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Best place to live in the UK?

Not tied down by job, want somewhere nice to live in

     
6:42 pm on Feb 7, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am moving back after rather more than a decade. I know there is a fair British presence on WW, and a lot of you must have similar circumstances to me (e.g. able to work remotely).

All my friends think where they live is brilliant - not unbiased, I fear!

I work from home and can live anywhere I can get broadband (it does not even need to be fast broad band), and from what I hear rural broadband is a lot better than it used to be. Latency does matter (in terms of not having delays after a key press when in a remote server over ssh - I am not looking for gaming standard low latency, although my daughter may differ on that"). Probably going to home educate so schools not an issue either - a local home ed community is a plus, but that seems common these days.

I want somewhere safe, cheap, friendly and pretty. Anywhere with lots of racists or high crime is out.

I am a Londoner, but I cannot afford London, and I am I like quieter places at least as much. It would be nice to be able to run down there far the weekend (but that is possible from most of England and Wales). I am not much interested in other big cities. A market town would do nicely.

So far, I like Cumbria. Cheap, easy to get to other places if you are close to the M6. I like mountains and lake. I am not sure about how far down the coast I would go - I am told the towns are a bit grim and I am definitely not going anywhere near Sellafield!

The Welsh border (either side of it) looks quite nice. Some of it is gorgeous. A bit worried that it may be hard to fit in without being Welsh (and Welsh is about the one thing I am not at all - my ancestors cover a good chunk of the globe, but not Wales).

County Durham is a bit run down but seems to have some pretty spots (I have rather liked the idea of Barnard Castle since I heard Mark Steel's performance there on the radio).

Any comments on these? Any other suggestions?
3:14 pm on Feb 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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How important is pub life to you?

This past few years has seen a massive change in evening trade in market towns and the countryside, it would be a deal breaker for me.

As you know property prices vary hugely therefore why not see what is available that suits your accommodation specification with a price limit, that'll cut out loads of searches.

I love where I live, Lincolnshire, but saying that I also know of lots of other places I could easily settle down.
4:52 pm on Feb 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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That's really a tough one, graeme_p, because there's so much more to it than just prices. Usually, the property prices are based upon commuting distance.

Certain places attract a premium because they are deemed to be "where the posh reside" or where people with lost of money live. Think of certain parts of the Manchester area.

Everyone has a different opinion as it's so subjective, I won't be specific, but, if you choose somewhere in a national park in Cumbria you'll pay a great deal more than if you went just outside the park. Of course, the other thing is you need to accept the busy season up there.
5:01 pm on Feb 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It is very subjective, and everyone's views in this will be very different. If I was to relocate in the UK now, it would probably be to Norfolk. Nice countryside and scenery (The broads), Nice summer weather whilst missing the really cold weather you experience elsewhere in the UK. Lower crime rates than average and an easy drive to London when needed.

Mack.
10:20 am on Feb 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, it is difficult and subjective, but that is all the more reason to ask as many opinions as possible. I will be taking a look at places myself, but I need some sort of short list.....

@RedBar, good point, that does worry me. It is a great pity and something to check on in any particular place .

@engine, I do not need to commute. I am (for the first few years anyway) renting rather than buying - although the same applies. I do not particularly want to be in the national parks - as long as the immediate area is nice, and the house itself is what we need that is fine. Spectacular views are nice to have and I will certainly take them if I can, but they are not essential.

I do not care about posh, only safe and pleasant. Obviously rough areas are neither...

@mack, a friend suggested it. It looks good and a place I like BUT I do not know anyone who lives there, and only one who lives nearer than London (in Cambridge).
12:16 pm on Feb 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There are surveys such as these which may or may not help.
[telegraph.co.uk...]
7:56 pm on Feb 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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A bit worried that it may be hard to fit in without being Welsh

I don't think they will sneer at you for not being Welsh. It's more likely to be pity. If your children would benefit from becoming trilingual, that's a plus.

I don't think looking at regions is the right approach, anyway. Face it: If you're moving from Sri Lanka to England, the climate is going to seem horrible no matter where you are, and every aspect of daily life will be a (temporary, at least) jolt. You need the micro-details.

-- If you're home-schooling, look at the libraries and similar resources. (Er... They do have public libraries in the UK don't they? It always makes me anxious when a character on an English TV show talks about "joining" a library.)

-- Do you want to live in a place where you need a car to buy a bottle of milk, or in a place where absolutely everything is accessible by public transit? A place where you wouldn't dare let children under 14 out of your sight--or where the neighbors will make a huge fuss when you do, whether or not it's objectively a valid concern--or a place where you can send a 10-year-old off to catch a bus unsupervised?

-- For anyone who has spent a long time living in some other part of the world, you may want to look for towns with a significant immigrant community from that exact region. (Pakistan does not count.) If you get a sudden hankering for pappadum, you don't want to be looking at paying overnight-express charges.
8:24 pm on Feb 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It always makes me anxious when a character on an English TV show talks about "joining" a library.


How else would one be allowed to borrow a book from a library and take it home free of charge without being a library member?

One doesn't have to "join" when using/reading whilst in the library.
6:52 am on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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How else would one be allowed to borrow a book from a library and take it home free of charge without being a library member?

Er ... You can't just walk up to the desk and get a library card?
7:22 am on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Good questions Lucy:

If you're moving from Sri Lanka to England, the climate is going to seem horrible no matter where you are, and every aspect of daily life will be a (temporary, at least) jolt.


You underestimate how good cold and wet can feel after years of blistering heat! Last time we were there we even enjoyed places like Manchester, Cumbria and Edinburgh in November.... enjoying not being hot should see us through the first year of cold. I think the differences in daily life will be harder for the kids so we are making a big effort to prepare them. As for the jolt in other ways - again, all we can do is plan and prepare. In terms of getting things done it is easier there.

If you're home-schooling, look at the libraries and similar resources.


Been looking at that, and already in touch with people who do it there. Public libraries are being cut back in most places, but in other ways it has got easier simply because more people are doing it. IGCSE entry (for my daughter who sitting two this summer) for example, has turned out to be quite easy - from what I have read in the past it was a LOT harder a few years ago.

Do you want to live in a place where you need a car to buy a bottle of milk, or in a place where absolutely everything is accessible by public transit?


It would be good if some things are close enough, or buses are good enough that at least some things do not need a car because my 14 year old daughter (Lucy, BTW) is longing to be able to do things because we currently live in a place where its difficult to get anywhere without a car so she needs a lift every time she wants to do anything. This is the main reason not to live somewhere completely isolated.

Oddly enough, this seems to favour some of the more isolated towns, I guess because it is harder for everything to be drained off into the nearest city.

On the other hand, my wife and I are happy to be somewhere well out of town.

A place where you wouldn't dare let children under 14 out of your sight--or where the neighbors will make a huge fuss when you do, whether or not it's objectively a valid concern--or a place where you can send a 10-year-old off to catch a bus unsupervised?


This is what I worry about the most. I definitely want the latter - but it seems to be more difficult than it was because people have become so fearful.

For anyone who has spent a long time living in some other part of the world, you may want to look for towns with a significant immigrant community from that exact region.


Not a concern for us. I dislike immigrant communities that stick together (and that applies to the British here as much as to Sri Lankans in the UK) as far as socialising with them goes. There is not really a lot we will miss by way of food that we do not cook ourselves (except fruit - and my wife has already found someone who does cheap deliveries nationally!) or day to day life and there is a lot we like that is cheaper or more easily available there. I think it will be better than it was coming here.
7:54 am on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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'Er ... You can't just walk up to the desk and get a library card?'

Yes, Lucy, after giving basic information, you are good to go......

Just returned to UK, after 28 years in Spain. Now in Suffolk and loving it! It could be a little warmer, but the benefits of life here outnumber the drawbacks.
10:14 am on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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'Er ... You can't just walk up to the desk and get a library card?'

Yes, Lucy, after giving basic information, you are good to go......

And the process is called "joining"
12:52 pm on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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And the process is called "joining"


?
1:11 pm on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What do USA citizens do if they don't join a library? I mean what do they call it if not "Joining"?
8:39 pm on Feb 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What do USA citizens do if they don't join a library? I mean what do they call it if not "Joining"?

Nothing. It's just called getting a library card. (This isn't a US vs UK thing. I looked up some other countries' libraries* and they too just talk about getting a library card. The Great Divide is whether you have to pay or not.) The thing you “join”, optionally, is called the Friends of the Library or similar name. In addition to the warm fuzzy feeling, you typically get advance admission to book sales, and possibly a tote bag.


* G### for some reason hates the Deichmanske. No matter how I spelled it, they wanted to suggest something else--even when the spelling I used was something they themselves had previously suggested. (In fairness, I had forgotten that Oslo's public library has a name, and had to go look up Deichman. Not quite Norway's answer to Robert Cotton, but oh well.) The most fun was the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, which apparently detected that I was using an iPad, and politely** asked if I'd like to see their mobile site. When I said Yes--or, I guess, Oui--I was treated to a nice viewing of the bnf's 404 page. Har, har.
** For some reason, the politeness of the request really struck me.
11:43 am on Feb 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think the difference may be because libraries you have to pay to join are a rarity in the UK. There are public libraries (which let you join free if you live or work in the right area) institutional libraries like university libraries (also free if you are allowed to join at all).

They seem to use the word "join" in Australia where no fee is required (at least the city of Sydney does),
1:27 pm on Feb 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The best place to live in the UK is San Diego :)
2:05 pm on Feb 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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"join", "get a library card" - a distinction without a difference. But library cops? Whoa!

[youtu.be...]
7:50 pm on Feb 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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But library cops?

My small-town library has uniformed security guards wandering around. (The kind who don't have carry permits, and get paid 5˘ more than minimum wage.) Nobody has ever figured out what they're for, since they're not actually allowed to do anything.

:: still snickering over the bnf's 404 ::
7:57 pm on Feb 12, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I've always thought of it as "Joining the Library" you go in, with ID etc and you are a member of the library, /because many members refer to users as members, i guess that's where the join part originates from.

Mack.
1:24 pm on Feb 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I don't think they will sneer at you for not being Welsh. It's more likely to be pity. If your children would benefit from becoming trilingual, that's a plus.


I not expect the Welsh to be sneering or hostile - its more a matter of it being that much harder to be "one of us" where the local identity is more ethnic. I have that problem to some extent anywhere....

The kids language skills... they speak imperfect Sinhala but can communicate. They were also supposed to have been taught Tamil and French in school but not, I feat, with any great success. Learning Welsh might be interesting for all of us - if we decided to live their permanently I would want to myself.