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Saffron Walden vs Bishop's Stortford(8 Posts)
We are planning our move back to the UK and are looking at areas that are commutable into Liverpool Street. Our research has guided us to Bishop's Stortford and Saffron Walden.
For those of you who have moved to this area for the similar reasons, which of the towns did you end up choosing and why? My husband recently went to take a look, but I do not think he looked at BS properly. He just drove through it and said SW was nicer whereas I think there is more to our criteria than that! We are a family of 4, with 2 children under 6.
I appreciate any advice and comments you can give me. I will of course visit the area before we make a decision, but am trying to get as much research done as possible before we visit to narrow down our search.
Thanks so much.
My husband and I recently (about 18months ago) relocated from West London to Saffron Walden. He grew up here so we knew we wanted to be in this area as its lovely and communtable to London. We lived in the centre of the town for a year which was great, if expensive, and recently bought a house in Clavering which is a little village half way between Bish Stort and Saf Wal. We absolutely love the area, its well located for London and Stansted Airport and the local towns and villages are lovely. Plus the schools are fantastic!
Weighing up the two towns, if you want to live in either town then I would go for Saffron Walden as its much prettier (but more expensive). It's a smaller town with a more local feel as it does not have a train station in the town centre. I personally think its a much nicer place to live than Bishops Stortford but that is just my opinion. BS has good shopping and I do probably 'use' it more as a town in terms of popping to get stuff. The villages surrounding either town are beautiful (Debden, Clavering, the Pelhams, Rickling etc...) and all have excellent local primary schools.
I hope that helps!
I would look at a village near Bishops Stortford as you then get a better choice of secondary school I think.
I agree that Saffron Walden is prettier than Stortford, but maybe doesn't have as many facilities/options.
Stortford actually has a train station, which SW doesn't!! Stortford feels better connected to London than SW to us - you can easily live here without a car, which I feel would be a struggle in SW.
I like that Stortford has pretty much all you need in a town - all the main banks, big central supermarket, small high street with the usual stores (Waterstones, ELC, M+S, WH Smith, Monsoon, etc), plus some nice places to eat, all of which seem pretty child friendly, dentists, doctors, hairdressers, shoe shops etc. But if we need something from a larger town, Harlow is nearby, as is Cambridge or London.
I only have 1 child under 3, but from what I can tell, schools here are great - our childminder has her children at one of the local primaries, and from what interaction I have with them and their friends, I would be really happy for DS to go there! We moved here from London (and a short stint in a College town in the US) and it feels like a separate town without feeling isolated from the real world - I have only visited SW, and driven through it on the few occasions the M11 is closed (as I work v. close to it), but it feels more olde worlde and not part of reality - in a good way, but we would find it frustrating.
DH commutes to Liv st though, and finds the train link mainly excellent. We used to live on the other side of London and he used Worst Great Western for a while, and says NEEA is a breeze in comparison, although full of (his words) 'bloody foreign tourists' (he is a foreigner, so I always find this description ridiculous!!). I commute to work via the M11, and although I hate motorway driving, it is pretty good - never massively busy.
If you are looking in this general area btw, Stansted Mountfitchett is nice, as is Sawbridgeworth and both are on the train line to Liv St.
Personally, I prefer Saffron Walden and it has an excellent secondary school.
Newport's another one to consider, a village near SW, it's on the train line to liverpool street (which led us here) and has a great primary school and grammar school, lovely park and good village hall with playgroup & various classes. Wendens Ambo has some lovely houses and has audley end train station (4 trains per hour to liv st)
Bishops stortford is a big commuter town without much character,
I would suggest Newport too. It has the advantage of a station. The schooling is good (the secondary is called "grammar" but is actually a comprehensive, so no 11+ and I would personally prefer the secondary to SW's as I think that the SW secondary is too big). Newport is close enough to SW to be used as the local shopping town. My understanding of Stansted Mountfitchet is that the secondary school has struggled - I am not sure how it is doing now that it is in a partnership with SWCHS.
Bishops Stortford is bigger and has things like a cinema, but it isn't very attractive and living close enough to the station to walk might be a challenge.
You might want to consider places further East in Essex like Chelmsford if you are interested in selective grammar schools.
Hi there, i know your post was last year but I wondered if you made the move a.d if so where to in the end? We are most likely relocating from Brisbane and looking at BS and surrounds as a possible place to live. We have 3 children aged 5 and under so good schools and family friendly is important.
Any advice is appreciated.
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