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Yes I agree it's super expensive. I agree there aren't any jobs in Brighton or Worthing unless you are a taxi driver, cleaner or a tradesman, like builders and plumbers.

I'm a TV Producer and hubby is an Animator and all our work comes from London. Otherwise I'd be lost for a job! I completely agree with you. : )

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I’ve found this article really interesting as well as everyone’s comments. I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant and live in SE London. Despite saying (when I swanned off to London aged 20) that I’d NEVER go back, I’m craving going back to Lincoln. The countryside on your doorstep, more space, more house for your money, less crime etc etc....I just now need to pursuade the husband..!

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My children have long left home but I know that teenage children will thank you if you live somewhere with broad scope to build independence, not reliant on you as a taxi.

A different point – from my experience, over time if you stay in the same area, the small pockets of friends you make through your children start to overlap and the enlarged group takes on a life of its own. There is a received wisdom about what everyone will do and think. Everyone gets included in events (you can’t choose just the people you really gel with) and they all know what's happening in your life - it's not just in villages!

However having retired, we have moved from a northern city to be close to London where our children live. The moving away has been liberating. It has been an adventure, a delightful process of discovery in our new town and a great chance to rethink what matters in life (and who). And we have discovered new depths in our friendships - those that will last.

If all you do is move a small distance to another part of London, you might be pleasantly surprised what delights it brings. You can shed those parts of your life which you don't want to replicate!

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Forgot to say - don’t be held hostage by kids’ regimes. They are very resilient it’s true albeit that’s not to say moving frequently is good for them - I don’t think it is. But it is the norm in my friendship group and kids end up fine. This is the last move for me and my son as it’s too disruptive and I’ve always taken care to honour and nurture the friendships he has left behind - leaving party, visit back to our old town, letters, FaceTime etc. But trust me, kids can and will be okay - particularly if you are happy where you’re living.

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I think the middle ground has been missed here. I’ve been in the Army 19 years (9 house moves in 13 years and my son is on his 4th actual school and he’s 7) and lived everywhere although not in London but spent lots of time there and it’s a wonderful special place. Having lived in a very isolated spot in Shropshire, and similarly remote places in Powys, Hampshire and Wiltshire I can confirm that village life can be a tough nut to crack and I ended up just keeping myself to myself as I knew I’d end up moving and couldn’t face the rebuffs any more. Such as joining the village hall yoga class but no one ever wanting to just chit chat after and ‘make friends’. Saying that I can understand why villagers are wary of Army folk who are going to move on, but still.

I now work on the Army staff (desk job) and work from home in the Mumbles, just outside Swansea city centre (which is under much needed development) but on the edge of Gower Area of Outstanding Beauty.

Incredible I know but the Army has been a terrific employer to me especially as a single parent.

This place has it all - great schools, fantastic scenery, beaches a walk away, loads of events, activities, great places to eat and just enough gentrification that I can get a coconut latte whenever I want and there is an M&S food with its own car park.

There is also almost everything you could need within 15 mins - hospitals, big venues, train station, Ocado, nightlife,apart from for clothes shopping in which case I would go to Cardiff for something special (really vibrant city) or I regularly go to London for work so get a fix there (I go there and back in a day). It’s easier to break in if you are at the school gate at some point, before I had a child I found I didn’t have a natural ‘in’ to women my age but it’s easier now. My quality of life here is amazing and me and the other mums regularly pinch ourselves that we live here.

There’s a lot of movement toward a 15 minute city - everything within easy reach of home and I love it.

As much as I love London and hankered after living there in my 20s I now have had my fill after 2 days. There is a quote by a famous author, ‘London? I’d rather sit in bath of my own sweat smoking rolled up £20 notes’. There was also an Army study that found the average family is happiest living on the edge of a middle sized city or something like that.

The ‘country’ country side though? I would think very carefully about the actual reality of that. If you like night starting at 4pm most of the year, the inability to buy a can of Coke after 8pm, no delivery services and having to walk on one track roads without footpaths to get everywhere it might well be for you. Personally I do like a 24 hour Asda in easy reach.

The acid test though - have a little flutter on Rightmove and see what you get for your money in these places. My Army friends can’t believe what you can get here for the same price as a terrace house in southern England - those house prices really do seem like the Emperor’s new clothes to anyone who’s not normalised to paying £300k for a 2 up 2 down.

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Oh I Lived in the countryside alright - for Three Longgggg months of the first Lock Down, which we spent on the Isle of Wight. 86 nights, which I reckon is long enough to know if you like living somewhere ‘full time’, and although it had some Wonderful moments, I didn’t. For me, despite the fact that it was Really great to be ‘in nature’ so much, I really missed the small human interactions which you get in a city - I missed having a ‘corner shop’ / being able to walk to Co-op or Waitrose or the Post Office. And I think this is because I grew up in London, and ‘leafy’ though Wimbledon is (and I’ve moved back here !) - it’s still definitely part of London. Having said all of that, I can see myself living closer to the coast, one day.

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Before having kids, it never occurred to me to leave. I didn’t really care that I lived in a small flat whilst non-Londoner friends lived in massive houses. I regularly went walking, camping and travelling all over the place and was out every night doing something interesting. Then I got a boyfriend and we had kids and it didn’t really occur to me to leave then, as the walking everywhere and groups and cafes were all so useful. We have forest schools and lots of accessible green spaces and my kids are pretty outdoorsy. Then friends started to think about primary school and more living space and I became aware of the constant losing of people to the distant suburbs and beyond. But I still didn’t really want to leave. I think it becomes a dilemma because so many people do leave and you naturally think, well, maybe I should too. My kids are a bit older now and I’m out and about again, discovering new bits of London, and finding it often as thrilling as when I first moved here. My husband wants a bigger house but do we really want to move somewhere completely new and start again just for a bit more space? We leave London often and of course it’s not the same as living in the country but it’s not like you’re locked into the M25 for all eternity. We have long lives before and after kids and I love the idea of retirement here with plenty of time to travel elsewhere too. My worry is around what is the best for my kids. And I don’t know the answer to that. Am I really stunting their lung development by bringing them up in Zone 3? Will they make it through a London state secondary school with a good education? Would they prefer to grow up in a small town rather than a big city? I don’t think they’ll look back on their childhood as idyllic, hopefully fun and loving, but it isn’t bucolic days of running freely in the countryside damming streams and making friends with badgers… but I suspect I’d have nagging doubts wherever I was bringing them up!

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I know - it's totally random, but genuinely awesome so far (those yellow buses pretty much come directly to your door - NO SCHOOL RUN, it's all very outdoorsy and wholesome and I get to live the whole junior high experience vicariously). We decided that if we wanted to move and we could work from anywhere, we might as well move somewhere really different. We'll see how the gamble pays off in due course I guess!

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I did the move out of London to the countryside thing 9 years when our kids were teeny. We moved to a village attached to a market town in Surrey and parts of it were lovely. I never expected to be that arsed about the actual countryside-ness of it, but actually became obsessed by how beautiful it all was. The thing I really struggled with was how parochial it all seemed - even though half of the people there had also moved out of London as well. We've now moved to Colorado for full on outdoor living and so far it's great!

My best friend moved out of London 18 months ago with similar aged children to yours, and I thought she'd left it too late to make friends (so much easier with babies/toddlers) but she really did her research and found a perfect sized village outside Oxford and she is loving it.

So I think you can do it and move your kids out of school (I've moved my 12, 10 and 8 year olds to a totally new country and they're fine!) - but you just need to put the work in making sure you've found the right place for you. Which we didn't manage first time around, but hopefully have now!

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I grew up in a rural village. It’s nice to have the village life, local school etc when you’re very young. But when you’re a teenager and there’s only one bus a day to the nearest town, it takes you an hour to get to school etc it’s not ideal. And probably the route cause of a lot of underage drinking. Now I live in Newcastle. Big enough to feel city-like but close to countryside and coast. Love it!

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This post has chimed with so many of us! I'm urban to urban. I lived in Manchester until I was 18, and have lived thereafter in Oxford and in London. When I moved to Oxford for work, after being in London very happily for five years, I felt a great loss; that dissipated pretty quickly, although looking after tiny children made any wider reflection impossible. I love Oxford as a city - it's small, (in many places very) beautiful, lots to do, and easy to get to London. But the older I get I also long to move to a country village - I'm pretty introverted and I think a love of nature strikes many people when they are past 35 (I am well past 35). Now I would very much want to live in an Oxfordshire /Gloucesterhire cottage the type that will feature in Midsummer Murders. But having really enjoyed my youth in the Manchester of the 1990s, I am worried that to deprive my kids of living in a vibrant city as teenagers would be unfair. So I am hoping that their ability to get to London (while telling me always where they are ... of course) will be satisfactory while they will no doubt hate the restrictions of living in a minor provincial city ...

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Have wrestled with this for years. Since I haven't had to be here for work reasons, I've thought a lot about why I am: I have more time to do (and do do) the things you can in London like art galleries and plays; all my formative friends are here - the ones I had babies with, whose kids went to the same schools as mine etc; I don't want to have to drive everywhere like you do in the country. I'm older than you are and new considerations have crept into the thinking eg there'll come a point when it'll be handy to be near a hospital. On the other hand, it must be good for your soul and your body to be able to see and hang out in the countryside; even though we're not big pub users, I like the idea of having a local I want to go to; and yes, the seasons and the local wildlife would become even more fascinating than they are in Kilburn. But the trump card currently in play is my kids and now, wonderfully, grandchildren. I want to be a useful granny, on hand and available so I can be an everyday part of their lives rather than one they visit now and then. Recently I've decided that until and unless THINGS get so bad they too want to leave London, I'll be here.

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Things that make me not leave London every time I come back from the holiday destination of perfection in a bit of Wales (wild with sea and not many tourists in comparison to other bits): I've lived in capital cities most of my life so I'm not sure I'm anything other than a big city person and thinking otherwise is probably a potentially expensive delusion; I can be at my desk in under 40 mins; my doctors - consultants that is - I'm not ill as such but I have something that could at any moment get worse so I'd rather have my person at UCLH who has seen me for decades than some general hospital who don't have a clue; my kids - they do loads of sport but also dance and theatre - you don't get the same level of opportunities if you potentially want to do this stuff professionally in a village/ small town; their social network - I think they'd kill me (they are all teens/ starting at uni); my social network are all still here and haven't moved out (yet); I'd also quite like somewhere where if my mum came to visit she wouldn't be the sole visible ethnic minority (and more proper villages are like this than aren't even my parents' one which is 20 mins drive from a city); the prospect of driving everywhere; not being able to get to a train station/ airport quickly to escape the country (niche requirement but culturally something that I'd prefer); not wanting to have a social life revolving round a pub, I've never liked pubs so not sure why I'd start now. All that said I live in a comparatively leafy, lowish crime area of N London where teens are generally working hard at school and not attacking each other (although levels of drug and drink are way higher than most parents imagine).

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I grew up in properly rural and now live in Guernsey. I ADORE london but don't want to live there. I go every 8 weeks or so and go compeltly bonkers going to everything, spending all the money, having nice flat whites and cocktails and meeting all my family and friends and making them exhausted by how much i want to do in 72 hours. And then i'm done. I need the space and the fact that I can be by the sea or near cows very quickly. I miss my family in the UK so much being here and hate that I have to fly not just get in the car but it is what it is. London is amazing and beautiful and I agree its full of fabulous old people but the countryside is too. i'd only say that in rural places you do need HOBBIES or you will get very lonely, (multigenerational ones too) and you have to accept that 'your tribe' that might be perfectly tailoured to you in a city is much harder to find in the country and you have to compromise.

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I moved from a city to a village on the outskirts. There is clear sky/owls/village hall, but it is also near a good bus route into town. I was quite young when I moved here and it took me about ten years to like it... I do now though so it seems I have also changed and not really sure why. Love your writing. Writing for no reason is the best reason x

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We lived in London for 20 years then moved to Jersey 8 years ago and boy was I unhappy when I got here. People were so unfriendly, assuming you weren't here for long, and the kids were just plain miserable.. Fast forward 8 years and I do finally have a gang, and get invited to stuff BUT - and here's the rub - 99% of them are immigrants like me. And we have no culture - no proper theatre or art scene and only a multiplex cinema that shows Top Gun Maverick or the latest Marvel on repeat. The shopping is ok, but the same shops get tedious, and we have to order Zara from Spain at 20 euros a shot for delivery, and there is NOTHING for teenagers to do except minor drugs and alcohol so there is a lot of low-level abuse. Yes is is stunning, and I mean stunningly beautiful - but looking at views can be pretty lonely by youself. I yearn for London but what I think I mean is that I yearn for the Suburbs, or a nice town like Chichester or Petersfield, really. Or maybe a flat in London so I can be a dowager duchess and go up to town to meet friends for a concert at the Southbank.

A friend came to stay from Brighton recently and was genuinely freaked out by the lack of pavement or street lighting on the way to the pub, and he flattened himself against a hedge when a tractor roared past and vowed to never return.

Do be careful what you wish for!

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