Will I ever want to live in the countryside?(21 Posts)
I live in a very small town, but we have loads of shops, a cinema/theatre (community run), swimming pool, gym, restaurants, library, tennis club and lots more. You can walk everywhere.
But walk 100m from my house and you are out in open countryside. Or drive 30 minutes and be in the heart of the second city of england.
Its not a choice of London or the middle of nowhere!
I absolutely hate cars and driving - hence I live in a city where I can walk or use public transport. I love the idea of the countryside and I like very quiet places for holidays but I think that cities are best for daily life.
People mean lots of different things when they talk about moving to 'the country', e.g.
- out in the sticks, can't walk to anything, 30 min drive for basics, 2hr to city
- out in the sticks, can't walk to anything, 5 min drive for basics, 30mins to city (us)
- small village, walking to basic shops, primary school, pub(s)
- large village/small town, walking to above + docs, secondary school, restaurants
We spent most of our lives in cities (London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Edinburgh) and currently live in a very green spot, cluster of 14 homes, nothing in walking distance, 3 towns and 4 villages within an 8-15 min drive.
When we lived in cities we couldn't imagine those people who lived somewhere where you couldn't walk to get a pint of milk or a aper. Having done it we actually found it wasn't a particularly big change.
Where we are is very peaceful/green, feels relaxing arriving there after working in cities etc; not great with a baby (have to load a baby & a pram in a car to then push around the shops etc); great with toddler-school age (we've over 10 acres for them to run round safely/no cars etc); prob less good once they reach the age where they want to walk round to friends, make own way to school etc.
We're renting currently and will move somewhere more 'accessible' when we next buy. Our ideal would be a house set in ~1-2 acres (for a degree of isolation/privacy) with a footpath to a mid-sized village/small town, which in turn had a <30 min train into a city. Not asking much eh? Oh and a beach.
By the way, we are in the middle ground on the outskirts outside a small city. (It's near the New Forest). But the small city is nothing like the buzz of a large city. Where you can just find any ethnic store and buy the most exotic ingredient. (For example, I couldn't find za'atar in our middle eastern store. I'm sure london would have it. I can't get korean dried chillies either). I love how I can just hop down the tube and pick a different cafe serving different cuisine every weekend. I love choosing from all the different musicals on show, instead of the only theatre in town.
We can't move to London because our house would probably only buy us a tiny flat.
The country is overrated. I grew up in a very large city, and I much prefer it. DH is a real country person and he prefers the country. I think it's just what you are used to. Like many said here, I prefer to be able to go places without driving. And I'm actually a fairly outdoor person.
There is definitely a middle ground. We live in a large village with everything you need (restaurants, pubs, nice grocery shop, schools etc) that's 3 miles from a lovely market town with all the clothes shops, supermarkets you'd ever need. Good social life for children and adults as well. We have a lot of friends who've moved up from London.
I'm not sure I could do a house in the middle of nowhere or even in a very small village. But can see how that is the ideal for some people.
Ah this is really interesting. I can see how the countryside does appeal to those who genuinely love the outdoors and don't feel the need for city entertainment and choice, but that isn't me. I grew up in a medium sized town and found it so dull. Just a bland town with nothing much to do, and if you wanted to go anywhere, you had to drive. There's no way I want to spend my evenings and weekends ferrying everyone around! I reckon by the time DD is in her teens, DH and I will appreciate a bit more time to ourselves. My friends who grew up here (city) loved it and had a lot of freedom, which is what I want for DD. She's only 1 yo so it's very weird trying to think so far ahead!
No, you're not selfish. I'm a city girl too and I can't see me ever moving out of town. We have a 2 year old daughter, and have just bought a new flat in town, rather than moving to a bigger house in a neighbouring commuter town/village. I think that some people don't understand this decision because if we moved far out we could have a bigger house with garden etc.
But I don't want the lifestyle where you need a car to do just about everything, including going to the shops. I walk everywhere or take the bus. Taking a car into the city centre (Edinburgh) is just plain daft half the time. I would find it restricting to have to take a car everywhere (including going out for dinner - you wouldn't be able to have a drink!).
Granted, I'm totally spoiled having everything within easy reach - supermarkets, shops, parks, the beach etc - but it's great having things close to hand. And when DD is older, I won't need to be ferrying her around in a car all the time - she can get the bus into town quickly and easily with her mates, just like I used to do. SHe won't be bored and have more independence.
I have lived in cities and lived in the country. For countryside living, the place where you could still walk for a pint of milk, walk to the pub, supermarket only a mile away etc was fine. The place where it was a mile down a next-to-no-pavement road for a pint of milk or a pint of beer was a huge mistake....fortunately we relocated to another city for DHs work and didn't live there long.
I would only consider moving out of the city again to a large village / small town where DCs could walk to school, could walk to a variety of shops so that you could do food shopping / dry cleaning / post office etc without the car, choice of pubs/restaurants in walking distance etc. But even so right now I still prefer the city.
Agree with Dragonwoman that the countryside is hard for teens because they can't get around independently too. My step son spends most of his time with his Mum, and goes to school reasonably far from where he lives....it is very hard for him to have a social life unless his mum drives him everywhere.
IMO the countryside is NOT good for DCs. Most of the roads have no pavements and are not speed restricted so people drive like theyre on a racetrack. These lovely looking fields & woods are usually private land with no public access. No large council playgrounds or parks like in the city.
When they get to teenagers car insurance is so expensive they can't afford to drive & buses are infrequent and stop at 5pm. So they can't find work or even a Saturday job unless you're prepared to drive them.
Social life for teens in my village seems to involve drinking around the back of the village hall at night & then throwing beer cans at each other.
I think Goodwordguide makes a good point - why not compromise and go to a smaller town rather than right into the middle of nowhere.
We moved to the countryside last year (just DP and I, no kids yet) and we adore it, but we are both very outdoorsy types of people (our interets include cycling, mountain biking, walking, tennis and horse riding). I can't wait to get a dog to take on long country walks. We have also spent a lot of time doing our garden and fully intend to eat every meal outside once it's warmer weather and plan to have lots of BBQs over the summer . I just love being outside, I love the views of the countryside and seeing horses and cows in fields etc - sounds silly but I really like that side of things.
So I think you need to consider what your interests and hobbies are - if you are outdoorsy then great, but if you interests are say shopping, nice wine bars, cinema and generally more city based stuff then the countryside might not be for you.
We do have to drive to the shops (15 minutes) but we meal plan and stock up so we only do this once a week and avoid having to pop to the shops every day. We are going to get home deliveries sorted soon. There is a small local shop 20 minutes walk away so if we just want a newspaper and pint of milk we walk. We also tend to cycle (for example we cycle to the station to get the train into London for work) so it's all good exercise and saves money on petrol.
You're right about the transport links - it's not like we'd have to live in isolation (my fear!). I'm sure DH would never bring it up seriously as he knows how I feel, but I feel a bit bad to deny him his dream (he obsessively watches Escape to the Country!).
But surely you don't need to go from extreme to another? What about a small market town or large village? We're moving out of London and deliberately chose a small town (very small) but one where we can walk to school (primary and secondary), library, leisure centre, the high street, brownies etc plus it has good transport links to the nearest city. I'm sure I'll end up driving more than I do now - which is never - but I couldn't live anywhere where i had to drive to get the bare essentials or to go to school.
I think the children would prefer a city for the activities etc but I'm hoping they will also appreciate having a bigger house so they get their own rooms, a garden big enough for a trampoline, a much nicer, safer walk to school etc.
I love living in the country but I think you have to want to do it to make it work. It is a different way of life. One of the reason we moved as we have three DS's was to get the 'garden' for boys to play in. We went from about 15ftbof garden in London to a house with over 2 acres: 10 years later at least two of the DS's haven't seen over half of it-they have absolutely no interest in playing out there at all!
Nah, the countryside is lovely for visiting, but you wouldn't want to stay there. It's too quiet and spooky. And your dc will spend their adolescence sitting in a bus stop.
I guess there is no way of knowing what your kids will prefer. I tend to think that children may really enjoy living somewhere small but when they become teenagers, they need more to do, and it's hard to let them be independent if you have to drive them everywhere.
It's probably the schools that would sway it - they are average around us.
I thought it would be cheaper in the country! I guess for desirable areas and good schools, it's always more expensive.
I didn't know that I wanted to live in the countryside until I actually did live here and now I adore it! DD loves the outdoors life, DS would prefer to be back in Bristol.
The crime levels in the city though are horrendous compared to where we are now and we were broken in to twice; I'm glad we no longer live there and are unlikely to be subject to that again (yes I know these things can happen but it would guaranteed happen a load more time in the city than it would here). For me that is very important, and the schools are much better out here.
I grew up in the countryside and much prefer to live somewhere where a car is not needed for every trip (including buying milk or a newspaper).
I live in the countryside and I adore it, but I wouldn't do it unless you really wanted it. You do have to drive everywhere and it is expensive. We are 20 minutes from the nearest shop.
I moved to the country, thinking my children would play in the fields and the woods. Well they didn't, and it wasn't because I gathered them protectively to me and refused to let them out. Some of the problem was that even if you let yours out, not many other people do, so they have no one to play with. Once mine were teenagers they did indeed slope off to the woods, often on entirely legitimate things like walking the dog.
I think if I asked them, my son would say he preferred London. DD grew up in the village we moved to, so was happy in the country.
If you move to the country yes, you will waste hours driving around, and that's not a thing that's going to get any cheaper.
DH and I live in a city, reasonably nice area, good sized house, with 1yo DD. I have always lived in cities (often abroad) and love the convenience of being close to friends, shops, cafes, cinema etc. We both work in the city so have short commutes.
DH likes where we live but I know he prefers the countryside and would love to live further out in a village. He thinks the quality of life is better and that DD would have a better childhood there, whereas I can't see past the idea we'd waste a lot of time driving around to get anywhere. I know he would never push it because he knows I wouldn't be keen.
Am I being selfish wanting to stay in the city? Am I likely to ever change the way I feel? Obviously if a move is best for the family, I would consider it. I'm curious to hear from anyone who's been in a similar position.
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