Tag: friendly

Acacia Road Best Place

Is London Family Friendly? – Our Top 15 Streets

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Here at Property detective we’re all about property research, so we spend a lot of time asking ourselves “what makes a place great?”. As September many people will start thinking of going “back to school” – (or is it just me that gets the urge to buy new stationary at this time of year?!), in that vein this month’s focus for our thinking is all about great places for children and in particular families – so we’ve asked “what makes a place great for families?”.

We’ve taken data on everything a family needs – from amenities such as GPs and chemists, to schools and support networks (other mums and NCT), activities (parks, kids playgroups etc) and have weighed up the facilities and the community to measure up every location across the country in our assessment of which places are truly great to start or raise a family.

So, what about London?

When we look at our top scoring places nationally most inner city locations are left behind in favour of the more rural out-of-town areas which are still within a stones throw of a major hub. And we can see why, cities are great for facilities but you often face a battle for availability; they have great support networks but often suffer from higher crime and almost certainly have less green spaces and play areas. However, our data has unearthed the London locations which provide the exceptions to the rule, and actually provide an enclave of family friendliness within the capital. As you’ll see, areas in London can and do score highly – with 89% as the highest score, only just out of the top scoring 10%, which dominate the top places in our national ranking.

We’ll take a look at the top places in London, brought to you for the first time, based purely on objective data assessment, exclusively by Property Detective.

London’s Top 15 Family spots

Where Why? Score
Acacia Place, St Johns Wood Great for nurseries and childminders 89%
Mitre Street, Aldgate Good for activities and amenities 89%
Brushfield Street, Spitalfields Good for schools 89%
Palace Road, Crouch End Great for nurseries and childminders 87%
Baskerville Road, Wandsworth Common Great for nurseries and childminders 86%
Old York Road, Wandsworth Town Good for schools 86%
Beverley Road, Chiswick Great for nurseries and childminders 86%
Lonsdale Road, Barnes Good for activities and amenities 85%
Grandison Road, Battersea Great for Primary schools 85%
Connaught Gardens, Highgate Great for Primary schools 85%
Regents Park Road, Camden Great for Primary schools 84%
Balfern Road, Chiswick Good for activities and amenities
Cloak Lane, Mansion House Good for childcare and Primary schools 84%
Empress Avenue, Wanstead Great for nurseries and childminders 84%
Champion Hill, Dulwich Good for activities and amenities 83%
Acacia Place by Stephen McKay, available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/549171
Acacia Place by Stephen McKay, available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/549171

Acacia Place in St Johns Wood takes the number one slot with good primary schools nearby and very good secondary schools on the doorstep. There are 4 good nurseries and several child-minders within 10 minutes walk. This area has surprisingly low crime rate for London, making it a safe and desirable area for families. Primrose Hill, Regents Park and for a longer buggy push Hampstead Heath are all easily accessible and ideal for stretching little legs or having a picnic (if the British summer behaves!).

Palace Road by David Howard, available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4128161
Palace Road by David Howard, available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4128161

Our 4th top pick is Palace Road in Crouch End, a lovely leafy street with 3 good schools within walking distance and another 8 good or outstanding schools a short drive/bus ride away. There’s several options for child-minders and nurseries in the neighbouring streets and a great support network for families with a thriving NCT community. Priory Park and Alexandra Park which are only a short stroll away offer that all important green space, in addition to all the amenities and activities you would expect in a family area. In comparison to London and he South East this area has lower than average crime. In short – we can’t fault it as a family spot in the smoke.

Palace Road by David Howard, available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4128161
Palace Road by David Howard, available at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4128161

Baskerville Road, near Wandsworth Common takes our number 5 place. This pretty road right which borders the common offers a mix of village-y feel and city amenities. The schools and childcare nearest this road are great and the nearby facilities – everything from GPs to supermarkets is within easy reach. On top of that the area feels safe, with a lower than average crime rate for both the London region and when compared nationally. This area of Wandsworth is well known for being a family area – we’re not the first to say it – so as you’d expect there are plenty of other families nearby, creating a great family community.

So there you have it, there are in fact plenty of family friendly spots in the city – and surprisingly even some within the square mile itself!

You can check out the family friendliness of your area by trying our index.


Top 20 Family Friendly Locations in the Home Counties

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If you’re thinking of starting a family and are considering a move out of London to the “Home Counties”, you might be asking yourself “where exactly is the best place to go?”.

Now for the first time the team here at Property Detective have done what they do best – challenged themselves to find the answer on behalf of their users. We have devised and then re-defined the appropriate algorithm, taken a large pile of relevant data, and then crunched the numbers to bring you the answers to this ever-relevant question (We have also identified the top family friendly streets in London).

The Home Counties – What are they?

A quick recap: The home counties have long been considered the areas that Londoners retreat to at the end of a busy week; this is increasingly true today as London workers are priced out of central London by escalating rents and house prices, and so a vast majority of London commuters now live in these neighbouring/bordering counties. On the face of it they offer commuter access to the city of London and (slightly more) affordable family homes as such they are a mecca for professional couples with young families wanting a little bit of fresh air and green space. If this is you, then you’re exactly the type of home-mover we can help.

The Average London Commute

Firstly let’s focus on the areas that fall within a distance you’re willing to commute. This is now small distance because if there’s one thing us Londoners know, it’s how to commute. The ONS stats show that the average UK commute is 54 minutes according, but the average London commute is mind-numbing 74 minutes! Based on the 2011 census the ONS produced a map of where London commuters lived:

(Dark blue means over 20-40% of workers from this area commute to London. Mid blue is 10-20%of workers and light blue is 5-10%)

Our friends and partners in Travel Time crime, igeolise can tell us exactly where you can live if 75 minutes is your commute time cut-off; here’s their results on a map:


As suspected this points to neighbouring regions in the Home Counties including areas as far as Tonbridge, Reading, Chelmsford and Milton Keynes places serviced by fast and frequent trains.

Although the definition of the “Home Counties” is a recognised to be a bit fluid, for the purpose of our research we have included Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Essex and Sussex, all of which embody the quintessentially home counties characteristics of comfortable middle-class prosperity and are known to be desirable locations.

So, the big question, are they actually family friendly and where are the best areas – and let’s be specific, which are the best streets to live?

Drum roll please…

Here’s the Top 20 Places to Raise a Family in the Home Counties:

Street High score What’s great about it?
Birch Lane, Flaunden 98% Primary schools – nearest 6 are rated outstanding or good!
Streatley Road, Sundon 97% Childminders
Lower Harpendon Road, Harpendon 96% Primary schools – nearest 14 are rated outstanding or good!!
Swinley Road, Ascot 96% Childcare + nurseries
Chertsey Road, Windlesham 95% Primary schools – nearest 8 are rated outstanding or good!
Flamsteadbury Road, Redbourn 95% Childcare + nurseries
Long Hill Road, Bracknell 95% Playgrounds + parks
The Common, Amersham 92% Playgrounds + parks
Dagnall Road, Great Gaddesden 92% NCT community
Tebworth Road, Leighton Buzzard 92% Other families
Hatchet Lane, Windsor 92% NCT community
Hammerpond Road, Horsham 87% Childminders + nurseries
Box End Road, Kempston 83% Kids activities
Cheddington Road, Tring 82% Nurseries
Silchester Road, Bramley 82% Maternity facilities
Long Mill Lane, Sevenoaks 81% Childminders + nurseries
Runworth Road, Basingstoke 80% Kids shops
Priory Lane, Farnham 80% NCT community
Downhall Road, Hatfield Heath 79% Kids activities
Bryanston Avenue, Twickenham 77% Childminders + nurseries

If you live in these places – lucky you! And if you’re a London commuter and thinking of relocating for your young family then we recommend checking out these family friendly hot spots.

You can check out the family friendliness of your area by trying our index.

Shrigley Road

Why is Shrigley Road, Macclesfield, such a good place to start a family?

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Since unveiling Shrigley Road, Macclesfield as the best place in the country to settle and start a family we’ve had a lot of people ask us specifically why it scores so highly. Without revealing the secrets of our algorithm, we can shed some light as to the key drivers for Shrigley Road being such a high-performing outlier:

It has an almost unprecedent array of Outstanding primary schools locally

Across the country, whenever we generate a Property Detective report, we usually find that the local primary and secondary schools around a property are something of a mixed bag: you’ll always get one or two ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ schools, but if you’re unlucky there will also be an Inadequate one in there, or one that ‘Requires Improvement’ too.

Not so with Shrigley Road.

In a rare case of amazement, the nearest four primary schools to Shrigley Road are all rated Outstanding, which just isn’t heard of normally. This means that if you live in Shrigley Road you are virtually guaranteed a place at an Outstanding primary school – which is worth a huge amount of value to a parent (not least the certainty that comes with it).

There’s a wealth of childcare options available locally

Usually, when you get a location that has a reputation for being popular with families, we see a shortage of childcare options as a result. In fact – anecdotally – we’d go further to say that it’s not uncommon to see a situation in ‘parent-friendly towns’ where you need to register your child for a popular local nursery before the baby is even born!

Not so with Shrigley Road; there’s a huge number of childminders, nurseries, nannies and playgrounds all within a short drive, meaning it’s great for the professional or working parent.

There’s a strong parental network nearby

National Statistics paint a picture of this area as being popular with young families, so there will be plenty of social opportunities to connect with other mums and dads locally, either just ‘out and about’ or via the myriad of events and activities in the area, geared towards babies, toddlers and their parents.

Not only that, but Shrigley Road is covered by a very active NCT network, so mums and dads living here will be well-connected to other new parents via the courses and events laid on.

It’s a great mix of ‘everything you need’ plus ‘green space’

If you need somewhere to let your kids expend their energy, Shrigley Road is well connected to lots of parks, green spaces and countryside, so you get the best of fresh air with plenty of outdoor space.

At the same time, Poynton and Stockport are a short drive away, so if there’s anything you need either from an amenities or facility point-of-view, you’ve got it on your doorstep: doctors, chemists, dentists, libraries, leisure centres, clubs, hospitals and more.


While Shrigley Road might look to be an unlikely winner in isolation, it’s connectivity to the local area and ‘everything you might need’ makes it a deserving victor in our family friendliness index, even beating the top streets in London. It really does cater for a new or growing family extremely well, providing some food-for-thought for those who might assume that neighbouring urban areas are the place to be seen.

You can check out the family friendliness of your area by trying our index.