Shall we move or not

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    Sophia B

    I’ve been lurking on this website for ages and have now decided to post a message – hopefully I won’t get it too wrong.

    I’ve read other posts about this but I’m still totally in two minds.

    I know no one can tell me the answer but where should we go and should we go are the two big questions in my head. I can’t decide and am hoping a few people might be able to shed some light for me.

    We need to be up to two hours from Oxford Circus (or thereabouts). We don’t have to commute every day as we can both work from home. We want good schools (state and private as we aren’t yet sure which route we will go down. We have around £800,000 to spend and we want to buy our forever home.

    We could stay where we are in London (we live in a lovely area in a lovely house with good primary schools) or we could move….Have you moved and what’s so great about it or have you stayed in London and are you happy?

    If you moved where have you gone – we know the obvious places but where else should we look.

    I know this question is really asking a bit much but I’d just love to get some other views if that isn’t too much to ask.



    Hi Sophia

    It is a huge decision, one of the biggest you’ll ever make.

    My husband and I did exactly the same thing a few years ago. At that stage we had two small children and decided that (a) we wanted decent outside space, (b) weren’t taking advantage of all the wonderful things on offer in London such as theatres, museums etc any more and (c) wanted to put down rural roots.

    For no particular reason except we had friends in Kent, we opted to relocate from SW London to West Kent. We moved into a bigger house, with a huge garden, registered the children at (private) school and nursery and continued to commute back to London.

    It was hard to make the adjustment to start with – the first winter was grey and a bit lonely, but once spring and then summer came round, we made some friends and began to enjoy the stunning countryside, everything fell into place.

    Several years on and we are now reaping the benefits of the superb grammar school system in Kent, delighting in the outstanding countryside with the coast only half an hour away. We both work from home and yes, we do travel up to London regularly, but this time it is usually for pleasure and to do all those things we never did when they were on our doorstep.

    A lot of people moving out of London to this area consider using a property search agent. If you decide to, I can recommend Helen Turner at Property Turner who is an expert in the Sevenoaks/Weald of Kent/West Kent area. Her website is

    Good luck – do it!!!



    We moved from SW London (Wandsworth Common Westside & the Tonsleys) to Silchester on the Hampshire/Berkshire border almost 2 and a half years ago, we love it & don’t regret it for a moment, we chose to be between the M3 and M4, we are 20 mins from each with fast rail links from Reading <30mins & Basingstoke 42 mins into London. It’s 90 mins door to door each way, you wouldn’t want to do any longer so I would think again about 2 hours each way as it’s even longer when trains/tubes don’t run.

    Do look at schools, nurseries, your commute, distance from station etc but I would def recommend where we are and do use a property search agent such as Georgia Bilderbeck Property Search, she is local to us.

    Good luck



    Hello Sophia

    North Wiltshire/Bath is worth considering – plenty of good schools, both private and state – and you are on the M4 corridor, which means straightforward commuting either by road or train to the West End – trains every half an hour from Bristol–Paddington. The train line is in the process of being electrified, which will mean Bath-Paddington will take just over an hour from next year. At the moment, you would certainly get something really nice on the house front in Wiltshire (Bath is a little more expensive, depending what you’re after), however house prices are predicted to rise with the improved journey times. Bath is a lovely city and Bristol is just 15 minutes away by train with lots going on.

    Travelling up to London for the day is really easy by train – although do check the cost if travelling at peak times, this is considered quite an expensive route – so you don’t feel out of touch. Occasionally, we even go up for an evening.

    You don’t say how old your children are, but schooling is obviously a factor – personally, I would suggest focussing on secondary education and perhaps check out a number of schools in the areas you are looking at to help narrow things down, then spend some time in the area to really get a feel for whether or not you could live there. We moved here ten years ago, and one of the really nice things about living in a smallish community is that the children all grow up together and go school with other kids from their community (something that didn’t really happen in the part of London we were living in).



    Kent is a perennially popular area with so much to offer and prices that vary significantly. It has long been a commuter focus and has some excellent schools.
    Here are a few articles on different locations. Moving to the coastal areas generally extends the journey time and lessens school options.
    I hope these are of some interest 🙂



    Sophia B. I suggest to start at the beginning and ask “yourselves” some questions.

    Why do we want to leave London

    Look at London first.
    What do you REALLY LOVE about it and so what would you REALLY MISS?
    Can you see your kids growing up in London or the country?
    Will being in the country or out of London, negatively impact your respective businesses?
    Why are you even considering leaving?

    Now, out of London
    What are you afraid of?
    Why are you even thinking of it?
    Is there something you now dislike about London?
    Will out of London be better for your kids
    Will it radically change your connection with friends in London?
    What will you get more or less of in London?

    Is the thought a passing fad because you think you should or because some friends have done it?

    For my own part as a country (or county dweller – Surrey) I have no desire whatsoever to live in London, so I guess something is stimulating you to think about it. Work out if that is strong enough and if it is get cracking.

    Life out of London is not for everyone, but if your need or desire to move out is strong enough, then Surrey (in conjunction with many other of The Home Counties, is a wonderfully rewarding place to live. Oh and London is only half an hour away. This is not the moon down here!!!

    Good luck.




    Hi Sophia,

    Deciding on whether to move out of London is a big decision and choosing where to live is even more confusing too!

    I work with many families like yourselves and can give friendly advice and support on helping you to make sure you make the right decision for you. I’ve been assisting clients to move house to Kent and East Sussex for nearly 10 years and can help you with working out the best location. The good thing about Kent and East Sussex is the choice of schooling both in the independent and state sector and actually it’s having the choice which is really important. If you don’t need to commute every day, it’s worth thinking about some of the up and coming coastal locations like Hastings in East Sussex and Deal in Kent, as both are more affordable than some of their neighbouring towns and transport links together with local amenities are definitely in the process of improving.

    I work very closely with many of the local schools and so can offer advice in this area too, as often the choice of location to live in is dictated by the school of choice.

    Please do get in touch if you’d like to have an informal chat:
    t: 01580 713825

    With best wishes,

    Fiona Penny



    I would say definitely move. I moved out of London 17 years ago this summer. My husband had a new job in Northampton so there was no choice but to go. I felt very nervous and unsure about leaving London and moving ‘up North’ but I soon realised we had made the most wonderful move.

    Northamptonshire is such a great county to live in. The county has everything for everyone. If you like walking and being outside the countryside is beautiful with wonderful walks in the fields, around reservoirs, along canals – take your pick. The villages were traditionally made of sandstone and ironstone which gives a lovely warm orange/brown to the houses which is very welcoming. There is every size of village as well so if you are looking for one with a shop and a pub there are plenty for instance Great Brington or Harlestone, if you want just a church then Church Brampton might be the one for you. If you want more going on, then look at East Haddon or Brixworth but perhaps you prefer something a bit more modern then look at Mawsley – a very nice purpose built village. You can get an awful lot of house and land for £800,000 in Northamptonshire.

    Northamptonshire’s location means you will easily get to Oxford Circus within 2 hours. The shopping is good in the county too – Northampton town centre has most shops for day to day needs but nearby is Milton Keynes, Bicester Village, Fosse Park and Market Harborough. There is a vibrant theatre in the centre of Northampton as well as cinemas, bowling alleys, ice skating in the winter and gyms with great facilities including pools, tennis courts and squash courts.

    When we moved up I was pregnant with our first child so we had to search for a school quite quickly. Northamptonshire is blessed with a number of excellent private and state schools. We wanted to go down the private route and so went to the Open Mornings of Wellingborough, Northampton High School, Great Houghton (sadly no longer), Quinton House, Maidwell Hall, Bilton Grange and Spratton Hall.

    Upon entering the main hall of Spratton Hall we had that comfortable feeling that this was the right place for our child and our family. It was one of the best decisions of our lives as our children are now at their secondary schools having spent their entire prep education at Spratton Hall. They, and we, could not have wished for a better start in life for them. Spratton Hall produces children who are well rounded in academia, sport, drama, music and art. They are confident without being arrogant. They are independent learners with an understanding of their own future. Spratton Hall is a true prep school in every sense of the word. We have made friends for life through the school as well. My advice is to go and look at all the schools as every family is different and it is vitally important that you make the right decision for you and your family.

    I would definitely visit Northamptonshire if you are seriously considering moving out of London. Good luck.

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