To move or not to move? I really opinions from people who've moved to IoW please

(9 Posts)
citycentredweller Thu 20-Apr-17 17:33:53

Hi all

I need honest opinions please. We have thought about moving to the IoW for years. But for a number of reasons never have. We have friends who live on the Island so have spent a good amount of time there.

In Sept my youngest son will be going into year 7. My older son into year 9. They are both currently at a private school in York and the older of the two is about to move from the middle school to the upper school - which is why now is a good time to move and it's likely the last chance we'd have to move before they leave school.

We like their current school - excellent sports and academics - but it's slightly too focused on pressurised exam results, rather than inspiring a love of learning. It is also getting increasingly expensive - not just the fees but the extra curricular trips that there is pressure to send them on. There's also a bit of trying to keep up with the Joneses that I don't like. But it is a really good school.

We love living in York - its beautiful and has loads of restaurants, shops and entertainment that we can access by walking out our front door. We also have lots of friends here - both us and our kids. We've been here 5 years and have built up a great network. A big circle rather than a best friend for any of us.

But I have always wanted to live by the sea (I grew up at the seaside in a different country). Both my husband and I enjoy sailing, as does our youngest son. I also love the outdoors and in my head, I imagine my boys having a far more outdoor lifestyle than they do in the centre of York, where they mainly play school sports or hang out around the shops or stare at an xbox.

If we moved, we'd move to Ryde so that my husband could commute. He works in Reading and abroad - we have a flat in Reading so he wouldn't be commuting daily but he doesn't want to add an extra drive to a ferry crossing and drive on the other side. Even so, his commute from Ryde to Reading is significantly shorter than the 3.5 - 4 hour drive from York! The boys would go to Ryde school and we'd probably join Seaview sailing club. We'd have a bigger house with a garden and access to the beach on a regular basis - unlike our small townhouse with no garden that we currently have.

My youngest son is very keen on the move and I can imagine would fully embrace the lifestyle. My eldest is very sensitive and hates change. REALLY HATES IT. He didn't want to move to York - but has since settled in really well (despite social peer pressure to have the latest greatest things). He is adamant he doesn't want to move. He says he hates sailing (he's done it and I don't think he hates it - he's not as keen as his brother though). He does enjoy skim boarding and has tried surfing and seemed to enjoy it. He worries that the sport at Ryde won't be competitive enough (and it won't be in contrast to where they currently are) and that he will have no friends and that the whole place is a dump and he doesn't want to go.

I think he could get to IoW, make friends and transform from the townie he is into something far more dynamic and well rounded. But he could equally go the other way and just hate us and spend even more time on the xbox as there is less in 'town' to do.

I am worried about making friends - how easy is it on the island? I also run my own business and wonder if there is much by way of business networking. Does the lack of buzz/restaurants/shops that you get in bigger places irritate/depress you or do you genuinely just embrace the quirky local shops and restaurants? Do teens get outdoors more or are they like teens everywhere else who just want to stare at screens? Will they be bored stiff? How often do people just pop over to Portsmouth or does that stretch of water really become a barrier?

In short - if you've moved there, would you recommend it? Or not?

Really open to hearing all points of view. I need to make a decision fast!

Thanks for any help or advice you can share

PippaShortstocking Thu 20-Apr-17 23:49:56

With regards to making friends/networking etc for yourself, I don't think you need to worry. There's loads going on & because it's an island there's a vibe of everyone knowing everyone else. Obviously this isn't true but after a while if you get chatting to someone you'll probably know people in common. If you are a chatty sort of person generally you'll get to know people easily especially if you join clubs, do sport etc, go to local events etc.

I can see how someone in year 9 might take a while to warm to the idea though, and it might be a big culture shock going from city life to countryside life. It's a great place to grow up as a teenager, lots of freedom as your parents know you are only probably going to be on the island, and lots of beach parties, house parties etc, again, knowing lots of people when you go out which you don't get in a big city. But if his mind is dead set against it it could be a hard transition. Has he visited the school? Could you also look at private schools in Portsmouth as children do commute over there too sometimes. But might mean he wouldn't make Island friends.

Do you read the local paper (country press) as that will give you some ideas too

Just a few thoughts, good luck with your decision.

lorisparkle Fri 21-Apr-17 01:09:30

I had friends who moved to the Isle of Wight and the main problem they had was options for a levels. They were in the state system and none of the island schools offered the a levels the teenagers wanted so they had to either commute daily or live on the mainland during the week. Not that easy but they both achieved what they wanted. In general They found living on the Island was great for young children and great for older adults but the teenager and young adults found it difficult - a bit 'small town' and claustrophobic. We loved visiting though.

citycentredweller Fri 21-Apr-17 06:20:19

Thank you both for your thoughts - I really appreciate it. Pippa - yes we visited Ryde school on Wednesday and he was determined to hate it before we got there. He didn't say a word the whole time and although there were bits about he reluctantly agreed we're 'ok' he doesn't want to leave his current school. I think it's more that he doesn't want to leave his current school and group of friends than it is about Ryde school
It being good enough. So do teens typically have house parties and beach parties? I guess I'm just wondering what they do and how they spend their time?

PippaShortstocking Fri 21-Apr-17 15:27:39

I think I'd have been like that as a teen too! It is hard to leave friends when you are that age, but you also have to think of yourself and what is going to be best for you long term too, as eventually your children will move out etc. If he actually moved to the island I'm sure he'd make friends and settle in, but pursued if him of that in advance might be tricky!
About the parties etc, I just meant people from the mainland often assume that being a teenager on the island must be really burning with nothing to do (as it's rural, no massive big nightclubs etc) but that's not really the case at all as there are loads of fun things to do. Depends on the parents allow I guess, but just saying it's not boring, teenagers like to go to the beaches, go surfing, etc, it's not like they will be bored but it just might be different kinds of activities to city life and take a while to adjust but once they do they'll love it.
One more thing to consider, if your children end up moving back to the mainland for jobs etc once they are adult, visiting is a bit restricted because of the expensive ferry fares etc. Bit more effort required than if you can just get on the car and drive down the road to see you parents
Good luck with your decision x

PippaShortstocking Fri 21-Apr-17 15:28:19

* Boring not burning!

lorisparkle Fri 21-Apr-17 15:48:20

As well as the expense of the ferry you have to consider the weather. Commuting in winter can be 'interesting' . I have been on the last ferry off the island one January when the catamaran and the hovercraft were both cancelled due to poor weather. I am not a good ferry passenger at the best of times and definitely not the easiest journey!

beach09 Mon 24-Apr-17 00:06:57

I'm in a similar situation to you, thinking of moving to the IOW The difference being I've lived there before. Secondary schools seem to be improving, but am I right in assuming your children would be going to the private school in Ryde? The island is a beautiful, relaxing place, alot is centred on the outdoors. You are spoilt for choice for lovely pubs and great restaurants.As others have mentioned, The ferry etc is expensive, but as is travelling on the mainland, especially by train!. Your lifestyle plan sounds idyllic. Your children will settle. I think it's important to still connect with the mainland, if you move to the island. Lots of shops in Southampton, and many places to visit along the South coast!

AmyLou1988 Wed 14-Jun-17 14:09:50

Best thing I ever did was move to Ryde. I would never go back to the mainland. No daily rat race, plenty of stuff for kids to do and work if you want to find it. My daughter has flourished since moving we came 7 months ago and feels like we were always ment to be here.

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