Do Grown ups Leave London?


Let’s rewind back to three years ago….

Living in our 2 bedroom flat was perfect for two, cosy for three but tiny with the ever growing mountain of baby paraphilia. It was time to leave the big smoke and concede on our London lifestyle. We sold our flat and were house hunting around the commuter belt. We had visions of living in a chocolate box style village just outside of London. I thought I was ready to say farewell to the city and then out of the blue I got cold feet. Something wasn’t right; I didn’t want to leave a place that I had fallen so madly in love with. It was our home. We were happy here so why go now? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it right?

The search for the perfect London home had begun and we found a gorgeous Edwardian House on a sought after family friendly road in Tooting Bec. It was the one, so we decided to stay.

A year had past and our lives were full, we were happy and baby number 2 was on the way. A few weeks after finding out about the pregnancy, I took redundancy. I was glad as I wanted to be more at home for my family but it meant the conversation of leaving London was back on the table. Leaving seemed liked the right thing to do but something was stopping us. Was it fear of the unknown? Starting again?  The commuting nightmare? Isolation?

We had heard so many stories of people leaving London; some hated their new lives and couldn’t afford to come back. Then there are others that loved their new homes and wonder why they didn’t do it sooner. Are we taking a risk by leaving? Should we stay or should we go?

My love affair with London began around the time of the Millennium. I was young, free and on the career ladder. I didn’t have a care in the world. All I cared about was enjoying myself and getting to work on time. Fast forward a few years and I met the love of my life. Things got a little serious between us and we moved into together, got cats, got married and had children. The only thing that remains consistent was the city where we lived in.

My husband and I used to joke about leaving for a more grown up life yet we are still here two babies later. As parents, we debate endlessly about going and come up with no conclusion. Equally when we are not talking about it, we are perusing the ‘Rightmove’ carousel for the ‘what if’ life.

Is this a ‘thing’ that all London families go through? Are we missing something by not fleeing the city? What is the right thing to do?

Here are our reasons for leaving…

  • Smaller class sizes, less competitive so less pressure to go into the private school system. Meaning we will have more disposable income as a family.
  • Selling our London home would give us a bigger house for proportionally less money.
  • Space to grow.
  • Being closer to family. At the moment, we are 70 minutes door to door from my parents, which is not ideal in case of an emergency
  • Being closer to old friends.
  • Leave the city behind on a Friday and enjoy a slower pace of life at the weekends.
  • Lifestyle
  • Close community


Why should we stay…

  • Fantastic schools. Some of the best schools in the country are in London.
  • 35 minute travel time, so my husband sees the kids for 2 hours in the morning before work and half an hour before bedtime.
  • Less car travel – we can walk to most places or jump on the tube.
  • Selfishly love living here and we are happy
  • There is always something to do, whether it is hanging out at the lido in the summer, checking out a new restaurant – the food culture is spot on, we are never short of a park, festival, museum, London never sleeps.
  • Local friends
  • Uber
  • Deliveroo
  • Community


Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? How much can we compromise on?

For us, time is running out. Finn is starting school in September. So it is now or never. We have decided to explore life outside London starting with Zone 6, so watch this space.

If you have gone through this, I would love to hear from you.



The Curious Mummy x



  1. I am a proud London mum and have to say I find the ‘should leave’ pressure attitude comes from people who (gasp) aren’t actually Londoners: people who grew up in quite pleasant places in the home counties and moved to London for work in their early 20s. So when they settle down, and they spout stuff about how they ‘can’t imagine raising kids here- imagine how they’ll turn out’ etc they are talking about returning to their childhood and don’t realise that for some of us it’s downright snobby and patronising!
    For me there is no better place to raise a child – and having worked in lovely leafy places like Surrey there were ‘urban’ issues like drink, rough sleepers, excessive costs etc but people sort of ignored them.
    I’m team London all they way: I’m proud to be a Londoner raising a London child!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your brilliant comment. The ‘should leave’ mentality does seem to come from those who were brought up outside of London. I was bought up just outside London but my family and I have had such a wonderful time living in London, which is way it is so hard to consider leaving. Also social issues like rough sleepers, alcohol and drugs are everywhere not just in big cities.

      I love London and if we decide to stay, we will be so proud to bring our family up here.


      1. Yes absolutely! There are some great ‘best of both’ options out in the depths of zone 5 and 6 – I lived in Hillingdon for a while and parts are very rural, but it’s easy to get the metropolitan like into zone 1.

        Liked by 1 person

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