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Welcome to the UK
Congratulations on your assignment to the United Kingdom. Living in the U.K. offers a fantastic opportunity to experience the best of Europe making this a sought-after overseas assignment. The U.K. offers an equally great lifestyle for singles, couples and families. RAF Lakenheath, RAF Mildenhall, and RAF Feltwell are located in or near the County of Suffolk about a 90 minute-drive northeast of London. Positioned between the cities of Cambridge and Norwich, Suffolk is a delightful rural community with much to see and do.
The nearby towns of Bury St. Edmunds, Newmarket, and Ely offer wonderful shops and restaurants. Bury St. Edmunds with its lively market and cobblestone streets, Newmarket with its thoroughbred horseracing, and Ely with its stunning Cathedral ensure that you will never run out of things to do while you are stationed in the U.K.
Many U.S. Service members also enjoy the proximity to Stansted airport, with inexpensive flights to other destinations in Europe. This means that Suffolk is a great home base for exciting travel opportunities.
What can I do before I arrive?
It is never too early to begin preparing for your move to the U.K. Check out our information about LIVING IN THE U.K. including Suffolk's US bases, read our WHERE TO LIVE guide to learn about villages, cities and towns in the area. If you have friends or sponsors who are living in the U.K. talk to them about their experiences and what they suggest.
Search our ONLINE PROPERTY DATABASE to learn about properties available for rental. Feel free to fill out our TENANT INFORMATION FORM, so we can be on the lookout for the perfect property for you. By planning ahead, many of our tenants reduce their time in lodging by selecting a few properties to visit when they first arrive, and some even select a property before they arrive with our help.
Why Rent through Beatrice Carter?
- All our homes are pre-screened to meet Base Life Safety Inspection standards.
- Tenants who select homes that are fully managed by Beatrice Carter benefit from 24 hour service should any emergency maintenance be required.
- Our long established relationship with the base community means we understand can help you establish a rental agreement and navigate the needs of the base housing and finance offices.
- We have properties to suit everyone and are willing to provide transportation for viewings from any of the U.S. bases.
- We are willing to work with you on property selection via email, prior to your arrival. With our help, you can select a few properties to view right away, make a selection, and get settled as quickly as possible in your new home.
The first step in figuring out where you should live in the U.K. is deciding what type of community appeals to you. Are you interested in living where you can walk to many shops, restaurants, and local markets? Or, are you interested in living in a quaint smaller village with quiet country roads all around you? The area around the U.S. bases offers many different lifestyles and a higher or lower concentration of other U.S. Military families.
The other important consideration to where you or your spouse will be working is the base facilities you are most likely to use.
The following are found only at RAF Lakenheath
|Main Commissary||Base Exchange (Clothing, kitchen items, electronics, etc)|
|Hospital and most medical facilities||DoDD Schools: Elementary- High School|
The following are found at RAF Mildenhall
|Smaller Commissary||BXtra with outdoor furniture, hardware, toys, garden center, and household items|
Note: There is also an Elementary School at RAF Feltwell.
Where to Live- A guide to local cities, towns and villages
Newmarket- Newmarket is located southwest of RAF Mildenhall. It’s location at the intersection of two major highways, the A11 and the A14, make it ideal for those who want fairly quick access to the bases but still live some distance away. The main travel route between the RAF bases and Newmarket is the A11 which is dual carriageway (two lanes of traffic in each direction). Many prefer commuting on this road since speed limits are higher and you are less likely to get stuck behind slow vehicles that you can not pass safely. Drive time between Newmarket and the bases is roughly 20 to 25 minutes.
Newmarket is a small town with two large British grocery stores and a number of other major retailers in the town center. There are also numerous restaurants, pubs, and some nightlife on the weekends (Bars and Clubs).
Bury St. Edmunds - Bury (pronounced “Berry”) is located southeast of RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath. The most direct road between Bury St. Edmunds and Mildenhall is the A1101 which is a fairly slow drive. You must drive at low speed through many villages, which means it takes about 30-40 minutes to drive between the bases and central Bury. There are a few short cuts that use the A14 and country roads through the village of Tuddenham, which can normally cut the journey time down to 20-30 minutes.
Many U.S. families feel living in Bury is worth the extra commute time. The town has a lively downtown with a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, high end shops, restaurants, tea rooms, and a newly opened shopping mall. Bury St. Edmunds is the capital of the county and draws tourists to its medieval abbey and gardens among other landmarks. Many families go to Bury often to shop, relax and enjoy themselves regardless of where they live.
Beck Row - Beck Row is the area that surrounds RAF Mildenhall and the main access road to the base, the A1101. Because of its proximity, it is a very popular choice with U.S. Military families. There are a number of neighborhoods in Beck Row from which you can walk onto RAF Mildenhall. Beck Row has three pubs and a great village shop for groceries. Many living in Beck Row travel to Mildenhall town for shopping and dining. Beck Row is about a 6-7 minute drive from downtown Mildenhall.
West Row - West Row is a quaint village on the southern side of RAF Mildenhall. There is a gate from West Row that gives easy access to the flight line side of base. However, this gate has limited evening and weekend hours. West Row is a popular village, it is an ideal choice for those who want a short commute to base and live in a quiet and serene little village.
Mildenhall Town - Mildenhall is the largest town closest to both RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall. It has a market on Fridays, popular tea room and a number of restaurants. Travel time to the main gate of RAF Mildenhall is about 6 minutes and 10 minutes to RAF Lakenheath. There are a few neighborhoods with single family homes on the outskirts of Mildenhall that are popular with the base families.
Lakenheath Village - It is about a 5-6 minute drive between Lakenheath village and the RAF Lakenheath gate. Lakenheath is a small village with one convenience store. It is not possible to walk onto RAF Lakenheath from the village.
Feltwell, Hockwold - The small villages of Feltwell and Hockwold cum Wilton are ideal for those stationed at RAF Feltwell. Located in Norfolk, these villages offer a few quaint pubs between them.
Isleham, Chippenham, Freckenham - There are 3 quaint villages just south of RAF Mildenhall that are very popular with families who are looking to be near base, but want to feel more integrated into the local community. All of them have pretty churches and traditional architecture and good higher end pubs. They are various distances from RAF Mildenhall (see map), but none are more than a 10 to 12 minute drive away.
Kentford, Kennett - Kentford and Kennett are located near Newmarket, but also have easy access to the bases and Bury St. Edmunds. This is a lovely area with wonderful old homes and great pubs. Drive time to RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath is about 20 minutes.
Tuddenham, Red Lodge - Tuddenham is located just off the A11 so it has easy access to the bases, Newmarket, and Bury St. Edmunds (via country roads). It has good pubs and a high end restaurant. It is a very pretty little village with a lot of charm. The villages of Red Lodge and Barton Mills are also near Tuddenham and offer similar access to base.
Approximate Driving Distances (in minutes)
|Area or Town||To RAF Mildenhall||To RAF Lakenheath||To RAF Feltwell|
|Newmarket||20 to 25 minutes||20 to 25 minutes||35 to 40 minutes|
|Bury St. Edmunds||40 to 50 minutes||40 to 50 minutes||1 hour|
|Thetford||35 to 40 minutes||25 to 30 minutes||30 to 35 minutes|
|Mildenhall Town||6 to 8 Minutes||12 minutes||25 to 30 minutes|
|Lakenheath Village||15 to 20 minutes||6 minutes||12 minutes|
|Beck Row||4 to 5 minutes||10 minutes||25 to 30 minutes|
|West Row||3 to 5 minutes||15 minutes||30 to 35 minutes|
|Isleham, Chippenham, Freckenham||10 to 20 minutes||25 to 30 minutes||30 to 40 minutes|
|Tuddenham, Red Lodge||15 minutes||15 minutes||30 to 40 minutes|
|Kennett, Kentford||20 minutes||20 minutes||30 to 40 minutes|
|Feltwell, Hockwold||25 minutes||15 minutes||5 to 10 minutes|
U.K. Property Vocabulary Guide
From working with Americans over the years, we understand that some of the British words used to describe homes are unfamiliar. Here is a guide to key terms that you will see while searching for a home in the U.K.
|British Word||American translation|
|Terraced House||Townhouse, attached to another house on both sides|
|Detached||Single Family Home|
|Bungalow||One level home|
|Semi-detached||Attached to another house on one side, but not the other|
|Cottage||Traditional style home with features such as a thatched roof|
|Reception Room||A room that is not a kitchen, bathroom, or a bedroom|
|p.c.m||Rent per month|
Driving in the UK
It is important to consider the type of commute when you select your rental property. Many U.S. families make a decision on a home in the summer months, when daylight lasts until 10 pm at night. They don’t consider that in the winter months when sunset is near 4:00 pm, driving conditions will change dramatically since most country roads have no street lights.
Department of Defense Schools
The DoDDs Schools located at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell are open to students who families choose to live off base. Pupil transportation is provided within predetermined catchment areas. For more information about school commuting areas visit http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/departmentofdefenseschools.asp
Local British Schools
Local area schools are happy to accept children of U.S. Military members. Many families find this a wonderful opportunity to make friends with British families and better integrate into the community. For more information on enrolling your child into a British school click here
Guide to Renting in the U.K.
Viewings will be arranged at times to suit you, and you will be accompanied by a member of Beatrice Carter staff, who can give advice and answer any questions you may have. We can also arrange to collect you from either RAF Lakenheath or RAF Mildenhall if you do not have transportation when you arrive here in the U.K.
Reserving the property
Once you have decided on a property, you will need to reserve it by paying a 'holding deposit'. If the landlord declines to grant the tenancy, it will be refunded. However you will have to forfeit the deposit if you decide not to proceed for any reason, or if you fail to provide complete and accurate information on your application.
Rents are quoted per calendar monthly, and payable on 1st each month from a pounds sterling bank account. You can get set up an account with the Community Banks on either RAF Mildenhall or RAF Lakenheath. As a tenant you will be responsible for paying all relevant utility bills directly. We can help give you details on how to arrange these once you have found your new home.
A security deposit is normally one month's rental, and will be held by ‘The Deposit Protection Scheme’ a government protected plan which came into effect April 6th 2007. Funds are held to cover damage, breakages, and any other liabilities under the terms of your tenancy agreement. Please note that under no circumstances can the deposit be used by the tenant to cover rent. If the Landlord agrees to accept a pet at the property then an additional deposit is normally requested, this again is 1 months rent, but can sometimes be negotiated depending upon your circumstances.
Council Tax – US Military
As visiting members of the U.S. Military you will be exempt from paying these charges, and we will assist you in completing the relevant paperwork.
Insurance - for Tenants
We would recommend that you arrange for your own renters insurance once you have found your new home. USAA does offer this service for U.S. Military members stationed overseas.