East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Brighton - to move, or not to move

I've recently been offered a job in Brighton. The job itself sounds great, but it would mean a move as I wouldn't want to commute that far. I like Brighton and visit quite a lot, but I love East Dulwich and the kids are settled here (both in primary school). I'm massively conflicted and can't decide what to do. Right now I don't really want to move, but then I wonder about the kids getting older and secondary schools etc. Will a lot of their friends start moving away anyway as we approach the end of primary school? Brighton has some great parts, but is also a bit rough around the edges and I wonder about growing up there as a teenager (but then is that the same wherever you are)? I know it's a personal decision at the end of the day, but anyone with experience of either bringing up teenagers / secondary age kids here, or of Brighton, or making the move out of London generally, I'd love to hear about your experiences.. thanks
One of my friends has just moved from London to Hove. I think that Hove is more family friendly than Brighton (and that was certainly the case 30 years ago when I lived down that way as a child!). West Sussex is a great place to grow up as you are close to London once you hit your late teens and Brighton is a fun place to go prior to that. I personally wouldn't want to live in Brighton as it is packed out in the summer with tourists and it is a huuuuge hill from the seaside to the station.
I'd advise you to look into secondary schools in Brighton if you're going for state rather than private. All admissions there are based on a lottery system to avoid wealthy people buying in the catchment areas for the better schools. As such I've heard hellish stories from friends about the stress in the run up to National Offer Day.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 12, 04:45pm by hoonaloona.

And we're pretty well served here I terms of secondary, despite the anxiety which always seems to occur, the secondary schools local to se22 are good or outstanding (according to Ofsted anyway...), we're pretty lucky actually...
Hi there, I lived in Brighton for about 8 or 9 years in my twenties, had my son there (now 7) and moved back to SE London where I am from when he was a few months old. I think Brighton is a great place to bring up kids - but would agree with the suggestion above regarding Hove being more suited. There are other lovely more family orientated parts of Brighton with (reportedly) great secondary schools - Seven Dials, Preston Park. I lived on the sea-front in central Brighton and I would not want to bring kids up around there as it is certainly rough around the edges - so would recommend the inland neighbourhoods in Brighton or looking at Hove.

When I lived in Brighton a lot of my friends ended up moving to the towns further along the coast - Portslade, Shoreham, Worthing - as they are less expensive and I believe the serve family life well.

I have a few friends still down there with kids and they are very happy in/around Brighton. Great outdoors lifestyle and everything is so accessible (I remember main choices at the weekend were either beach or driving to the Downs for a walk or just exploring the countryside). In summer it really does feel like you are on holiday every weekend, being so close to the sea (the main beach drag is always very busy but as you head towards the periphery areas its quieter).

You could also look at other towns inland - I love Lewes, for example, which is an easy commute from Brighton.

I think it just depends on the type of lifestyle you want. Being from London, I always found Brighton a bit small (even though there is lots going on). But that also comes with positives - nothing beats being able to walk to work (vs. horrible commute on tube - no contest!).

One option would be you taking the Brighton job and just seeing how you feel about Brighton for a while before moving down there. When I moved back to London I still had my job in Brighton and it is quite an easy route journey if you are going against the commute (i.e. out of London) in the morning - in fact it is quite pleasant.

Good luck!
Just to pick up on your question about secondary school experiences in London - I think a few years ago a lot of people did move out of London when secondary school approached but I think in more recent years, as people have cottoned on to how good the local schools are these days, this has become less of a 'thing'. I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who moved away at the end of my daughter's primary school years, whereas I do remember people moving out when she was in year 1 and 2, i.e. a long way in advance before they actually went to look round the local secondaries! So I do think the reputation has (rightly) improved a lot these days and London schools are now seen as being good places to learn (though whether that will change again as the funding cuts kick in, who knows?). But right now, I think London is a pretty good place to be a teenager.

That said, Brighton is also a cool place to live and the accessible size is attractive. I don't envy your decision but best of luck either way!
I grew up in Brighton and have lived in ED for seven years. I also did a stint in Hove, which as the others say is perhaps better for family life (or rather, if you'd have a car which is practically impossible in Brighton!). I wouldn't go back, though I had a great time growing up there. I wouldn't be worried about raising kids there though, it's very family friendly and whilst you might find it small, it's a comforting size as a teenager. Feels like there's plenty to do/see (though perhaps not if you've been raised in London?).

Schools are an issue unless you're going private due to the allocation system and lack of them. Good state secondaries aren't as easy to come by as they are here. There are really only three decent ones (one Catholic if that affects your decision), though there are many strong primary schools. As the previous poster says, it's a lottery system now to avoid children being priced out of the good schools.

I moved to London before I found a job up here, so I was working full time in Brighton and commuting down there each day. It was a bit like a salmon swimming up stream - there were always plenty of seats going the "wrong" way out of town each morning!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 13, 02:09pm by rahrahrah.

Thanks for the responses, it's really helpful. From what I've seen the local secondaries in ED are very good, but my kids are not that close to secondary just yet so it's helpful to hear from those who have more direct experience. My two are currently year 1&2 and have indeed had a number of friends leave London, so was worried about a further exodus towards the end of primary (your comments are reassuring redjam). We're looking at Preston Park as a possible area. It seems quite family friendly and isn't too far from North Laine for cafes, pubs etc. I don't think I'd choose to leave ED but for this job. It's really tricky. Job offer stays open for another week, so any more views or experiences gratefully received
I also agree with redjam about secondary schools in and around ED (they're actually very good) and about the exodus... there were a lot who moved away in years 1 and 2 but hardly anyone since then. I know your children are only young but you're right to consider the next stage as it comes round so quickly!
My husband grew up in Brighton and all his family still live there, so we visit at least once a month. Preston Park is lovely and the primary schools surrounding are very good in that area. I like Hove a lot, but the primary schools are not great unless you are going private. As another poster said the secondary schools are not as good in Brighton. We have thought about moving there, but we love ED. Our children are settled and we can go at the weekend if we want! The commute is awful, (Brighton to London) All of our friends constantly moan about southern trains.
If you want a change of lifestyle then consider your options. However once you move it would be very hard to get back into the london property market.
We are in the process of moving to Brighton from East Dulwich and have two children (one in reception and one in nursery). We have always wanted to live by the sea and love Brighton. I was brought up in South London & feel it will be a good change for our family (my partner will commute to London for his job). East Dulwich is a lovely place to bring up children and I do have anxieties about moving but trust that it'll be the right thing to do.

Southeast Twenty Stu - good luck! It'll be good to know what you decide as we too are looking around Preston Park big grin
I would make my choice on the merits of the job and your long term employment prospects and aspirations.

Is it a fantastic promotion with more money? Will it be secure as uncertain times approach?

I don't think people flee ED for secondary, because the secondary offer is good and because ED offers a great opportunity for family life. IME London is "the best" for teens (I have one!) because they can be so independent, with their Zip Cards and a fantastic network of free travel. Have you seen the bus fares in other places?

In most fields, London offers the greatest opportunity in the job market. Offset of course, by horrendous house prices. But if you are already on the property ladder that isn't such a consideration. I was in Brighton last week, and from the Estate Agents windows the prices were astronomical there, too. But I think if you sell in London and move out, you may never be able to move back.
Why not rent a room/small flat on a short term basis in Brighton to save the daily commute and come home weekends?
This will give you an opportunity to get a sense of Brighton.

We were going to buy a property for youngest daughter whilst she was at Brighton University but in a space of 3 months, property prices for a one bed flat rose from £75 K to £100 k. With a very large student population (2 Universities and a language school) rented property is hard to find. We ended up in purchasing a 3 bed house in Goring for £125K.

Prices are very much higher now and daughter's partner commutes from Goring to Brighton by car on a daily basis.
I do not like Brighton and prefer Worthing. I suppose it all depends which part of Brighton your new job is in as to most appropriate area to live. Parking is a nightmare in Brighton but daughter's partner works for a company who provides a company car and parking space for him.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 14, 04:27pm by Pugwash.

The job doesn't pay much more than I get currently, but it would be a good stepping stone to other things. I have been toying with the idea of staying in Brighton a couple of nights a week, and half-commuting until I've got a sense of whether it's the right move. It would put a lot of pressure on my partner though, especially in terms of the kids.
I love Brighton. It's the only place I'd consider leaving ED for. My grown up son lives there. He moved down for uni, but ended up staying there when he made the decision to end his course and work instead. We just spent a weekend down there with our three year old for a friend's wedding, and had a lovely time. We stayed in an airbnb place, which was a lot cheaper than a hotel, and nice to be close to my son's house (and the beautiful Queen's Park, and excellent Hanover pub!).

The place has a lovely feel to it. It's a great place to go out in, both for young people like my elder son, and families too. It's hilly as hell.. I was exhausted hauling my heavy pregnant self up the gigantic hill to our rented place, but it was nice to see all the houses along the way, and feel like I was getting a bit of exercise too :-)

I can't drive so it wouldn't bother me that you have to walk/bus everywhere in the centre. A good friend of mine lives a little further out, in Portslade, and says it's really lovely around there for families, lots of beautiful parks to explore.

It's only the lack of jobs (we're both in IT), and moving away from my partner's parents that puts me off moving down!
Thanks for the responses. I accepted the job! Bit nervous about it, but also quite excited. I'm going to commute for the first few months, to make sure the job is what I expected and that they like me. Assuming everything goes well, then we may look to move down later in the year.
raqski77 - good luck with your own move - Let us know how it goes.
Used to live in Brighton and tbh it's very busy, littered and over crowded so I didn't notice the difference THAT much when moving to London. If I was reading between lines, it sounds from Tor post that you're not as keen, deep down.
I always say: doubt means don't.

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