Leaving London: how one family swapped Southfields for Bath — even after buyers pulled out on moving day

The Swithinbank family was ready to leave London two years ago. They had packed their boxes, had a removal company on standby, and had bid farewell their neighbours. Rachel Swithinbank then received a call from her estate agent to inform them that their buyers had texted to cancel the sale. Robin and Rachel had to inform the Bath owners of the house that they were to purchase. They had to call their removal company and begin unpacking. Rachel said that it was an emotional rollercoaster and she is still upset about it. “But we persevered and put our house back on the market. We tried again. Rachel, 42, a communications professional, is glad they did. She says that even though the text was seven months late, Rachel is still grateful for their decision.
HandoutRachel, 42, and Robin, 42, were freelance journalists who bought their four-bedroom terraced house in Southfields in south west London in 2007. The house and its neighborhood were a great fit for them. However, as their family grew to include Sophie, 10, and Will, 12, the house became cramped. Rachel said that while their garden was small, the downstairs was open-plan and Robin works from home, so the spare room became Robin’s office. “Our kitchen table could seat six people at a time, and it was getting to the point where we couldn’t have another family stay for the weekend or even lunch because there wasn’t enough room. There were many other small things. We wanted a dog but London was too expensive. We didn’t even have a place to store bikes so we were very sedentary, with the children constantly on their screens. “The couple knew Bath well. Robin had lived there as a child. They loved the city’s beautiful Georgian architecture, its walkability and its proximity to the open countryside.
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They decided to take drastic measures after their sale collapsed and moved in with Robin’s parents in Somerset. This was so that Sophie and Will could start school in Bath in September 2020, as planned. Rachel’s boss told her that WFH was the new normal and she could keep the job. This resolved another problem. Sophie and Will started school in Bath in September 2020 as planned. Rachel said, “We went for a walk and got to know a man on the street.” We commented on the street’s charm and asked one of his neighbors if he was considering selling. He replied, “You won’t believe this, but my 94 year-old neighbor is looking to sell. Do you want to take a look?” The house is located in Bath’s Combe Down neighborhood, just south of the city center and right at the doorstep to the southern Cotswolds. The 1950s detached house, measuring 2,500 sq ft and spread over two floors, isn’t the Georgian beauty they hoped for. It is much more practical than the city’s tall, narrow, and beautiful townhouses. They also have a large garden. They bought the property for?980,000 and moved in January. Molly, a Labrador puppy, was one of their first acts. During the first lockdown, they were busy removing wallpaper from the walls and doing some DIY decorating. They are now planning a complete renovation. The children have settled in to their new lives with ease. Rachel said, “We all loved Bath right from the beginning.” “We have never regretted anything. The intensity of London is less than Bath, and the people are more friendly here. “It’s easy to get to London when you need it, and I love how easy it is to access everything.”