In the first of a series of catch ups with previous clients, we get the low down on how their new life in the country is going and, now they are settled, what words of wisdom they can pass on to others who are about to embark on a similar journey.
This time, we talk to Inge Lise, who moved to Godalming in Surrey from Bermuda back in 2019, with her husband and two daughters…..
What did you find hardest about moving back to the UK from Bermuda?
Driving around country lanes in the dark and finding my way around. Before moving back, it was finding where we were going to live.
We had previously lived in London and were adamant that we were going to move back there on return but when we moved away, we realised we didn’t want to anymore.
Eventually we chose Surrey, as it’s commutable to London and I had a vague connection with the area having been to school here.
What advice would you have for those looking to make the same move?
Get in contact with you guys! What I found really invaluable was having a chat about what we wanted in roughly what area, and secondly actually coming over and doing the orientation tour.
Although I obviously had a map you need to physically see where the best places are, which areas are commutable and how far from schools they are, so it wouldn’t be a nightmare journey every day, that kind of thing. It was just so helpful knowing how to get from here to there.
We’d already worked out that we wanted the children to go to St Hilary’s School, so that was the pin in the map but we also had to think ahead to secondary schools, so it was useful that you could tell us all about those.
What benefits are there about life in the UK?
Having so many amenities on my doorstep in Godalming such as supermarkets etc. And it’s putting down roots as being abroad is quite a transient existence. Also reconnecting with old friends and making lots of new friends.
What’s your one top tip if moving back to the UK from abroad?
Initially we wanted to try and buy but that’s really hard to do from abroad and I definitely didn’t want to keep coming backwards and forwards.
I’d really recommend renting as you really get to know an area. And it was great for getting to know the area we rented, even though we didn’t end up buying there.
With you guys the renting process was fab because you just videoed the viewing, so I didn’t have to come over and we just took the rental based on your views and on the film you sent us.
How long did the whole process take you, from the moment you thought you were moving back to actually moving in?
We started thinking about moving back a couple of years before we left and I’d visited St Hilary’s School on a previous trip back to the UK.
Moving back took a lot more planning than moving Bermuda because we knew that Bermuda was a temporary move. There seemed to be much more at stake and to consider this time around, as we were moving back with children who were by now school age, so we didn’t want to up root them too many more times and we weren’t sure what area we wanted to be in.
How long do you think it took you to feel like you were settled back in the UK?
I would say at least six months.
I didn’t know anyone and everything is new, so I had to try to work out my baring’s and how to get from here to there.
It takes a while to get used to that and also to meet people, because I didn’t really know anyone. So I’d probably say about six months. It took a little longer for me to settle in than the girls.
What do you love about the local area?
I think what surprised me is how vibrant it is. I thought moving out of London I’d be in the sticks, wouldn’t get to know anyone and I’d be quite lonely but actually there’s so much going on – it’s great!
It’s very easy to meet people through schools, particularly at the primary school stage. There are lots of nice coffee shops and places to eat. My favourite would probably be Hilltop Kitchen just outside Godalming, which is a such a lovely setting.
Godalming also has some nice cafes there are lots of nice shops in Guildford, so you don’t really need to go to London for anything. I also love driving around the country lanes here because it’s so beautiful and there are some fantastic dog walks.
Do you have any regrets about moving here?
No, none. We love it here although obviously, the weather could be better sometimes! Each time we go into London for the day we are always grateful to come home.