Commute & nursery

This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Belinda Aspinall 5 years, 5 months ago.

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    Hello all?l, my husband &! Are thinking of moving out of London to a commutable location with our baby who will be one. Does anyone have any advice on nursarys and commuting? And how it works, how much you see of children etc?

    Thank you


    Belinda Aspinall

    Hi Sophie
    Great to hear from you on here.
    We’d love to get you some help so a few follow up questions
    1. Where do you need to commute to?
    Have you seen this really helpful tool for working out commute times Calculate Your Commute
    2. Do you have any areas you’d like to consider?
    Have you read our choosing a new area guide which can help to narrow down the areas?
    Choosing a New Area
    3. If you’re just after advice in general about how it works with commuting and children you might find this guide useful on commuting Commuting things to know
    4. You might find this article handy written by one of our members about her new life commuting Real Life Experience of the Commuter Life

    Let us know what you’d most like to know and we can get in touch with our members who will be more than happy to share their experiences.



    Hi Belinda,

    All good questions! My job moves around frequently, but generally either Victria or Canary Wharf, my husband is Holbourn.

    Thank you for the links, will have a read.

    We are ideally looking Berkshire/Buckinghamshire/Surrey for the easier (I think) commutes

    Thank you



    Hi Sophie,
    I don’t have much specific advice to offer but I would say that lots of people manage the balance of the commute and nursery very well – probably some other members will have some good thoughts on managing that balance. I remember being concerned about not getting back in time for nursery pickup if the trains went wrong, but actually it was never a problem, it just takes planning and having a standby plan in case of issues.

    Regarding areas, I am in Ewhurst, which is at the foot of the Surrey Hills. Towns nearby are Guildford, Horsham and Dorking (I grew up in Guildford and know it really well if you have any questions). I know lots of people who’ve made the move with family out into Surrey. Guildford/Godalming/Farnham/Dorking are all good places to look at and very much commuter-towns… with all of them having fast, direct train links into London. If you want something a bit further out then all of the Surrey Hills area is a lovely area to bring a family up – a bit longer to commute but the payback is a more ‘semi-rural’ feel to the place (it’s not that far out of the towns but it’s very much a slower pace, which is nice) 🙂 It’s a 20 minute drive from where I am to a small station called Clandon, which is on the slow line into Waterloo and may be too long of a commute for you to do regularly, but definitely worth a look for a not-full-time commute. Having said that, I did that commute for four years full time and it worked ok…

    Good luck with your planning, I hope you find something amazing for you and your family.
    Best wishes,



    Hi Sophie,

    Your request is quite common the desire to move out of London and the need to be back into the city with the early train. I would use a three step approach.
    1, I would start with train times, i.e what would you be prepared to spend time commuting. For example below are rough times for Buckinghamshire.
    Beaconsfield Marylebone 22 -29
    Gerrards Cross Marylebone 20 -26
    High Wycombe Marylebone 30
    Princess Ris Marylebone 38
    Sauderton Marylebone 44
    Aylesbury Marylebone 60
    Wendover Marylebone 52
    Great Missenden Marylebone 46
    Haddenham & Thame Parkway Marylebone 46
    Amersham Marylebone 39
    Marlow Paddington 1 hr 10min

    2, Once you have considered your commute then type in any of the property search engines what your purchase budget will get you within the areas you’d consider.

    3, Then look up school league tables and crime statistics and finally connect up with net mums or such like to gain a locals perspective.

    We have a free area guides on our website for Buckinghamshire and Berkshire at you may also find useful.

    Good luck Sharon
    Chiltern Relocation

    I hope this helps. Sharon



    The reality of having children and both parents working isn’t as rosy as others make it sound.

    Can it be done? Absolutely.

    However, I do know that when both couples have professional jobs they tend to find a nursery near work and live near work too. (Think Barbican). It’s the only way you get to see your child.

    Now if one of you or both of you is more flexible, or you have a job where actually you can leave at 5pm each day, it’s better manageable.

    In all cases though I would say that the longer the commute, the less you will see of your child. If you are away from home from 8-6 daily, you will only see your child a maximum of 2 hours every workday till they are about 4 (when they are older they go to bed later). Any train delay or traffic will take away that time. If both of you work 5 days a week, that’s very little. If you live closer to work, you would only be away 8.30-5.30, which gives a full hour extra per day.

    You need to take into account public transport and schools too. This may seem completely irrelevant now, but I know mums who did not and now spend their life in the car as their preferred primary school is 45 min each way!! A friend lives in a small village so no parents to share lifts with, and this will continue till they can drive a car themselves.

    We did move to Surrey, and our commute is 1,5 hour. However, as it is a slow train it actually means both of us manage to get work done on the train. I work from home and only travel to London twice a week. My work is flexible enough (20-30 hours a week) to fit in the school run, rides for play dates, sports and so on. If I had a full time job too, we would have to cut our lives down to just working and children and live by a rigorous schedule to make it all work. Once the children are in senior school they can take a school bus (of 30 minutes, because I don’t want their commute to take up a large part of their free time) and it will be easier for me to fit more work in.

    Once you have narrowed down the areas, you also have to take into account how far your home ends up being from the train station. We are 3 minutes from the station (by foot) which makes the commute very doable. One village further down we were looking at a house that was 15 min from the train station, but then a faster train. In the end there wasn’t much difference in commute times.

    I was all bent on finding a good commute for my husband, which would only include one tube. Three years later he changed jobs…new office…2 tubes after all. Haha.

    All the best with your decision. It’s definitely worth looking well into commute options, but in the end I am sure you will make it work if you want to.

    Berkshire and Surrey are both lovely. Berkshire still has the grammar school system, and many people prefer that. I know it seems far away but before you know it you will be looking at schools…



    The truth is, if you’re both commuting and work full time it’s HARD. It works best if one of you can go in late and drop off, with the other one coming home early enough to pick up.

    Even if that’s the case, if your children are at nursery every day then you’ll have to accept that they’ll be spending much more time with other people rather than you.

    If you can make adjustments to your work set-up then you’ll be able to fully take on the advantage of your move.

    We struck a good balance with a mixture of part-time working and working from home which meant that the children only needed to be in nursery 2-3 days a week, but obviously not everyone’s work can be that flexible.

    Although it probably seems a long way off you’ll need to consider what type of wrap-around care and holiday clubs might be available when your children start school. The nursery years are actually the easy bit due to the opening hours and the fact they are open 51 weeks per year. Getting back for the closure of nursery at 6pm was no problem – getting home for the end of school at 3.05 was another matter!

    Good luck!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by  Carrie.


    Thank you so much all 🙂


    Belinda Aspinall

    Message from Rachel at Stacks in Northamptonshire

    “All good advice on here, I’d also reinforce the schooling aspect – it seems a long way away, but focus on having a good selection of Secondary education doable from your chosen location. Schools and their reputations can change, so putting all your eggs in one basket can be risky, and children are individuals, so you might want different options later on. Primary school goes by v quickly, and engaged, interested parents are the key factor in lifechances – not SATs scores!

    BTW Bucks also has the grammar school system, but boundaries are very rigid, so it is important to understand the implications.

    There is also useful info on helps you work through the longer-term thinking when deciding which aspect of house-hunting should take precedence in your particular circumstances.

    Hope that helps !

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