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Country versus city for brining up two boys

(57 Posts)
TandC Wed 23-Jan-13 15:20:33

We currently live in zone 3 London and have two boys - 3.5 yrs and 1.5 yrs. Considering a move to rural Hampshire to offer more space, bigger garden etc, with the main motivation being that we are keen to offer them high performing primary and secondary state education. I guess I expect that the move is the best thing for them but wondered if anyone could argue against this? We're not farmers so is living a rural lifestyle seems a little odd. Also, mindful that they will miss out on the culture and diversity that city life offers. Has anyone made this move and what have you found? Views please.

monsterchild Wed 23-Jan-13 15:24:49

I don't live in the Uk but I do live in a rural area near a large city. The drawbacks are numerous:
1. Kids may not have friends close by
2. Friend groups will likely be pretty homogenous, and kids may not get to meet many kids of other cultures
3. Boredom
4. As kids get older, fewer job opportunities for youngsters
5. Lots more mud in the house

monsterchild Wed 23-Jan-13 15:26:01

Oh, and higher travel costs as you have to take them into the city to get the diversity experience.

All that being said, I personally do enjoy living in the country, but I am a farmer type!

happygardening Wed 23-Jan-13 15:27:07

If you live in a smallish country town you can hopefully get the best of both worlds. I personally love the very rural but its not everyones cup of tea the Rural Idyll is not necessary an easy way of life.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Wed 23-Jan-13 15:37:08

I live in the country after moving from a city.

This is the best DS has been to. He's really thriving now.

He starts secondary in September and I have him registered at a top rating school.

All of DS's friends live in our village and if he makes new friends at high school it isn't that far to the town for him to go on the bus or for me to take him.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Wed 23-Jan-13 15:38:00

best school obviously (dimwit emoticon) grin

GrimmaTheNome Wed 23-Jan-13 15:45:49

>We're not farmers so is living a rural lifestyle seems a little odd
I'd bet theres more telecommuters than farmers living in the countryside nowadays!

> Also, mindful that they will miss out on the culture and diversity that city life offers

if you live in a village or market town outside a big enough city that wouldn't be true. How long does it take you to get to theatres/museums etc from zone 3 (clueless non-londoner). We had a pretty easy drive into Manchester this weekend - MOSI followed by Bridgewater hall concert with some tapas in between. And a nice cowshitty snowy country walk the next day.

Wolfiefan Wed 23-Jan-13 15:47:52

Live in rural area but an easy 30ish minutes to more than one city. Best of both!

MooMooSkit Wed 23-Jan-13 15:53:32

I don't know if this will help but I moved from a city (london) to a very small seaside town with a little one and really want to go back to London with him really. Mainly as I find transport here unreliable if you don't drive, really expensive and there isn't much to do near by. I also find you have some anonymity in London, you can walk round and know not everyone knows your business whereas living in a small town everyone knows each other which can be nice sometimes but it also means there's a lot of gossipers and things spread like wildfire if you make friends with the wrong people.

Also someone else mentioned it can mean your quite far from friends/family which is a bit rubbish.

I'm looking into moving back to a city with some good schools in time for when he starts primary school next year but i don't want to stay in a small town anymore.

jalapeno Wed 23-Jan-13 15:54:40

I'll follow this with interest as I have two boys, live in zone 5 (or is it 6?) so near ish pretty countryside and quite far from central London but too close to nasty town for my liking and v expensive! I have been thinking of a move for a while.

Children older though so more of an upheaval. I'm also worried about lack of diversity and ease of buying a bottle of wine pint of milk. I also hear living costs can be more expensive, water, fuel, travel etc.

happygardening Wed 23-Jan-13 17:16:54

I'm also worried about lack of diversity and ease of buying a bottle of wine pint of milk. I also hear living costs can be more expensive, water, fuel, travel etc.
Eleven years ago we left London and fulfilled my dream of returning to the rural idyll (where I was originally bought up) after a couple of moves we are now living in Smalltownsville a small rural market town in the Shires. My DSs have no memory of London (we left one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs). Here in Smalltownsville the vast majority are white middle class in fact Im embarrassed to say that after 14 years in a living in our ethnically diverse borough where you stared at white people because they were in a minority I find myself staring at the occasional black person because we see so few of them. Everything about our town is groaningly middle-class and I worry that DS1 will never of had the real opportunity to mix with people from other backgrounds. We can buy milk easily but not decent wine (only a small coop) and you right we spend more on fuel both my husband and I work over 25 miles from our work (this is normal) and just to get the dog groomed this morning I drove 10 miles. Something you would never do in London, Our nearest cities are 30 miles away and we think nothing of driving this far to do shopping so our fuel consumption is high. We have very limited public transport so my two teenage DS's have to be driven anywhere if the want to see a friend. The cinema is 20 miles away and the other day I had to drive DS1 and girlfriend to the cinema blush for him hang around becasue it wasn't worth coming back and then drive him home. My husband an opera nut misses Covent Garden and I do miss art exhibitions accessible operas at the ENO or Covent Garden and the theatre.
But I would go right back out into the middle of no where if given a chance. No noise, stars like you'll never see in London. views like your never see in London, no street lights, we have birds, otters, badgers, foxes, hares, wild orchids, farm animals etc. we never lock our doors I dont worry about my DS's and know all my neighbours. For me it really is the Rural Idyll it feeds my soul and makes me content with life.

secretscwirrels Wed 23-Jan-13 17:30:24

I have two teenagers and live in a tiny village, like happygardening we have peace and security and no locked doors.
All their friends are spread around in villages for miles. They go to a very good small comp in a nearby market town which serves a large rural area. The market town is 5 miles away and from there they can get a bus to the nearest large town 10 miles east or a sizeable city 10 miles west.
There are too many draw backs to tiny village life (although shopping isn't one of them thanks to on line grocery shopping) but a small market town = perfect IMO.

jalapeno Wed 23-Jan-13 17:37:54

I would love a market town! Perfect size for me smile

Sorry for the thread hijack OP but anyone that has moved away from family and friends...was that too much to bear? One thing we are good at is making friends so I don't doubt we'd find some eventually but I'd worry about family support, our families are rubbish at childcare etc but if push came to shove they would in an emergency. I worry that would bite us on the bum.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 23-Jan-13 17:39:58

Trying to get a balance between the two is good in my opinion.

I live in a large village with good amenities. Shop open till 11pm 7 days a week just a few doors from me. Train station a minute walk away. Good schools.

15-20 minutes by car into small city or 10 mins by train. Then there are two larger cities an hours drive away or a bit quicker by train.

I can go from front door to kings X in 1hr45mins as well so we get into London quite a bit.

racingheart Wed 23-Jan-13 17:40:13

We moved out for same reasons as you, but to a semi-rural area. Best of both worlds. We have rolling hills and acres of woodland on the doorstep for cycling, sledging, general running off energy, sweet scented air and clear starry skies. But can be back in London in 35 minutes, so they don't miss out on shows, museums, exhibitions and the general buzz of London life. Not to mention stocking up on non-Daily Mail attitudes to life, which do prevail in the Shires.
As the DC get older I want them to feel increasingly comfortable getting around London on their own. But living in a village helps them develop a sense of community. If they ever stepped out of line, someone would tell me about it.
For us, a totally rural world wouldn't work. The DC would get bored, I hate being a taxi service, we all love a bit of culcha. But half-way works perfectly. And you're right about school OP. They are all good to outstanding round here.

happygardening Wed 23-Jan-13 17:48:48

Family support can be problem but most importantly for us as both our parents get older and more frail a long distance between them is very problematic. Not something you think about when they're fit and able but as they get older and ill a definitely problem.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 23-Jan-13 18:19:26

speaking as somebody whose kids are at a school with a Rural Hampshire catchment, its awful, you'll hate it, please stay away
actually, no, Happy is right. you will NEVER regret moving out.
people who live round here all their lives do not realise how lucky we are round here.
The M3 on a Friday is a bit of a drag, but the fact that I can be in Central London in an hour and a half, at the beach in half an hour, in West Quay in 20 minutes or the middle of nowhere in 15 takes some beating.
And the school is pushing the kids towards top Unis.

Pagwatch Wed 23-Jan-13 18:27:14

I live right in the centre of a big town and we love it.
Ds1 adored growing up here. He had a short walk to school and to everything else.
He could meet friends independently to go out to cinema or to the leisure centre. He loved the independence, loved that friends would meet here. As he got older he was able to walk to the train station and go further afield.
He often had friends he didn't see from one end of term to the start of the next unless their parents were prepared to drive them to town or to the train station.

By the time uni visits started he was able to travel alone and he is way more independent and capable than many of hs peers.

We are a shirt drive from muddy walks, open spaces etc. he was able to meet mates for bike rides etc. easy.

Best of both worlds

cory Wed 23-Jan-13 19:13:09

I would think about what the amenities are like, communications, possibilities for meeting up with a wide range of other children and cultivating a range of interests.

I grew up myself in a small market town very far from everywhere and basically it wasn't a very safe environment for a teen, because there wasn't a lot to do, so teens did take spend their time on sex and drink and you had a choice of going with that or being very lonely. I chose to be lonely- but I might not have done.

I feel much safer about my own dc who are growing up in a city with lots of activities going on- they get to see that other teens do do things, and the ones who settle for drink and sex only are in a minority.

But there must be plenty of rural locations where you can get the best of both worlds. And a small market town with good access to bigger things could be perfect.

jalapeno Wed 23-Jan-13 19:26:40

I grew up in a small village only a few miles away from here...I thought it was the arse end of nowhere and swore I wouldn't ever do it to my kids!!

Pagwatch we have what you describe, it is hard to see the positives sometimes when you worry about the negatives.

This thread is good food for thought, thanks OP smile

morethanpotatoprints Wed 23-Jan-13 19:31:49

My 2 older dc were brought up in the country and I would never do it again. Fine if you are involved in church and every last thing offered at school. If you have lots of time to entertain others kids and take your turn with other parents. Great if you have good transport and time to ferry your dc miles for activities and hobbies.
No way would we ever do it again.
Just my opinion though grin

TalkinPeace2 Wed 23-Jan-13 20:27:10

One REALLY important thing - live on a bus route!
I live on the bus route between the market town and the city. Means that the kids can go see their friends without my involvement.
And get home from school.

AngelEyes46 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:09:42

My brother's family moved to Wales when my niece was in year 9 and nephew was in year 7. My brother kept a flat in Purley and travelled to Wales every weekend. At first it was extremely difficult for my niece (nephew coped with it better). Now, the children love Wales. They are both at Uni (niece in South Africa - I don't think it would have happened if they had stayed in outer London). My SIL wouldn't change it for the world although she would probably agree with the posters above - you HAVE to drive a lot! Shopping is a half hour drive; you have to be very organised with everything you do. But, it is peaceful, a lovely village pub and a real community spirit although it took her a while to get to know everyone. They have dogs, chickens and goats and live a very relaxing life.

DayToDayShit Wed 23-Jan-13 21:19:32


Weissbier Wed 23-Jan-13 21:21:05

My parents moved from town to village when I was 13. I absolutely
loathed it. It took over an hour to get to school and the last train home was at 9PM meaning I couldn't even go to the cinema without arranging to stay with a friend. To this day, I get hives if I have to be in the countryside for longer than about 24 hours. That said, where I was born, and where I live now, are big, but quite tranquil cities. London is exhausting, I grant you that.
Also just my opinion grin

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