Bath being a bit uppity at times. (Its all look at us , we're a historic city, aren't we wonderful vibe). Its got a dreadful one way system with bus gates, is very hilly and in normal times is heaving with tourists.
Have you looked at Timsbury, Paulton, Saltford or Keynsham? Saltford doesn't have any secondary schools due to its proximity to Keynsham though where there are 2 secondary-Wellsway and Broadlands.

AliTheMinx · 25/10/2020 09:58

I would look at property just outside Bath to get more for your money - Batheaston, Bathampton and Bathford. I live in Corsham and my son goes to school in Bath. There are some great state schools in Bath - Beechen Cliff, Hayesfield, Ralph Allen, Oldfied and St Gregory's (catholic). The only school that doesn't seem to have quite as good a reputation is St Mark's. Bath is fabulous!

Displayname · 25/10/2020 10:16

Bath is lovely. If my DH was on board I’d move back. Although it’s changed a lot since I lived there 20 years ago, it’s still lovely with easy links to more ‘diverse’ places like Bristol and of course beautiful countryside on your doorstep. Ticks all the boxes IMO.

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