Relocating to Milton Keynes – Member stories
We wanted quality family life all together, and when we settled on Milton Keynes as the place to find it, we never imagined just how much more is on offer here.
For ten years, my husband Andy had been working every other week in Stockley Park at Heathrow, and driving five hours home to North Yorkshire at the end of it. North Yorkshire is beautiful; it’s where I grew up, where my communications career blossomed, and it’s where some of my family still live. We loved our cathedral town, and the Dales on our doorstep. But Baby Boy One arrived in 2011, followed by Baby Boy Two in 2013. For half of the year, all the boys saw of their Daddy was on evening video chats, during which one of them was usually having some sort of tiredness meltdown. So in January 2014, our New Year’s resolution was to find a way to live together all of the time.
A new job based with Network Rail came up, and Milton Keynes became the place where we would fulfil our family dream. We knew nothing about it except the usual old chestnuts about cows and roundabouts, and that it was close enough to London to offer us the richness of culture, diversity and attractions that are much sparser in the rural North; and we knew we wanted these things to surround our boys as they grow up.
So, we based our search area for rentals on the closest locations to the Network Rail building. We had no idea we were looking in some of the most desirable places, and the houses were being snapped up as quickly as they were advertised; so we were very lucky to get a lovely house in Loughton, only 15 minutes’ walk for Andy each morning – quite a change from five hours in the car down the M1.
We organised selling our North Yorkshire house, found a buyer, and signed our rental agreement. Packing up a house and moving four hours away is a daunting task, but we did it, and landed in Loughton in the middle of a thunderstorm in July 2014. Our possessions weren’t due to join us until the next day, so Andy found an excellent local chippie, and we had our first night as southerners.
Familiarity is a huge part of feeling at home somewhere, and moving to a completely different area is like starting at a new school. I was very nervous about meeting people and getting to know the area. But having two young children is an excellent passport into a community, and there were more opportunities than I could have imagined for meeting other MK mums. I was lucky to have a warm and welcoming Parent and Toddler Group in Loughton which ran all through the summer holidays, and I started my campaign to make friends there. I got recommendations for all sorts of groups and things to do, as well as lots of information about the best local preschool options for Baby Boy One, due to start his nursery hours that September. The mums community in MK is so strong, and one of its greatest assets is the Mum to Mum MK Facebook page. This was my point of reference for so many problems which can crop up when you don’t know an area, from finding out about places to live, to which groups are on and when through the week.
With Andy more than happy with his new commute time, and the boys and me enjoying all of the many groups, clubs and activities MK has to offer, we knew it was everything we’d be hoping for – so we started to look for a house to buy here. Property for sale moves just as fast in MK as property to rent, and we came close several times before finally finding our perfect place in nearby Grange Farm. There are so many fantastic areas to choose from, each with its own special identity and features, not to mention the high number of well-performing schools, all much loved by those who belong to them.
We could not be happier that we moved here. Our little patch of MK is so peaceful, but it’s within ten minutes of terrific shopping, restaurants, leisure, acres of parks, lakes and trees, and so many great events. Short journeys outside MK take you to an international airport, all the excitement of London, and some stunning countryside and chocolate-box villages. We take the boys to rugby lessons on a Saturday, swimming lessons on a Monday, and all kinds of toddler activities throughout the week. We’ve found the right school and preschool places for them – I’ve even become a governor at one of them – and I have made more friends than I’ve ever had. A return to work for me will be the next milestone, and opportunities for that are cropping up already. We’ve really found our place in the community.
Best of all, we’ve achieved our dream of having Daddy at home with us every night. We’ve never looked back.
Article written by Rebecca and you can follow Rebecca’s adventures @ miltonkeynesmums.co.uk/rebecca-reviews-daysout/.
Welcome to Milton Keynes Mums and we look forward to hearing more about your relocation journey.