March 18, 2013 at 7:25 am #4303
We are a young family of 3 about to embark on a move to Wilshire / Gloucestershire from London.
My husband has a new job working at Swindon Academy from September this year so we are looking to move into the countryside North of there, ideally with a maximum 30min commute for my husband and if possible 1.30min travel time for my mother in law from Midlands area.
We have been browsing around schools and we feel there are some good ones in the Highworth area or around Cirencester. Can anyone give any information on what its like to live in this kind of area? We are ideally looking for good access to local shops for every day necessities but also as much space and countryside as possible.
We currently live in South East London and are putting our house on the market over the Easter holiday. Once we have secured an offer we will be ready to try and find a lovely place to live. We think we will rent first but then be looking to buy somewhere asap. We are so excited but also daunted by the large and unknown areas to explore and eventually make our home.
Our sons education is probably the most important marker for us, but we also want that big garden, lots of space lifestyle change that London does not offer us. We have a while until my son will be going to school as he is currently 1 but we would like to be settled in a community well before then. Any good primary school recommendations? From what I’ve seen, good schools around there seem pretty common. Do I need to worry about catchment areas?
Any information people have about living in this area would be great. My husband has already signed the contract so we will definitely moving, and it would be great to find somewhere to move that fulfils our aspirations for our big move out of London.
Thanks to everyone for reading.
JMarch 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm #4325
We’ve not long moved from south west London down to Wiltshire, we already knew the area as my folks are based here so had a good idea of where we wanted to live. We’ve escaped the city and moved to a village called Lacock. It seems that we have similar ‘wants’, good area to live in, good schools, countryside living etc.
Our village has a lovely village school, small post office, bakery and lots of pubs! We didn’t like the idea of moving from London to nothing!
Although the actual move was stressful, we too have a very little one, now we are here and getting settled and we are very happy.
To be near ish Swindon both Tetbury and Cirencester are lovely, easily accessible to the M5, with good schools and definitely not in the sticks, but carry the Gloucestershire Price tag. Wiltshire does tend to be cheaper, still with similar qualities to those previously mentioned. The villages outside of Swindon (Particularly Old Town end) I really like although this side of Wiltshire is less accessible for the M5.
Hope this helps. Do keep in touch. Happy to be a local friendly face when you move.
LucyMarch 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm #4326
Hi, we moved out to near Cirencester 7 years ago. it is fab. I would look at villages with good access to the A429 dual carriage way heading north as that is the quickest way to get away from Swindon and into the Cotswolds proper. Cirencester is a good hub around which to look for villages and they are all nice. Kemble has a fast train to London if you want it bbut prices there will reflect that. Tetbury is nice but smaller and a longer more indirect commute to Swindon. A lot of the village schools are very highly rated Meysey Hampton, Ampney Crucis are particuarly good. Powells & Stratton in Cirencester also. Yes for all you should consider catchment to be sure of getting in. Renting is a very good idea. Longer term you may wish to think about whether you have a preference for Grammar vs Comp education as the west of the country & Cheltenham has the grammars, although the comps are good as well.
Highworth is nice but I prefer to have Cirencester as our hub as it is larger, has good access, good markets and a few galleries.
TDMarch 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm #4328
Hi – we would love to help if we can – first things first, take a look at our website http://www.knightfrank.co.uk/contact/cirencester-estate-agents/ in particular the tab Living in and around Cirencester which offers some invaluable insight to the area. You can call us to register or simply use http://www.knightfrank.com/myknightfrank to register yourself on line. Alice in the office specialises in North Wiltshire.March 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm #4329
We have lived in Highworth for the past 9 years. We moved here primarily for the schools which are very good. I have 3 children (17, 6 and 4) and so have used the schools from Pre-school to the excellent Highworth Warneford Academy.
The area is lovely, the people friendly and welcoming. It feels much more like a large village than a town and there is always something going on with clubs, a historical society, an amateur dramatics society and local Guide and Scout groups.
Cirencester is a lovely town but you may find during rush hour that the commute to Swindon is longer than 30 minutes. My husband’s job takes him all over the region from Cardiff to Birmingham to Nottingham. His commute to Birmingham from Highworth is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
And, as much as I love Cirencester, it can get very busy with tourists during the peak season and parking is always an issue! 🙂
My daughter attends Cirencester College and there is a subsidised college bus twice a day departing from Highworth.
With Highworth we have always felt we get the best of both worlds – it is small enough to feel like a village, but large enough to have a selection of pubs and shops and schools. It is on the edge of the Cotswolds, with all that the area has to offer, without being on the tourist trail.
It is also close enough to Swindon to enjoy those things that a large town has to offer – but far enough away to escape when you need to! 🙂
Hope this helps and good luck with your move!
AmyMarch 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm #4332
Hi, we have three children and moved out of London three/four years ago and now live just outside of Highworth. My husband commuted to London via Swindon until recently and it only took him 15/20 mins to get into Swindon. It is beautiful countryside around here with some lovely villages and is very close to all the Cotswold villages and sights. Cirencester is only 20mins drive and is a lovely town, but much bigger.
Highworth has most shops (banks, post office, gift shop, big co-op, cafes and a market every Sat in the town square) you need, but if you want clothes…Swindon is only a step away! There are good schools on the doorstep and good private schools too close by.
We have a holiday let so if you want to come and stay in the area just get in touch!! http://www.thecartbarncotswolds.com and on owners direct.
Any questions…just ask! Hope to see you around Highworth. Good luck with the move.
KateMarch 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm #4334
Hi, that all sounds really exciting for you all.
We moved to just outside of Highworth nearly 4 years ago and love it here.
Shops in Highworth are super – great Coop for every day basics but only 10 minutes to Sainsburies or big Tescos. Really lovely Saturday market, Christian bookshop, take aways etc and a big library with really helpful staff.
I wouldn’t recommend Kempsford Primary – lots of friends have taken their children out but I know Meysey Hampton well and that’s outstanding. Private Schools – Hatherop or Pinewood – Hatherop is fantastic – don’t know much about Pinewood – very near Swindon. Hatherop has a really super nursery and pre-school or another great pre-school is Filkins near Lechlade. Another brilliant primary school is in Lechlade which is less than 10 mins from Highworth. Outstanding secondary, Farmors, in Fairford.
Riding school on edge of Highworth is super – my daughter loves it there and they’ve got The Rec – gym/swimming pool etc in Highworth itself.
I would recommend getting in touch with May from Coln Lettings – she helped us to rind a rental property http://www.colnlettings.co.uk and was really helpful.
Do get in touch if you’d like more help and when your little ones grow up just let me know as I run French and spanish clubs as well as Jazz Mataz in the area both in term time and also holiday clubs.
Swindon itself is pretty grim (sorry no offense to those living there) but you can get most things from the outlet centres without having to go into town itself. Trains go regularly to London – 1hour to Paddington.
Do shout if I can help with anything.
Anna-KatexMarch 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm #4335
Thank you so much to everyone who has responded. You’ve all been really helpful in guiding us to take the next steps. Hearing what you have all had to say has been really reassuring. It’s so great to know that the areas we are thinking of sound just as we had imagined.
I’m going to have a look through all the schools everyone has mentioned and I shall post back with any other questions if that’s ok.
The first question that comes to mind, for those that moved to the area, is removals. Do you remember who you used and how it was? I was looking into having a local Wiltshire firm instead of a London one. Not sure if that would be more economical perhaps.March 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm #4338
Looks like you’ve got plenty of food for thought but I’ll throw my hat in the ring as I can fill in a slight gap geographically. We moved from W London last summer, initially to Harwell (near Didcot) and have now just moved to a village between Marlborough and Hungerford. Both rented houses but we want to buy either around Marlborough or in the Vale of the White Horse (east of Swindon) or up towards Faringdon/Highworth. The villages in all these areas seem lovely though I find the landscape a bit flat and featureless north as opposed to south of the Vale of the White Horse. Clearly that’s a personal thing though. We definitely did the right thing renting – I would be very wary of buying in an unknown area, far too many unknown factors.
As regards schools, our main reason for choosing this area is Pinewood – a fantastic independent Prep near Shrivenham (just east of Swindon). I have 2 children in Pre-Prep there and we are absolutely thrilled with it. The kids love it and having moved here not knowing a soul, I have formed a fantastic network via school very easily, great set of Mums (and Dads).
I am even a slight convert to Swindon – it has everything and it’s all very convenient, located in a series of retail parks around the edge! It takes no time to get around and you can nip from side to side via J15-16 of the M4 in less than 10 minutes. The A419 from Cirencester down to Swindon/M4 is very quick too, whereas the A420 Swindon-Oxford is often a grind stuck behind lorries. Swindon has an excellent (though v expensive) service to London but going south a bit you have various other nearby lines options on Reading (e.g.. Pewsey/Hungerford/Bedwyn etc)
We just moved with Dennis’s of Swindon who were good and came recommended, and a friend nearby just used Five Oceans of Witney who were good too. I know Dennis’s happily cover the whole country as our guys had just been in Scotland.
Wherever you finish up I am certain you will love it. I think this area is a superb combination of countryside and accessibility to London etc.March 19, 2013 at 7:09 am #4339
You will by now have loads of information to work on and research! Swindon is not really such a bad place and as one of the contributors mentions – very good for shopping and easy to access the numerous retail park – but also surrounded by super countryside. As a Home Search company we deal with many removals and have also fund the Dennis’s of Swindon good and would also recommend Bishops Move – they are still privately owned – by the Bishop family and retain the service ethos one would expect. Should you be interested in contacting us direct for further information and insight into the area and finding out about houses for Sale and Rental – which will never come to the open market – in the area within a good commute from your husbands work – or just advise – please to check out our website: http://www.move-forward.co.uk
JoMarch 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm #4355
Hi J, first you’ve had some fab advice re: area / schools etc. I moved from Wandsworth to just west of Tetbury. Awesome schools all around here. You might want to look at Malmesbury Tetbury area too as you can easily get to Ciren (20mins), but you are also close to m5 access for your Mother. Anyway, my only real comment ,as you have had such great details on the areas you asked about, is that we used Dennis’ and they were AMAZING and by far the best quote – by a mile. Good luck! Do t hesitate to ask more….March 20, 2013 at 11:49 am #4397
Hi there… thought I saw a Tweet asking for recommendations on removals companies somewhere. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Thomas Firbank http://www.firbankremovals.co.uk They moved me from Salisbury to Bradford-on-Avon and were brilliant! The managing director himself came back to collect the empty boxes.
Good luck with everything…March 31, 2019 at 8:56 am #21139
Does anyone have any more recent advice on what has been said on the above?
I am moving from South East London with my family towards the end of 2019 after securing a job just outside Swindon. The challenge we have is working out where to live, we are looking for a village location, commutable to Swindon and preferably Cirencester as well, that has a shop, a pub, a primary school and a great community feel.
Thanks in advance for your help,
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