So a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how we got on the property ladder, and how we chose an area near Windsor that was about to be regenerated… well, if you haven’t guessed by now, I can now reveal that area is… Slough.
Poor old Slough has had a bad rep since forever, with help from the famous John Betjeman poem that asked for bombs to fall on Slough (and that was in the 1930s!) to more recently Ricky Gervais’ series The Office, that painted the picture of the dullest town ever. And just this week, the guy that sits behind me at my office was on a rant slating the town. We work in Kentish Town and there was a conversation about how boring the lunch choices are there, then the guy behind my desk says, ‘oh my god my friend has just started work in Slough, it is a dump! He says there is NOTHING there, blah blah blah….’ My goodness, I wanted to die in my seat, when my manager blurts out to him, ‘hello some people might live there!’ I was like ‘Shhh!!!’ Talk about embarrassing!
Now I’m not denying the town looks dull, it is a real concrete jungle, full of 1960s buildings and offices that span as far as the eye can see. It really is not one of the pretty places I visit with my toddler. And yes there are homeless people and junkies here, and teenagers hanging out like in any big town. Windsor was where we wanted to settle, but whenever we searched on Rightmove or Zoopla for properties, Slough always came up as being 1 mile away from Windsor but at much more affordable prices.
We spent a day there to see what it was like. I was still like, no way, I cannot live in Slough. It was so grey and the high street was full of pound shops.
Then our weekend break in Birmingham happened. The city has been regenerated beyond recognition, like a brand new shiny city. We thought wouldn’t it be great if we could settle somewhere with affordable properties that’s a bit rough, but is about to be regenerated. And that’s how we got back to looking at Slough.
Slough is on the Crossrail route which is opening in 2018, and, with a bit of Googling, we discovered the £1billion Heart of Slough regeneration scheme. It has already started, with the High Street having brand new paving and seating, the shiny new bus station that replaces the 60s monstrosity made famous by ‘The Office’, and the £22m building called The Curve which is being built right now – it’s going to be a Learning Centre housing the library, museum, cafe and a cultural centre (EDIT – this has now opened, see here). There are also two new buildings by the bus station – The Porter Building is now open, real modern architecture – it looks really swanky)
So that’s how we settled on buying a new-build apartment in the centre of Slough – an area that is rough and ready, but has a bright future. We have been living here a year, and I can say it is the friendliest place I have lived in! We really love it, and there are lots of things to do here that I think the public are just not aware of. So I am going to start a weekly series called ‘Slough – it’s not so bad’ at themummystylist.com/slough and an Instagram account at ‘SloughItsNotSoBad‘.
For now I will tell you my Top 10 Reasons why we like living in Slough:
1) The people are friendly! There’s a real family atmosphere here, and people smile and say ‘Morning’ here. At the local playgroup, the mums are approachable and there are no mummy cliques! Even the Asian folk are friendly here (we’re used to the more miserable kind in West London :-P) They all start talking to us in Urdu or Panjabi, we don’t understand, but it’s okay! I was in Asda and the checkout lady was so jolly, chatting away to me in Urdu, I just nodded having no idea what she was saying, but it’s better than being frowned at.
2) The Train Station. Windsor is 6 minutes away by train and it costs only £2.80 return! It’s amazing. The trains run every 20 minutes, so anytime my boy wants to go on a train, we just jump on one of these, and we’re in Windsor! In the other direction, it’s 20 minutes in to London Paddington, or 40 minutes to Oxford, and we’ve done many a daytrip on the trains from Slough to places such as Reading, Henley-on-Thames, Maidenhead, Newbury and Basingstoke.
3) The shopping centre. We have the Queensmere Observatory here, and all the big brands are here, so I can pop into town and get literally anything I need. The stores are clearly not the most well-loved, and could do with a refurb, but they sell the same stuff you get in any other high street. As it’s not a destination shopping centre, it’s often quieter in the week, which is good as there are less queues and more space for the boy to run around in.
4) We have the biggest Tesco Extra ever. It is huge and 24 hour too. I think it was the biggest in the country in 2005, but that title has been taken by another Tesco now. It has a huge Home and Clothing department, and the biggest Food of the World aisles that you feel like you’ve gone to another country! There’s a trendy restaurant called ‘The Cafe‘ at one end and Dorothy Perkins, Burton & Wallis at the other. Whenever we have people visit our apartment, they all want to check out the giant Tesco!
5) Absolute Bowling is a favourite of ours. It has a soft play area for toddlers, an arcade games area, pool tables, eating area as well as the bowling alley. And this is all about 5 mins walk from the Town Centre. It’s right next to Salt Hill Park, where there’s a lottery funded playground for the kids. (EDIT: Absolute Bowling has closed and the council are building a new one there now that will open in 2019)
6) We have another favourite soft play centre inside the Observatory Centre called ‘Activus’, which the boy loves. It’s great to let him have a play and I get to relax with a coffee, as there’s plenty of seating. We like going on a weekday morning so it’s more quiet and he has it all to himself!
7) Herschel Park – this is a Grade II Listed Garden that is absolutely beautiful. You would not believe you are in Slough. There are ducks and geese on the ponds, and the park is surrounded by pretty character houses, it’s so very picturesque, especially on a sunny day. There’s also a Nature Reserve, which we haven’t yet visited, but it’s on our to-do list! As well as this park, there are many others a short drive away from the town centre, including Black Park and Langley Country Park which we discovered back in April.
8) More shopping – haha. If you drive a little bit out of the town centre, you have every brand of ‘Retail Park’ store you can think of along the Bath Road, like literally EVERY brand (Matalan, B&Q, Homebase, Smyths, Asda, Furniture Village, Sports Direct, M&S Food, Next, New Look, Boots, Mothercare and I’m sure there’s more), as well as a McDs for a shopping break. We’ve had many a cheeseburger in there 😉
9) On the subject of food, my boy is a regular at the Slough Burgerking. He loves it in there, whenever we walk past we have to get chips. Then we sit in the comfy sofa seats by the window and watch the world go by. (EDIT: I wrote this post when my boy was 3. He’s moved on now to Starbucks – tastes have changed! Read about our fave Slough coffee shops here)
10) The best bit about Slough is how alive it looks from our apartment. It never sleeps, there are always lights on everywhere, and we can see trains, buses, taxis, cars and planes from our window, so the boy is always entertained. We can see the planes flying out of Heathrow on the left side, and to our front we can see Windsor Castle. We love looking out of the window, and it was especially amazing on New Years Eve with all the fireworks going off.
This really shows you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, and each week I hope to share with you something nice to see or visit in Slough. Here’s to ‘Slough – it’s not so bad!‘
Please note, I have NOT been paid to write this post. These are my real, genuine opinions and experiences from living in Slough for the past year. (But if anyone wants to pay me, please feel free :-D)
EDIT 08/17 – Please note, you may notice a lot of big brands stores closing in the shopping centre over the next year – it is rumoured that the Queensmere Observatory will be demolished and a new Westfield-type shopping centre will be built in it’s place. This is all word-of-mouth from shop workers in the centre, I have seen nothing confirmed on paper. This will be a slow makeover as they are waiting for the leases of each store to run out apparently. So if you are thinking to move to Slough, just be aware that although it looks like the High Street is dying, this should be only temporary.
For more posts about Slough, days out in the area, latest on town centre developments etc, click here.
If you are interested in seeing more of the good stuff in Slough, do follow my Instagram page @sloughitsnotsobad.
Other posts you may find useful:
Baby Groups in Slough
7 Toddler Friendly Coffee Shops in Slough
Children’s Street Dance Classes in Slough
Messy Play in Slough
Empire Cinema in Slough
Trampolining in Slough
Hi Sabrina, this is a lovely article full of postives. We are looking at a house in Britwell, Goodwin Road what are your thought on this area. I have heard its rough with drugs and prostitutes. Is this true? From driving around the area it looks very nice with new builds. Would love to hear your opinion.
Hi Reena, thanks so much. I actually don’t know Britwell at all, but I have heard it has a bad reputation. I know they are regenerating parts of the area, and you’d be near the schools and trading estate. But honesty, I don’t know that side well enough to give you advice. Best bet would be to visit the area at different times of the day, go walk around the area, visit the library etc to get a feel, see what the people are like. Good luck x
Britwell is a very mixed area..lots of friendly people. I live here and yes it may have its negatives..but positives are good schools, good houses new builds are fine but old ones are much better. Shops close by you can get bus eaisly and best part parking is good here ☺☺. Regeneration has helped check schools in area and the library is great if you have kids next to Goodwin rd.
Thank you Sabrina and Shabnum. We spent some time looking around the area and it’s all new built and looks like a great place to live. Looking forward to the move now. Thanks for responding it’s really helped in giving me extra reassurance.
Hi Sabrina, I enjoyed this, I’m actually in the middle of writing a post about my upbringing and stumbled upon this one. I grew up in Slough during the 80’s, looking back now I can say that I loved living in Slough. Like you said it gets a bad rep but it’s great place to live. I still have a lot of family there….
Thank you, that’s so nice to hear! It’s certainly different from how it was in the 80s (from what I hear!), but the people I have met are so friendly, well I’m happy here! 🙂
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Hello everyone. Planning to move to langley but was told it might be under the flights paths . Is this is really causing noise in the area. Thanks
Hiya, no it’s not under it, you can see the planes but you don’t hear them. Datchet and Windsor are directly under the flight path. So might depend if you are looking at a part of Langley nearer that side.
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I believe that, at the time Betjeman wrote his “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough” poem, he had never actually visited it but had simply glimpsed it from the train. Most people who slag off Slough have never visited it.
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What is Burnham like please to live in? Thank you in advance.We are a young couple working in London and hoping to start a family soon.
I asked on my facebook page and people say Burnham Village is a good place to live, there is a nice village hall with classes, a Costa, a few shops down the high street, lovely pubs and best of all burnham beeches is close by which is a lovely park, and there’s a good choice of schools. Hope that helps!
Hello good day what is the price range for reasonable rent in slough.
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hi Sabrina- Thanks for wonderful post its indeed useful for people planning to move to slough. I am mum of 5 years old boy starting reception this year and particularly I have heard about primary and schools are good in slough and private tutor are easily available as well. currently we are looking for property around/in areas like
Wexham Road, Wexham Green Development SL2
Patricia Close, Cippenham, SL1
Rodney Way, Colnbrook Berkshire SL3
Just wondering if you know about above area’s in term of residentials for family, schools (on Rightmove showing many outstanding around) and nearby living
other also any other good area and recommended new developments will also help to make our decision
Hi Anshi, I’m so sorry I missed your comment! Did you move to the area? Personally I like the central area around Slough High Street/Train Station. The primary schools are good, but it’s best to visit them as every parent’s expectations are different.
Hello, I am so glad to come across your post! I have just spent the last 2 hours googling Slough and willing myself to find some positives after reading the same old ‘bombs on slough’ and ‘the office’ quotes! And eventually I discovered your blog which is very refreshing and uplifting.
I am thinking about maybe doing a home swap to Slough after trying to move back to London for the last 2 years but having no luck at all. The connections from Slough look so easy and convenient. I look forward to visiting the town and getting a ‘feel’ for it.
HI Jennifer, I’m so glad you found it useful! It is very easy to get to London from here. Yes do give the town a visit, best bet is to move near the high street/train station so you are near all the amenities.
Thank you for your post. Do you have any advice how is life with 10 year old in Slouth?
Hi Kat, my eldest is 6 now, so I haven’t really experienced Slough with older children. Saying that, a lot of my children’s friends have older siblings and they seem happy. I see a lot of activities from Active Slough, the Curve are catered to older children and teens so there are things to do.
Many thanks for this post (and your blog!). Me and my boyfriend are thinking to move to Slough. We found an interesting property in Chalvey, would you recommend the area?
Hi Ana, I’m glad you found it useful! In all honesty, Chalvey is not the best area to move to. Although I do have friends who live there and say it is okay, it does have a reputation for not being the safest of areas. But best thing would be to come and visit the area and see if you would be happy with it.
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Hi Sabrina, I am looking forward towards moving to Slough near Shaggy Claf Ln and IQRA school. I would like to understand from you the concersn raised around safety and drug abuse. Do you know the Shabby Claf Ln and Grasmere ave ? How about primary schools ?
Hi Ash, lots of families live on that side of Slough. The Iqra school is very good, I have heard positive reviews from locals. In terms of safety and drug abuse, I think Slough is no different from any other urban town and there will always be this problem. I don’t go out at night, but I feel perfectly safe in the day. Wherever you decide to move to, get to know your neighbours so you can look out for each other.
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