January 12, 2015 at 6:23 am #13196
My question in terms of where to go is very similar to those I’ve read so far – although we have a couple of big dogs and no children, so we’re not so worried about proximity to schools but are very keen on finding a place close to walking options – and a house with a good sized garden. My greatest worry is feeling isolated. Or ending up somewhere so far away I’ll never be able to see my friends again because it takes too long to get to them/me and/or the area’s local post office doubles as the local shop and pub!;-). Although I wouldn’t classify myself as a city girl, I do enjoy having access to a bustling area and enjoy a good restaurant and having shops around. To me London is in many ways too big for its own good as it takes so long to get anywhere and you don’t get the spontaneous get-togethers unless you live 5 minutes from each other, which rarely happens. I’m from Denmark/Copenhagen originally and wouldn’t mind being close to something more along those size lines. But for now I still need to be close-ish to London due to work. Hoping to find something with a bit of life and local community, where I don’t have to drive to super stores to get a pint of milk..and where paying me a visit is actually an attractive prospect! My work is in Chiswick – and I would need/love to be within an hour or so of Victoria, so I can get to Gunnersbury or Chiswick park within 2 hrs safe.. Or any other connection that keeps the total journey to ca 2 hrs max. I currently live in Enfield north London, so my journey is quite long anyway – I’m hoping that applying that journey time from an area further south might get us far enough out to get what we’re looking for. My family is in Denmark, so I like to go home as often as I can and would of course also love to be within relatively easy reach of Gatwick or Heathrow ie: 30-40 min cab ride. Seems like a long list of demands reading it back – but hope some of this rings a bell out there!;-)January 12, 2015 at 4:07 pm #13273
Have you considered moving to Bath in the west. It is a beautiful city with world heritage listing and provides easy access to surrounding countryside with plenty of walking opportunities. There is no shortage of cafés and shopping. It might not meet all requirements but is easy to get into London on the train in about 90 minutes and should be less than two hours by car to Chiswick.January 12, 2015 at 4:48 pm #13277
Folkestone is a great place for dog owners. We have lots of different beaches,some that are usable all year round for dog walking and we’re also surrounded by the countryside. It takes 55 minutes on the High Speed from Folkestone Central to St Pancras. My parents live by Heathrow and I’ve done the journey there on the High Speed and Tube in under 2 hours. It can take that long by car sometimes if the dreaded M25 gets gridlocked. It’s a great community to live in and everything is walkable within about 10-15 minutes.
Folkestone was featured in The Guardian last Friday (9/1/15) as a great place to move to. This is the link: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/09/lets-move-to-folkestone-property-review
Good luck with your search 🙂
KayJanuary 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm #13278
Kingswood/Chipstead (both Greater London/Surrey)- FABULOUS for dog walks! You are near the Farthing Downs/Banstead Woods and near great pubs too – The Ramblers Rest (best dog pub with gorgeous dog treats oh and lovely meals for humans too!) and the Kingswood Arms(no dogs but great pub) * Travel time to Chiswick is an hour via Clapham junction from both places give take 5-10 minutes.
*Just gorgeous there – feels like country with cows surrounding your walks, great views too, lots and lots of dog walkers.
Closeby is also Coulsdon – that is closer to the Farthing Downs.
**Banstead and Epsom Downs near racecourse, fab for dog walks and pubs too
All the best!
NicoleJanuary 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm #13279
As a new dog owner myself, these things are all suddenly very pertinent for me as well !
I’m currently doing a new home search for a client, and whilst they have a different criteria to you, it occurs to me that Berkhamsted or Harpenden might be a great fit ?
They are lively ‘London’-like places, in terms of boutiques, food, restaurants, etc and you can easily live on the edges (for walking the dogs) and yet walk to the train stations for quick access into London, or a Saturday morning brunch before browsing the farmers’ markets. I haven’t looked into the timings for your particular journeys, but it will certainly within fit your parameters. You’ll still be able to do ‘a proper evening out’ in London as well due to the late trains !
You haven’t mentioned budget, but that might play a significant part – as in ‘how far do you have to move out in order to get the house/grounds you want within budget’. That usually can influence how much you want to compromise on journey times etc – for us, an hour on the train going North (to Banbury) meant such a difference in size of house for the money, that it was a no-brainer – the exact same journey time door to door as living near Basingstoke, but (no exaggeration) 6x the garden, 4x the house we could afford there !
I’ve asked my colleague who deals more with the M4 corridor to see if he has any suggestions as well, so look out for his post.
One final thought, for info on why schools might still be important for you whilst house hunting, even though you don’t have kids, have a quick read of this : http://bit.ly/1BUyMhm
Hope that helps !
Stacks Property Search
Buckinghamshire & NorthamptonshireJanuary 13, 2015 at 9:57 am #13282
We moved out of London 9 years ago with very similar requirements to yours. I was terrified of being isolated in the country and needed easy access to towns as well as beautiful countryside. My husband needed good access to airports as well, so we settled on a pretty village between Basingstoke and Newbury on the edge of Watership Down. Many people leave London and head to this area because of the easy commutes and beautiful countryside.
If I look at your requirements for easy access to Victoria, Chiswick, Heathrow, Gatwick and beautiful countryside, then the areas that seem most appropriate to me are the small towns and villages with easy access to the M3 and M4, so in that M3/M4 corridor.
Within that ‘space’ you can achieve everything you are looking for. A couple of suggestions from me would be:
Pangbourne and the villages around it (Bradfield, Upper Basildon, Lower Basildon etc.,) would be seriously worth looking at. Pangbourne is a lovely village with great restaurants, shops and good parking and it is very close to Junction 12 of the M4 (It’s busy in the rush hour but really quiet the rest of the time). I can get to Chiswick in 50 minutes (Heathrow about 45 mins) from there and there are houses to suit all budgets. The countryside is stunning with lovely walks along the Thames or across the rolling hills. It feels like the countryside with all the benefits of town so definitely worth a look. There are trains directly from Pangbourne 62 mins to Paddington (41 mins if you change at Reading) then a short hop by tube to Victoria, so that might work for you.
The other area that springs to my mind is Hartley Wintney and the surrounding villages. HW is a very pretty village with access to the M3/M4 and the centres of Reading (25 mins by car) and Basingstoke (12 mins by car). The countryside is again stunning but you still have easy access to London by train and wonderful restaurants. Basingstoke runs 6/7 trains and hour to Waterloo. My husband works in Victoria. He gets a train at 7.30am from Basingstoke and is at his desk in Victoria by 8.30am. Both Heathrow and Gatwick are easy to get to and Chiswick is easy because Junction 11 of the M4 is only 10 mins from there.
The M3/M4 corridor appears to fit your requirements really well and you are spoiled for choice for beautiful villages and towns. One word of caution avoid Ascot and surrounds as they have changed the flight paths and they can be very noisy.
I hope that helps a bit, we certainly recommend all the above areas regularly to our clients and so far everyone has loved being there.
The areas that seem to fitJanuary 13, 2015 at 10:00 am #13283
I live between Marlborough and Devizes, in God’s Country. I’ve done so for over 30 years, and I shan’t be leaving anytime soon. I’ve lived 25 years in my current village, and moved 3 times within it, as my family has grown. Why?
I have dogs and there are the most astonishing walks straight out of my house! I can choose from gently rolling hills on the Wansdyke, to easy canal walk, to moorland. And each of these options has many options too.
Our village has one church (beautiful) a pub (a fab one), a primary school (a Beacon one), a village shop (more like a Hypermarket) as you can get most things here when an emergency occurs, or your papers, or a chat! This shop is run and owned by the villagers.
Shopping nearby is great – Marlborough has a great selection of independent traders, with proper customer service and a very good Waitrose. Devizes has a good selection of shops too. Swindon is 40 minutes away and has all the usual chain store suspects. Bath is fabulous ( I haven’t enough space to write all about it here) and only 40 minutes away. Salisbury is 25 minutes away and is simply gorgeous and very vibrant.
Train times from our local stations, Pewsey – where the station master (yes, we still have one) knows a great deal of his customers by name has very frequent trains to Paddington. Bedwyn is a favourite commuter station for those that work in London (and many do who live down here). And Swindon has many frequent and fast trains to London. None of them take any more than 1:15 minutes. Most take 1 hour.
Getting to an airport is straightforward. Heathrow and Gatwick take about 1:45 and Bristol (much cheaper flights and a great deal nicer flying experience) is the same distance away.
The community spirit that you’re after is not going to be found in a large town. It simply doesn’t happen. You will need to live in a village (with easy access to your larger town needs) to get the best of both worlds.
I hope that this helps. Whatever your decision, I wish you well in your search. Just move out of London, you’ll never regret it.
BobJanuary 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm #13288
I know you’ve had lots of suggestions already, but Winchester would really be a great location for you, as it seems to tick every box:
1. Isolation worries – Winchester is a very sociable city – big enough to have all the facilities of a major city, yet small enough to retain a village-like atmosphere where community spirit is in abundance.
2. There are plenty of good restaurants, bars and shops in Winchester to suit all tastes. It’s even attracted the celebrity chefs – Hugh Fernley Whittingstall and Rick Stein have recently opened restaurants here.
3. Close to London – Winchester is only an hour on the train to London Waterloo, plus the road access is excellent as you’re right on the M3, within very easy reach of Heathrow (less than an hour away) and Gatwick is just a bit further. Southampton Airport is only 15-20 minutes away too.
4. Attractive to visit – Winchester is consistently voted one of the best places to live, and it attracts tourists from far and wide with its beautiful architecture and rich heritage – your friends wouldn’t be disappointed coming to visit you here!
5. As for the dogs, Winchester has a very sociable dog-walking community. Regular ‘dog meetings’ take place on the Rec, then there’s the water meadows and St Catherine’s Hill, which are very beautiful dog-walking zones, plus the rolling hills of the South Downs are literally on your doorstep. Most of the pubs are very dog-friendly too, so you’re made to feel welcome wherever you go.
If you would like any help with moving to Winchester or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d love to help!
Jennie & Nina, ScoutBee http://www.scoutbee.co.ukJanuary 29, 2015 at 2:45 pm #13482
Near to London – Wallington/Carshalton area is not too bad – on outskirts so you can work in London.
Near East Croydon or Sutton – for better trains – as slow trains are taking longer these days due to works at London Bridge.
Many parks for walking dogs and for children to play in all these areas.
On the whole Sutton better for schools than Croydon though!!!January 30, 2015 at 11:10 am #13500
Just to add to the mix, the market towns in South West Surrey would suit your requirements brilliantly as well. These are Godalming, Guildford,Haslemere & Farnham. We are right in the midst of the beautiful Surrey Hills here and are spoilt for choice for dog walking, although only 45 mins from London and airports by train / car. My favourite dog walking spots are Hankley Common (which looks just like Scotland – absolutely beautiful), St Martha’s Hill and Puttenham Common – you can’t believe you’re so close to London. Guildford is a great town to have on your doorstep with all the good shops, restaurants and cafes that you’d find in London, but on a smaller scale. Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere are also lovely, have strong communities and lots going on. Check out our Facebook page / website for some pics of this lovely part of the world – often post up pics when out dog walking!
Good luck and do get in touch if you’d like any further info!January 30, 2015 at 11:11 am #13501
Just to add to the mix, the market towns in South West Surrey would suit your requirements brilliantly as well. These are Godalming, Guildford,Haslemere & Farnham. We are right in the midst of the beautiful Surrey Hills here and are spoilt for choice for dog walking, although only 45 mins from London and airports by train / car. My favourite dog walking spots are Hankley Common (which looks just like Scotland – absolutely beautiful), St Martha’s Hill and Puttenham Common where you can let the dogs run free – you can’t believe you’re so close to London. There’s also a really good dog walking community down here and we all know each other. Guildford is a great town to have on your doorstep with all the good shops, restaurants and cafes that you’d find in London, but on a smaller scale. Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere are also lovely, have strong communities and lots going on. Check out our Facebook page / website for some pics of this lovely part of the world – often post up pics when out dog walking!
Good luck and do get in touch if you’d like any further info.February 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm #13544
Hi Rie – have you considered Sevenoaks? It would certainly give you the best of both worlds – lots of wide open spaces/walks/parkland but with great transport links (25 mins train into London and 30 mins drive to Gatwick or Ebbsfleet) – you really do feel like you live in the country but not in an isolated way. For dog walking you would be spoilt for choice and there are plenty if lovely shops and restaurants in Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and you are 20 mins away from Bluewater. I regularly walk our dog/exercise the pony (!) and then meet clients in Sevenoaks or London at lunch. Whether you preferred Central Sevenoaks which borders onto Knole Park or one of the lovely villages within a 2-5 mile radius – each has a great local community. Please feel free to get in touch if I can help you further with your search. Jo@fanfarepropertysearch.co.ukFebruary 9, 2015 at 10:57 pm #13588
Hi Rie, I would look at Tunbridge Wells, it’s a vibrant town with a balance of enough going on in town from restaurants, cafes, cinema/theatre and lots to do nearby, endless different dog walks, not far from Camber Sands/the sea for a change of scene (if you dogs love the beach!), Ashdown Forest, lots of walks around Penshurst Place, Hever, High Rocks and endless woodlands. It’s a bit less commuter-y than Tonbridge and Sevenoaks with more and more people choosing to live and work there or commute a couple of days a week. Let me know if you would like a tour of the area, it can really help! Gatwick isn’t far away for trips home and the A21 dualling will really improve car-journey time to London. It’s also a great town for friends to come down and visit, easy to get to and lots to do.
If you would like to chat through this area more please do give me a ring. Louise@kenthomefinders.com
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