Local Talk

Moving to Hemel from South Africa

(2 Posts)
sheepy42 Tue 05-Nov-13 08:55:35

Hi there,

I am hoping for some advice. My husband myself and our three daughters currently aged 2.5, 4 and 5.5 are looking at moving to the UK. We are all on UK passports so all of that isn't a problem, and I myself schooled in York.

Hubby is in the events industry, a sound engineer, and I currently work in the administration field but am looking at trying to be a stay at home for the first two years or so. He has an ex colleague who settled in Hemmel, but they don't have any kids so for getting advice for area from them isn't ideal.

When we come over which will be in May / June 2014 we will be looking to rent furnished for a while, but I would very much like to try set up in the right area as far as possible to start with before we look at buying.

What area's would you all suggest I look at? Hubby will need decent access to get into central London, and I will need to be able to get all the kids into decent schools. We aren't "posh", I would describe us as being middle class, kids currently all in preschool and hubby and I both work, but we do live in a nice area called Bryanston in South Africa. I just want to make sure that we avoid any dodgy areas and so some advice would be great. (If anyone reading this is from Johannesburg, I know we could probably not afford a Bryanston equivalent, but would like something like Weltevreden...)

Also, any ideas as to mom's groups etc. to help us settle and get to know the community would be fantastic. I am currently using Right Move to get an idea of rental costs etc.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

If commuting is an issue, then you're probably best off looking at the Boxmoor area which seems to fit what you are looking for. That's one of the nicer parts of Hemel anyway, it's a shortish walk from the station (depending on where you live, obviously!) and there are a couple of good schools - South Hill and Boxmoor are two of them. If you're Catholic, St. Roses is good as well.

It's also a short walk from town, and very near the Sports Centre/swimming pool as well. I can't recommend any sort of Mother's Group as I've not used any, but there always seem to be plenty of things advertised. I've mostly met other mothers through swimming lessons, after school clubs (gymnastics, swimming etc) and on the school run.

It is more pricey than most of the rest of Hemel, but that's because in general it's nice! It has a bit of a village ambience to it and everyone seems friendly (I moved a year ago, so qualified to comment on how welcoming people are to strangers!) and it is surprising how many people know each other, but thankfully not in a particularly "in-bred" way like in some villages!

The Hemel Hempstead School is generally thought of as pretty good for a secondary - but look carefully where you buy. A good portion of Boxmoor is closer to the Cavendish School which does not get as good results. There's also the possibility to apply to Chesham Grammar and Parmiters which are partially selective schools with buses that run from Boxmoor.

Felden is another possibility but it is quite a bit more expensive. It's very nice though.

Most of Hemel is fine - dodginess is all relative after all (we lived in SE London before here!) and even the "rougher" parts of Hemel feel safer than the average parts of the area we were in before.. and I never felt unsafe there.

You can make some fairish assumptions about a place from Streetview - if there's a house you're interested in, just virtually "wander around" using Streetview and decide if you feel the road is a nice one or not! It's not infallible but it can help a bit if you're unable to visit in person.

Hope the move goes well!

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