Moving to the Countryside – A Complete Guide
The pandemic and multiple lockdowns that the UK has been subject to over the last two years have created a real trend of people moving to the countryside. People increasingly want outside space, and prefer houses to flats. The allure of the countryside has been too much for many to resist. Particularly for people moving from London to the countryside.
And why not? Quaint churches, local farm stores, and a sense of community sounds like an ideal lifestyle. But many people rush into the decision of moving to the countryside without weighing the decision. We’ve written this guide to help you whether you’ve already decided to move to the country or if you’re just starting to consider it.
Whilst most articles seem to focus on either the pros and cons of the countryside, or tips for countryside living, we’ve given you both. You can consider this a complete guide to moving to the country. Looking for something specific like the benefits of moving to the countryside? Or how to test an area of the countryside before you buy a house there? Why not use our menu below to navigate through the article more quickly. If you’re looking for the complete guide then simply read on and become an expert on moving to the countryside!
Pros and Cons of moving to the countryside
Moving to the country can sound idyllic. But it isn’t all roses. In fact sometimes the countryside can smell like exactly the opposite! In this section we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of moving to the countryside.
Benefits of moving to the countryside
This is a huge draw for people looking to move from dirty cities with low air quality to the countryside. The air quality outside of the city (particularly London) is much better. There are far less carbon monoxide emissions from car exhausts and industry. These are also less likely to be trapped by the tall buildings and tight spaces that characterise cities in the UK (according to UK Air). All of this means that less pollutants enter your lungs and you’re less likely to suffer from respiratory issues.
Closeness to nature
Being closer to nature as a result of moving from the city to the countryside has a documented positive effect on mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation, being outside helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. So, not only could moving to the countryside help improve your physical health, it could boost your mental health too!
Village communities tend to be closer knit and safer than the isolation and estrangement that can sometimes be a part of living in bigger cities. In smaller village communities it can sometimes feel like everybody knows each other. This means it’s easier to tell if something is amiss. You may feel more at ease allowing your kids to play out knowing that the community is looking out for each other. Rates of violent crime and theft also tend to be lower in villages than in the bigger UK cities. According to government statistics rates of violence, sexual offence, and robbery were significantly lower in rural than urban areas.
Lower house prices
Houses are generally much more affordable in rural areas than city centres. The average house price in London was around 3 times as high in London than it was in more rural areas such as Yorkshire during 2021. It’s no wonder people choose to move to the countryside and get so much more for their money. Add to this the fact that you’re far more likely to get outside space and a larger living space in the countryside, and the decision almost becomes a no-brainer.
Peace and quiet
There’s no doubt that living in the countryside brings more space and peace and quiet than city living. As people leave their twenties and start to have families and experience a lifestyle change, this can become a really big pull to move from London to the countryside.
Disadvantages of moving to the countryside
Higher maintenance costs
Whilst house prices are much cheaper in rural than urban areas, higher maintenance costs are more common. Houses tend to be less well insulated and equipped with less energy efficient appliances. Bigger homes are also more expensive to heat. So heating and energy bills are typically more expensive. If you’re working from home, you should check out our top tips to reduce your home office bills. Many houses in the countryside are also listed, so any home improvement or changes to the building that you want to carry out can often turn out to be eye-wateringly expensive.
Limited public transport
Rural areas typically have worse transport links than inner cities or even suburbs. If you work in a city and plan to commute to work from the countryside, then you will likely need a car. Be ready for a potentially long and expensive commute that could add a lot of stress to your day!
A lack of privacy
Having neighbours look out for you can be a really nice thing, and help you feel safer. But people who move from the city to the countryside often feel a bit disconcerted by the lack of privacy that comes from living in a small village. Nosey neighbours will gossip about everything from the way you plant your garden to the colour of your front door. Be prepared for everybody to know about, and have an opinion on, every move you make!
Ten top tips for moving to the countryside
So you’ve read through our pros and cons of moving to the countryside and decided it’s the right decision for you? Great! Before you make your move, check out our ten top tips. This list will help you to make a decision on the best place to move and how to get the most out of living in the country.
Check out the local pub
There’s a reason this is number one on our list. There are few things as important as the village pub! You’ll find that it’s often the heart of a rural community, so having a great local boozer is a big factor when choosing a village to move to. Check out the quality of the food served, the interior decor and (if you’re a beer drinker) the beer that’s served.
Read the parish magazine
With the advent of tools like Google, reading the parish magazine might sound a bit outdated. However they still contain really valuable information on things like local events, services, and contact information of local institutions. It can also be a great source of information about who’s who in terms of the local hierarchy.
Check transport links
This is especially important if you’re planning to commute to work in a more urban area. Make sure that wherever you’re thinking about moving has suitable transport links for what you’re looking for. If you’re planning to drive, check out the local roads to make sure they’re not ridden with potholes. You may want to consider buying a more suitable car if a lot of the roads are poorly maintained.
Be ready for a change in lifestyle
Moving from a big city like London to the countryside can be a big shock to the system. All of the things you took for granted about city living such as restaurants, bars, nightlife and culture will start to feel like a distant memory very quickly. Make sure that you’re ready for a change in lifestyle, and be sure that you’re ready to adapt to a slower pace of living.
Try before you buy
We highly recommend spending some time in the area that you’re planning to buy in by renting a property or AirBnb in the area. You could either do this whilst living in your current home or you could rent a place after selling your own property. It will give you a feel for the area beyond what you can get from doing your research. If you sell your property first you’ll also have the edge over other buyers by being free of a property chain.
Broadband speeds are hugely important if you’re planning to work from home. Particularly if you’re on video conferencing a lot and need a high-speed internet connection. Research broadband providers in the area and check their minimum guaranteed speed.
Check local amenities
Things like a great local store, GP practice, hairdresser, bakery or nursery are crucial. They help to foster a sense of community and they can save you a lot of time driving to the nearest town every time you need a haircut. Check out the local amenities in the area you’re planning to move to before you take the plunge to make sure it has everything you need.
Buy appropriate clothing
This may seem like funny advice but investing in a decent pair of wellies could be some of the best advice you receive before moving to the countryside. Having clothes that keep you warm and dry when exposed to the elements is really important too.
Prepare to face different opinions
Cityfolk who move from liberal urban areas are often shocked by rural views. Issues like farming, immigration, hunting and Brexit are big points of difference between rural and urban areas. Be prepared to engage politely in conversation about these issues and not take offence too easily if you find yourself the lone voice in the crowd!
Check out local schools
If you’ve got kids then checking out the quality of your local schools is crucial. Local schools are great for helping your kids make friends in the area and for you to integrate with other parents in the area. You will also save a pretty penny on a private school if your local school is high quality.
Moving to the countryside is a big step for anyone from the big city. Particularly if you didn’t grow up in the country, be prepared for a big change in lifestyle. Hopefully this guide has helped you with an overview of the pros and cons of moving and some handy tips to consider as well.
Before you move, you’ll need to sell your current home. Being a chain free buyer can put you in a really good position to secure your dream home in the country. If you’re looking to sell your house fast for cash then SmoothSale can help. We operate as a cash house buyer and can buy your house in as little as 7 days, with no fees to pay. We’ll even cover your legal fees! If that sounds like it could be of interest then get in touch today on 0800 368 8952 or get a cash offer today.