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thinker78

North Essex/Cambridge/Suffolk

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Can anyone shed light on what might be a viable place for us who are returning?

 

Family in south Essex, also family in cotswolds, but primary focus would be being with 45 mins of essex. Somewhere on a train line to london plus a bit leafy maybe.....

 

Pretty funny writing this when most people are posting about aussie suburbs!

 

We were looking around colchester which seems to have come up in the world since the squaddie days. Have never lived there though.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2587625/Best-rural-area-live-shadow-Stansted-airport-Little-known-district-Uttlesford-beats-118-regions-factors-including-employment-health.html

 

I was brought up in this area and despite having moved around a bit, always returned (apart from now obviously, but very tempted to go back). Recently voted best rural area to live. Train line goes from Cambridge to London via Bishops Stortford, so quite a lot of people commute into the City of London. Some lovely villages, just make sure you are not on the flight path to Stansted Airport (good for holidays though!). Family said the recession in recent years never really hit this part of the world. The whole area is a lot busier than it was when I was a kid, and there is pressure to keep building new houses everywhere, but it's still a nice area.

Edited by Penelope Pitstop

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It's where we've landed but it is hugely expensive around here (South Cambs). It really depends on where the work will be I guess. If you'll be working in London the train fares can be quite steep from this far out (around £6kpa IIRC) but you can be in London in less than an hour from Cambridge.

 

Suffolk would probably be cheaper but access not so good.

 

The train line from Cambridge to Liverpool St has some lovely little villages but as has been said, watch out for the Stanstead approach path. Our village is just outside Cambridge (1:15 to LS) and is fabulous but real estate is $$$ unfortunately.

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"Since the Squaddie days".... still full of Squaddies lol.... Not a bad thing IMO although I am married to one ;) but I wouldn't live in Colchester as a civilian if I had a choice of other places in Essex... and it wouldn't be because its full of Squaddies lol. Both my dad and sister live in Colchester, there is obviously nice parts but I much prefer Chelmsford, its more expensive and further down in Essex but IMO worth the extra. Would look at Cambridge, the housing is expensive but you get what you pay for lol. If you like rural places try Saffron, Tolleshunt D'arcy, Tiptree and surroundings are lovely little towns but again the price of housing would go up. If you want more town rather than rural... Maldon is a nice place next to the Estuary and not too bad prices wise. Brentwood is a nice place but again expensive... You get get to London in less than a hour from pretty much all of these.

 

Places I would avoid: Clacton, Witham, Basildon lol... xxx


 

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2587625/Best-rural-area-live-shadow-Stansted-airport-Little-known-district-Uttlesford-beats-118-regions-factors-including-employment-health.html

 

I was brought up in this area and despite having moved around a bit, always returned (apart from now obviously, but very tempted to go back). Recently voted best rural area to live. Train line goes from Cambridge to London via Bishops Stortford, so quite a lot of people commute into the City of London. Some lovely villages, just make sure you are not on the flight path to Stansted Airport (good for holidays though!). Family said the recession in recent years never really hit this part of the world. The whole area is a lot busier than it was when I was a kid, and there is pressure to keep building new houses everywhere, but it's still a nice area.

 

saffron walden was my first choice! how funny. just worried it may be a bit quiet? we aren't party animals but need a few pubs and restaurants etc- i'm self employed and we're not buying and i've heard the school are good. thanks for that.

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"Since the Squaddie days".... still full of Squaddies lol.... Not a bad thing IMO although I am married to one ;) but I wouldn't live in Colchester as a civilian if I had a choice of other places in Essex... and it wouldn't be because its full of Squaddies lol. Both my dad and sister live in Colchester, there is obviously nice parts but I much prefer Chelmsford, its more expensive and further down in Essex but IMO worth the extra. Would look at Cambridge, the housing is expensive but you get what you pay for lol. If you like rural places try Saffron, Tolleshunt D'arcy, Tiptree and surroundings are lovely little towns but again the price of housing would go up. If you want more town rather than rural... Maldon is a nice place next to the Estuary and not too bad prices wise. Brentwood is a nice place but again expensive... You get get to London in less than a hour from pretty much all of these.

 

Places I would avoid: Clacton, Witham, Basildon lol... xxx

 

yes, i know those places, originally from southend so don't want to be returning to a live show of TOWIE.....i was thinking maybe maldon or would it be too quiet? i never really took to chelmsford but perhaps i need to give it a proper look. thanks!

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saffron walden was my first choice! how funny. just worried it may be a bit quiet? we aren't party animals but need a few pubs and restaurants etc- i'm self employed and we're not buying and i've heard the school are good. thanks for that.

 

I'm not sure how lively Saffron Walden is, I know the secondary school has a very good reputation. Bishops Stortford is a bit closer to London, definately more lively, more cosmopolitan and less rural in feel (although technically it is in Hertfordshire) - has good schools too.

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Having grown up in suffolk for 30 years I would always choose suffolk. I have never lived in essex or cambridgeshire but have seen a lot of both. If money is no issue (to some extent) then all round cambridge is probably best with a direct line to Kings Cross in London...but property isnt cheap...but you get what you pay for and cambridge is a great city, has everything. I grew up near Bury St Edmunds, a lovely old town, like cambridge but smaller. Lots of quaint shops, old pubs, restaurants etc. There is no direct train line to london from here tho but it can be driven in about 1hr 30mins depending on traffic. From my past experience of growing up in the suffolk countryside and working in London I would say that ANY area within the magical 1hour from london will be pricey, especially if its on a direct train line. If you dont mind a 1 hour 15min journey OR you are willing to drive you can open up a great deal of other lovely places where house prices havent been hiked by city 'blow ins'. I chose the drive option and it used to take me about 1.hr 15mins to the nearest underground station...this extra 15 mins enabled us to afford a nicer bigger house in a nice village. Something to think about.

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I grew up partly in South Cambs and partly in Cambridge, moved back to Cambridge at 31 and then out to West Suffolk (Clare) when we had a family, before we came out here

 

It's a lovely area. None of it is cheap but some places more expensive than others

 

Cambridge is an expensive place to live but a great city to live in. Very green, tons of pubs, restaurants, festivals etc, lots of local work as well as excellent connections to London (fast trains take 45 mins, slow ones an hour). More history than you can shake a stick at, obviously. Surrounding countryside in South Cambs is a bit flat and uninteresting but the villages are nice. They're pretty expensive too though, especially if they are on or near the railway to London.

 

Better countryside (leafier, more trees, rolling) east and south of Cambridge in NE Herts, NW Essex and W Suffolk. It's your rural idyll really, hard to find a village that isn't full of lovely character houses and usually decent local facilities. It benefits by being far enough from London that life isn't totally given over to commuters, there is still a real local agricultural and small business economy. There are no big towns until you get to Colchester, Ipswich or Chelmsford, but a good studding of local market towns which have remained as local/historic market towns. Saffron Walden is lovely (possibly one of the mest preserved mediaeval streetscapes you'll find in England) but also expensive, Thaxted and Dunmow in Essex much smaller but plenty of pretty bits in the centre (former has aircraft noise as right on Stansted flightpath, latter is getting close enough to London to suffer from the commuter effect which makes it busier, as is Bishops Stortford in NE Herts) Bury St Edmunds is slightly larger and IMO a great place - plenty of facilities (cinemas, pubs, restaurants, sports/leisure facilities etc), loads of history again, markedly cheaper than Cambridge or North Essex as commuting to London is much less realistic. Sudbury in Suffolk also a decent smaller local market town, not nearly as posh as Saffron Walden so much better value. Braintree and Haverhill are a bit divey and better avoided.

 

As far as a few pubs and restaurants go, there are lots of country type places, loads of great pubs, restaurants slightly thinner on the ground

 

I'll give you a practical/real-life example. We lived in Clare, a very small town (large village really), population around 1500. In the village there were 4 pubs & one Indian, plus 2 or 3 cafes. Also lots of local shops (village Co-op, greengrocer, florist, newsagent, butcher, baker, 3 x antique shops, 3 or 4 gift type shops, bank, pet shop, optician, doctor, small library, mechanic etc). All the surrounding villages had at least one pub and they all do food. If we wanted restaurants there were a few really good pricey ones in surrounding villages (eg Black Lion Long Melford, fantastic place), a selection of maybe 10 in our local market town (Sudbury, 7 miles), maybe double that in Bury (15 miles) which was our nearest "big" town.

 

So OK facilities but much better suited to a family than young couples, IYSWIM.

 

If you are looking for somewhere with rail service to London and the village life appeals to you, then have a look up the Sudbury branch line (goes up a beautiful valley, rail service is pretty good if you learn the times as the branch line shuttle is a once an hour deal), or anywhere on the lines going south from Cambridge (especially the Liverpool St line - the one through Chesterford etc) but it will be more expensive. If you want a bigger town then Colchester is OK, Cambridge a much better place if you can afford it IMO. If you want a town and the railway isn't that important then take a good look at BSE

Edited by northshorepom

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I grew up partly in South Cambs and partly in Cambridge, moved back to Cambridge at 31 and then out to West Suffolk (Clare) when we had a family, before we came out here

 

It's a lovely area. None of it is cheap but some places more expensive than others

 

Cambridge is an expensive place to live but a great city to live in. Very green, tons of pubs, restaurants, festivals etc, lots of local work as well as excellent connections to London (fast trains take 45 mins, slow ones an hour). More history than you can shake a stick at, obviously. Surrounding countryside in South Cambs is a bit flat and uninteresting but the villages are nice. They're pretty expensive too though, especially if they are on or near the railway to London.

 

Better countryside (leafier, more trees, rolling) east and south of Cambridge in NE Herts, NW Essex and W Suffolk. It's your rural idyll really, hard to find a village that isn't full of lovely character houses and usually decent local facilities. It benefits by being far enough from London that life isn't totally given over to commuters, there is still a real local agricultural and small business economy. There are no big towns until you get to Colchester, Ipswich or Chelmsford, but a good studding of local market towns which have remained as local/historic market towns. Saffron Walden is lovely (possibly one of the mest preserved mediaeval streetscapes you'll find in England) but also expensive, Thaxted and Dunmow in Essex much smaller but plenty of pretty bits in the centre (former has aircraft noise as right on Stansted flightpath, latter is getting close enough to London to suffer from the commuter effect which makes it busier, as is Bishops Stortford in NE Herts) Bury St Edmunds is slightly larger and IMO a great place - plenty of facilities (cinemas, pubs, restaurants, sports/leisure facilities etc), loads of history again, markedly cheaper than Cambridge or North Essex as commuting to London is much less realistic. Sudbury in Suffolk also a decent smaller local market town, not nearly as posh as Saffron Walden so much better value. Braintree and Haverhill are a bit divey and better avoided.

 

As far as a few pubs and restaurants go, there are lots of country type places, loads of great pubs, restaurants slightly thinner on the ground

 

I'll give you a practical/real-life example. We lived in Clare, a very small town (large village really), population around 1500. In the village there were 4 pubs & one Indian, plus 2 or 3 cafes. Also lots of local shops (village Co-op, greengrocer, florist, newsagent, butcher, baker, 3 x antique shops, 3 or 4 gift type shops, bank, pet shop, optician, doctor, small library, mechanic etc). All the surrounding villages had at least one pub and they all do food. If we wanted restaurants there were a few really good pricey ones in surrounding villages (eg Black Lion Long Melford, fantastic place), a selection of maybe 10 in our local market town (Sudbury, 7 miles), maybe double that in Bury (15 miles) which was our nearest "big" town.

 

So OK facilities but much better suited to a family than young couples, IYSWIM.

 

If you are looking for somewhere with rail service to London and the village life appeals to you, then have a look up the Sudbury branch line, or anywhere on the lines going south from Cambridge (especially the Liverpool St line - the one through Chesterford etc) but it will be more expensive. If you want a bigger town then Colchester is OK, Cambridge a much better place if you can afford it IMO. If you want a town and the railway isn't that important then take a good look at BSE

 

I was waiting for you to comment northshorepom!

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Can anyone shed light on what might be a viable place for us who are returning?

 

Family in south Essex, also family in cotswolds, but primary focus would be being with 45 mins of essex. Somewhere on a train line to london plus a bit leafy maybe.....

 

Pretty funny writing this when most people are posting about aussie suburbs!

 

We were looking around colchester which seems to have come up in the world since the squaddie days. Have never lived there though.

 

Hi..try Saffron Walden...nice place and close to London and Cambridge...I have to say I`m biased as I did grow up there...and I`m returning there after 20 yrs in oz...anyway lots of good places in the area...good luck.

Edited by cheswick

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saffron walden was my first choice! how funny. just worried it may be a bit quiet? we aren't party animals but need a few pubs and restaurants etc- i'm self employed and we're not buying and i've heard the school are good. thanks for that.

 

Plenty of good pubs in Walden...even a few with live music...concerts at Audley end house in the summer...paul weller playing in July...tour de france going thru the town also this year...carnival this year too...

I have to say when I grew up there we nicknamed it suffering boredom but,we were teenagers...now I`m nearly 50....its a good place to hang around...cheers!

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Plenty of good pubs in Walden...even a few with live music...concerts at Audley end house in the summer...paul weller playing in July...tour de france going thru the town also this year...carnival this year too...

I have to say when I grew up there we nicknamed it suffering boredom but,we were teenagers...now I`m nearly 50....its a good place to hang around...cheers!

 

 

thanks all! some good advice. not many rentals available in Walden but maybe that will change when we head back. will keep looking though! cambridge looks delightful but may be a bit pricey- will see!

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Some nice villages around St Ives and Huntingdon and direct trains into Kings Cross from Huntingdon. Good road links in all directions, although the A14 to Cambridge is a bitch of a road.

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