Local Talk

More moving to Cambridge

(73 Posts)
BoredCommuter Wed 18-Apr-12 19:12:24

Sorry, yet another topic on this. It looks like DH might be offered a job in Cambridge (north side of the centre). From I thread below I've gathered the following.

Avoid: Haverhill, March, Chatteris
Good/Ok areas: Ely, Bury, Cottenham. Soham, Newmarket, Burwell, Thrapston, Oundle, Linton, Milton, Histon, Waterbeach, Bury St.Edmunds.

We've got a three yr old, so primary schools will be important, any other tips? We quite fancy a village or small town around Cambridge, budget probably around £400k for a 4 bed.

How easy is it to make friends in Cambridge? We don't really know anyone there?

At the moment I work full time, I'll probably end up looking for another full time or almost full time job, how easy is it to find childminders or after school clubs if we need them?


sairygamp Wed 18-Apr-12 19:23:48

Hi! you'll be able to get somewhere in town for that price quite easily I expect, if you want to be in town. Out of town, in the villages you've mentioned we have histon waterbeach linton Cottenham Histon and Linton have lovely schools, not too sure about Waterbeach or cottenham but think they're ok. All 4 of these villages are easily accessible to cambridge too. Hope that helps a bit and maybe gives you an idea. smile

BoredCommuter Wed 18-Apr-12 21:01:04

Thanks, what are the villages like between Cambridge and Ely? I've seen some lovely houses in Haddenham and Stretham, we seem to be able to get a lot for our money

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Wed 18-Apr-12 21:12:59

I live just outside Bury St Ed's, so if you have any questions ask away smile

Some schools are better than others, but they are all good.
There are lots of families in the town.
The majority of High Street chains are here, but we don't have the traffic issues that Cambridge suffers from.
There is a direct train link to Cambridge.
It's on the A14.

An0therName Wed 18-Apr-12 21:22:33

my experience - v easey to make friends in cambridge - especially in the villages nearer cambridge its self - lots of people come and go - and certainly in my village everyone was v friendly
schools near cambridge all pretty good -
do consider the commute if you go further out - A10 and A14 can be pretty bad going into cambridge
400 K for 4 bed would get you pretty close into cambridge
childminders - I found one pretty easily in my village and most places have after school clubs - but like most places they do get booked up

Lilymaid Wed 18-Apr-12 21:26:21

If your DH has a job to the north of Cambridge, look for places easily accessible ... i.e. villages/suburbs to the north. That will exclude Linton from your list. Oundle is in Northamptonshire and quite a long way from Cambridge involving a trip along the awful A14 Huntingdon to Cambridge stretch. Bury is a nice town but is quite a way from Cambridge to the east. With your budget I'd be looking at villages such as Histon or Girton (both very close to Cambridge).
With a young DC it is usually quite easy to meet new people via schools/activities.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 18-Apr-12 22:03:35

come to Bottisham, tis great!

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Wed 18-Apr-12 22:04:33

Hardwick is worth considering - your DH could cycle to Cambridge and avoid the driving & parking stress (and expense). Ditto Histon, Impington etc.

Hardwick Primary has just been rated 'good' by Ofsted, it has an after school club and a couple of local childminders.

Agree you will soon make friends via pre-school and school.

DonInKillerHeels Thu 19-Apr-12 17:08:40

You want to look at villages north of town (though as many people have said, you could easily live in town for that budget).

If it were me (and I've lived in Cambridge nearly 20 years now) I would go for Histon. Absolutely lovely community, good primary, and Impington Village College has a great rep. Cottenham is also nice, and Burwell too, though further out.

BoredCommuter Fri 27-Apr-12 21:39:44

Sorry, had been internet free for a few days. Histon and Impington sound great. I'll definitely investigate. Does anyone use Kids Unlimited on the Science Park? We will need a full tine nursery and that looks to be in a good location. The Ofsted report looks ok.

BoredCommuter Sun 29-Apr-12 18:29:01

I think I have a shortlist


How does that look?

I've seen the most amazing house for sale in Cottenham, i just need it still to be there in a month or so. We might rent first, there does seem to be a lack of rental properties in the villages

HotheadPaisan Sun 29-Apr-12 19:57:29

Good list. What is your budget?

BoredCommuter Sun 29-Apr-12 21:13:45

Budget depends on a few factors, but initally thinking £400k for a 4 bed to buy, around £1200 pcm for renting

HotheadPaisan Sun 29-Apr-12 21:18:27

You will be fine then, have you visited yet?

lobsters Sun 29-Apr-12 21:31:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

goldenpeach Sat 12-May-12 05:57:50

If you rent in CB4 area in Cambridge, do let me know - I can help you out with your queries....

I would prioritise Histon to Cottenham, just because it is a more lively village with more facilities. Or you can try Girton, which is quite close to central Cambridge.

BoredCommuter Sun 24-Jun-12 17:00:04

I'm back, it looks like the move is more likely, so I'm doing more research. I think we are likely to be renting first but given we will have to apply for schools in Dec/Jan, we will need to look at schools.

DH will be working in North Cambridge, no idea where I will be working, but maybe intially back into London some days. Most of the jobs in my field seem to be in Peterborough, what is the commute like from Cambridge to Peterborough?

Now for some villages for comment:
St Ives
Swaffham Prior
Little Thetford
Great Barton

Also any recommendations for ballet classes and swimming lessons welcome


BoredCommuter Sun 24-Jun-12 17:05:42

Oh, and there don't seem to be many rental properties listed on rightmove. Can anyone recommend good estate agents for Histon, Impington, Girton and areas?

DonInKillerHeels Sun 24-Jun-12 17:07:38

Cambridge to Peterborough is 50 minutes on a pretty decent direct train once an hour; no big deal.

If you are going to be woring between Cambridge and Peterborough, you really should consider Ely as the obvious choice as it's on the train between the two. Secondary in Ely not great, but Soham Village College has a good reputation if you can get in there.

Of the villages you mention (and St Ives is more of a town, BTW) the only one I know well is Swaffham Prior. Lovely. But dead as a doornail and virtually nowhere to buy a pint of milk.

If you're happy to drive to Peterborough, you should consider Histon and Impington; much more family friendly and an excellent secondary in Impington Village College.

DonInKillerHeels Sun 24-Jun-12 17:11:32

FWIW if you need to be in Peterborough AND London for your work, I would buy a house either near Cambridge station (or Ely) or near the new Cambridge Science Park station that has got the green light recently -- it's in North Cambridge so would suit your DH well. Worse schools than other bits of town, though frankly they are only going to get better with the new station opening up.

DonInKillerHeels Sun 24-Jun-12 17:12:48

Also, there more rental properties will come onto the market as soon as university term ends (next weekend pretty much). I personally like Pocock and Shaw for Cambridge.

EcoLady Sun 24-Jun-12 17:13:32

St Ives is a town rather than a village. Would be good for you to get to Peterborough but the commute along to A14 into Cambridge for your DH is hellish in the morning: nose-to-tail all the way on a normal day. Could use the guided bus instead of course.

Surprised no-one has mentioned Bar Hill. Just northwest of Cambridge, off j29 of the A14. Great little school, epic Tesco, superb village facilities in a totally pedestrian-friendly area. Great childminders, two good pre-schools and an excellent after-school club too.

Secondary education is excellent, with chn going to Swavesey Village College.

DonInKillerHeels Sun 24-Jun-12 17:15:01

Bar Hill is not to everyone's taste....

EcoLady Sun 24-Jun-12 17:15:44

Oh, and best local estate agent for the north-of-Cambridge villages would be Haart.

BoredCommuter Sun 24-Jun-12 17:21:01

Brilliant, thanks for all those. I will be going into London until I get a job more locally. DH's focus will be the science park area (also thinking about using the nursery there). Am seriously tempted by Ely at the moment. DH will never want to get the bus to work, he really only wants to drive. I keep trying to persuade him to cycle ....

EcoLady Sun 24-Jun-12 17:21:34

Don - care to elaborate what you mean by that?

Do you know how lovely BH is to live in? To be able to walk a totally traffic-free route to school / docs / library / post office / shops from anywhere in the village? To have superb sports facilities at the heart of the village? To have ample employment opportunities on the doorstep, yet away from the houses? To have strong village social life, if you chose to join in?

Those who do not know BH see only the Tesco... those who live there know far more.

An0therName Sun 24-Jun-12 20:25:34

Ely commute to science park is possible but will take a while -depending on time of day and driving would be best -I think somepeople park at the park and ride at milton and then get the bus to sceince park - you could in theory get train to waterbeach and cycle from there
- if you do live in Ely - get a nursey place there - I know there are good ones - otherwise your DD will be doing a lot of commuting

ChasingSquirrels Sun 24-Jun-12 20:35:06

of the villages you mention I know Swaffham Prior well (as I live here).
Very small village, no shop - Have to drive to Burwell (co-op, stop&shop, budgens) or Swaffham Bulbeck (small corner shop) which are both a couple of minutes drive.
Primary school is lovely, and I am impressed with the new head that started in Sep. Small school with intake from Swaffham Prior, Reach and some from Burwell. About 120 kids at present, with mixed classes which are currently Rec&yr1, y2 & y3(part), y3(part) & y4, y5&y6 but this changes depending on the specific year sizes (the current yr 4 is a big group which has led to changes in the traditional structure as they travel through the school).
Active church community, which I expect all villages have.
Village pub which does food.
Nice village hall with a toddler group, slimming club, village gardeners, WI and various other groups.

And that's about it!

ChasingSquirrels Sun 24-Jun-12 20:37:25

Ballet - friend's in Burwell have girls at various ballet groups, one in Cambridge and one in Wicken. Were at Burwell one but neither rated it.

Swimming - Bottisham pool do lessons, as do Newmarket. Both seem fine. The you can go into Cambridge, Seals are very good but more expensive. The swimming teacher who comes into school to do the lessons there does 1-2-1 at Impington.

I use KU on the Science Park and have done for 5 years. Generally I'm very positive about it and it has improved greatly under the new manager (appointed c.18 months ago?) Do PM me if you'd like further details.

LabMonkey Mon 25-Jun-12 21:59:55

If you're still looking PM me if you want more info on Milton. Awesome childminders (way more flexible than I thought possible), country park and only 10min cycle to the science park. There's usually plenty of rents - try russells, tucker gardner or haart.

EssentialFattyAcid Mon 25-Jun-12 22:08:17

Bar hill was created from scratch in the 1970s and has a giant tesco store as its epicentre

Picturesque/ characterful it is not - just to put a different pov.

BoredCommuter Tue 26-Jun-12 21:36:47

Thanks for all the help. The big news we had today is that DH got the job and the move is on, not quite sure when but we need to start planning. Barbara" i will PM you soon about Kidsunlimited, the first thing I need find out is if they have space. *Lab will also PM you about Milton, I do fancy it, I'll look at those estate agents direct.

I've been doing lots of online research about primary schools. It looks good, the schools are not as over subscribed as where we are now and are generally smaller. My local primary here has 3 form entry. I think the short list is:

Dh wants to be within a 20 min drive of work. We need to be settled before the primary school application deadline

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Wed 27-Jun-12 21:30:22

Girton is fab! Only 20 min cycle to town and no crossing A14 junctions. About 25 min to station tho. Very village atmosphere although practically a suburb. Good coop, couple of pubs, post office. 8 min to the tesco at bar hill. Nursery opposite the school (scallywags) plus about 3 childminders that do school drop/pick up too.

Tucker Gardner seems to be the estate agent of choice.

magpieC Wed 27-Jun-12 22:05:12

Have you considered Cambourne? We're just taking the plunge and moving out of the city to there having not found anything we liked/could afford in the north villages that we were originally looking at (seemed to be a shortage of four bed houses when we were looking)

Cockpark Wed 27-Jun-12 22:09:31

Godmanchester is lovely.
Easy commute to London, not too bad to Cambridge, easy back routes to avoid A14. Community School good.

Hooferoo Thu 28-Jun-12 19:06:06

I lived in St Ives from the ages of 8 to 18, then moved back for 5 years between 20 and 25.

Although the town centre makes it look small and quaint, the north half of the town is basically a massive housing estate. The St Ivo School gets good ofsted's, but for a shy child it was far too big for me. Westfield Primary was good though.

In the day time the town centre is nice, and there is a good recreation centre and corn exchange. No cinema though, you have to go to Huntingdon, Peterborough or Cambridge for that. When I lived there they closed the youth centre down, so far too many kids on the streets. Sat nights in town were pretty unpleasant some nights.

Some people I know who live there still like it. I would never go back. And I life off Mill Road, so I'm not that fussy!

BoredCommuter Fri 29-Jun-12 16:35:38

It looks like 2 nurseries I contacted both have spaces, I think it helps that we want to start just after all the 4 year olds start school.

I've found 4 properties I like the look of and are in budget, in Girton, Milton, Hardwick and Bottisham. We'll have to come up very soon and have a look. I think we have the priorities clear, I've been looking at primary schools, DH has been looking at broadband speeds!

I'm getting worried about getting a job, I've just realised Peterborough is a lot further away than I thought it was

rubyrubyruby Fri 29-Jun-12 16:49:30

Do you need to work in Peterborough?

Huntingdon is nearer or Cambridge itself of course. Bury St Emunds?

BoredCommuter Fri 29-Jun-12 18:31:14

I don't need to work in Peterborough, there's just more work there in my field.

Just looked at Girton again and it looks like you have to go right into Cambridge to get out again to the Science Park, and round the houses a bit to get onto the M11 going South, is this right?

Snog Sat 30-Jun-12 20:03:31

easy access to M11 via huntingdon rd
can go to science park via a14 if you wish

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Sun 01-Jul-12 21:03:35

M11 south from Girton does involve going across to madingley road jxn, either via storey's way or lady margaret road if you are a wimp who does not like width restrictors like me. You can also get south via oakington but not directly at Girton jxn.

Science park is easiest via histon and A14, or can go via huntingdon rd and histon road (if cycling, or again don't mind width restrictors, there are short cuts via oxford rd).

BoredCommuter Sun 08-Jul-12 21:27:10

Well, it's all getting closer. Hoping to line up house viewings this one, one in Milton, there is also one in Histon or one in Girton. Also need to line up nursery viewings. The criteria for the property is growing:

- 4 beds
- garage
- good primary school
- good broadband speed
- Ocado delivery area
- reasonable access to M11

BoredCommuter Tue 10-Jul-12 21:32:26

RIght, things are being narrowed down, I think we will be in Milton. LabMonkey I'll be in touch smile

Does anyone know anything about The Wendy House nursery in Impington? I'm having doubts about Kids Unlimited and this looks like it might be more us

An0therName Wed 11-Jul-12 15:05:37

My friend has her DD in this nursery which is nearer than Wendy house - and likes it


There is a good toddler group on a monday and friday in Milton if you are not working those days

I'm also in the vicinity, am happy to answer questions.

BoredCommuter Sat 14-Jul-12 20:31:38

Sorry, me again.

DH has decided he doesn't like the type of houses we could get in Milton/ Histon/ Impington. I've been looking again and we could get something amazing for our money in Haddenham/ Willingham/ Earith area. How awful is it commuting into North or Central Cambridge from here? DH is going to go up one day to see the morning such hour traffic. Where we live now its dreadful, it's 5 miles from my house to the motorway, in rush house that easily takes at least half an hour, is it that bad?

Thanks, and thanks for bearing with me

Snog Sat 14-Jul-12 20:42:46

Central Cambridge approx 1 hour plus in rush hour imo, expect longer on Friday nights. When houses near Cambridge are cheaper there is generally good reason for it. For a test drive bear in mind that the private schools are already on holiday so the traffic is correspondingly much better now than in term time. traffic also worse on rainy days.

Histon/Impington is civilised/more urban, Haddenham/Willingham/Earith is fenland, only a certain type of person would like to live there imo. I wouldn't want to commute to Peterborough from any of these places.

My recommendation would be go city centre close to the station and opt for a smaller house.

BoredCommuter Sat 14-Jul-12 20:59:16

Thanks for that. Don't think we will be near the station, DH will be based in the Science Park, so don't need city centre, but may keep focussed on Histon etc

Snog Sat 14-Jul-12 21:19:52

Histon great choice imo

An0therName Sat 14-Jul-12 22:46:38

thats the choice - bigger house and long commute - - I would consider Willingham - but not the others they def seem more in the fenland and a bit further - although there is a the northstowe issue with Willingham I imagine - see longstanton thread
to science park driving from willingham at peak times has to be 40 mins I would have thought - that said if you lived the other side of histon it would take a while - although lots of people would get guided bus or cycle from there

lakeofshiningwaters Mon 16-Jul-12 17:43:35

What about the villages near to St Ives ie Fenstanton, the Hemingfords? I've friends who commute to the Science Park from there and have no problems (except for the odd day or two). I used to commute to the centre of Peterborough from about there and it was not a bad journey (especially the 4 lane bit of the A1 where you can really put your foot down grin.

Biscuitsneeded Fri 27-Jul-12 20:49:45

Personally I think Histon, Impington, Cottenham. I don't like Milton because of the smell of sewage (sorry if I offend any residents but I think the poster needs to know about this!) - good primary, though. If you are going to work in Peterborough and use the train then I would try to live nearer the station though, as parking at the station is a nightmare so better to walk or cycle.

helenlynn Fri 27-Jul-12 23:39:40

I don't know if this is of any interest whatsover, but the guided bus route has recently been extended to Peterborough (see thebusway.info/servicedetails.aspx?update=145 - I don't think there are plans to extend the guideway, they've just added a chunk of off-guideway route). From a quick squizz at the timetable it looks as though it takes an hour and a half from Histon & Impington which is probably similar to how long it would take to get a bus to the station and do the 50-minute train journey, but might make an easier commute. But then I don't know what the guided bus is like past Histon; I'm sure someone here will though.

calendula Wed 08-Aug-12 15:18:51

Private swimming lessons.

Planning ahead. I will be in CB staying in Newnham 6 Oct - 13 Oct with DD12 and DS9

We live abroad and the swimming tuition here is abysmal. I would like to find a swimming instructor who could give the kids intensive swimming lessons for the week we are over. Daytime/evening. Would be able to travel to pools in the villages.

Any suggestions?

calendula Wed 08-Aug-12 15:19:30

Sorry, posted in wrong place!

BoredCommuter Mon 20-Aug-12 18:16:28

Well, things are progressing slowly. DH is now working in Cambridge and living there in the week. We are still really struggling to find somewhere to live, there is just so little on the market and ideally DD and I are going to move up last weekend of September. DH has now ruled out Milton, he has smelt the smell mentioned, so thanks for the tip off.
I'm desperately applying for jobs, fingers crossed

TheFowlAndThePussycat Mon 20-Aug-12 18:25:54

Have you looked at Swavesey? Excellent schools (primary & secondary) fits into the 20 min commute belt on a good day! Lovely community, old characterful & boxy new houses grin. Shop, post office, farms, lawn mower repair centre. What more could you ask for?

Have you guessed where I live yet?

An0therName Mon 20-Aug-12 20:55:10

have to say I have lived in milton for 15 months and smelt the smell maybe once - used to be an issue a few years ago but not now

BoredCommuter Tue 28-Aug-12 20:31:08

Well, I now hate letting agents, but it looks like we do have a house. We'll be in Histon. Just need to find a job, that's going slowly.

And slightly desperate, but please be my friend smile it's a bit daunting moving somewhere where we don't know anyone

An0therName Wed 29-Aug-12 20:05:12

honestly there are so many people coming and going in cambridge area that its my experience its pretty easy to meet people

Biscuitsneeded Thu 30-Aug-12 22:43:37

I think if you live in Milton you probably get used to the smell and therefore don't notice it! I live in Cambridge, but often go to Milton Tesco or to the Country Park, and depending on which way the wind is blowing the smell is VERY noticeable.

Anyway OP has plumped for Histon (good decision) so the above is irrelevant. But I'm sure you won't be lonely in Histon. People rate the pre-school and infant/junior schools highly and you will meet lots of other parents if you get involved. Also try Sarah Allen's toddler swimming at Impington pool - always a friendly experience (I took my kids to her classes at Chesterton pool but am sure the same friendly atmosphere prevails in Impington - look up bumpercise and aquatots for more info). Good luck!

TheFowlAndThePussycat Sun 02-Sep-12 08:21:03

Histon is lovely, the Pre-school is excellent - my daughters have just attended a holiday scheme there and I was bowled over! I would very much second the Sarah Allen recommendation, she is great. Cambridge is a lovely place, you'll be fine!

LizziePizzie Mon 03-Sep-12 13:20:56

How old are your LO (Not read whole post). i can recommend some good groups...

OomVoomCambridge Mon 19-Nov-12 10:20:56

Hi folks, this is a great thread. Moving to Cambridge next summer with 2 kids in primary school, mainly to escape big city life. Quality of schoools is very important to us.

I will be commuting to King's Cross. We'd like somewhere near to the station and relatively near town centre, but would deffo consider villages, which sound lovely from all the posts. Schools are the main priority so if schools in areas around the station aren't so nice we'll probably skip it and go to the villages.

Could anyone recommend areas relatively near the station around 350-400k? Or would we be better off looking at the villages for that budget?

mynameisnt Mon 19-Nov-12 10:31:35

You should be ok with that kind of budget around Cheery Hinton Road area, which is fairly near the station. two minutes away from the stationfairly near too - Mill Road, v trendy!Or the southern villages, like Shelford, Sawston, maybe Linton.

OomVoomCambridge Mon 19-Nov-12 10:35:16

thanks!!! this is a great starting point. cheers!

mynameisnt Mon 19-Nov-12 10:41:27

The schools around the station area are all ok - Morley Memorial is where my youngest children go, St Pauls is where my eldest went. There's also Queen Ediths Queen Emma (no personal experience but know people with children there). Pretty much most of the schools in cambridge are fine! Secondary in this area, you have Parkside and Coleridge (Federation academies two schools now one), St Bede's (church school and selective religion wise)

FrauB Thu 25-Apr-13 03:10:56

Don't know whether the OP is still reading this, but here goes... I know the area well. Personally, I love Cambridge, but I wouldn't live there unless I had megabucks to spend on property (which I don't). Most of the schools, except the indies and Parkside, are rubbish. Impington VC is supposed to be good, but in my experience, is still trading on an outdated reputation and is much over-rated these days.

Personally, I'd go for somewhere west of Cambridge on one of the bus routes, like Comberton, Toft or the Eversdens. Comberton VC really is excellent, although you probably need to check the new catchment areas when the new school in Cambourne is opened. The countryside is lovely and you'd easily get a 4 bed for £400k.

prsnbx Thu 25-Apr-13 09:50:44

"Most of the schools, except the indies and Parkside, are rubbish. Impington VC is supposed to be good, but in my experience, is still trading on an outdated reputation and is much over-rated these days."

These are bold claims. What is your experience, I wonder?

mynameisnt Fri 26-Apr-13 18:47:59

someone who sends their children to an indie maybe? I have to admit I am disgusted at Coleridge's recent Ofsted though. Too much, as was said, relying on the name 'Parkside' to swan it through. No interest in anyone who isn't 'average' (either above or below) marking of homework not even attempted most of the time ( I thought DS was fibbing, but it seems to be true) and little concern for SEN. Shame, I sent ds there honestly believing it's spin sad

orchardy Sun 28-Apr-13 20:17:55

I don't think 'most of the schools' are rubbish. Chesterton is good, definitely, as is Impington, as is St Bede's (and the aforementioned Parkside). And I don't think there are any REALLY bad primaries.

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