How to Choose Where to Live in the UK

14 Aug 2018

How to Choose Where to Live in the UK
Whether you’ve lived in the UK your whole life or you’re new to the country, deciding on the best place to live is a big decision.

The UK is full of beautiful historic villages, busy cities and towns that offer a brilliant balance between the two. But there are many factors to take into consideration when choosing where you will call home.

Different parts of the country have different things to offer, and depending on your lifestyle, you should be able to determine a rough idea of the type of place you’d like to live. For example, if you enjoy spending the majority of your time outdoors taking part in active pursuits such as hiking or fishing, you may want to choose to live away from a big city. Alternatively, if you love a strong community feel, a village may be right for you.

So, while you probably have an idea of the type of place that appeals to you, how do you decide which area is the best for you? We’ve pulled together a list of the top things to consider when choosing where to live in the UK.

Price

Cost of living and property are often the deciding factors for most people looking for a place to live in the UK. Prices of homes and the associated living costs can vary greatly in the UK, depending upon the location. It only takes travelling a few miles in some cases to discover either a drastic drop or jump in prices, so you may find that you can live close to your desired area if it is out of your price range.

Typically, you will find that cities are the most expensive places to live in the UK, with London usually at the top of the list. In England, the further you get away from London, the more affordable housing becomes. There are of course very desirable areas outside of London that are very expensive, but again, the further you get away from the cities in the area the more reasonable the prices tend to be. Life and property in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland tend to be more affordable in general than in England.

Location & Amenities

Anybody will tell you that the three most important factors when looking for a home are location, location and location. Not only will location go a long way in determining the cost of the area you choose to live, but this is also where other important factors of living come in.

For instance, it’s important to make sure that where you choose to live in the UK has a good infrastructure to ensure that it is easily accessible by road. Some more remote areas, while beautiful and tranquil, can be lacking in this. Other, more built-up areas can see heavy congestion which makes driving difficult. You’ll also want to assess the quality of public transport and make sure you’re comfortable with the distance to necessities such as GP offices, hospitals, shops, restaurants, entertainment and other important parts of everyday life.

In many ways, the quality of the location comes down to what you value most and what you’re looking for in an area.

Schools

If you have a family, or you plan on having one in the future, you’ll also need to take schools into consideration when deciding where to live in the UK. Making sure you live in the right catchment area to access the best schools around is very important. If you have a very specific idea of where in the UK you want to live, you can check the Ofsted website which will tell you how schools rank.

You’ll need to think about the future as well, particularly if you haven’t started your family yet or your children are very little. It’s not just primary schools you’ll want to think about, but also secondary and 6th Form. Another important thing to consider when you have a family is the quality of childcare available. Whether you prefer a nursery or an independent childminder, some areas offer plenty of opportunities for childcare while others do not. You can also research this on the Ofsted website, speak to the council or ask for recommendations if you happen to know people who live in the area.

Job Opportunities

If you are not yet retired, you’ll, of course, want to make sure that the area you move to offers plenty of job opportunities. Many people in the UK choose to live outside of big cities but then commute to the city for work. If you’d prefer to not have a long and busy commute, it’s even more important to make sure that there are enough jobs in the area you move to.

A great way to do research on this is to speak to recruitment agencies to discuss the different areas they cover and how many jobs in your career field tend to arise. You can also search job sites to get a feel for yourself.

Community

You might also want to do a little research on the community feel of different areas to help determine where in the UK you would like to live. This is particularly important for families, as you will likely want to socialise with people who have children of a similar age. Even if you don’t have children, moving to a new area can be difficult and sometimes lonely, so making sure there is a strong community bond can be very important.

You’ll want to evaluate whether there are clubs in the area and other ways for you to get involved in the community. This is a great way to determine whether your interests are suitable for the area and if there are likeminded people living there. For instance, you may not want to live in a large city if you’re keen to join a rambling club, but you may be more likely to find yoga classes in a more densely populated area.

If you’re planning a move to or within the UK, be sure to get in touch with us. We’re experts on UK moves and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.