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Good place to Live near london- budget included

65 replies

AmyLou100 · 20/03/2021 18:54

Hi all, Dh and I are moving to london with DC (5, 2) and looking for an area to move to that suits our family needs.

Good independent schools
Commute to Canary Wharf
Diverse (no offense, we are non white and have had previous bad experiences)
Rental budget of 3500 pcm, could go a little higher

Areas of interest to us:

Richmond: There seems to be a few good independent schools in Kew. However , what is the commute like to Canary Wharf?
Have also read about plane noise, is it really that bad?
It seems like the area has a lovely vibe, lots to do.

Blackheath: Obviously much closer travel to work BUT i'm not sure if it is very 'villagey' (no offense meant).
There isn't a very wide options for independent schools it seems.

Any thoughts and advice will be very appreciated. We are not from the area or country even, so pretty clueless.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

cheerfulpanda · 20/03/2021 22:38

Agree not to write off North London.

Commute from West Hampstead to Canary Wharf is 35mins and a straightforward journey, one straight jubilee line route where you’ll get a seat before zone one.

Close to Hampstead Heath, nice shops, restaurants, cafes, bars. Good schools and community.

zoemum2006 · 20/03/2021 22:39

I used to live in Greenwich and everyone worked at Canary Wharf. I loved it (still do) but got priced out 15 minutes down the road.

As pp said DH can walk to work if he needs to or get the DLR 10minutes. Easy life.

BigGreen · 20/03/2021 22:46

You'd be crazy to commute from Richmond to Docklands. Canary Wharf has plenty of private preschools - are you making a long term move and thinking of kids right up to secondary?

HazelBite · 20/03/2021 22:54

DS's ex worked in Canary Wharf she commuted daily from Watford (just inside Herts borders) town well known for good schools and very diverse.

mumwon · 20/03/2021 22:58

Brockley - I don't know about schools but its a nice area good commute to Canary Wharf? (2 nice parks one with coffee shop & lots of coffee shops in the main road!)

bravotango · 20/03/2021 23:01

Agree West Hampstead - great place to live anyway plus the Jubilee line commute is straightforward.

crystal1983 · 21/03/2021 06:55

Another vote for Crystal Palace - villagey feel, diverse, close to the Dulwich private schools plus many others, and the London overground (aka ginger line) to Canada Water then one stop on the jubilee line to CW. House prices aren’t too dreadful.

There’s also the isle of dogs where DH could walk to work...

Chicchicchicchiclana · 21/03/2021 07:05

Dulwich/East Dulwich/West Dulwich/Herne Hill. You'll want postcodes SE21, SE22 and SE24 for your property website searches - although in your position I would outsource the legwork and pay a professional to find a property for you.

Very family friendly, many large parks and open green spaces, easy commute to Canary Wharf - and absolutely overrun with private schools.

swissmummy12345 · 21/03/2021 07:26

Do NOT do Richmond to the Wharf as a daily commute. It will take years off your life. Lived in Richmond for 6 years, the plane noise starts at 4/5am, every 90 seconds which when the windows are open in the summer can really affect sleep patterns. Look at Crossrail, which will start soon and make many more places accessible to CW.

I think you would be much better off around Dulwich, Blackheath, Greenwich areas for the schools. Victoria Park if you want safe diversity.

KrustyTheKat · 21/03/2021 07:26

I live in Blackheath (5 minute walk from the village) and I am bi-racial, my fiancé is black. It is a lovely area with nice bars and restaurants with good transport links into London. Lewisham is just down the road which has a DLR connection..
The area is diverse so you shouldn’t have any issues on that front (I never have)

BlueyandBingo · 21/03/2021 07:59

I agree with the others who have suggested SE London. Depending on your budget I would look at Dulwich, Herne Hill, Crystal Palace, Brockley. Blackheath is also lovely

Grimbelina · 21/03/2021 08:06

Blackheath, it's lovely! Definitely don't start from a position that a 1 hour commute is a good idea....

VeronicaVanHoopen · 21/03/2021 08:07

Beckenham not getting as much support here as I would have thought! Anywhere near Clock House or New Beckenham stations gives you a c. 40 minute commute into Canary Wharf with two routes possible - one via DLR, one via underground which is good for back-up.

Living here gives you easy access to Dulwich independents, Bromley independents and Croydon independents as well as a couple of high-performing/highly-selective state grammars.

Good housing stock and a diverse area. Definitely don't overlook it! We have both worked in Canary Wharf on and off and have lived in Beckenham for 15 years now. PM me if you have any questions xxx

OllietheOwl · 21/03/2021 08:15

With your budget you can really have the pick of the places to live. As a Londoner and someone who formerly worked in Canary Wharf, I personally wouldn’t want to travel across London to get there, if I didn’t have to. So I’d be ruling out anywhere West or North West. If you don’t have any connections to those areas I just wouldn’t look to live far away from my workplace.

Victoria Park village in Hackney, E9 is lovely. Very quaint, lots of cafes and restaurants and backs onto a beautiful park. There is a bus that goes directly to Canary Wharf. Or the drive is about 10mins. Hackney is very diverse, a great mix of cultures.

I’d be looking at the DLR line - the docklands light railway that runs into Canary Wharf and the surrounding buildings. Lots of places on that line have now become homes for CW workers. The Isle of Dogs itself (where CW is situated) is full of new-build properties, modernised parks and refurbed schools. It’s quite a desirable area to live. You also have a foot tunnel that goes under the water to Greenwich.

I’d also recommend Greenwich as a base - really lovely area, lots of greenery, good transport links etc. Lots of families based there and you still get the London diversity.

Writerandreader · 21/03/2021 08:20

Hello I know all these areas well. Richmond is beautiful but dull and a very long way from canary wharf.

Blackheath is amazing. Not sure what you mean by village? It's beautiful wide heathland though also urban main roads cross the heath. It's got huge views over Greenwich Park and London. The village is nice. It's not at all like a country village! Blackheath and Greenwich are very diverse parts of London.

If I cld choose id live overlooking Blackheath or in the streets near Greenwich Park. Greenwich has loads for kids and is stunning in the river.

Much better place to live than Richmond

Writerandreader · 21/03/2021 08:21

Brockley is lovely look round hilly fields park. London best hidden gem.

Dozer · 21/03/2021 08:21

London commuting can be awful so would prioritise ease of commute.

365sleepstogo · 21/03/2021 08:28


Came on to also suggest Forest Hill and Honor Oak but...

Yes, definitely Beckenham - I have friends that live there, excellent transport links and some beautiful houses that would cost a bomb in Dulwich, though still not cheap.

Mentioned it in my post up thread, as the London side of Beckenham but I couldn’t be as specific. Lots of cafes, restaurants and coffee shops were popping up there when I last went there but it’s been a while since we have seen our friends, obviously. Lots of parks, too.
This area you mentioned borders Crystal Palace and Sydenham.

I have a skewed perception but discussing with friends who have children in private and state schools in North London, I get the impression that you need to have sharp elbows, be quite the tiger-parent and/or be dedicated to supporting your child’s education at home in order to get them into the good private schools or keep up with the pace at a very good state school (dependent on catchment area).
The annual 3+/4+ assessments threads seem to dominated by the north London schools’ assessments and how to prep toddlers for these.
None of this is wrong, so no judgement from me - it’s whatever suits the children and family and how it is handled. Some children and parents absolutely thrive on this set up - I sometimes wonder whether I would love this set up, if I wasn’t a working parent and could calmly support my DCs’ education, instead of juggling work/family life. Others may absolutely hate it!

Just putting it out there in case it makes a difference to your choice of which side of the river.

CuthbertDibbleandGrubb · 21/03/2021 08:29

Crossrail is coming next year which may alter the options for travel, or at least make the Jubilee line a little less unpleasant in the rush hour.

Buzztothemoon · 21/03/2021 08:30

I’m local to the Blackheath/ Greenwich/ Canary Wharf area - bit closer in to the city though so could suggest some other areas - & have kids in local independents so happy to help if you want to DM. But I wouldn’t worry about schools - good choice of local independent primary’s & close enough to the city as well for 7 or 11+. Lots go on to City, Westminster, St Paul’s or down to Eltham, Dulwich or one of the GDST from here as is easy commute.

sm40 · 21/03/2021 08:41

Yes to Beckenham too. Dh commuted to CW and sometimes cycled. Lots of private options nearby. If live in right catchment then good schools too. Also in catchment for bromley grammars. Lots of house for your money compared to Dulwich/Greenwich. Greenest borough in London so loads of parks too. Kelsey park and Beckenham place park which is now being discovered by more and more people!

LakieLady · 21/03/2021 08:49

Another vote for Blackheath, Greenwich, Crystal Palace. All lovely with lots going on. I have friends who've lived in Crystal Palace for years, and have seen it get better and better over the last 30 years or so.

Sydenham and Forest Hill also have very nice parts, but don't know about schools.

Aprilx · 21/03/2021 08:51

I haven’t lived in Richmond but I lived in Wimbledon for eleven years and so I am used to commuting on both the District line and via main line into Waterloo as you would from Richmond. I worked in the city, on paper these trips might look like they are under an hour but at peak times they usually take a lot longer with longer stops at each station plus it seems just more stoppages for no apparent reason.

I loved my time living in SW London but the commute to the city was a nightmare and if I were taking up a job in Canary Wharf I would definitely not be thinking of SW London. I would definitely be thinking east London and places along the Jubilee line.

hotcrossbun83 · 21/03/2021 09:04

I lived in Richmond, it’s a fantastic place for a young family and the planes didn’t bother me much (you get used to them), but the commute to canary wharf isn’t great. Pre lockdown, it was a good 10-15 min wait to get on to the jubilee line at Waterloo, they often shut the tube with overcrowding and you have to wait around for it to clear. I also wouldn’t bet on getting into the private schools in Kew, when my dc were born you had to put their name down at birth.

Have you considered further out to the south east? Chelsfield, Sevenoaks etc? Fast trains in to London bridge mean a similar or shorter commute than much of London, and lots of great schools, green space, sports clubs. A lot of families move from blackheath etc out to west Kent once their kids are school age as quality of life is better

lawandgin · 21/03/2021 09:08

Richmond - absolutely not. Will be full of rowdy louts from Staines, Feltham etc at the weekend (and I say that as someone from one of those areas...). I would avoid SW London, the commute will be a nightmare. South East London is a good bet - I live on the outskirts of Croydon bordering Surrey/Tandridge. Easy commute around an hour to canary wharf, easy access to countryside, good walks, pubs etc.

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