Hello all, we are looking to move from France to Esher in June and I would love to know what you think of the area, the shops, things to do locally and of course the ever recurring question of good schools. I have soon to be 9yr old twins (boy/girl) that I would like to attend french classes so that they don't loose all they have learned. We are thinking of moving to the new Taylor Wimpey development in Hinchley Park and would love to hear from anyone if they have an experience in the area.
I grew up in Esher, and we're just moving back to the area as well. Lovely area, nice & safe for the children to grow up in - but it is very different to how it used to be I have to admit.
I've driven past the Hinchley Park development loads of times and have seen the houses advertised - very modern & nicely done, but rather cramped together (they seem to have very small gardens to me), and there doesn't seem to be that much close by in terms of shops, restaurants etc, though there is a nursery on site apparently - plus your nearest station is going to be a 15 minute walk away along a busy dual carriage way, so bear that in mind when considering schools if your children aren't being driven to school.
Traffic is also really bad round there at school run time - my old school run which I will now be doing for DS has almost doubled in time since I did it last!
There are some really good local independent shops - try Claygate, Molesey & Cobham for those, and there are big supermarkets in Esher, Cobham & Weybridge. Kingston isn't far away for walks by the river and it has a good shopping centre.
But it is a lovely place to bring the kids up, loads of open spaces for walks, historical sites, plenty of good sports clubs if they are into that sort of thing, and just a nice community spirit (if you pick the right area of Esher!).
Re schools - are you looking at private or state schools? I've heard that Hinchley Wood is good which would be the nearest to Hinchley Park. Esher High (or whatever it is these days!) was always a little bit dodgy. There are plenty of good private schools in the area, all of whom will have French as part of the curriculum (they usually start classes at age 7 I believe). The only mixed private school I can think of nearby is St George's in Weybridge which is excellent, but I'm sure someone will be able to recommend others.
Just seen this message. You may already be sorted but if you're considering state schools there are a great selection of ofsted outstanding schools in the areas around Esher. Esher Church of England High School (no longer a "dodgy" school!) Hinchley Wood, Heathside (Weybridge), and a little bit further out Howard of Effingham. Good luck with your move.