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Things to consider when moving from city to village

(49 Posts)
CityDweller Sun 17-May-15 23:03:31

We're thinking of moving from our very central (and very small) London flat to a village in Sussex. The village has a school, post office, pub and a corner shop. It's 5 mins drive from a small town (with supermarkets, swimming pool, etc) and a longer drive to bigger towns/ city. We'd get a lovely house, big garden in a part of the world we like a lot and a lifestyle change that we currently find very appealing. We have 1 DC (2) and another on the way. I'd be spending my maternity leave with DC2 in this village, with DH commuting to London 3 days a week. Once I go back to work DH will become a SAHD.

So, what are the pitfalls and things to consider when trying to make this decision? I'm aware of things like having to drive more, less cultural and general diversity, etc. Currently we can walk from our front door to many of London's major cultural attractions (museums, etc) or they are otherwise a short bus or tube journey away. I found this a real life-saver since having DC1, but that might also be because we live in a tiny flat and are prone to cabin fever, so we have to get out at least once, usually twice, a day.

Part of me thinks this move could be fantastic for our family. Part of me thinks it could be an absolute disaster. And I just don't know how to figure out whether it's the right thing to do or not.

BikeRunSki Sun 17-May-15 23:06:21

Public transport for teenage dc getting about without totally relying on you.

Proximity of schools, and transport to them.

GuybrushThreepwoodMightyPirate Sun 17-May-15 23:11:20

Are you totally fixed on moving to the village? Even moving to the small town you mentioned could make life easier; walkable shops, probably a few toddler groups, cafes etc. Having to get in the car every time you go anywhere can be a real drag.

YY to the pp who said about teenagers. It will could be pretty grim for them when yours reach this age.

CityDweller Mon 18-May-15 10:03:07

It's the house that's the lure guybrush. It just happens to be in this village and we think we can make the location work. If we don't move to this particular house, we'll most likely move to a London suburb (an option which neither of us is particularly excited about). So, no, we're not interested in moving to the nearby town or for the area for the area itself. It's a bit hard to explain, but the house is unique and very much 'us'. But, I hear you on the drag of having to use the car more - that's my major concern about the move. I'm used to walking/ busing everywhere in London and I've also only ever lived in cities.

BikeRun the village school (goes up to 11) is a walk away and apparently the kids all walk/ bike themselves once they're old enough. Senior school is in nearby town (5 min drive/ 40 min walk). But, tbh I doubt we'd be there that long. I see it as a move for the next 5-10 years. I'd want teenagers to have more independence and stuff to do within walking or bus distance, so I expect by that point we'd move again - either somewhere like Brighton or Lewes or back towards London, depending on where I'm working at the time. But, for little kids, I imagine this village location could be great - freedom to play out, safe environment, lots of outdoorsy stuff. All the things DD and DC2 are unlikely to get where we live now (or in London suburbs). But maybe I'm being idealistic about village life with kids.

BikeRunSki Mon 18-May-15 16:13:05

Mains gas?
Bin collections?
Mobile phone reception
Newspaper/milk/anything else deliveries?

My v rural PIL have none of these things. It's worth investigating their availbility. My PiL do actually have broadband, but at frustratingly slow speed.

AuntieDee Mon 18-May-15 16:39:11

You might not actually like country life if you are used to the city - it can be a huge shock for some. I love it, but a lot of people who have moved near me from the city just seem to try and lobby to change the country to a city with grass and trees...

bryte Mon 18-May-15 16:41:53

You might want to think about: babysitters, social life, how far away you would need to travel for things you like doing, eating out, concerts, that sort of thing. Is there any public transport should you need it? How many other SAHPs are in the village? Will there be things for your DH to easily take the children to like soft play areas, tumble tots, what parents of young children do these days. Will your DH want to be a SAHP indefinitely or might you need some after school childcare sometime in the future? Can you really easily access much on foot around the village or are you cut off by roads with no pavements, public foot paths that are muddy 3/4 of the year? Will you end up spending most weekends using the car to go somewhere or are you the type of people who are happy to potter around in a peaceful garden? Are there definitely other young families in the area?

bryte Mon 18-May-15 16:43:59

Also - when you're children are at school, what extra curriculars do you see them doing? If you see them having music lessons, playing a sport, having tennis lessons (things like that) how far will you have to travel? Will you miss being able to go out easily with work friends?

bryte Mon 18-May-15 16:44:17

ugh your children

Bramshott Mon 18-May-15 16:47:20

We moved from London to a village (though I had grown up in one, DH not). It's the best thing we ever did!

To guard against cabin fever - you can just get out and walk.

Practical things to think about:
Will it be safe for DC to play out on bikes/scooters on the road you're moving to?
Factor in extra costs for oil central heating and septic tank emptying
Keep your cupboards well-stocked so you don't have to get in the car to go to the shops
If you need a taxi, book it several hours earlier (this one was my biggest shock)
Give extra info to delivery companies (eg. Opposite pub) as they are rubbish at finding houses with no numbers

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 18-May-15 16:56:55

I've done both: very small rural village to London then out again to a smaller town. Here's what I'd consider the advantages and disadvantages:

- I found the few Londoners that moved to our village growing up to be a bit down on it. It won't have the same things as London, but if you want to fit in try not to mention this too much (not saying you would, but that's my experience)
- it's great for active kids that like being outside
- crime and safety are much less of a worry but of course take sensible precautions as usual
- There might be less going on socially but more people attend which is nice.
- It's easier to get to know people at the same baby toddler groups etc which is great unless you prefer to be more private.
- Often shops, pubs, etc might want cash, always carry some cash!
- Check utilities, phone reception, broadband etc and costs of getting hooked up if you're very rural
- Diversity, ok this is my experience and your village might be different but I never saw any problems growing up. In fact I was shocked when I moved to London that different groups lived in different areas rather than more mixed together like in my village

I loved growing up in the countryside, and I loved being an adult in London, both are fab! Good luck OP

Jackieharris Mon 18-May-15 17:22:12

We did city to country when I was in primary school.

Things that were different:

No deliveries so having to drive 10 miles. For pizza/curry etc

No decent restaurants for special occasions and need to drive so someone has to not drink.

Only 1 gp so if you don't like them you're stuffed.

Hospitals very far away.

Couldn't go out in bikes because it wasn't safe on fast, windy, narrow country roads.

Had to travel really far to buy a bra!

Mice came into the house.

Bigger spiders.

The countryside can be noisy-animals/tractors etc

The smell of manure.

Getting held up behind tractors on roads.

Harder to get to airport for holidays.

Friends don't visit as much.

I'd get a good burglar alarm if there's no one close enough to hear you scream.

It's much colder in winter without the city heat- good for building snowmen not so good for getting to work if your road's blocked.

You need to keep your kitchen well stocked. I'd get a chest freezer and keep emergency milk etc in it.

Didn't see a non white face for a long time.

springsprang Mon 18-May-15 17:47:40

Is 'your' house in the village or outlying?

If outlying, also bear in mind that fields change - stinky animals with noise, poo and flies. Muckspreading, spraying, harvesting can all take place within a few feet of your kitchen.

You'll really have to get on with your nearest neighbours - check them out first. We're having a bit of a problem with mobile reception at the moment, our internet has a top speed of almost 0.5mbps and we live on a hill so water supply can be dodgy in the morning.

BUT, where we live is fab, only a mile from the village although nothing happens there - no shop/pub/school and I don't do church. Only 10 minutes from a small town that has everything you need short-term. Bigger stuff is 1+ hour or the internet.

Kids spent a couple of hours running through an oilseed rape field at the weekend - check with the farmer first. Watched deer from the bath last week (no need for frosted glass) and can see for miles. Fab.

idontknowmyusernameanymore Mon 18-May-15 17:53:17

The countryside is brilliant, I spent my childhood growing up in a village and it was perfect, now as an adult I have lived in Cardiff so not the biggest of cities but enough to see difference.

Depends on village, what the local shop does, ours done everything! From tea to milk to meat to newspapers, was brilliant and didn't have to drive to shop. Might have a milk round. Agree with PP might have to factor in oil tank costs etc. big spiders/mice around in winter, but that's part of country life, much can be done about this smile bikes can be used in big open fields or village green or no doubt a park, our village had good bus transport every 30 min from 8AM-9PM to big city. Lovely rural pubs, and everyone becomes your friend. I'd go back to village life in an instant smile

idontknowmyusernameanymore Mon 18-May-15 17:54:31

Also with regards to taxi's for nights out and babysitting, in a village everyone knows each other, so there will be adults/teenagers prepared to babysit I'm sure, and if you make friends often if they're going into town they'll give you a lift if see you waiting on a taxi.

CityDweller Mon 18-May-15 22:57:38

Hmm, well this is all quite encouraging actually. Thank you for all your responses. The house is on a private road in the village, about 4 mins walk from the pub and shop, another few minutes further onto the school. On mains water, etc. I could get mobile reception there, will check about broadband. It's really not remote, so lots of the potential 'pitfalls' listed above aren't an issue. But obviously would be a big change for us nonetheless.

Good point about extra-curricular stuff though. It's all well and good being a bucolic stroll from the village school, not so great if we end up having to drive out of the village to after school activities. I shall investigate that or discourage DCs from having interests

To answer one question above, we are generally quite happy 'pottering', DH in particular (the pottering gene is strong in his family). And we like spending time together. A lot. I imagine weekends being a combo of hanging out at home and making the most of what's on offer in the area (by car) - lots of beautiful countryside, National Trust stuff, etc. And there's always the bigger towns/ cities for shopping, etc. There is public transport (buses) from the village, but obviously not of the frequency we're used to. But apparently the local kids get the bus into Brighton, for example (takes about 45mins).

It could just be brilliant... Or I could regret it the minute I realise I'm no longer spitting distance from 5 coffee shops and several of the nation's top cultural attractions. Aaarrrrrggggghhhh. Someone make the decision for me. Please!

CityDweller Mon 18-May-15 23:00:18

Oh, one other question. What do you do with your kids on a rainy weekend in the country/ in a village? Here we just toddle off to a museum or something like that...

Reekypear Mon 18-May-15 23:03:13


Reekypear Mon 18-May-15 23:04:33

We moved out.....and then moved back in. The relief.

marshmallowpies Mon 18-May-15 23:14:42

If your village has a pub, shop and bus service now, it might not always have them. Check if the bus service is under threat, or if the pub or shop look like they might be on the way out?

AuntieDee Mon 18-May-15 23:19:56

'Oh, one other question. What do you do with your kids on a rainy weekend in the country/ in a village? Here we just toddle off to a museum or something like that...'

Erm we do just that. It's rural, not uncivilized

CityDweller Tue 19-May-15 09:36:06

No need to be snippy Auntie. I clearly wasn't implying it's uncivilised. Another way to phrase my question is 'what kind of activities do you do with your kids locally on rainy days if you live in a village'

TwigletLola Tue 19-May-15 09:43:26

I grew up in a village a ten minute drive away from the nearest town and it wasn't the best childhood. There were no other children in the area, besides the ones that bullied me, so I spent most evenings on my own. I couldn't go to any after school clubs because I wouldn't be able to get home if I didn't get the bus straight after school, meaning my parents would have to pick me up which didn't always fit in with their work shifts. I couldn't go round my friends' houses unless my parents could take me there because we weren't allowed to go on different buses from our usual ones. It was a nightmare trying to have a Saturday job - my parents used to get up at 7am to take me there because I obviously wasn't able to get there on my own (busy roads around the village meant biking wasn't safe). As a teenager I couldn't ever go out to the nearest city for the day with friends without getting a lift to and from the bus stop which was a 15 minute drive away or the train station which was 20 minutes away. It wasn't really until I was old enough to drive that I got a bit of independence and I did find it very very hard. I know you're saying you want to move before your kids are teens but some of those points might be worth thinking about. I love the village I grew up in but it is very nice now being able to walk to get a takeaway or pick up some milk without having to get the car out every time. I can't see myself moving back to a small village until my children have grown up and moved out.

Bramshott Tue 19-May-15 10:02:34

Swimming pool is always good for rainy days.

AuntieDee Tue 19-May-15 13:30:29

No need to be snippy Auntie. I clearly wasn't implying it's uncivilised. Another way to phrase my question is 'what kind of activities do you do with your kids locally on rainy days if you live in a village'

It certainly came across that way, even if you might not have realised it. Please don't become one of those townies or you will find you won't fit in.

One of the advantages of not having things completely on your doorstep is it makes you appreciate it when you do go. I lived in an area at one point that the nearest cinema was 120 miles away - it was a great trip out for a special film, or we could wait for what we wanted to watch to come out at the mobile cinema that came to our village (well 20 miles from our village) once a week.

In rural areas travelling and distance is much less of an issue. You don't have anywhere near the same level of traffic - I work 12 miles from where I live and it takes me 20 minutes to drive in and 25 at rush hour. Even my other half who works in the city only spends an hour each way commuting and it's 36 miles.

As a kid, when it was raining, I did exactly what I did when it wasn't. There were days when I came home soaked to the skin and freezing cold (you know when your shoulders start getting wet through your coat it's time to head home) but I loved my childhood.

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