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Move to Forest Hill or Honor Oak Park?
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Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2011
Post: #1
13-11-2011 09:38 AM


My fiancé and I have been looking at houses in East Dulwich to buy but the prices are so high that we’re going to start looking at other areas. Someone recommended Forest Hill or Honor Oak Park as we would be able to get a garden and it provides decent transport links with the Overground line. What are both these areas like for young couples, in particular…

• Bringing up kids.
• Cafés / bars
• Crime
• Gyms

Thanks in Advance.


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Posts: 3,251
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #2
13-11-2011 10:41 AM

Working backwards:
There is a gym in Forest Hill, it opened two years ago and seems well equipped. There will be a gym in the swimming pool when it opens in September.

Crime is the same as most similar areas of London. Not noticeably different from East Dulwich.

There are a number of relatively new cafes in Forest Hill including From the Forest, St Davids, The Brothers, The Teapot, Black Hummingbird, Horniman Museum cafe, Horniman Triangle cafe, and the swimming pool will have a cafe. Honor Oak also has cafes, particularly Hop Scotch.

Forest Hill has quite a large number of pubs which cater for all types. You may particularly enjoy The Honor Oak, Dartmouth Arms, The Hob, and All Inn One, and Try as they are probably the most popular with young couples.

Don't forget the great views, the museum, the parks and woodland, and a number of very good restaurants (Babur, Le Querce, Dartmouth Arms), outstanding schools, and good value houses (compared to East Dulwich or many other parts of London).

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Posts: 63
Joined: Apr 2010
Post: #3
13-11-2011 11:10 AM

I looked at both areas when buying and decided on Forest Hill. Definitely the right decision in hindsight for me, much more going on. More cafes, bars etc. The gym's pretty good.

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Posts: 640
Joined: Dec 2010
Post: #4
13-11-2011 11:21 AM

Ditto, We picked FH over HOP because it has more of a 'town centre' and if I'm honest, nicer housing stock (or at least better choice)

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Posts: 184
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #5
13-11-2011 12:18 PM

Would have to be HOP for me - all you need in a lovely friendly area.

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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #6
13-11-2011 03:30 PM

In terms of schools stillness, dalmain and fairlawn are really good primary schools. You cannot go wrong with either hop or fh both offer slightly different things but easily commutable to each other and east dulwich.

We chose hop over east dulwich mainly due to cost but transport and schools played a part in the decision where we felt hop won over fh particularly on schooling and with crofton park a 15-20min walk away you have direct trains to blackfrairs, farringdon, kings cross etc.

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Posts: 18
Joined: Sep 2011
Post: #7
13-11-2011 03:58 PM

It depends on which road you pick. I know the area very well because I used to deliver leaflets to FH & HOP. I think thew Horniman is the best but probably expensive. Then Thorpewood & Canobie are good too. These are hilly areas though

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Posts: 205
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #8
13-11-2011 06:17 PM

Both are great areas. However, I think HOP wins for bringing up kids and nights out.
There are open spaces - one tree hill, the rec, peckham rye etc... great schools - dalmain, stillness, fairlawn... plus family friendly eateries (Hop Scotch, Try, Le Querce)... AND not far from a good evening out at Jam Circus, the Rivoli ballroom and Babur. We moved here with kids a year ago and we haven't been disappointed! There isn't a gym, however, but one nearby at Forest Hill and various classes such as zumba, yoga and an open gym at Hilly Fields in nearby Brockley.

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Posts: 216
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #9
13-11-2011 08:37 PM

Hi Tom

We live on HOP and have an 10 month old. We've lived here nearly 6 years now, previously having lived in West London.

• Bringing up kids.
So far, so good. Lots and lots of groups babies \ toddlers, lots of friendly people (out little one's typical week is playgroup on Monday, swimming in Beckenham on Tuesday, Wednesday ad-hoc often the aquarium at the Horniman museum in FH (£6 for a yearly adult pass), Thursday music class at the Honok Oak Pub (they have rabbits there in the pub garden for children), Friday library nursery rhymes.

He'll also head up daily to either Blythe Hill Fields or One Tree Hill (great views over London - Canary Warf etc) with nice playgrounds. Further afield Hilly Fields has the Ravenbourne River running through it (about a 20 minute walk from HOP) or Dulwich Park.
FH has it's outside Gardens and also a big sandpit and green area opposite. And Crystal Palace park is only 3 stops away.

As others have mentioned excellent primary schools.

• Cafés / bars
HOP has two excellent restaurants, Babur (a brilliant Indian - not your typical curry house) and La Querce ( Italian, great food and they love kids in there). HopScotch by the station and Honor Oak pub also heavily geared towards kids during the day, the latter good for an evening drink as is Try on the main street.

• Crime
My only real comparison is Shepherd's Bush, and whilst I have no statistical evidence we feel much much safer here. Bad things can always happen of course, but we find the general atmosphere of the area not in the least threatening.

• Gyms
FH will definitely win on this one. One Gym already, and Forest Hill pools being redeveloped. Of course you can always use the 15 minute walk from HOP to FH as your warm up.

Sure you'll be happier with either, for us FH was a bit busier, HOP has the smaller high street and to coin the estate agent's current favourite term, more 'villagey' (I've no idea how to spell that!).

Good luck!

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Posts: 84
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #10
13-11-2011 09:24 PM

Hi ourkid025,
Find a house that is right for you in either area and you will be happy. As you can tell, we all love the area we live in! (With good reason).
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Posts: 125
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #11
13-11-2011 10:31 PM

Theres a gym and swimming pool at St Dunstans school in Catford...a ten minute walk from Blythe Hill fields.

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Posts: 216
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #12
13-11-2011 10:52 PM

Thanks Shimmysister, I never knew! It's pretty close to me, I may be joining!

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Posts: 40
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #13
14-11-2011 09:28 AM

we just moved to HOP in August, in large part because of the better-value house prices (we were in ED/Peckham Rye) and the excellent schools. The HOP schools do seem to be a cut above some of the FH ones (no offense) and I like the quieter, neighbourhood feel. That said, i was also very keen on the area around Sydenham Hill and Eliot Bank school, but the good houses seemed to be snapped up quickly. HOP transport links are good, and there's also Crofton Park, on the Thameslink line.
The downside is that there aren't any big parks on your doorstep in many parts of the area - so we tend to drive back over the hill to go to Peckham Rye Park. Dulwich Park isn't too far either, but not walking distance.
Blythe Hill Fields is fantastic though for the playground and general running around with children.
I see most of what I've written has already been said but I do think HOP is a great option for young families, and only bound to get better as more move in.

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Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #14
14-11-2011 02:07 PM

Well I've been in Forest Hill for the past 7 years and am very happy with it - we are east of the railway in the 'triangle' area between Stanstead Road, Perry Vale and Perry Hill. Its a great area with loads of families and I couldn't wish for better neighbours. My children are at Kilmorie which I am extremely happy with.

From here its easy to walk to either Honor Oak or Forest Hill depending on which shops/cafes I want to go to. I sometimes pop down to Sydenham too which also has a good high street with some great ethnic food shops.

I have a Tesco metro just 5 minutes away so very handy if I don't want to go to a big supermarket. There's a community cafe on Northwood Road, a childrens centre at Kilmorie, St George's church is very active in the community (and also has a little cafe).

Transport - we also have the choice of Catford train station just 15 mins walk away which is on a different line to Forest Hill and Honor Oak, so gives us more choice of transport links. Buses - choice of either Stanstead Road or Catford Hill so lots of options there too.

Park wise we can walk to either Blythe Hill or Mayow Park which are both great - or jump in the car to Ladywell Fields or the Horniman or Dulwich.

We almost bought in Honor Oak originally, but when the sale fell through we found a bigger property in Forest Hill and we have been really happy with our decision. There are loads of good family size houses round here with decent gardens and plenty of parking. I know that people like living near the 'villagey' feel of Honor Oak and can completely understand that, it is lovely, however I think you do pay for it as property there is more expensive than where we are (e.g. we ended up with an extra bedroom for the same price). As with everything just depends on what your priorities are.

However I have lots of friends in Honor Oak too and its such a short walk away that I have never felt much of a distinction between the areas to be honest. Whichever you choose I am sure you'll be happy with it!

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Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #15
14-11-2011 02:57 PM

I'm not sure which one I actually live in (you'd think being near the Honor Oak pub would give you a clue, but it takes around the same time to walk to either) - but we find it a great place to live.
Most stuff already mentioned. Like Jane, we use both centres depending on what we want. FH has the library, will have the pool ( my daughter uses Dunstan's for swimming lessons and it's fine - though like a sauna for adults watching). Honor Oak has some nice cafes and lots of playgroupy things going on too.
As everyone has said - great schools (my daughter is at dalmain and we're very happy with it). Nice green space (inc Blythe Hill). And the overground is fabulous. Forest Hill has the lift which is no small consideration when you have a buggy.

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