Moving from London to Surrey

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    Hi, we are thinking of moving to Surrey but are feeling a bit overwhelmed as to where to start with our search. We wanted to be around the Guildford area as we have friends that live there and it is a good commute into London for my husband. I suppose I feel a bit daunted as the prospect of the move as I have lived in SW London for all my life and have now built up a great network of friends and mums in the area. However, we want more space, garden and a better quality of life in the country – we have a 3 1/2 year old daughter who starts school next September.

    So I would love any advice as to towns/villages around Guildford that you think would work for us. I really don’t want to find myself completely isolated in a tiny village or hamlet as I am at home with my daughter every day so I want to be in a family environment where it will be easy to meet new friends. So anywhere that has a good family social life with shops and cafe’s is really important to me.

    My husband has to be able to get into London relatively easily so trains need to be accessible. We want this to be our next 10 year move so schools are important too (either private or state). We have loved our life in London so far but just want a change from a big city and are really looking forward to having the country side on our doorstep!

    Many thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer!


    Hi Coralie,

    I did the move myself to the Guildford area 8 years ago and understand that it can be very daunting. Rest assured though, you’ll be in good company as half of SW London seems to live around here! For most people moving out who don’t want to feel too isolated I would suggest Wonersh, Bramley or Shalford, just outside Guildford, as they all have a few shops, cafes and amenities that you won’t find in some of the smaller villages. There are tonnes of ex London families living there, very active communities with toddler groups etc and you’ll meet new friends really quickly. You should also consider Godalming or Haslemere (I prefer Haslemere) as they are both small market towns but have lots of nice independent shops and cafes, plus you’re on the doorstep of lovely countryside.

    Myself and another ex-London mum run a property search company and we do offer one-off orientation tours (we drive you round the area for up to 5 hours and talk you through all your options) so if you do want any help please just drop me a line.

    Good luck!




    Hi, not sure I agree with Wonersh above – no coffee shops there that I know off. Shere is a possible – really depends on your budget – Surrey Hills is uber expensive. Godalming is a good thought. Don’t be worried about making new friends – with a tiny bit of effort from you there will be lots of new friends really quickly. We have all moved out from London! Good luck.



    Hello Coralie,

    It’s understanding you feel like that when you have a great network around you. Guildford is lovely but I only know it from working for clients around the area, in particular 2 clients in Merrow and both of them work in London so I’m guessing its easy enough to get to, and going shopping with the family. It’s a really lovely area. I also worked and had family that lived in Bramley and Shamley Green again both lovely areas but I’m not too sure about train links.

    We live in Ewell just outside of Epsom, about halfway between SW London and Guildford which I can definitely tell you about. A real mix of ‘Town Feel’ in Epsom 10 minutes away with good train links to London. Ewell Village has a lovely Village feel to it and we have always found it very friendly. 2 train stations in Ewell: Ewell West will take you to Waterloo (I went to London Friday night to meet some pals and was there in 33 mins and then a 10 minute walk to the South Bank) Ewell East will take you to Victoria.

    Schools are great our daughter has been to Ewell Grove Infants, Wallace Fields Junior and now Rosebery (girls only) which is one of the top 10 schools in Surrey there is also Gly School for Boys also in the Top 10. Private schools there is Ewell Castle and Epsom College both of which are very good.

    Travelling is great from Ewell, major roads A3 and M25 very easy to get to if you need and we can get to Brighton in about an Hour and 15 mins. There are masses of open spaces within walking distance: Nonsuch Park and Priest Hill Nature reserve

    For us it’s the best of both worlds so we can get our ‘fix’ of whatever we need – we can get everywhere we want to very easily – pop down the coast or nip in London and we have Town life and countryside on our doorstep. I dont know if I could do the small hamlet, real ‘out in the sticks’ country life, I just think it would be to isolating and just to pop out down the road seems like an expedition 🙂

    Anyway hope that helps! We love it here and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else 🙂

    Good Luck 🙂




    Coralie hello. Looking in on a couple of comments above,I would say that what seems like mud and wellies territory right now from afar,when you get here,all will change and things will seem different. That said, Wonersh and Shere don’t have many “facilities’ for adults. Guildford itself is a pretty exciting town with lots going on and some lovely places to live within a mile or two of the centre. However the small towns of Farnham and Godalming should both be on your lists as they have a lot to offer too. Schools in all the areas are good, but it’s not always easy to get places.

    If you go to, you will find a REALLY useful schools info link, plus info on the areas and all the properties for sale by us in those areas.

    I totally endorse what Viv says about meeting new friends.It should not concern you for a moment. The school contacts will help hugely. But where I think you will notice the difference “down here in the country”,is that people generally are more friendly than in London. Still fast paced here but different.

    If you want detailed knowledge about the towns and villages here, I have some long term staff that can assist. My email is My mobile is 07831 618513




    Hi Coralie,

    Your post rang so many bells …
    We moved from Barnes in SW London to Haslemere in 2010. I had lived in Southwest London for almost 20 years and my husband had been there a bit longer! At the time we had 7 year old twin boys and one on the way and the main motivation for moving was more space (I longed to throw the children out into a big garden…) and better schooling. Like you I was absolutely not interested in going anywhere where I couldn’t walk to decent shops or find a coffee shop particularly as I was about to have another baby, and I was really worried about feeling isolated and missing the huge support network I had built up over so many years.
    We found Amesbury school in Hindhead and knew instantly that this was the school for our boys. The nearest town is Haslemere, a very pretty, small market town with interesting shops, coffee shops, supermarket etc and decided to rent a pretty house within walking distance of the station (45mins to Waterloo) to test the water. We made the move in August 2010 from Barnes and can honestly say we have never looked back.
    Our children settled into school immediately and the six other families whose children joined at the same time as ours had also relocated from London – in fact, most of the people we have subsequently met are ex-SW Londoners! The area is gorgeous. Beautiful, open countryside meets small pretty towns and villages. These days I can drop all the children at school (just off the A3) in the morning and be up in Barnes to meet an old friend for breakfast if I want, and dinner/theatre trips of an evening to London are easy too. In 2012 we were brave enough to move even further and have now relocated permanently to the open countryside just outside Petersfield and we really couldn’t be happier. We have made friends with some of the most wonderful people and our quality of life is so much better than we ever really had in London.
    So I would encourage you to take make the move as daunting as I know it is – you won’t regret it!! As a good friend said to me when I was thinking about it…. it’s not all hobbits in the Shires you know!
    Good luck xx



    We did the move from SW London to Surrey 3 years ago and had absolutely NO idea where to go – we were torn between Guildford, Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere and in the end went with Farnham as that’s where a house came up that worked for us. Couldn’t be happier with our choice (although by all accounts any of those towns would have worked) and genuinely haven’t regretted the move out for a second. It’s such a beautiful area and we settled in much more quickly than I had expected – it definitely helps having small children! It feels like about half of my daughter’s class moved out of London around the same time as us – it was very easy to meet like minded people. The commute from Farnham is longer than for some of the other towns (nearly an hour) but you do always get a seat which is pretty important. Good luck with your decision making!



    Hi there, we searched all the places down the A3 when we moved 3 years ago and eventually decided on Farnham too. I wanted a village but my husband thought we would quickly regret the dramatic change from London to a Village and so Farnham was a great happy medium. Its a great town and as the other have said is full of lots of families that have relocated from SW London. Schools are great and I have found it very easy to make friends – most people are in a similar boat at some point and so I think are much more open to meeting new people. I can also say that we haven’t regretted it at all – its great to have a town with all the amenities but the countryside on your doorstep. I lived in LOndon for 15 years and can honestly say I find it a bit claustrophobic when I go back now! Good luck x



    Hi Coralie,

    As someone that in a similar position to you around 7 years ago, I can certainly understand why you are feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of moving from your home in SW London to the “Sticks” ! Let me first reassure you, that the path that you are proposing, (eg moving to Guildford or the surrounding villages), is a VERY well trodden path. Having previously lived in Wandsworth, I am constantly amazed at quite how many families living in this part of London, end up in Guildford and or the surrounding villages. It must be the pull of the A3!

    Similar to you, my wife was somewhat apprehensive when we made the decision to head out of London, however I would say that it took no more than about 6 months for her to really start questioning how she managed to last so long in London!

    Based upon our own experiences here are a few pointers that I hope you will find useful, as they worked for us.

    1)Work out roughly where you want to live and then look at prospective schools first. There is a lots of very good state or private school options in and around Guildford and I would certainly do you research here, before committing yourself to a particular village.
    2)Work out how long the commute for your partner will take in the morning. A ten minute journey into Guildford could easily become a 40 minute journey, depending upon the time of day that you are traveling to the station. If you are living in the villages south of Guildford, then there are a number of options. Either leave home before 7.15am, or you may want to look at commuting from a peripheral station. EG Farncombe or Godalming if you live near there.
    3) Rent first! I really think that renting is the best advice that I could give anyone. Firstly, it will allow you decide if the location of a village, supports your lifestyle. EG proximity to Stations, Schools and shops. Secondly it will allow you to decide what style of living you would be happy with. When we moved out of London we moved to Bramley into a Victorian terraced house. It was indeed almost home from home and very similar to London living. After a year, we needed to move and we decided to try living somewhere with a bit more space in a more rural location. We found the perfect location near Shamley Green and what that taught us, is that living near a village, but not in a village, worked perfectly for us!!
    4) Making Friends. With young kids, that is very easy, as you will find around Guildford many Mums and Dads with similar stories to your own. Moved from London and Dad’s commuting to London.
    5) Keep your ears to ground when looking for property. We eventually ended up buying a “project” just out of Shamley Green, directly from a family, thanks to us hearing about a property coming onto the market from some locals. The reality is that there are shortages of homes in some of more desirable locations near Guildford and Schools, hence it makes sense to put yourself in the best position, trying to and rent in the village that you would like to buy a home in.

    Finally, from a biased point of view, if you are starting to look in and around Guildford for areas to live, then you might want to start looking in what is called down here as the Godalming Triangle. These are the villages that stretch from Godalming, through to Shalford, Wonersh, Bramely, Shamley Green, to Cranleigh. These villages are popular as they are close to Guildford and have good bus links into Town. This is particularly important in my opinion if you have teenage kids.

    Good luck with your search. With the Spring now upon us, I would use the opportunity to spend as much time exploring the local area during your weekends.

    Kind Regards




    Hiya, we moved from Sutton in summer 2012. Schools wise all the above villages you will be hard pressed to get a good nursery, infants and juniors school then a secondary school. Now the best state nursery is The Wharf in Godalming, the best Infants is Farncombe Infants or Shalford Infants in Shalford. The best junior schools are Godalming Junior School or Tillingbourne School. The best state secondary schools Guildford County in Guildford, Rodborough in Milford. They are all over subscribed and and you need to be living relatively close. As in doorstep close to get in.

    We settled on Farncombe Village as we got more space for our money, with good transport links. We are 6min walk from Farncombe station which gets you into Waterloo in 45mins, Guildford town in 5mins and Woking in 11mins. The buses are.every 90mins!!
    Both my children have gone to the better schools in the area and made friends quickly when we moved. Godalming Town, only a 10min walk away has some lovely shops and lots of lovely mother and baby play groups.

    Villages. I love Haslemere and Cranleigh. They are beautiful towns.

    As others have said most of us are from London or the south London areas.

    Good luck!!

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


    We moved to Hindhead and bought a house right by the A3 sliproad with amazing road links but still feeling ‘in the country’. 1/2 acre plot with mature trees all around. Perfect place to live with excellent access to Guildford and London. We’re on the move south again so if anyone is wanting the #1 property for access to Guildford our house is about to come on shortly with an agent called ‘Homes’ in Hindhead. Ask them about ‘Log Cottage’.

    Any advice on moving south but keeping such a premium location? I don’t reckon that anywhere can be so convenient as Hindhead for UK coverage from a business person’s point of view.

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