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Author Topic: Oxford or Cambridge? What's a better place to live?  (Read 7596 times)
ISMITH
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« on: March 29, 2010, 10:16:39 PM »

We are moving to the UK in the next few months from California. My husband's company has offices in Oxford and Cambridge and we're trying to figure out where to live. I've been to Oxford but never Cambridge.

Does anyone have any insights? I'm finding that Cambridge rents are less expensive and accomodations are nicer. I've also heard Cambridge has a much colder, wetter, windier climate? Is this true? We have a toddler so a family friendly place with good amenities is important.

Thanks.

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mapleleafgirl72
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 08:38:03 AM »

I'd start by looking here:
http://www.upmystreet.com/

Also maybe compare information from the local authorties for children's stuff:

http://www.oxford.gov.uk/

http://www.cambridge.gov.uk
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sarahb
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 08:41:30 AM »

I lived in Oxford for a term and LOVED it. It seemed like a good family place, even though it is a university town. I dont have any feedback on Cambridge other than I really have enjoyed my visits there.
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bookgrl
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 08:50:06 AM »

I live in Cambridge, but never in Oxford, although I have been there. 

The traffic in Cambridge is terrible, as is the A14, so if the company isn't in Cambridge you might want to take that into account.  However, I don't know what the traffic in Oxford is like.

I would not say that the housing in Cambridge is of high quality particularly.  It all depends on what you are looking for. 

But in general, if you are in Cambridge itself and not in one of the slightly dodgy surrounding areas (Chesterton where a gang of kids stole at least one car a night every night for two weeks and crashed them into lamp posts and the Tesco) and you want at least two bedrooms and 2 reception rooms (living room and a dining room or open plan with room for a table) you are probably looking around the 900/mnth area at least.



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bookgrl
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 12:27:50 PM »

So, I am nosey and whatnot and I asked around my office.  These are not anything I came up with, just what the UK people have said.

In general, both have pretty crappy houses, that is just the way it is in places with lots of students.  But since Oxford is bigger you can get out of the city and still have transportation options aside from needing a car.  Most of the villages that are only a few miles from Cambridge have appalling bus service, if it hasn't been completely cut in this last round of changing schedules. 

This was the general run down:

Cambridge is:
about the third of the size of Oxford
has more open green spaces
has more of a centre (although almost all the housing in the centre is student only)
less of an industrial ring outside it
More trains go to London
Does have cheaper housing
More causal than Oxford (?)

Oxford:
Has way more housing options because more people
Much much better public transportation
Fewer trains to London, but all get there in an hour (whereas the slow train from Cambridge can take almost 2)
Better restaurants
other advantages that come with a larger city, more stuff to do

The big thing that stands out for me, if you are only going to be here for a few years (not sure of your situation) Oxford has much better links to the rest of the country than Cambridge.

Every time you want to go somewhere, aside from London Norwich and some places in Suffolk, you must go through London and then get on the underground and then go to another railway station and then wait for another train. 

So if you want to really get out and explore the country, which if you are only here for a short time and you won't have a car, then Oxford is a much better bet. 
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ISMITH
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 05:15:26 PM »

Thank you all for the great information! The company has offices in London (Kensington and Hammersmith), Oxford and Cambridge.  We cannot decide where to live! Now we're thinking maybe a London suburb would be nicer? We started taking a peak at houses/flats in and around London and they are SO much nicer than the ones in Oxford and Cambridge.

I've read that Wimbledon and Hampstead are nice. Our budget is around 1800-2200 pounds a month. I want more of a residential area but close to amenities, and prefer a quiet locale, not sure if this is too much to ask for. We're generally not big city folks...

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ISMITH
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2010, 05:35:06 PM »

Also, does anyone know how long of a tube ride from Wimbledon to Hammersmith/Kensington, and then how long from Hampstead to Hammersmith/Kensington?

Trying to find the difference in commuting times.

Thanks again.
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bookgrl
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 07:10:26 PM »

I don't know, but if I had that money I would not ever be in Cambridge.  HA!

I think being in the London area would just be so much more convenient in terms of everything, but especially being able to travel.   
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Sara Smile
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 07:44:19 PM »

Also, does anyone know how long of a tube ride from Wimbledon to Hammersmith/Kensington, and then how long from Hampstead to Hammersmith/Kensington?

Trying to find the difference in commuting times.

Thanks again.

I don't these off the top of my head but the TFL website is perfect for this kind of thing.
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lilybelle
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 08:11:40 PM »

I live in Cambridge, and I would definitely recommend Hampstead over Cambridge if you have the money.  Cambridge housing is just not that conducive for families who are renting...but my friends who have children all seem to enjoy Cambridge and I know one family in particular that definitely recommends Cambridge over Oxford with children.  If I were to have children while still working in Cambridge, I would most likely look to rent in Ely and take the short train ride in to Cambridge every day.  There are much better rental options in Ely, especially for families. 

Is 1800-2200 pounds your total monthly budget or just your budget for rent/utilities?
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ISMITH
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 08:17:46 PM »

1800/2200 is our budget for rent and utilities.
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lilybelle
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2010, 08:23:24 PM »

1800/2200 is our budget for rent and utilities.

In that case, I would definitely consider working in London.  I suppose Cambridge might be appealing if you hate living/commuting in large cities, but it will definitely be more convenient to be based in London. 
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onetiger
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2010, 10:54:04 AM »

Hampstead would be a bit of a commute (though it is very nice).  There's a lot of places around the Hammersmith/Kensington region that would be nice to live in...from Chiswick to Richmond to Wimbledon to Kew (all of which have both nice and not nice areas...which is something in pretty much every area of London).  I would definitely look on the Transport for London site, go to the journey planner and put the location of the office in and then how long it would take from various tube stations.
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NightDragon
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2010, 10:59:14 PM »


I've read that Wimbledon and Hampstead are nice. Our budget is around 1800-2200 pounds a month. I want more of a residential area but close to amenities, and prefer a quiet locale, not sure if this is too much to ask for. We're generally not big city folks...




It can be a bit of a struggle searching for housing (rent or buy) in a large city, compared to a finite medium-sized town (such as Cambridge.)

Here's one strategy.  Get a good post-code map; here are two examples...
http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/postcodes/map.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_postal_district

Then, go to Globrix  http://www.globrix.com/, click on "rent" and enter just the postcode (for instance, NW3 or SW7) in the search box.

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ISMITH
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2010, 05:14:17 AM »

Thank you everyone! We have decided on London after all and are very excited about our move! We're looking at Kensington/Chelsea, Richmond, Wimbledon, etc.

Cheers!
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