Our website helps people to move out of London....or does it! We have plenty of people emailing us to say they've used our site to do the research but have decided to stay in London. I'm always thrilled to hear from people and my own views are that each family is different and the critical thing is to do your research rather than jumping in and regretting it later. There is no right or wrong - and sadly no one can tell you what to do except you!
So if you're wondering about staying or going you might take some inspiration from this family....on paper they were set to move out - Oxfordshire had their name on it - I'll leave it to them to share their story.
We always knew that we were going to move out of London, we had a 10 year plan and that involved buying a house in London and then moving to Oxfordshire.
We chose there because it meant my husband could commute back into his work. He is the owner and lead physiotherapist at Body Logic Health Ltd, a physiotherapy, running school and a personal training clinic on Battersea Park Road and Streatham Hill.
It also wasn’t too far away if we both wanted to come in the for the day or an evening. It was also close to both my husband’s brother and my sister and it cut 2 hours off the travelling time to see my parents in south west Scotland.
We bought a house, for our 10 year stint in London in Earlsfield, despite really knowing nothing about the area. Knowing we were moving out meant we didn’t integrate into Earlsfield as much as we should have done. We had lots of friends but they were all over south west London. However many of our friends started leaving - in one year 20 couples and families moved out. We effectively had to start making new friends again.
Since my eldest was born I had been working from home importing physiotherapy, rehabilitation and exercise products (www.lockeroomsports.co.uk), and latterly I was working in the Body Logic office. We also had twins so the thought of moving was put to the back of our minds for a while.
We started seriously talking about moving out 3 years ago but we couldn’t decide where to go. It no longer made any sense to go up to Oxfordshire as both of us would have been commuting.
We looked at Surrey but neither of us felt a massive pull to the area. Whilst we would have been able to afford a bigger house and a larger garden, the houses cost a lot more to run and keep and weekends seem to be spent hosting friends or working in the garden to stop it becoming a jungle.
Also the cost and time of commuting would have meant that my working day would have been shortened massively and the commuting costs would have impacted our finances.
It was only a during a conversation between my father in law and my husband when he asked if money were no object where would we live and my husband without stopping for a moment answered Wimbledon.
Once he had voiced this both of us agreed that we weren't enjoying the process of choosing where to live and we came to the decision to stay. We felt free and we knew that not only were we going to stay in London, we were going to stay in Earlsfield too. Not bad for a country girl who was only coming to London for 3 months in 1998!
Once we had made this decision it made life a lot easier. We started getting fully involved in school, we made more of an effort to meet the parents at Earlsfield Primary School, we joined Wimbledon Rugby Club and we started to feel like we belonged.
Coupled with that that our commute takes us 20 minutes if we run, bike, drive or train, all of which are options open to us. I can leave work at 5.30pm and know that I’ll be back by 6pm.
If the boys weren’t in such a good school we would have considered moving out more seriously possibly, but thankfully we don’t have to think about this. We are so happy with the school and we are preparing for whatever comes next whether it be private or state school for secondary. A lot of of our friends at school are staying in London which also helps knowing that we aren’t going to be deserted again!
We love living in Earlsfield/Wandsworth. It’s got a nice vibe about it, it’s changing the whole time, and new pubs and restaurants are opening up. We need a few more independent shops that aren’t estate agents or hairdressers but I’m sure they will come. It’s a safe place to live. We are only 20 minutes into Waterloo, we love going to the South bank, and the boys love getting on the train. School trips are more varied because the train station is so close so they can go further afield. London Zoo, the Science Museum, the Aquarium, Florence Nightingale museum are all regular trips the school undertakes.
The downside to our house is that we only have a small garden but with 3 active boys would any garden be large enough! Our neighbours don’t love us in the summer as cricket, tennis, footballs, shuttlecocks and nerf gun pellets find their way into the garden, but a bottle of wine usually helps the neighbourly relations! Also our street isn’t the friendliest of streets, it’s quite a transient street with lots of flats so there isn’t much community feel but we think that we will move within the next few years to within Earlsfield, probably to one of the streets nearer school on the other side of the track which have slightly bigger gardens and a more neighbourly feel.
We like living in London because there are loads of options for entertainment for both the children and the adults. If you are going out for supper you can either walk or jump in a cab. Children can walk to and from playdates and after school activities and parks. You can go to the pub and one of you doesn’t have to drive. There is a wide range of food options - Thai, french, Indian, Korean, British, South African, American, all within a few minutes of each other.
We are settled and very happy here, it’s nice to know that we have made the decision and it feels right for our family!