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Why are so many families moving away from central London?

Recently, there’s been a noticeable change in London’s housing market. After the restrictions and anxieties of the Covid pandemic, it’s clear that priorities have shifted. Many people, particularly those with children, want a better quality of life over the convenience of the city.



Recently, there’s been a noticeable change in London’s housing market. After the restrictions and anxieties of the Covid pandemic, it’s clear that priorities have shifted. Many people, particularly those with children, want a better quality of life over the convenience of the city.

Richmond upon Thames, the largest London borough and the only one to straddle both sides of the River Thames, consistently ranks as one of the UK’s ‘happiest places to live’. There’s an exodus of families moving to our picturesque area, but what’s driving it?  

As experienced real estate agents in Richmond, we talk to families daily and can offer answers. Our beautiful suburb strikes the perfect balance between easy access to work in the city and life in a beautiful location with ample green space, excellent schools, community spirit, and the chance for the whole family to be content.

Let's take a closer look at why families are moving from Central London…

Improved Quality of Life

The impact of the Covid pandemic was life-altering for many people.

Anxious parents, cooped up and confined with their children during multiple lockdowns, yearned for suburban life, fresh air, green spaces, and human connection. They missed nature and realised the importance of community during challenging times.

Boasting 2500 acres of stunning greenery, and only a mere half-hour train ride from London (with 225 trains daily), it's hardly surprising that historic Richmond is a top choice for them to move to. London’s Heathrow Airport is only six miles away, or 20 minutes in a taxi, so arranging holidays or business trips is simple and stress-free.

Better Education and Community Spirit

When you’re a parent, one of the most important considerations when choosing a place to live is the quality of your children’s education - and the environment in which they will learn. We see this as one of the main reasons why many families are moving here from the city.

Richmond is home to many of the UK’s top-performing schools and offers a fantastic public or private education. Parents can benefit from lots of school choices, allowing them to pick one that aligns with family values and their child’s unique needs.

Most parents also want to ensure their children have access to plenty of extra-curricular opportunities. They want them to develop into well-balanced, content, and cared-for young people and Richmond’s schools offer many opportunities that can give them a fantastic start in life.

If you’d like to learn more about all the great schools in Richmond, we recommend you read our article, Private Schools in Richmond: A Guide For Families. It provides detailed insights into each school and contains convenient links for your research.

The Community in Richmond

But giving your children the best start is about more than just school life, it’s about access to a community, fresh air and space to unwind, something that’s difficult to find in the hustle and bustle of the city. Richmond has a welcoming, vibrant community, and there are plenty of ways to learn and grow through events and activities in the area.

Places like Richmond Park and Kew Gardens are perfect for family time. Year-round, they hold experiences such as Christmas wonderlands at Kew and Hampton Court Palace and the ‘Kew the Music’ music festival in July. There are arts, crafts, and sports events held throughout the year, not to mention star-studded theatrical productions at beautiful Richmond Theatre and other nearby locations.

If that wasn’t enough, family members of all ages and stages can enjoy well-organised activities and learning opportunities in nature and photography in Richmond’s green spaces. Over the years, these places have inspired local resident Sir David Attenborough, who has dubbed Richmond his ‘favourite place on Earth’.

For a more in-depth exploration of all aspects of life in Richmond, look at our recent article, Everything You Need To Know About Moving To Richmond.

Working From Home

In early 2020, only 5.7% of people worked from home exclusively, but in April of that year, the number rose to 43.1%. According to statistics gathered in November 2023, 50 of the UK’s largest employers have no plans to ask staff to return to the office full-time, and it seems that hybrid working is here to stay.

The pandemic introduced parents to new working patterns where they could be at home for much, if not all, of their time. The ability to integrate their work with home and the time-sensitive demands of a busy family has been life-changing for many overstretched and stressed parents.

Richmond’s selection of splendid family homes is ideally suited for home working and a major draw for parents looking to work from home. They feature ample room for a spacious home office and extensive private gardens - the perfect atmosphere for enjoyable and productive days.

The ‘Race for Space’

We’re seeing a 'race for space’, a phrase that aptly describes the shifting priorities within London's busy housing market. At Bartlett and Partners, there’s an ever-increasing demand for homes with extensive gardens and nearby outdoor spaces.

Large, traditional homes are a peaceful alternative to the compact living and denser urban environment of Central London. Plus, in Richmond, parents enjoy transport links that allow them to be close to their local office and take leisure time out.

Our grown-up residents enjoy easy access to serene, leafy lanes, stunning landscapes, and abundant wildlife. But they want a local scene with world-class restaurants, pubs, and nightlife too. Although they’ve left Central London behind, there doesn’t need to be a compromise on their social life – just a readjustment of priorities.

A Better Work-Life Balance

When juggling a busy job and family commitments in the city, more and more parents are also becoming aware of the dangers of burnout. Chronic stress, decreased productivity, and a feeling of being constantly overwhelmed are common signs of teetering close to the edge.

A recent study ranks London as the second-highest city for burnout in Europe and 14th highest in the world. So it’s no surprise that many parents (if they can) are opting for a place where they can be more mentally and physically healthy and enjoy closer relationships with their children.

Richmond is a community brimming with activities and amenities that allow them to enjoy their local surroundings fully. With a dedicated home office space, they can take a coffee break in the garden, enjoy a lunchtime walk with their dog, or take a trip to the local shops.

Whether they need easy access to all the main supermarkets and leading high street brands or want to browse in stunning, stylish boutiques and well-stocked independent bookshops, despite not being in the city, mums and dads are close to everything they need, without having to compromise on their career.

Family-Centric Living in Richmond

Richmond’s community welcomes new residents, and it’s not hard to see why it’s so attractive to city families seeking a life-changing move.

There’s so much to be grateful for, including:

  • Diverse employment opportunities
  • Historic houses and cultural events
  • Easy access to excellent shops and restaurants
  • A variety of clubs, sports, and entertainment options
  • Low levels of poverty and crime

Imagine a year living in Richmond with your family: weekends filled with picnics, cycling, and deer-spotting in Richmond Park. You could take in the views of King Henry’s Mound or enjoy a relaxing drink by the River Thames.

There would be visits with the kids to places like Ham House or movies or shows at the theatre. The whole family could enjoy clubs and activities or swim at the ‘Pools on the Park’ leisure centre, followed by lunch or dinner at a great restaurant or cafe.

Discover a New Life in Richmond with Bartlett and Partners

What more can we say about Richmond's undeniable appeal? Its massive popularity among city-dwelling families clearly shows London’s changing lifestyle priorities. Living here gives them a choice that offers education, community, and a far happier life.

Ready to see what Richmond has in store for your family? As one of the premier estate agents in South West London, we’re here to help you. Check out our handpicked selection of Richmond properties, or contact us today to find a home that's more than just somewhere to live -  it's a place to thrive.


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