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Another family moving to Durham in need of advice(12 Posts)
I know that there are plenty of threads along these lines already on the forum, but none of them quite matches my situation, so I hope you will all forgive me for starting a new one and asking for advice and opinions on specific areas from the members of this community.
I'm relocating to Durham for work with my wife and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and we are planning on visiting a few houses next week - we're looking to rent a 3- or 4-bed house. We've found interesting places in the following areas:
Framwellgate Moor (top end, on the edge of town near the Arnison Centre)
Neville's Cross, around Archery Rise
Now for the detail: I'll be working at the university and have a car, but DW will be working part-time from home (needing to get to London once or twice a month) and doesn't drive. So one important thing is that there is a social life for her on a daily basis, and that she is able to be as independent as possible in getting around - one concern we have about the villages west of Durham is the possibility of ending up isolated. DW looks after DD more-or-less full-time (except when she has an engagement and I step in) though this will change a bit in January when DD will be eligible for her 15 hrs/week of nursery/preschool. For this reason, DW would like to live within walking distance of a decent preschool where she can drop off and pick up DD - we've spotted schools that look good in all the areas mentioned above barring Neville's Cross so far, but I don't know how easy it is to get a place in this region! And then of course we'd like to be fairly close to the other child-related amenities: health centre, children's centre or playgroups, playground, shops, etc. We are also thinking about a second child in the fairly near future.
So I'd be really grateful to hear from anyone who lives in or knows about these areas - what it's like getting around (with and without a car), what the feel of the place is, what's in the area, and so on. It's a big leap into the unknown for us, so thank you in advance for your thoughts!
I live on the other side of Durham, so don't know much about Witton Gilbert, Sacriston or Bearpark. I know we get regular buses to Durham city, but not sure about those places. I regularly see buses in the city itself, so I would guess you'd be okay for public transport in Framwellgate, Dryburn and Neville's Cross. It's easier getting about with a car, but bear in mind that rush hour in the centre of Durham can get busy.
There are a number of playgroups / toddler groups in and around Durham itself, but again, not sure how many in the areas you mention. I know Sacriston has a Sure Start Centre, which will probably run some play sessions.
If you or your wife is on Facebook, there is a Mums in Durham page which is very active, and probably has people living in the areas you mention who'd be able to give more advice. It also has files giving details of playgroups etc (doesn't cover all of them, but it's a good starting point). I've put a link below, but it's a closed group, so you'd have to ask to join and be approved before being able to post questions / see files etc. I've also put a few other links which may be helpful.
Mums in Durham
Sure Start Centres Durham
Public Transport in Durham
Thank you misslinnet, that's really helpful. My wife's posted a message on Mums in Durham and had loads of replies already - people in Durham seem to be as nice as everyone says!
Fram nicer than witton Gilbert or sacriwton. Good school in fram and sacriston. I live in village to west of Durham and wouldn't like to do it without a car.
Are you science site based?
Nevolles cross schools very good and over subscribed as well
No, SPB, I'll be working right in the city centre - if we were west of Durham I'd maybe drive in but obviously that wouldn't be an option for my wife if she wanted to go into town, and she'd be the one pushing a pram! (Though I'm hoping I'd be able to work from home a fair bit and do some ferrying.)
The Witton Gilbert house has gone already, but we've set up lots of viewings for Framwellgate, the roads near the hospital and Neville's Cross (I think the properties there are all in Sheraton Park). Also the ones in Sacriston and Bearpark as mentioned, and another in Broompark. What are Bearpark/Broompark like? They seem to be closer to the city centre than Sacriston is, and amazingly cheap...
As far as schools go, initially we're looking at pre-schools for the 15 free hours. Do you think we are likely to struggle to get a place for DD?
I think Broompark better than Bearpark but Bearpark is nice enough definitely.
I personally think we're very lucky in Durham there are few bad schools. If you're still living there for secondary it gets even better.
Nhall fab for children. Good schools,busy bees nursery fantastic. Nice pushchair walk into town with a bit of countryside, can't go wrong really.
I've done same village as SPB West of Durham without a car and found it fine, bus service is OK and there is loads to do with small children. Honestly though since you will be working in the city centre and your DW will someties be going down to London I'd go for Fram where you can both walk to everything.
Bearpark pretty good too, very good private nursery that does the 15 hours (Busy Bears) and you've be able to walk or cycle to Durham for work.
I've seen your DW has posted on MID on FB too, sure you'll find a good spot
Thanks everyone - there do seem to be plenty of nice areas. It may be a tough decision!
I just moved to Framwellgate Moor (from London) - I also have a 2.5 yr old!
I can't really offer much in the way of advice (only been here two days) but if you do end up living round here I'd be more than happy for your wife to PM me if she wanted to meet up for coffee/trip to the playground etc. I am also at home full time!
Thank you to everyone - just to update you, we found a house in Neville's Cross within 15-20 mins walk of the centre. IWillOnlyEatBeans - apologies for not replying sooner, but it's a bit manic here right now (I'm sure you can empathise). We'll try to get in touch soon though!
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