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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 http://www.propertyturner.co.uk
Good luck – do it!!!
Hi Nada – I can completely understand your issues. I would suggest you look at Kent, and in particular West Kent. The areas from Sevenoaks, down to Tunbridge Wells and across to Cranbrook are very beautiful (it’s known as the Weald of Kent – lush, green, rolling hills, pretty architecture). This part of the county is very well connected by train to London and of course, looking forward, we still have grammar schools which are very well regarded. I work for a search agent (www.propertyturner.co.uk) and whilst we’d love to help you, and have loads of tips and advice, I would urge you anyway to look at the website for further details of what Kent has to offer and the type of schools we have here. The housing stock offers great variety, from pretty timbered country cottages to classy Victorian and Edwardian townhouses. Tunbridge Wells is thriving with great shops and restaurants, same with Sevenoaks (although more expensive), Cranbrook is a lovely small town, as is Tenterden. We moved here 10 years ago and now have 4 children and absolutely love it! Good luck.
Hi Kate – I live in West Kent (very close to the East Sussex border) and can vouch for what a secret gem of an area the Weald of Kent is. Beautiful scenery, grammar schools (remember them?), an hour to London on the train, gastro pubs, fab farm shops and three Michelin-starred restaurants within a five mile radius. What’s not to like?
Thanks Will! Lucy
Thank you everyone for your advice.
Thank you everyone for your responses, very helpful.
Brilliant, thanks. Will wait and see what people say…..
Thanks Victoria but Exeter School doesn’t come up when I type it into the search box?
I don’t know anything about Amersham, but when we made the move from London I too worked from home and my husband commuted. I had young children and it was fine whilst the summer lasted, but I felt utterly depressed and desolate as autumn and winter set in. It takes time to make friends and people in the country are more widespread than in London. I suffered for a good year until I met people, joined groups and slowly began the realise the advantages of country life. It was tough at the beginning but now, seven years on, I wouldn’t move back.
Thank you everyone who has replied – your responses are so helpful and really shows what a useful site this is. If I have any more questions, I’ll shout!
Thank you Kay and Anna – lots to think about! Lucy
Thank you Mark – lots to think about! LucyFebruary 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm in reply to: Grammar schools/high property prices – vs – fabulous houses/private schools #4200
Thanks for all your tips folks. We moved out of London 7 years ago – at the time my husband and I both worked in London, so we needed to stay within commuting distance. We moved to the South East.
However, our circumstances have now changed and we don’t need to be within striking distance of London any more.
If we stay here in the South East, we will go for the grammar school route, but the problem is the high house prices and we have 4 children! So it will be small house but free schooling and staying with good friends we have made.
We no longer need to be within striking distance of London, so we could move anywhere in the country. We have identified an area outside the South East, where house prices are cheaper. However, there are no grammar schools in our preferred area. We have found an excellent private school with reasonable school fees which we would be happy with.
But the problem is leaving our friends here in the South East after 7 happy years.
If you have done this for the reasons we are considering, would love to hear from you!!
Thanks folks, all really useful information!