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Anyone made a move from a big city to a small town/country. How did you find it?

(22 Posts)
jemimapotts Sun 25-Oct-09 17:40:50

We are seriously considering moving from a large northern city to a small mill town 25 miles away. The town is as cosmopolitan as a Yorkshire town can get. It's been described as the funkiest town in England.

DH is very happy to leave the city behind and I know it will be a great move for our 3 DC. The schools are excellent and have small class sizes. DS1 age 9 has been very unhappy at school, which prompted us into thinking about moving in the first place. We have to move him anyway, and will hold back if we are making the move.

We have found a lovely house which backs onto woods and open countryside. A great primary school is in walking distance, and a really good High school a mile away. The house is 2 minutes away from the train station. Leeds and Manchester are 30 minutes away by train.

It all seems ideal but I keep wondering what life in such a place will really be like. What is it like living in such a place when you are used to the big city? We don't know anyone there. How easy will it be to meet people? My youngest is now in reception, so I won't be able to meet people at toddler groups. I'm a SAHM, but plan to go back to work in the next 2 years. I'm worried I will be miserable without my friends.

If you have made such a move what was it like, would you recommend it?

MrsBadger Sun 25-Oct-09 17:53:26

good move for us

we came from HAckney (so about as cosmopolitan as you can get) to a small market town.

It was actually pretty easy to meet people as you are thrown together so much more in the docs, library, small selection of shops, one park etc
and as a sahm with school-age kids you'll see poeple at the school gate.
It is a bit ethnically homogenous though, and it was a bit weird at first not being able to (eg) nip out for a pint of milk and a bunch of fresh coriander at 7pm on a Sunday night.

I think the key is the balance - we'd actually be less comfortable if we'd stayed in London and gone somewhere suburban surrounded by streets and streets of identical semis but still needing to drive to the supermarket, iyswim.
As it is we are positively urban (restaurants / pubs/ takeaways / library / docs / supermarket / shops etc a 5min walk away), just a lot nearer the country.

Having said all that this is probably about as small as I could go - DH's parents live in a village with not even a shop and that freaks me right out...

littleoldme Sun 25-Oct-09 18:03:27

Jemima - DH and I are in similar situation and have decided to stay put for the mo - our ds is nearly 2 and we'd like another Dc soon. I don't want to be in anew town with a small baby. Give it 3 years though and we'll be off.

I strongly suspect we are in the same city as you and have been looking for suitable places to move to. I feel really embedded in the communty here, but as with all groups things ebb and flow, people will move on etc. If the town is as you say is you'll soon meet people. You may just have accept that it will take a while for you feel fully settled.

Good luck I'd be really interested to know what you decide.

LauraIngallsWilder Sun 25-Oct-09 18:18:13

Jemima - I am soooooo jealous envy
I have moved about a lot in recent years and am currently living in a small town that is definately NOT funky or cosmopolitan!

You will be fine friends wise I am sure
A town like that will have loads to do social, not the same as in the city but still far better than where I live!

When you say small mill town - roughly what population?
My town would be considered a village by londoners!

A small town is much better for kids too imho - at primary and secondary level

Go for it - I bet you dont regret it

nighbynight Sun 25-Oct-09 18:18:32

I am a small town person, so hated living in teh big city.
you get to know people, and soon you'll be buying your new car, because the so-and-so dealership was established in 1928 and everyone knows they're honest. And when you are introduced to new people, you realise that they already know who you are, becuse they've heard about you on the grapevine.

LauraIngallsWilder Sun 25-Oct-09 18:21:20

Littleold - why dont you want to live in a new town with a small baby? Im interested

IME a new town is a new town regardless of how old your kids are
Its what you make of the new situation that counts - ie make the best of it and dont continuously compare with where you lived before etc

Totallyfloaty35 Sun 25-Oct-09 18:27:21

I moved from London to a very small town in Sussex,for about a year i kept saying i want to go back.I couldnt cope with the lack of shopping,bumping into the same people all the time and it was so NOT multiculteral i found it odd.
Now however i love it,its friendly,nice schools,the kids love it,clean and by the sea.If i need to shop i head for Brighton.

Jux Sun 25-Oct-09 18:40:43

We're now in a small market town, having moved from London suburbs (and before that, I was living/working in central London all my adult life). Yes I miss the city. No I wouldn't go back to living there.

You can make friends among the school mums. The playground can be quite a scary place, but it's no different from anything new. There will be people who look ascance at the new girl, people who don't notice, people who say hi but are busy, people who are interested.

You'll meet people in the shops, in the market, there'll be all sorts of community type things going on, there'll be loads of opportunities to stop and chat. Shopkeepers - once they realise you're not just there for your hols - start being friendly quickly, market traders will give you discounts.

You'll be letting your kids walk to school on their own at younger ages because you know they're safe because everyone knows you all, knows who they belong to and will look out for them.

We've had phone calls from shopkeepers asking permission for dd to go and look in a different shop when they haven't had what she wanted, because she'd been told by us that she could go on her own if she comes straight back.

When I was out the other week and just beginning to wonder where dd was because she wasn't where I'd told her to meet me, the community policeman appeared before me saying "your daughter couldn't remember where she was supposed to meet you so she's asked me to tell you she's on her way home".

I would have a much greater social life, but I don't get out much due to disability. However, the opportunity is there, and I have made some very good friends.

jemimapotts Sun 25-Oct-09 19:57:28

Thanks for all your positive

Mrs Badger, the lack of ethnic diversity concerns me. However it's not far from some of the most multicultural places in Britain. The DC are currently at a school which is 85% non-white British, so they have had experience of living in a multicultural environment. I know what you mean about coriander. I'd just have to be more organised.

Laura Ingalls- have no idea about population. It's fairly big though and has several satellite villages very closeby.

Nighynight- everyone knowing your business is off-putting, although I suppose you get that in the city as well amongst groups of acquaintances.

I keep changing my mind almost everyday. It's driving DH crazy as he thinks it is so obvious a move would be best for our family. He's out working though, and far less reliant on his friends than I am.
We're are under pressure to come to a decision as DS1's school situation needs to change. I wouldn't want him to have two moves. Also the house we have seen is ideal for us.

This is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make since having the DC. It's good to have Mumsnet to mull it over

minicorrect Sun 25-Oct-09 20:09:56

Interesting that this has come up now. We're moving from central London to a smallish coastal town this week. It's where I grew up so familiar territory in that sense, but as an adult it will be odd going back there (especially as I fought so hard to get away!).
I have never liked living in London (been here over 5 years now) but have got used to the shops, transport, diversity and choice.
And I'm worried about being gay in a smaller place too - it's bad enough here, but I fear we'll stick out like sore thumbs there, especially with a small baby.
But I'm really looking forward to meeting some other mums - don't know anyone here with a baby, so it's been a pretty lonely 7/8 months really. And it'll be lovely to have space and fresh air to breathe. And no noise/sirens.
I truly believe the goods outweigh the bads. And that's what it comes down to in the end. What do you want for your kids, and are the compromises too much?
Good luck with your decision - it can't be easy, but you'll do the right thing in the end.

jemimapotts Sun 25-Oct-09 20:20:18

You're right about the fresh air mini. It's very hilly the town we are looking at whereas the city we are in is flat. Hills are good for the soul, flat city is quite oppressive.
It'll be fab being by the sea.
Did it take long for you to make your decision?

BeehiveBaby Sun 25-Oct-09 20:29:09

I don't think you'll have any problem finding coriander in the town you want to move to! Most of our pre baby friends upped sticks to that precise location to start their families but we have to stay because we can't/ won't drive. Reception is the oldest I'd consider moving, so do it now I say smile.

Will you go back to work in the city? That'll keep a link. Were you a city or country teen? That is what I struggle with. I don't know how I'll cope with knowing, flicky hair, cappaccino drinking, urban girls hmm

jemimapotts Sun 25-Oct-09 20:56:46

Yes I expect the town is awash with organically grown coriander.grin
I was a city teen, and wouldn't particularly wish my experience on the DC.
Part of the appeal of moving is to work in a less urban setting, as my job is a tough one to do in the inner city.
How have your friends who moved got on?

LauraIngallsWilder Tue 27-Oct-09 12:55:35

Jemima - it sounds bigger than the town I live in so therefore you will be fine

BeehiveBaby Tue 27-Oct-09 14:09:28

They all love it and wouldn't be anywhere else but are accupuncturists(sp?), Qi Gong (sp??) teachers, academics, artists and musicians etc. The school that one of the families send their girls too takes them part time unil compulsory school age which is nice I think if it's practical for your family.

jemimapotts Wed 28-Oct-09 19:01:22

Beehive- sounds very promising that your friends enjoy living there. Think we would too, but I still think I would miss all the people we know here. Also DH and I do not work in any of those fields you mention and I wonder whether you have to, to fit in. I suppose I could always retrain as a Qi Gong istwink

Laura, apparently the population is 4500 which is much less than I thought it was. However I'm not sure whether this just accounts for a very small ward of the town.

MagNacarta Wed 28-Oct-09 19:08:24

We did it and are hoping to move back to a town. Has been a great move for our dc's, but not for us. No culture, very conservative outlook, no like minded people and yes you really have to plan everything. It takes me a 25 min drive to get to a cash machine, which when your dc's need to take money for school or whatever is a pain. For a while we resigned ourselves to living here for the dc's and going back into a town when they go to university, but we've decided that it's our life too. So, we are hoping to move to a different town, where we can get the best of both worlds ie. culture and good schools.

WhatSheSaid Wed 28-Oct-09 19:22:46

My db and sil moved a few years ago from a biggish southern city to where you are thinking of going to. There seems to be lots going on there and they have found it easy to settle in there. I know s-i-l goes to Manchester fairly regularly for gigs, exhibitions, nights out etc.

I think it has the best of both worlds, you are close enough to Leeds and Manchester to have access to plenty of shopping/culture etc and the town itself has a fair bit going on and has some lovely countryside around it. I think the only drawbacks seem to be lack of parking and their house having no garden.

3rdnparty Wed 28-Oct-09 19:31:35

sorry to jump in but totally floaty any clues to places in sussex, dh and I keep discussing a move out but I've lived in london all my life so waver a lot...and don't want to live in Brighton...some friends have moved there so would be nice to be near...but not too near grin sorry for the hijack OP but understand how you feel....

Naetha Wed 28-Oct-09 19:43:40

We moved from Leeds city centre to Bingley three years ago. It was the best thing we ever did.

Having said that, Bingley is still fairly cosmopolitan, and very much part of the West Yorkshire sprawl, so although our house looks out over Ilkley Moor, we're only 200yds from a bus stop that takes us into Bradford city centre, and within a mile of a train station. These, coupled with an abundance of supermarkets (we've got about 10 in a 5 mile radius) means that we've really got the best of both worlds.

Living close to the countryside is awesome though - DS loves going for walks where we see all manner of farm animals.

Naetha Wed 28-Oct-09 19:52:16

FYI btw, reading between the lines, HB is lovely - a brilliant place to bring up children, with good access to Leeds and Bradford (and Manchester as well, but that's on the other side!). Me and DH got married there 5 years ago, and it really was awesome.

poppyandmax Thu 29-Oct-09 18:02:13

3rdnparty, we live in Sussex and love it. Are you looking for town or village? Most places seem ok south of Horsham, Crawley and East Grinstead (which are all reasonable distances to Brighton), depends how remote you want to be! Do you need to be near a mainline station or the M23? What are the ages of your children and what type of schooling do you require? Any facilities you need?

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