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Moving out of London for a (hopefully better life for the dcs) and us?

50 replies

womanwholivedinashoe · 29/04/2011 21:43

hello Ladies,

I've already posted this once but now dh has stated that much as he would move to Norfolk with me for said better life he would prefer the South West of England. Any suggestions where is a nice place in the South West to bring up children and still be within 3 hours travelling time to get back to see family on a regular enough basis?? Were down in Cornwall recently looking back most rentals in nice areas are all holiday lets so renting seems to be really hard and much easier in Norfolk. Jobs also seem to be in better supply in Norfolk compared to the SW but please correct me if I'm wrong??

I have started a blog as I felt it more therapeutic to vent on there lol.

DH has said he will move with me wherever but if he likes one area and me another surely if will cause waves eventually??

Original post attached - need pros and cons really of both areas.

My husband was recently made redundant and we saw this as the ideal opportunity to search for the lifestyle that we've always wanted. We are seriously looking into Norfolk and I have 4 ds's 19 (& Autistic), 14, 8 and baby 6 months and need to know where might be best to bring up kids.
I'm a nurse so will be looking for work and hubby said he would do almost (lol) anything for work. We would prefer to live out of a large town, we like the seaside but not a large beach area more quieter resorts. But in the same respect love the countryside too, so generally just a nice area but facilities within a drive for the kids to not get too bored?
Can anyone help???
Many thanks wwlias

OP posts:
Lizcat · 30/04/2011 16:59

As someone who lived in Norfolk\Suffolk for 25 years and then moved to the South West I have a number to observations. The population in Norfolk\Suffolk is much lower so infrastructure is much poorer less big roads so longer to get any where and most noticeably once you are out of the main towns the power goes off much more and can sometimes be of for weeks - my parents live 8 miles from the market town and their entire village had no power for 2 weeks 6 months ago. It is much quieter though and out of season the beaches are empty.
In the south west there are more people so roads are better we may moan about the A303, but it is a lot better than the A12 north of Ipswich and the A11 north of Newmarket. We moan if the power goes off for even a couple of hours.
If North Devon is a bit far it is 3 hours when the roads are clear, but if they are not. It is worth considering Dorset and South West Hampshire. I would also look at the Isle of Wight too - property is quite a lot cheaper there.

Onetoomanycornettos · 30/04/2011 17:21

I think you should be realistic about work, though, we are in the middle of a recession and not everywhere is hiring, even in nursing/medical profession you may find a lot of people sitting tight where they are, so I would look at a wide area for jobs. South Devon is lovely too, Torbay hospital, Plymouth (but perhaps living elsewhere if you want more villagy/rural), Exeter. But jobs are scarce and I know lots of people who haven't both got the jobs they want as part of a couple, wages are also pretty low in the SW.

Cornwall too far to be three hours away, South Hams beautiful but expensive, North Devon nice (what about mid-Devon e.g. Honiton as cheaper?)

Finallyspring · 30/04/2011 17:45

What is it about your lifestyle that you don't like now ? Could you change something without moving ?

It's just that I think it is very hard indeed for teenagers to move to the country. They have far less independence and will find it hard to make friends unless you keep taking and fetching them. It sounds like you'll spend your whole time in the car.

I know there's a lot of crime in large cities but how much of it actually personally effects you ? In reality crime usually effects the same already challenged communities.

I think your children won't thank you for moving. Ages 0 to 10 and over 50 are the best for country living.

icooksocks · 30/04/2011 17:52

Do your research, country living has downsides too. I'm currently re-locating my family into a large town wth good motorway links, after having spent nearly my whole life in rural Lincolnshire. Don't get me wrong-it's all very pretty all this countryside, but jobs are scarce.

haggis01 · 30/04/2011 17:52

A few years ago we had planned to move to south devon - Kingsbridge/Ivybridge/Totnes area. House prices were very expensive and difficult to find 1 year rentals - lots of 6 month winter ones and then you have to get out for the summer high season holiday market. This made it very difficult to organise the move in time for year10 for us. Talked to some recent escapees from London while there on a long reccee who loved living there but were finding it hard financially (an accountant, a teacher, a security analyst who had become a postman) as there was a lot of competition for jobs. Their social life and making new friends also seemed to revolve around the local church - we are atheists.One of them felt that Exeter would have been a better move for their family.

Don't assume you can just get a place in the very good state schools - many are oversubscribed and you could be given a school quite a distance from your home if you haven't researched it properly.

In the end we moved to the sussex coast - Dc v happy and we can still access London jobs etc when needed and have the best of coast,country and small city life.

Finallyspring · 30/04/2011 18:04

And another thing ! As well as needing to spend the whole time in the car country life can be very expensive. Houses are cheaper but everything else ( food, petrol, transport generally, housing stuff ) is much more expensive. Not to mention the fact that as children get older they want/need the stimulation of good cultural activities. These are even more difficult to access/pay for.

larry5 · 30/04/2011 18:08

We moved from SE to Midsomer Norton Somerset (8 miles south of Bath) 5 years ago when our DD was due to go into yr10. She attended an outstanding secondary school and made lots of friends very quickly. I don't know if your 19 year old still attends school but there is a very good special school that has pupils coming from a large area very close to here.

There are quite a few hospitals within commuting distance - Royal United Bath, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Paulton hospital (small local hospital) and several private hospitals.

It takes me about 2 1/2 hours to get back to Croydon on a good day.

Hope this helps.

WhiteBumOfTheMountain · 30/04/2011 18:10

Just wanted to say that I think it sounds like you are making the best choice for all concerned. I know tha 14 is an awkwards age for many...and moving caan be tough...but it could also be amazing. Socially it's not so important...he would make new mates at 6th form anyway! Most people only have 1 or 2 friends from high school which remain..and with fccebook your DS will be able to stay in touch.

Your 8 year old will be fine too...the whole family's security and health must come first.

Finallyspring · 30/04/2011 18:17

Sorry for being negative !

But can't resist one more point. Facebook is not RL ! Relationships are THE most important factor for mental and physical health. These cannot be established or properly maintained by computer ! It's great to have a bigger house than you could afford in the city and look out on green fields etc. but ...

WhiteBumOfTheMountain · 30/04/2011 18:43

I know that Finally...but at 14 he will be able to stay in touch and when they all move off to Uni's they all get pretty mobile...which iincludes invites to special parties and things. My neice has a few friends from their old town...they move away when she was 12 and she is now 21....she visits some of them in Cardiff and others in manchester.

At 14 youre adaptable...he'll make mates at school and college.

jezebelle · 30/04/2011 19:40

Ha ha ha re the power issue ??? are you for real Lizcat ?? do you think Norfolk is that remote ?? ffs, i have never had a power issue in er my life, i'm 30 and have always lived here. I think you'll find something happened to that villages power- flood, road collapse or the like and they took a while to fix it due to complications in work, not because it was so remote that it took days to reach them !!!!

coffeewhitenosugar · 30/04/2011 22:23

Check out Totnes and surrounding villages. Totnes, granted, is expensive but surrounding villages aren't necessarily. Great bus links and direct train link to London from Totnes. Some great youth clubs in Totnes and villages so teenagers aren't just left to loiter and stacks of great mum & baby/toddler groups. Come down for a holiday and see what you think!

womanwholivedinashoe · 01/05/2011 08:08

Finally Spring thank you for your comment, however when living in the city FB and Xbox are all your ds2 knows as they don't go out EVER so its not just the big house, overlooking the green it is about ds2 being able to make real relationships with new friends but its also wonderful as socially points out that actually ds2 can stay in touch with all his old friends too in exactly the same way as basically he is doing now lol. As for my 8 year old he can't wait to move and make new friend, he'd just moved from one school to another in this past year and he keeps telling his older brother to chill and how easy it is to make friends. Chances are when we move it'll be the other way round ;P.
As for research dh is soooooo bored of me doing research its driving him insane and he just wants to pack u and go, but yes I am and will continue to research to make sure (as much as I can) the area is right for all of us. V V tall order lol.
Have settled on the three areas v interested to here about Midsomer Norton as that and the surrounding area in Somerset are one. South devon to Mid another and continuing with Norfolk but focusing on south broadlands area up to Diss as commuting will still be a biggie for us.
Our checklist is
Big enough (house that is) and right price!
Nice area, good feedback.
Good schools in area or close by 5-10 miles max. (otherwise you're right the costs of petrol will make this a pricey venture).
Within 30-45 mins driving of large city for work or BR links to commute back to London. (and for that cosmopolitian hit lol)
Not so worried about beaches now but drivable distance 30-1 hr max would be perfect.
Not tooooooooooo rural anymore thanks to all these comments lol.

OP posts:
womanwholivedinashoe · 01/05/2011 08:10

ps it is early on a Sunday morning so I didn't check my grammar until just reading back now, ooops!!

OP posts:
fivegomadindorset · 01/05/2011 08:11

Dorset, out of Poole and Bournmouth, secondary and primary schools are great, hospitals in Poole, Bournmouth and Dorchester.

womanwholivedinashoe · 01/05/2011 08:20

ps have set up a blog with my findings feel free to read

thanks fgmid you're up as early as me, Dorset seems to be out of our price range unfortunately but absolutely love the area.

OP posts:
NinkyNonker · 01/05/2011 08:34

We're in Dorset, lovely but pricey.

fivegomadindorset · 01/05/2011 08:37

Small children and B&B guests to feed.

What is your budget for a house?

cheesyscones · 01/05/2011 08:42

I am in Devon......................PM me if you want any info.

womanwholivedinashoe · 01/05/2011 14:46

We're renting first so our budget is no more than a £1000 pcm to ensure we have enough kitty in the bank if all else fails. We've seen some stunning houses around the £1250 but we need to be sensible (unfortunately ;().

Thanks cheesyscones!

One more thing finallyspring why do you think that petrol, housing stuff, food, transport etc is dearer in the country compared to London? Not knocking but generally had no idea that it would be, thought it would be the same if i'm honest :(

OP posts:
fivegomadindorset · 01/05/2011 14:54

It is not as if the petrol/diesel is more expensive, you just have further to drive. DD was at our catchment school before Christmas and DS at nuresry, now I was driving 40+ miles a day to drop off and pick up.

doley · 01/05/2011 14:57

What about Salisbury ?

Hospital is there ,it has a nice vibe and the surrounding areas are really lovely :)

Sorry if it has already been mentioned !

lubberlich · 01/05/2011 15:19

"Jobs also seem to be in better supply in Norfolk compared to the SW but please correct me if I'm wrong"

Wooah no jobs in Norfolk.
I "escaped" from London to Norfolk 5 years ago and we are currently in the process of trying to escape this hellhole. There is no work at all - and APPALLING travel connections to just about everywhere. Worst of all there is no ambition for new projects or ideas. It seems that anyone with any spark got out of here years ago. Everything we have encountered up here is half arsed - not in a charming yokel way either. Just in a useless, inept way.
My son is at his 4th nursery school because every single one of them was bloody useless.

In Norwich I have encountered more dog shit, graffitti and drug crime than in all my 24 years in Brixton. Last month I had to make a formal complaint to the police after my 4yr old and myself were set on by a gang of young teenage boys. The day I get out of Norfolk and back to civilisation will be the happiest day of my life.

Don't get too sucked into the rural idyll myth. With many rural communities comes insularity, lack of facilities, crushing boredom - and the most alarming thing I find is the casual bigotry expressed by so many people that I meet.

Well ... you did ask!

Hatesponge · 01/05/2011 15:27

I would definitely be looking specifically for areas with good schools, and where there is lots to do - I have friends who grew up in very rural areas of Devon/Dorset and whilst they are beautiful parts of the country, both said that they found the ages from about 12-16 quite difficult due to lack of things to do for teenagers, difficulty in meeting up with friends (due to distance between houses, and lack of public transport - so they couldnt get a bus to each other's houses or to the shops on a saturday for ex).

I know you say that your DSs don't go out much atm BUT I also know that my Ds who is 12, whilst he isn't always out, would find it v odd to not be able to ride his bike down to the shop to buy a drink or some sweets, or to hop on a bus to the cinema/bowling alley/swimming pool.

If it was me I'd look at market towns rather than villages/countryside (Salisbury, mentioned above is really nice, also perhaps Yeovil, Dorchester etc. Isle of Wight imo is lovely, reminded me when I went there of England in the 70s, a little bit old fashioned but seemed very safe and a nice place to live. Housing is v cheap, and I believe some people commute via the hovercraft to Portsmouth for work, which would be an alternative if you couldn't get anything suitable on the island.

DorisIsAPinkDragon · 01/05/2011 21:25

South Devon wise I live near Ivybridge which has a gool senior school and loads of good primaries a train conection into plymouth or up to Exeter, it's just off the A38 near Dartmoor and being S devon fair close to beaches etc. Employment I'm afraid I can't help you with Grin It also has a surestart centre which does outreach to local villages tho' god knows how long that will continue Hmm.

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