It’s a cold winter afternoon, and starting to get dark. The sunset filters through the trees, illuminating the perfect backdrop to a relaxing afternoon in your cottage. The bread is in the oven, a mug of hot chocolate is between your hands and the heat from the log fire is nibbling at your toes. Life has never sounded better, right? Unfortunately, this reality is not possible for city dwellers. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can live in paradise too by reading this guide to moving to the countryside.
What are the reasons for moving to the countryside?
Perhaps you’ve grown to realise that pollution, high prices and the constant busying of people aren't worth the opportunities a big city provides. Or maybe you would like your young children to grow up with nature, or to spend your retirement in peace. Whatever the cause for moving to the countryside, there are certain things an individual should consider first.
Location is always an important factor, whether you’re moving 3 or 300 miles away. Identifying your priorities will help you to choose the perfect location. Have a think about:
- Whether you want complete seclusion from the world, or whether you would still like to be able to go shopping, eat out for dinner and interact with people.
- Whether you would like the option to travel into the city, e.g. London, whenever you like. For some people, the surroundings of a peaceful area that is still close enough to the city is the perfect compromise (many search for the best countryside near London). Or failing that, choose somewhere that will still give you the opportunity to travel to the city for a break/holiday.
There are many beautiful rural paradises in the UK. Taking the time to find the right one for you will allow you to fully appreciate its beauty, when you eventually make the move.
A common misconception is that living in the countryside is cheaper than living in the city. However, it isn’t necessarily as simple as this. Research from Express.co.uk shows that location is a defining factor in housing prices. Their results list that 4 out of the top 10 most affordable rural areas reside in the North of England. 3 out of 10 reside in Scotland, 2 in the Midlands, and the final is located in Wales.
This means that in order to think about your price range, you need to first consider the location you wish to relocate to.
This misconception of costs transfers to that of living, too. It makes sense that in a remote location the food prices at a restaurant are higher, to make up for the lack of demand/custom. However, when it comes to weekly food shops and bills, it shouldn’t matter where you are. As Hettie Harvey at the Telegraph says, a Tesco is a Tesco anywhere you go.
There’s no clear-cut answer to where is more expensive when it comes to factoring in living costs, but you should always consider possible costly aspects to both locations, before moving house. These include:
- Commuting – car in the countryside vs public transport in the city.
- Eating out and activities – depending on the restaurant or activity, you could be paying to make up for the lack of customers, or more simply because of the area you are in.
- Availability of choice – settling for one thing, vs. more choice that could facilitate cheaper alternatives.
(Copyright Andrew Roland/Shutterstock.com)
The peace and beauty of the countryside will often come at the price of the number of facilities at your doorstep. While some people will thrive in this isolation, others may find it hard to adapt to.
Before packing up and moving to the countryside, consider preparing for things that never used to be an issue. These include:
- Ensuring you have a working car at all times – public transport in rural areas is not known for its reliability or frequency!
- Planning extra time to carry out shops and daily activities – chances are there isn’t a shop on every corner anymore.
- Having the necessary equipment to deal with extreme weather conditions – being trapped in the house is not as uncommon as you’d like to think.
- Bringing activities that aren’t electronic – 4G isn’t always guaranteed in the countryside.
(Copyright Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com)
4. Adjusting to moving to the countryside
Like any new home, it will take some time to get settled. Although the stark contrasts of city life vs country life could make this adjustment process a little harder. You may miss the convenience of city life, as well as the bustling of events and opportunity. You may miss the ability to roll out of bed and grab a bus within 20 minutes of waking up, not wondering if you’ve missed the only one of the day that gets you to work. Or perhaps you just really miss your friends.
But to put your mind at ease, adjusting to a move to the countryside does get easier. Through time you’ll appreciate an uninterrupted night’s sleep, as well as the pure, fresh air, friendly neighbours, and being a lot less stressed. If you’re finding it particularly difficult, however, you could create a couple of rural living tips or optimistic thoughts to keep referring back to whilst you get used to your new home.