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Living in London

Discussion in 'off topic' started by lagavullin10y, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. lagavullin10y

    lagavullin10y pfm Member


    I'm currently contracted by a big London company. We like eachother but IR35 is messing up the situation a bit since I'm Dutch and am tax eligible in The Netherlands since my majority of hours is there. The easy way out is to accept a good fixed term contract which they kindly offered to me but this would imply living in the UK and preferably in Greater London.

    I have been browsing on the web a lot but it is difficult to get a realistic understanding of a number of things.

    The most important question I have is how difficult - or even feasible at all - expensive it is to have 4 kids in schools.

    The second question is what the good spots are in or around London to have a family house. Nothing posh needed, just a safe place (with preferably solid walls so that I can bring my SBL's back to their mother country). I have an ex-colleague in Greenwich who cant stop praising the place. What would be typical prices, renting?

    My wife is doctor, she always could apply to get certified in the UK, but this is not a thing which helps us on the short term.

    Lastly, this all might be a momentary thing, but we always had a wish to live abroad as a family and there is a good opportunity now.

  2. BenS

    BenS pfm Member

    I have lived in London for nearly 30 years now. I moved here for university.
    I lived in Greenwich for a couple of years. It’s fabulous, but very expensive and quite busy with tourists and traffic. I preferred blackheath once I had a child. It’s calmer, but well stocked with beautiful houses and good primary schools. The local comprehensive school - Tallis - is pretty decent, from what I hear. For private there are Colfes and Eltham College. Both also good. My son went to Colfes up to gcse level.

    Blackheath is also, however, eye wateringly expensive for a property big enough to house 4 children. My ex-wife and I moved out to the suburbs proper. You can buy a large, very nice house for 60% what you’d pay in blackheath or Greenwich. There is less crime, better schools, good doctors, endless green space and less than 20 minutes to Victoria on the train - ten an hour. The downside is that it doesn’t feel much like london - although there increasingly more london people moving here - the town centre is a bit bland, And it’s a bit little-England; lots of washing of fancy cars on driveways at the weekend and tasteless ritzy home-decor etc.

    I’ve been here 5 years, and although I don’t LOVE it. I do like it and can appreciate how much it’s got going for it. My girlfriend lives in Highgate, which I love deeply, but her 550 sq ft flat cost the same as my 1500 sq flat and I’m in the centre of town faster than she, and imho the trains are far more civilised than the tube.

    Last;y, if you like countryside Kent is stunning and it’s a 15 minute bike ride to tiny hedged country lanes that could be a hundred miles from London. They’re not busy either, unlike the Surrey lanes.
    lagavullin10y and Alex S like this.
  3. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    How much can you spend? London does tend to be more expensive the nicer it gets. Almost all zone 2 hills are good with the odd low lying enclave like Greenwich. How old are your kids? Greenwich is fine for state primary but not secondary, although Tallis as mentioned is fine. Being Dutch, it’s maybe time to live on a hill, especially since when the Thames Barrier breaks, the rest will be an aquarium.

    Lastly, after a shortlist, forget the web and have a mini break with the family to get a taste.
    lagavullin10y and Snufkin like this.
  4. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    My youngest currently lives in London - Old Street area so I understand the costs involved. You don't say if you are buying or renting but the sort of place that the youngsters can afford is a small two bed flat. In that part of London you are looking at £1800 pm rent or at least £600K to buy.

    However I lived for a number of years in SW London Raynes Park and commuted daily into places like Putney and Marylebone as examples. I had Cannon Hill Common on my doorstep and it was like a walk in the country complete with pond and water birds. I used to pick blackberries and make jam from them in the same afternoon.

    The Station was a short walk away and much quicker than taking a car and is serviced by several trains per hour all pass through Clapham Junction where you can take a train over and underground to all of London.

    Wimbledon is just one stop down the line and Richmond park with its wild deer is a short drive away. It really is a hidden jewel. We stayed in a hotel in Raynes Park just over a year ago and it hasn't been spoilt at all and has become more lively and like a small offshoot of Wimbledon.

    You'll get a 3 bed well built 1930s terrace for the same sort of price as those flats in London whilst a 4 bed semi will be around £800K. One of our ex prime ministers went to the local school and my eldest went to Wimbledon High fee paying school.

    Look it up on the web and you can also get a street view trek around the outskirts of Cannon Hill Common.


    lagavullin10y likes this.
  5. BenS

    BenS pfm Member

    I should have said in my post above - it was to Bromley that I moved. Funny all that detail, but not naming the place!
    Mike Reed, CraSh and lagavullin10y like this.
  6. clifftaylor

    clifftaylor Absolutely retired!

    Never mind John Major, Raymond Briggs and me also went there!!
  7. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Best left unsaid :)
    CraSh and BenS like this.
  8. BTC3

    BTC3 pfm Member

    I have a friend who lives outside Amsterdam, but spends most of the week working near Harlow. He’s a full time employee, but still living in NL; company admin sorts out the tax requirements. Company pays for accommodation when he’s in the UK. Could that be an option, if only short term, while you decide whether to relocate here?
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  9. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Yeah worth adding it’s probably much nicer to live in the Netherlands.

    I think Eurostar have recently started Amsterdam to London direct. You could commute.
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  10. lagavullin10y

    lagavullin10y pfm Member

    Yes, I read your post a few times to check where it was!
  11. lagavullin10y

    lagavullin10y pfm Member

    Yes they do and the connection KLM from Schiphol to London city airport is what I use now. 4 hours bed to desk. 3 days in office and 2 days wfh in regular weeks.
  12. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    That’s better than most commutes for people who live here, really!

    I’d earn as much as you can in London and then satisfy the family’s urge to live overseas by moving to the Maldives for a bit later.

    Unless you’re born and bred here I think London is like Paris: somewhere wonderful to visit but not live in.
    Thorn, Snufkin, Bob McC and 1 other person like this.
  13. eternumviti

    eternumviti Wittering on the Vine

    Funny, I live near Harlow but my daughter lives in central Amsterdam. Once a month she works in London for a few days, and lives here again.
  14. mandryka

    mandryka pfm Member

    Can you explain this? What tube stations serve your place of work? That's a very key thing.

    In the state system it's feasible and not expensive. How desirable it is depends partly on you and your kid's values. I'd say it's very possible to find excellent state primary schools in many locations -- state secondary schools will need more careful planning.

    There are lots of satisfactory private schools, and you tend to pay more the more central they are. There's one I've seen which really impressed me in fact, but it's very expensive,about £18K per kid per year, though I dare say they'll negociate. Others I've seen, in suburbs, were much cheaper but were also rather less impressibe IMO>

    There are loads and loads and loads and loads and loads of good spots for a family house, either renting or buying. First determine your transport requirements and then your budget. That'll help you to narrow things down. And then decide whether it's imperative that you are on the tube system, rather than just close to overground or bus.

    Greenwich is not on the tube (North Greenwich = Isle of Dogs)

    Where are you from? There may be a neighbourhood full of expats from your country -- which may be attractive or repellant!
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  15. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Greenwich is indeed not on the tube but DLR to Bank is 20mins, Canary Wharf 10 and a train to London Bridge or Cannon Street about 15. So, really good for the City, less good for other bits. And the tube is horrible. You must be a well versed cyclist...

    Anyway, in London, wherever you are and wherever you’re going, the answer is ‘about an hour’.
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  16. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    I lived in Paris for three years and loved every minute of it.
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  17. lagavullin10y

    lagavullin10y pfm Member

    I work next to St Pauls, I mostly use St Pauls (Central Line, try to avoid), Bank (DLR) or Blackfriars (District Line). Sometimes I'll use the Barbican station which is a 7 mins walk.
  18. lagavullin10y

    lagavullin10y pfm Member

    When I visit my colleague I take the train from Canon Street or take the DLR indeed. Very good connections!
  19. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Too many moons have passed since I lived in London (swinging sixties!), but your interesting enquiry and subsequent advice was interesting reading. You used the word 'imply' with regard to having to relocate. If your family has a settled life, school(s) and job in Nederland and you can get round this IR35 reg. whilst keeping the status quo and having that easy 3 day commute, don't let the sense of adventure in moving to England cloud your reason.

    Schools may be free, but accommodation (esp. if you're currently an owner/occupier) plus disruption (in education esp.) may sap your finances. In these uncertain financial times, possibly it's a better choice of the devil you know. Rather bland and cautionary advice, but maybe today's climate is not the time to head into the unknown (as regards circumstances, not London and environs).
    lagavullin10y likes this.
  20. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    I'd go with this. Yes, take a full time job, but be employed and resident in your home nation of Holland. You have already said this is where you do most of your work. Then travel as necessary to London as your job dictates. In this day and age there is less and less obligation to be in a particular office on any particular day. I have an old schoolfriend who is a very senior director in an engineering comapny. He lives in Madrid, he attends offices all over the world and especially in Switzerland, Germany and England.
    lagavullin10y likes this.

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