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Relocating to West or South Oxfordshire from Bristol.. but where??
34

pixieeyes · 10/07/2022 12:12

Hi everyone. I'm starting the overwhelming but also exciting! search for a new place to call home in Oxfordshire and would value any insight or advice please.
After much discussion my husband and I have (almost) decided to make the big move, because although we really love Bristol, his family are Central Oxford & High Wycombe based and my family is West London based. We'd like to be closer to them as we'd like to start a family soon, and I also fancy a change after 15y in Bristol. I also want to be closer to London where I grew up and have friends.

I have a new job starting in Swindon in Jan, and am happy to commute up to 45mins by car 3-4d/w, in order to live in Oxfordshire rather than Swindon or Wiltshire. My husband's job in the future will involve rotations between the hospitals in Oxford/Swindon/Reading & Milton Keynes.

The ideal wishlist is:

  • In or nearby to a town with things to do/places to go (independent/alternative scene would be ideal but I understand this might be too much to ask of Oxfordshire!)
  • Community feel
  • Quicker travel to London- within 1h (Paddington rather than Marylebone better so thinking near Didcot would be best?)
  • Near things to do with babies/small children
  • Near to good schools for the future

We visited Abingdon, Wantage and Dicot with some villages in between yesterday but in reading and after our visit I still feel confused and not sure we can quite find the right place for most of the above.. or maybe I'm expecting too much. We didn't make it to but have been reading about Witney and it sounds ideal, but maybe too far for us to commute/not as easy for London travel

If anyone is making/has made the move to South Oxon, please also get in touch!

Thanks so much 😊

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anotherneutralname · 10/07/2022 12:25

I would have said Witney - but the traffic on the only main route to Oxford can be really bad. Does your partner have restrictions on how far from the hospital they need to be, in terms of response time?

Possibly worth looking at Charlbury. Or Bicester? Or Reading, to be honest. Depends how town v village you are really. Would you consider as far as Henley, or Thame?

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MaisyMary77 · 10/07/2022 12:35

We’re in a village just outside of Abingdon. Really like it here. The fast train from Didcot to Paddington is only 35 minutes. Getting into Oxford is really easy. To drive to Swindon is about 45 minutes.

My son is at school in Wantage. I think wantage is lovely. Would happily live there. The drive to Swindon is about half an hour. Although the a420 can get very busy during rush hour.

Plenty of good schools in Abingdon. Both my daughters went to an independent school in Oxford but DD2 did sixth form at the John Mason school. She loved it.

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LardonChase · 10/07/2022 13:04

try goring or streatley - albeit the latter over the Berks border

www.visitgoringandstreatley.co.uk/

loads going on, and a pleasant spot to live

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hearmywomanlyroar · 10/07/2022 13:44

Henley has a theatre, independent cinema, nice restaurants etc. Lots of pretty villages in the surrounding area too if you prefer more rural. Goring & Streatley also lovely.

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Unaks · 10/07/2022 17:02

What’s your budget? Henley on Thames isn’t great as no direct train to London.

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MrsJamin · 10/07/2022 17:55

Your budget is pretty important. Also what's your ideal point on the rural versus urban (especially re public transport connectedness)? Loads of pretty places eg Wallingford but they are pretty cut off from public transport or they're very very expensive (eg goring and Streatley). I live in Reading and any of those places you mention are easy to get to, plus once you have children who want to get places, you're not having to ferry them around like you would be in the countryside. Reading isn't the prettiest but there's quite a lot going on and it's very convenient.

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pixieeyes · 10/07/2022 18:31

Thank you all for your helpful replies!
Independent cinema sounds great:) but I think Henley is going to be a bit too far out for me to get to Swindon for work unfortunately.

My husband feels that the best place for us both work wise and also to get to Oxford and London would be within the triangle of Wantage/Abingdon/Didcot ..Could most of the things on the ideal wish list, be found somewhere within that?

Our budget is around £750K. I’ve been looking on Rightmove and slightly concerned it’ll take quite a while to find something, but we need to decide where first…

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pixieeyes · 10/07/2022 18:42

@MrsJamin Thank you for highlighting Reading. Are there any nice villages you know of/would recommend that are near Reading?

I’d like to be able to get to shops, events and also ideally on the train quickly so I think it would be more a town for me, but my husband loves the appeal of a village and having more space for our £ if possible (although not always the case if looking for village properties). There aren’t many villages connected by train in Oxfordshire it seems?

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cameocat · 10/07/2022 22:15

You're right, villages aren't well connected via train sadly. Didcot has good parking though so you could look close by.

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elaeocarpus · 10/07/2022 22:53

I would go for Abingdon off your list

Didcot has the train, yes, but i wouldn't choose to live there

Wantage is ok, i cant say i like the town centre; the secondary had a really bad ofsted

Witney is lovely, but will take more than 45 min to Swindon

Abingdon has the river, decent schools good public transport to Oxford and didcot. You may be pushing it on commute time however
The a420 is a nightmare for traffic and accidents and road closures. If 45 min to Swindon is a must you'll need to look at villages or small towns between Abingdon/ wantage/ a420 corridor

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MrsJamin · 11/07/2022 06:23

I'd have a look at the large village of Tilehurst, it's to the west of Reading but has its own station just north of the centre. Its well connected to Reading but has more of a suburban village feel. E.g. www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/124271546 is just by the station and opposite Waitrose too!

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FormerlySpeckledyHen · 11/07/2022 06:38

Pangebourne or Whitchurch on Thames might fit the bill.

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FormerlySpeckledyHen · 11/07/2022 06:41

*Pangbourne

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Rainingcatsandmice · 11/07/2022 07:06

Radley? Has a primary school, train station and minutes from Abingdon.

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StottyCakeandJam · 11/07/2022 07:27

My sister lives in Witney and uses the train station in Long Hanborough which is just a short drive away. We love visiting as it’s a lovely little market town with lots going on. We went to the Witney Food Festival with her a few weeks ago and she said there was an annual Carnival on Saturday. They have a Beer Festival & a music Festival too and there’s lots to do in the local area.

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pixieeyes · 11/07/2022 22:48

Thank you all so much for your replies.

I think Reading is going to be too far for me to commute to Swindon unfortunately. I’d ideally like to be within 45mins, but mileage also factoring in, especially with current fuel costs:(

Witney keeps popping up in comments as being lovely, I think we’ve got to go and see it to consider whether it might work!

We actually visited Radley and a big plus that it had a station.. but it didn’t have as much of a village feel if that makes sense!
We’d love to eventually find a period property too, which we didn’t see any of there.

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Arcadia · 11/07/2022 22:54

How about Wallingford? By far the nicest of the market towns in my view. I know the south oxon area very well. Train station in cholsey or didcot.

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Arcadia · 11/07/2022 22:55

Sorry Wallingford probably too far from Swindon, but it's lovely!

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Keladrythesaviour · 11/07/2022 22:59

pixieeyes · 11/07/2022 22:48

Thank you all so much for your replies.

I think Reading is going to be too far for me to commute to Swindon unfortunately. I’d ideally like to be within 45mins, but mileage also factoring in, especially with current fuel costs:(

Witney keeps popping up in comments as being lovely, I think we’ve got to go and see it to consider whether it might work!

We actually visited Radley and a big plus that it had a station.. but it didn’t have as much of a village feel if that makes sense!
We’d love to eventually find a period property too, which we didn’t see any of there.

My DH commutes to Reading from the other side of Swindon (15/20minutes from the M4 junction) and he has an hour commute each way, so as long as you're on the right side of Reading I think you'd be fine within the 45minute limit. Where in Swindon will you be based (area)?

When we were looking we considered places such as Hungerford which we liked a lot and has good train access, but might be a little far south for you, and the Sheffords due to their proximity to the M4. We also really liked Great Bedwyn. I've a feeling they might be back over the Wiltshire border though.

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oakleydoke · 11/07/2022 23:10

I live in that triangle, work in the hospitals you mention and my partner works in Swindon!

Abingdon definitely the pick of the three there, I would also recommend Faringdon, Radley, Bampton, Cumnor, Appleton and Eynsham as meeting your criteria. Although only Radley has a train station, all of them are lovely little communities and very accessible.

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StillMedusa · 11/07/2022 23:31

Witney or Lechlade... Lechlade is perfect for Swindon and not too bad for Oxford. There are some lovely properties in Lechlade on your budget! Anywhere in West Oxfordshire will be a bit of a pain for Oxford if you use the A40 ar peak times (otherwise not that bad).

Burford is also gorgeous.. and pretty good for either direction, but definitely more pricey as it's old, stunning and a tourist destination. It depends on how village v market town you want to go. Long Hanborough has the train to Oxford but personally I find it a bit bland compared with Burford or Lechlade.

Bampton is lovely, Eynsham is also lovely and has a lot going on.. carnivals, music stuff regularly. I'm at boring RAF Brize (Carterton) but go a mile out to any of the villages and there are some really beautiful spots..however they don't tend to have a lot of facilities.

If I had your budget and needed to get to Swindon or Oxford I'd look at Burford or Lechlade.

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dinkydino123 · 12/07/2022 10:11

Another vote for Witney here. Try looking at the Wood Green end as there are more period properties and it's the right end of Witney for Hanborough Station. I commute to Oxford from Hanborough (although I'm not in Witney) and it takes 10 mins by train. You can get to Paddington in an hour. Trains are once an hour but more frequent between 7 and 10am and 4-7pm for commuting. Good luck!

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pixieeyes · 14/07/2022 19:45

Thank you all!

Witney has received so much of a mention, we’re going to have to go and see it.

I wondered if any of you would recommend any of the areas just outside Oxford city itself, eg. Cumnor, Dry Sandford or Kennington? They’re under 40mins to Swindon (says Google Maps!), closer to Oxford, but compromise there would be a longer time to London by train..

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Thedogissnoringagain · 14/07/2022 21:54

This has been withdrawn at poster's request

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TommyShelby · 15/07/2022 19:40

I’ve lived in Cassington (near Witney) and used to commute to Lyneham and Brize and while it was a bit of a trek, the village made up for it. It was lovely and has a lovely wee school that my step children went to and thrived. We wouldn’t have moved if we hadn’t had one of those unmissable offers you know.

I’ve also spent a lot of time in Charlbury, Chadlington and Burford and they have a lovely community feel but they might be a bit out of your commute time.

As for Wiltshire, I grew up in Wootton Bassett (before it was Royal 😂) and that was lovely when I lived there - although it was a little while ago now so I’m not sure if that’s changed.

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