Country vs city living: How to decide where to live
- By: Ashley Saunders
- October 2020
A question that keeps many up at night is where’s best to live? For some, it’s as simple as deciding between country vs city living. But it’s a far more nuanced discussion.
City life is ideal for some as there’s always something exciting happening, shops are open around the clock, and public transport makes travelling quick and easy. However, you might dream of living in a quaint town with fresher air, open roads and miles of fields to walk.
Some who live in the country yearn for a faster-paced life that’s only afforded by city life. Many wish to raise their kids in the city.
When it comes to country vs city living, there are a host of pros and cons, that you should consider before you take the plunge and move.
The different element that country vs city living offer
Deciding to up sticks and move to the country or become a city dweller depends on multiple factors. It simply isn’t just a choice of the pace of life.
For a complete picture, we will look at a range of factors involved in the decision and how they impact country vs city living.
Country living: pros and cons
Lower house prices
Living in any UK city will cost you more when compared to the countryside. House prices are steeper in the city and usually, properties are smaller.
That said, while you might get more property for your money in the country, you’ll spend more overall on transport. You might have to drive to the local shop, school and may have to commute to work.
Quality of life
A problem with city living is everything is very close by and gardens tend to be non-existent. This can have an impact on your health and quality of life.
English towns are well known for their green spaces, which allow you to relax, exercise or pause life for a while. Even if you live in a terrace, you can easily escape into the countryside and breath plenty of fresh rural air! You’ll feel better already!
A fast-paced city leaves little time for community. You could easily live in an apartment for years without meeting your neighbours. City living can be a lonely existence. Living in an over-crowded city can increase stress levels, making you feel even more isolated.
Country life is slower. There’s more time to get to know neighbours, become a local at the nearest coffee shop and find a way to build a stronger sense of community.
However, you might have to grin and bear it if you find yourself at odds with a neighbour as word quickly spreads and no one wants to be known as a problem neighbour.
There’s less crime in the countryside, according to the government’s figures and most reported crime is anti-social behaviour. It’s easier to commit a crime in the city and it more likely to be serious.
Living in the country is quiet, peaceful and slower. This can be welcome news if you’ve only ever lived in a city and want to escape from the hustle and bustle. That said, some feel energised by the sights and sounds of city life.
It’s worth considering how the drop in activity and noise will affect you if you’re moving from the city to country. You might find that complete silence starts to drives you slightly insane.
In the city, there’s very limited room to grow anything and while you can start a balcony garden, it’ll hardly feed you. In the country, while you might not want to grow vegetables or keep chickens, you will be closer to farms who will be happy to sell milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables direct.
You’ll be able to cut down the miles your food travels and buy better quality produce, not to mention support local farmers.
City life: pros and cons
Wider choice of social activities
In a small village, you’re likely limited to a few takeaways, a pub and a restaurant. There may be the odd concern or village fete, but you’ll have to travel for a decent social life.
Your nearer city or large town will have more options for drinking, dining and may even have a theatre and cinema. It’s likely it has more going on in general, making it easier to have a fun time with family and friends.
Also in a city, you’re more likely to find like-minded people regardless of your hobby, whereas in a village you might stick out a little.
Better transport links
Village life might be peaceful, but it can be a nightmare if you need to use public transport, especially as rural buses are the first to be cut. In this regard, a large town or city will give you more options.
Moving around a city and the surrounding area is much easier with trains, buses and taxis more readily available.
Finding suitable employment in the countryside can be a tall order. You’ll probably have to commute to a city or take a substantial pay cut. You might be able to split your working week between the city and your home in the country.
That said as more people flock to the cities to live, competition for jobs becomes more fierce.
Finding an open corner shop within walking distance in the city isn’t a difficult task. However, in the country, shops might be closed by 10 pm and be a short drive away.
Another factor to consider when deciding on country vs city living is Wi-Fi. Despite continued investment in high speed broadband roll-out, there are still rural areas which still only have dial-up internet. In the city, the picture is completely different as many shops and cafes offering free Wi-Fi.
Can’t pick country vs city living?
While you might not be able to have it all in life, you can look for a location on the edge of a city which gives you the best of both country and city living. Why should you have to pick between country vs city living?!
Sounds obvious, but for some, the idea of living in the suburbs prompts a negative reaction. It sounds too middle-aged or middle-classed. However, you can usually find a larger property for the money, good local community with all of the benefits of the city, just a short drive or bus ride away.