Considering moving to the area(3 Posts)
We're thinking about moving to the area and would like to know what locals think of life there. We've done a little exploring on our own, but would love to get some insight from established locals. We've mainly looked around Highbury, Arsenal and Finsbury Park so far, but are open to suggestions.
So, a few questions ....
Are there lots of things on for small children (1 & 3 yrs)?
Good parks/access to nature?
Which non-religious primary schools are considered the best (not necessarily the most highly-rated by OFSTED)?
What sort of community feeling does the area have?
How do you predict the area will change over the next five to ten years (for better or worse)?
Is there any significant noise pollution, other than standard city sounds -- ie, does the area suffer from airplane noise, nearby trains, hospital traffic (sirens), etc? (We get quite a bit of plane noise where we are now in West London, so would like to avoid it in our new home!)
Are there any Facebook groups you'd recommend for getting a feel for what's happening around the area?
We are having a hard time deciding where to live, so anything anyone can add to convince us that this is (or isn't!) the place for our family would be appreciated! Thank you!
Our two (girl boy 2 years apart) grew up here and there was no shortage of kids clubs, activities, play groups, music groups etc.
Islington is not the greenest of boroughs but does have some good parks such as Clissold Park and Highbury Fields. There are nature parks nearby (thinking Camden and Haringey) plus the Freightliners Farm off Liverpool Road plus the nature reserve behind Kings Cross.
I think Yerbury in Tufnell Park has a very good rep and kids I know from there seem great. Canonbury has had it's ups and downs but I know plenty of nice kids from there too. Hanover Primary has good reports. However, you really need to see them and meet parents with kids there to tell - I wouldn't take my heresay as valuable.
I've lived here almost all my life and it amazes me how the area is continually getting more gentrified, expensive and middle class. I don't see this changing unless there is a massive house price crash. However, it is a very socio-economically mixed borough with £3m houses next to large council estates.
My experience of community consists of neighbours on the street plus parents from primary school. It's fine for my tastes but some people just keep themselves to themselves.
Holloway Road gets quite a bit of siren noise and helicopter noise. Islington is a busy borough but there are plenty of relatively quiet side streets and leafy terraces.
I would recommend living nearish to a tube station as the connections to central London are great. We can be in Oxford Circus in 15 mins!
I would recommend reading the Islington Tribune, Islington Gazette and looking at the Primary Times (Islington Edition) to get some ideas and a feel.
Twitter is a great place to get a feel for the borough and it's local businesses and bloggers. Have a look at this "list"
Finally, the only thing I would caution is the difficult world of secondary schools. Other boroughs are, in my honest opinion, better in this regard having more choice and higher quality (Camden, Haringey, Hackney) but that's a pretty sweeping statement and open to considerable challenge. To sound even more crazy, why not look up where the Grammar schools are in North London and consider those areas too.
I think there is tonnes more to say, but how's that for a start?
how's that for a start?
Brilliant. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge of the area; the local links will be very useful, too.
I know Islington isn't as leafy as many other areas, but it's proximity to central London and nearby green spaces means it's still in the running. Property prices do cause me to stop breathing, though, so that will be another factor.
I'll look into those schools you mentioned, as I hadn't heard of them yet. It's crazy to think that I should already be thinking about secondary school when my DD is only 2.5, but this seems to be the way here and I've already started. I did look at the list of grammar schools a while back and, IIRC, I think the ones in North London are either religious and/or in areas we have already ruled out (Barnet/Finchley, where we used to live, and Enfield). I wouldn't mind Kingston, though .... Of course, that's all a good decade or so away, and we might end up moving again then, depending on the situation.
We do need to head over and explore a bit more, get a better feel for the different areas and take it from there.
Thanks again. I really appreciate your reply!
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