Moving from London to a small Cotswold town

Sunday 15 March 2020 Oxford OX1 2JD, UK

I lived around 17 years in London. I moved to London in 2000 from a small town in South of France. Then in the early year of 2012 I met (now my husband) in London, where we live around 4 years together. Then I got pregnant & I gave birth in South London and literally 10 days later after the birth, we moved to a small town in the middle of the Cotswold.

Why did we decided to move from a big city to a town?

One of the main reason was we wanted a family home, you know a proper family home with a garden, 2 to 3 bedrooms, living room etc.
London is not kind to new family (mortgage speaking) and all we could have been able to afford was a one bedroom flat/ studio in a far away distance from our jobs (we are now both Freelancers). This was not the family life we dreamed. I could not see all 3 of us (4 with our cat) crammed into a one bedroom flat. Chris and I are both grew up in the countryside and this is something we felt was better for our daughter and for us too.

We also felt that London was starting to take a toll on us physically but mostly mentally.  The constant hustle and bustle 24/7 was starting to weight on us, the air and noise pollution, the long commute to work but also the increased cost of living. It was not like we could not offer London but when your rent keep going up every 6 month to reach an absurd £1500 a month for a small one bedroom flat something had to change.

'In mid February 2017, on a cold and wet day, we moved to our first home (so it was bye bye rental life hello home owner life!) with a garden, 3 bedrooms, a large living room, kitchen, a conservatory and even a small shed. This was what we dreamed. Our house need serious TLC and a lot of renovation but we did not care it was ours and not someone else mortgage that we were paying a lot for'

What do you like about living in a small town?

Everything now is at walking or a short drive distance.
For example at the minute we are renovating our house (which have not seen any renovation since the 70's)  so we constantly need to go to ScrewFix or B&Q to pick up all sort of diy stuff. It takes a 8-10 minutes drive to reach any of those 2 stores (or any stores for that matter) . In London, our nearest B&Q from our last rented flat was about 3 miles away and it used to take us an average of 45 minutes by car or by bus to reach it. Basically it was quicker to walk.

We are literally less than 5 minutes walk away from any countryside walk path from our house. Our town is  surrounded by countryside, canal, farm animals and little woods. Fresh air that has a new family we were looking for.

The community. 

My new doctor surgery is absolutely brilliant. In London you were aloud less than 10 minutes to talk about one illness, and if you wanted to talk about 2 problems you literally had to take an other appointment. In London (in my experience) I was just a number and I was way too often being showed the door in a very non respectful way. I also suffered from being given wrong prescription while pregnant and humiliated too for being over weight. Lets say my London experience with doctors always been absolutely awful.
In my local town there is no time allocated and you can talk about all the things you wish. I also found all the doctors from my surgery more friendly and they have a better understanding of how to listen to their patients, something that I never experienced in London or very rarely. I feel like I am being more look after especially that I have few life illness that constantly need to be checked. 

You get to start knowing people or even recognise some of them in town even if you never talk to them before. Which make it a more friendly place. Even your local shops started recognising you and you end up having little pet talk with them.
All social clubs are limited but everybody are locally and you may end up joining a club where your neighbour is too. It make our town a stronger and a closer community.

If we decided to go away for the weekend or just for a day our GPS really show us the accurate time of arrival. When in London our GPS would never show us the accurate time. Usually we had to multiply it by 3 to 4 times the time given to get the 'accurate' time. (hello constant London traffic jam!) 

Was it hard living in a small town?

At first , yes. In all honestly we did not know anyone, everything was new to us and everything close earlier that in London. Yes! we found our self on the first week going for a shopping trip at around 5pm when everything was close or about to close ! haha! We weren't prepared for this. 
The choice of activities, shops or restaurants are obviously much limited. So with that we did miss a lot at first like all the place we used to eat in London, all the art galeries, museums, the Liberty shop, cool hangouts, all sort of markets, pop up stores and so on. 
Adjusting to a town where there is not even a John Lewis or a Wagamama was hard at the beginning. Three years later we realised that, yet we have limited restaurants in our town but all the surrounding villages, which are minutes drive away by car, offers other excellent places to eat and then things start to not seems so limited. 
Also we are surrounded by few bigger towns such as Oxford and Stratford-Upon-Avon that offer  few museums, galleries, theaters, shops and other place to eat so suddenly we felt that we were no longer cut off from all the fun things.

What do you miss about London?
My best Friend; Betsy but also every time there is a new gallery or a new 'talk of the town' restaurant or a cool new shop opening I have to miss out.
I felt like I always belongs to London. London was my town. Even so I do like or little town I still miss my original city.
As I settle more and more in our small town I less and less think about London but the Big Smoke would always be in my heart regardless. 
As this is where I met my best friend, my husband and where our daughter was born! 

Would you move back to London?
Even so we do miss London sometimes, now that we had a taste of the countryside living, we will not move back to London even if we could. 
In fact my husband and I are planning, in few years time, to sale our house and buy a house in a village (the big dream would be to buy a cottage) . We would love our daughter to grow in a village (but of course not too far away from the convenient of a town!) We now crave a village life rather than a town life. I guess this would be another chapter : from moving to a city, to a town then to a village. 

Where do you live? Do you live in a big city or a small town? Have you live in both? I'd love to hear your thoughts....


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