Some big events in life I choose not to talk about too much. The idea that I might somehow change the fate of these events if I actually say the words. On the flip side of that is the fact I actually feel like I need peoples advice when it comes to relocating. I have said it before but often a place may look pretty but completely lack any community spirit or vice versa.
If any of this is news to you. We are currently looking to relocate. Trying to find somewhere that is a good commute to Si’s job and also a place that is accessible to get to London too. It has been such a culture shock. Even though I would like to think I am pretty savvy when it comes to house prices, the properties that we can afford in areas such as Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire are very different to what we could afford if we stayed where we are.
I have always been motivated by the house we live in. Always wanting it to be a place that I am proud of, somewhere that feels like home and a place where I can use as a creative outlet too. As I am sure many people do too. I find being at home such a comfort and it is where I spend most of my time. Shamelessly turning down nights out in favour of nights in with a takeaway.
The plan was always to get a renovation project. We have no plans to extend our family and so it felt like a good time to have a project again. However after a recent trip to view houses I found myself in floods of tears. (which is unusual for me as I am pretty resilient to change) I am anxious about fitting in to a new area. Making friends and for the boys to feel at home as soon as possible. Most evenings I lay awake worrying whether the boys will be happy at a new school. (Their current one is so friendly and they both love it there) I do know that children adapt really well, I personally moved three times during my childhood and don’t remember there being any problems making friends at school. Yet when it comes to the boys I am so desperate to make the right decisions for them.
The last few weeks we have had some serious discussions about the idea of buying a new build initially (maybe for the first 5 years or so). Moving to a new build would hopefully mean our time (as well as our money) could be spent making friends and exploring a new county. It would be a sacrifice on size of house (you often get a smaller new build compared to a complete wreck for obvious reasons) but I think there are a lot of positives and I like the challenge of adding character to a new build too. The ones we have been looking at are often characterless, very square rooms which works in favour of some of the Scandinavian interiors that I absolutely love.
Images sourced from Pinterest
We have narrowed our search down to a few areas with Farnham, Fleet and Wokingham currently coming out top. (Actual favourites are Henley-On-Thames and Marlow but our bank balance says no) Out of our short list my preference is Fleet, which I feel is controversial as Farnham is definitely prettier. I love all the woodland surrounding Fleet and I have some concerns about whether I would fit in somewhere as wealthy as Farnham. Whenever I ask peoples opinion they absolutely gush over Farnham but I am keen to find the balance between living somewhere nice and not having to completely sacrifice on space.
That is all the updates that I currently have. We haven’t yet sold and it would be nice if that didn’t happen for a few months because the boys would get to finish their school year. If you have any advice on relocating or the areas I have mentioned I would be so grateful to hear it!
I just hope there are some people that like talking about crime dramas and hair curlers where ever we finally move to!
I can’t comment to much on any of the areas you have mentioned… but do know Marlow 😍🙈… unhelpful I know!
We have just relocated 4 hours from the midlands to the south coast with 3 children age 9,7 and 2. We’ve only been here a couple of months and have got a renovation here. I left all of my friends and family and at times have felt a bit lonely but have just started talking to people and having actual adult conversation 😮 I’ve found selfishly making my kids have birthday parties has helped a lot as it has got me talking to school mums and it’s nice to be able to smile at familiar faces in the playground, I’ve also found myself chatting to mums at the children’s sports clubs at the weekends helpful. I sometimes think it would have been easier if we weren’t renovating and could let the children have friends to play but at the moment I wouldn’t trust that said child wouldn’t end up with a nail in their foot 😂 also from the front door my house currently looks like a crack den. Also not appealing to potential friends! But imagine that would help with the friend making if I was in a newbuild!
It’s a huge change but the kids literally haven’t been touched by it! I loved their old school but they love the new one more! It’s amazinf how resilient kids are so try not to worry about that aspect of things.
I am going to have to find the courage to start talking to mums too. I think you are right, children parties is a good way to go!
God relocating is such a stressful experience and I can’t imagine what it must be like having to decide with children in mind. I only ended up in Cheltenham as I bumbled up here for uni and ended up falling in love with the place.
I’m sure wherever you end up, you and the boys will have no problem making friends. And you’re right, what an adventure! Xxx
Ah thank you! Cheltenham is absolutely stunning and I wish we didn’t have to leave!
We live about 10 mins from Marlow, near High Wycombe. Marlow was too expensive for us too, but we go there often for a mooch or meal out- not an expensive taxi ride. High Wycombe itself isn’t my dream location but 10 minutes out of town there is great countryside, walks and loads of families- we can walk to 2 National Trust properties. The commute to London is great as it’s the Chiltern line which is so fast and so reliable. My husband goes to Charing Cross every day. The High Wycombe area is cheaper than Marlow, Henley etc. We also still have the 11+ system here. It’s loved and loathed in equal measure. My 13 year old son goes to a fabulous rugby playing, boy’s Grammar 7 mins from our house. It feels like a very lucky break for us. I feel like he’s getting a great education there. He loves it- not everyone’s cup of tea but maybe worth a thought for your lovely lads.
This probably isn’t helpful at all as you’ve narrowed down your choice I know. I’d describe this area as very mixed- some folks with money etc but loads of very ordinary people- dare I say it more so than Farnham etc. I used to work in Weybridge and found it pretty stuffy.
Gosh please ignore all this if it’s totally unwanted. Just thought I’d share a slightly different option minutes from Marlow.
It’s absolutely wanted. You cant find out this stuff by googling it. It takes real people who live there telling me for me to find out and I really appreciate it! I will definitely take a look at High Wycombe. Thank you!
If you’re considering Fleet, I’d also consider Hartley Witney, the other side of the M3 too which is cute. Or if you can go a bit further, Haslemere is also lovely and I think a bit more affordable.
Moving is so hard. We saved for 10 years to buy our first house and looked all over Hampshire including the places you’ve mentioned – Farnham was really high on our list and it is lovely and has everything on your door stop (traffic is a nightmare mind!) but settled for where we had been renting.
We absolutely love Hartley Witney but it doesn’t seem like many houses come on the market there. I am checking daily though!
Hi Cara. We moved to Fleet from London 18 months ago as we wanted more space, to be nearer my work but also commutable to London for husband’s work. We love the fact there is gorgeous countryside on our doorstop and since getting a dog often spend our weekends out walking locally (Dogmersfield and Crondall are both beautiful). It’s true Fleet town centre isn’t anywhere as nice Farnham (which is fab, and you definitely don’t need to worry about it being too posh for you) but it has ok amenities and is only 15 mins drive to Farnham and 25 mins to Guildford. We also brought a new build and can vouch for the ease of it. Hope you find what you are looking for.
Ah thank you. Places to walk the dog is very important to me (more so than the rest of the family as I am the only one that does it) I am really drawn to Fleet I think it has a lovely feel to it.
Hi Cara, I have lived in Farnham for 20 years now. First in Upper Hale and now more in the countryside. Upper Hale is very friendly and down to a earth but the schools aren’t as good as the south side of Farnham. My children are 14 now and have been to some lovely state schools. There are some very wealthy people in this area, but most people are very normal and down to earth and I say this as a displaced northerner- I have high standards of friendliness!
The countryside around here is beautiful with lots of dog walking opportunities, probably another great way to make friends. Plus lots of movies are filmed in the woods, we used to take the children to see the film sets. When we moved we rented for a while to see if we liked the area, this also gave us the benefit of being chain free. I wish you lots of luck in finding the right house in the right area.
Thank you. There is no doubt that Farnham is stunning but it is lovely to hear that it is friendly too!
All 3 of the areas you mentioned are lovely, Farnham is most picturesque however I think Fleet would be better for the kids. There are good schools, lots of young people and lots of outdoor spaces.
I’d echo much of the above..
Farnham – very pretty, definitely not too posh for you, awful traffic, nice castle & park and close to Alice Holt for bike rides/walks etc. Churt and Frensham are nice around there, Rowledge may be a little more affordable?
Fleet – good choice of houses, good train line, good schools from what I’ve heard, commuter land of young families leaving London, so reckon you’d be set there. Church Crookham and Crondall both nearby and pretty.
Hartney Witney – lush village green, nice pubs and antiques shops. Slower train to London I think…
Have you looked at Hook? Haven’t been in years, but heard it’s developed a lot with new homes and young families. Worth a look.
Thank you so much for these! Yes we have looked at Hook. We stopped for lunch there a few weeks back. It seems nice but I didn’t fall in love with it if that makes sense!
Same as above on the Fleet/Farnham area. The countryside is amazing and so much to do for younger kids and I love the fact that you can get into London in under an hour. I moved from London to a village between Hook and Fleet, with an 18mth and heavily pregnant with my second and knew no one but have made some amazing friends and the community spirit is very much alive – even though it took me a while to get used to everyone saying hello as they walk past. Good luck with your search and I am sure if you choose any of the areas, there will be an army of mum friends ready with a glass of wine to welcome you!
Thats lovely to hear! It is super friendly where we are at the moment so I hope where ever we move to has the same feel!
I live in a village near Wokingham. All the places you have mentioned are lovely. My Mummy friends and I all scattered when our eldests started school. They had saved me whilst bringing up a toddler and baby and the thought of not seeing them every day broke my heart. But I have made new friends at school and continue to meet new people at their clubs. I tend to go with the scariest choice is the best one. Good luck!
Wokingham is Si’s top choice! It does look lovely after the redevelopment of the centre.