Moving to the South West from London | Property & Education

04-June-2024 9:42
in Mortgage
by Sam Hodgson
Moving from London to the Southwest

For the past decade, families are increasingly finding themselves priced out of London and are opting for greener cities and commuter towns.

You’ve spent the past decade or two enjoying the best of London’s many amenities, but it’s time to relocate. It’s a predicament more and more London-based parents are finding themselves in.

Growing costs propelled by inflation and the desire to be closer to nature have caused many families to leave London and start fresh. The pros far outweigh the cons in many cases, but it’s natural to wonder what you might need to compromise on.

If you’re a parent, then your children's future is likely a significant reason for your decision to move. Green spaces, safer streets, and a wholesome community atmosphere are just a few reasons to move your family to the West Country. A quieter area offers your children a taste of the countryside and arguably a better quality of life than you may be able to afford in and around London.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the calibre of teaching and the many advantages of West Country living, as well as explore some tips on how to make the jump from life in London to this exciting new chapter.

Read blog: Are Mortgage Rates Going Down?

Moving from London to the Southwest

In This Guide:

Is it Worth Leaving London?

Why Move to the South West?

What is Schooling Like in the South West?

Some of the Best Schools in the South West

How Can I Transfer My Child to Another School?

What Next?

Is it Worth Leaving London?

For many, London is no longer an option due to its elevated living costs. However, it may be the case that you’re caught between a rock and a hard place: you're managing to make ends meet in the Capital, but you're wondering if somewhere else would offer a better quality of life for your family.

It's necessary to weigh up the options. There are many advantages to raising a family in London, from good career prospects and higher wages to a bustling environment that can help nurture your children’s confidence from early on. But the lower cost of living in other cities may also be attractive, alongside access to more natural scenery, a slower pace, and lower crime rates.

Here are the cliff notes to help you weigh up the options:

Advantages of Moving Out of London

+ Quality of Life

The West Country offers a slower pace of life than London. Its picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and coastal beauty promote a more relaxed lifestyle.

+ Affordable Housing

Property prices in the West Country are generally lower than in London, allowing for more spacious and affordable housing options, potentially leading to a higher standard of living.

+ Community Feel

Small towns and villages in the West Country often have strong communities, providing a sense of belonging and support networks.

+ Natural Beauty

From rolling hills to stunning coastlines, the West Country offers abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, and exploring nature.

+ Less Congestion

With fewer people and less traffic than in London, commuting and getting around can be less stressful and time-consuming.

What to Consider Before Moving Out of London

- Job Opportunities

Depending on your profession, job opportunities may be more limited in the West Country than London's thriving job market. This isn’t the be-all or end-all – because, in a post-COVID world, many are choosing to commute to London a couple of times a week and work the rest of their hours from home.

Many areas in the West Country are less than two hours away from London, with accessible public transport links. But if you do need a work base that’s closer to home, job markets may be a little less plentiful outside of London.

- Transport Links

Public transport networks are less extensive in rural areas of the West Country, making it more challenging to travel longer distances without a car.

- Less Cultural Diversity

In some areas, the West Country has less cultural diversity than London, which can impact access to certain amenities, cuisines, and cultural events.

- Limited Amenities

While smaller towns in the West Country offer charm and character, they may lack the abundance of amenities, shopping options, and entertainment venues found in a major city like London.

- Potential Isolation

Moving from a vibrant city to a rural area can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation, especially if you're accustomed to the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Ultimately, the decision to move from London to the West Country depends on individual preferences, lifestyle priorities, and career considerations. Life is different outside a capital city, but that doesn’t mean you have to make changes in every aspect of your life.

Not to mention that cities like Bristol, Exeter and Bath have the advantages of city life in their own right.

What Do The Experts Say?

Finding community in a new area is about making sure the activities you like doing are available to you. In London, it’s common to make friends through work, whereas in the West Country, it’s more about taking advantage of your work life balance and finding friends through your hobbies.   

Having an expert on your side who understands what you’re looking for can be a huge advantage when you’rerelocating. A buyer can apply the criteria you’re looking for to the many locations in their niche.  

The result is not only finding a property that suits your needs but a home within a neighbourhood you can connect with.

Abbie Long
Co-founder of Property Buying Agent Otters Home Search

It’s recommended to speak with a mortgage adviser if you'reconsidering a mortgage on a new property. 

In addition to banks and building societies, our experienced brokers also compare rates from private and specialist lenders that are not typically available to the public. 

They can help you compare the wide variety of options and negotiate the best interest rates on your behalf.

George Abouzolof
Senior Finance Broker CeMAP

Why Move to the South West?

The South West is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, including rugged coastlines, rolling countryside, and picturesque villages. The region offers abundant outdoor recreation and exploration opportunities from Cornwall's sandy beaches to Dartmoor's wild moors.

With its slower pace of life, friendly communities, and a strong sense of heritage, the South West offers a high quality of life. Residents enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle than larger cities, with less congestion and pollution.

While the South West is renowned for its rural charm, it’s also home to vibrant cities and towns with bustling markets, eclectic shops, and nightlife. Cities like Bristol, Exeter, and Bath blend historic charm with modern amenities, making them attractive places to live and work.

The South West is also home to several reputable universities, colleges, schools, and world-class healthcare facilities. Families moving to the region can benefit from excellent educational and healthcare resources.

Getting to Know the Area

The biggest misconception about moving to the West Country is that you’ll be out in the sticks, away from all the amenities you once enjoyed. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The West Country has exceptional rail and airport links, and areas like Bath are easily commutable to London. It’s possible to find somewhere that ticks all your boxes, you just need to know where to look.   

Working with an expert allows you boots on the ground and intricate knowledge of the local area. This gives you a better negotiating position because you’re a vetted and informed buyer with an agent employed to act on your behalf.   

When it comes to milestones like buying a new home and starting afresh, you can rest assured that your decision was informed with local expertise and a thorough understanding of your needs.

Francesca Watson
Co-founder of Property Buying Agent Otters Home Search

Moving from London to the Southwest

What is Schooling Like in the West Country?

From quaint village schools to prestigious private institutions and grammar schools, the West Country boasts wide spectrum of education options from primary school to sixth form.

Whether you're seeking a small, nurturing environment or a larger institution with a wide range of facilities, the West Country offers something to suit every family's educational aspirations.

Independent schools are generally a lot more affordable outside of London without having to make adjustments to teaching quality.

Institutions like The Cheltenham Ladies’ College, King Edward’s School in Bath and The Maynard School in Exeter have some of the best grades in the country, and colleges like St Mary’s Calne and Badminton School in Bristol are commended for their extensive curriculums and student support.

But private schools aren’t the only educational organisations thriving in the West Country. Over 70% of students at Pate’s Grammer School in Cheltenham achieved A*/A at A-level. Pate’s Grammar School was named The Sunday Times state secondary school of the year, ranking fourth on the national table for its exceptional teaching quality. Colyton Grammar School in Devon also achieved similarly impressive A-level results in 2023.

Furthermore, while grades are important, many parents choose to remove their children from the fast-paced, results-obsessed environment of London private schools. In 2024, where mental health is trumping excessive discipline, GSCE and A-level grades aren’t the only factors that matter when choosing the right school.

There are a variety of respected independent and state schools in the West Country that take a more holistic approach to teaching, prioritising the arts, wellbeing, and nurturing soft skills.

Hazlegrove Preparatory School, for example, offers a forest school, an award-winning music department and top-notch sports facilities - from an indoor swimming pool to an on-site golf course and theatre.

Headquartered in a stunning thousand-year-old cathedral, Wells Cathedral School approaches learning with gentleness and acceptance, as shown in its motto, ‘Esto Quod Es (Be What You Are)’. It has a reputation for turning out high-achieving students, from drama scholars to award-winning pianists. The school offers opportunities for students to showcase their talents at public concerts and partake in music summer schools and sports camps.

Schools like these provide the necessary tools for children to learn and thrive while offering them an idyllic environment to grow up in.

See similar: Property Market Update - Buyers Demand 11% Higher in 2024

Some of the Best Schools in the South West

Below are some of the most popular independent schools in the South West, with a table detailing their facilities.



2023 GCSE Results 

2023 A-level Results 




Cheltenham Ladies College 

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire 

87% grade 9-7 

72% A*-A, 90% A*-B 

  • Revamped gym 
  • Yearly wellbeing fair 
  • Tennis courts 
  • 170 year-old archive 

Founded in 1858 to provide a sounded education for young women. This college made space for young women to learn maths, science and take exams before this was accessible to women. Its first headteacher also founded St Hilda's College, Oxford so that the women could get a university education. 

To promote mutual respect, integrity, courage and the productive exchange of ideas 

Marlborough College 

Marlborough, Wiltshire 

72% grades 7-9 

61% A*/A, 88% A*-B 

  • International sister schools 
  • Philanthropic foundation offering education to orphans 
  • Summer school 

Founded in 1843 for the sons of Church of England clergy, it is now co-educational. 

Community, service, ambition & initiative 

Wells Cathedral School 

Wells, Somerset 

52% grades 7-9 

41% A*/A, 74% A*-B 

  • Specialist music scheme
  • Creative arts programme 
  • Ranging from dance, music, art and drama 

Tracing its history back to 909 AD, Wells Cathedral School is the oldest in the West Country and one of the oldest in the world. 

Esto Quod Es ("Be What You Are") 

Kingswood School 

Bath, Somerset 

62% grades 7-9 

53% A*/A, 83% A* - B 

  • One of the top schools for sport in the South-West 
  • Family-run catering team serving wholefoods with a range of plant-based options 

Founded by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in 1748 and is the world's oldest Methodist educational institution. The school was established to provide an education for the sons of colliers and Methodist ministers. 

Kindness, creativity, resilience & ambition 

Taunton School 

Taunton, Devon 

52% grades 9-7 

33% A*/A, 61% A* - B 

  • Saturday school 
  • 121s with tutors multiple times a week
  • Drama festival
  • 8 netball courts
  • 7th best in the country for sport 

Began in 1847 as Independent College, a boys-only school for dissenters - those who were not members of the Church of England. 

Celebrating each individual and unearthing the potential in each child 

Badminton School 

Bristol, Somerset 

62% grades 7-9 

48% A*/A, 73% A* - B 

  • Engineering challenge & science fair
  • Spring concerts
  • Opening South Korea campus in 2024
  • Live-in tutors 

Established in 1858 as a school for girls, it was one of the first schools in the country to encourage young women to participate in sports. 

Emphasis on strong female communities and progressive 'hands-on' teaching style 

Clifton College 

Bristol, Somerset 

61% grade 7-9 

51% A*/A, 76% A* - B 

  • 90-acre sports complex
  • Second-largest theatre in region
  • Swimming pool 

Founded 150 years ago by a Victorian intellectual with progressive values, the Grade II-listed buildings were designed by famous architects. 

Clifton prepares every pupil for a rapidly changing modern world. 

Exeter School 

Exeter, Devon 

73% grade 7-9 

61% A*/A, 83% A* - B 

  • 25-acre site
  • Climbing wall
  • Indoor shooting range
  • Music performances at Exeter Cathedral and onsite chapel 

Set up as a grammar school in 1633, the upper floor of the nave of the chapel was a schoolroom until 1868. It is this school which was the forerunner of the school today. 

Community, innovation and academic excellence 

How Can I Transfer My Child to Another School?

Finding the right school for your child amidst a relocation can present challenges, but with careful planning and consideration, it can be a rewarding endeavour.

Begin by researching the various educational options available in your new area, considering factors such as reputation, academic performance, facilities, extracurricular activities, and proximity to your new home. Once you've identified potential schools, contact their admissions offices to gather information about enrolment processes and availability.

Be prepared to provide details about your child's current school, academic records, and any special needs they may have. If feasible, schedule a visit to the schools to get a firsthand look at the campus, meet staff, and ask questions. Following your visit, complete the necessary application forms and submit the required documents, such as proof of address and immunisation records.

Depending on the school, you may need to participate in additional steps such as interviews or assessments. After submitting your application, await confirmation from the school regarding acceptance. Upon receiving an offer, notify your child's current school of the impending transfer and work with them to facilitate the transition.

Finally, complete the enrolment process at the new school, ensuring all paperwork is in order and any fees are paid. By following these steps diligently, you can help ensure a smooth transition for your child as they embark on their educational journey in a new environment.

Moving from London to the Southwest

What Next?

The decision to move from London to the Southwest is multifaceted and deeply personal, influenced by factors ranging from economic considerations to lifestyle preferences and educational opportunities. While leaving the bustling metropolis of London may involve sacrifices, such as potentially limited job markets and fewer cultural amenities, the Southwest offers a compelling alternative with its emphasis on quality of life, affordability, and access to nature.

The Southwest, with its picturesque landscapes, vibrant communities, and excellent educational resources, presents a welcoming environment for families seeking a slower pace of life and a supportive community atmosphere. From quaint village schools to prestigious private institutions, the region provides a diverse array of educational options tailored to meet the needs of every family.

While the transition from London to the Southwest may pose challenges, careful planning and research can help families navigate this process smoothly. You can weigh the advantages and considerations outlined in this guide to make an informed decision that prioritises your family’s wellbeing, all while embracing the opportunities that await in your new home.CTA Clifton PF

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