Wednesday 6 October 2021

Are you a city slicker who yearns for the country life? Or perhaps you’re a country bumpkin since birth, now bored and long to be where the buzz doesn’t just come from bees. There are pros and cons to both rural and country living, of course. We’ll have a look at them here to help you decide whether the city or the sticks is for you.

The pros of rural living

Price - You get more for your money in the countryside. For the price of an apartment in London, you could buy an entire village. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, especially if you’ve got your heart set on one of the posher villages, but in general, you get bigger houses for less money the more remote you go.

Improved standard of living - Having more space will improve your standard of living. You won’t feel so claustrophobic and cramped, you’ll likely have a garden (maybe even one out the front too, woo hoo), off-street parking and a garage.

All that clean, unpolluted air is healthier, too. No more black gunge up your nose (Londoners will know all about this)!

You’ll be at one with nature - You’ll be surrounded by countryside and can spend your spare time walking in fields and forests and growing your own fruit and vegetables in your garden. If you’ve got a dog or cat, they’ll love all the outside space too.

Sense of community - People will say hello to you when they pass you in the street (or lane, if you’re really in the sticks). If you’re from London or a big town, you’ll probably find this quite disconcerting at first. But don’t panic, people are just friendlier in the countryside, they’re not being weird or about to mug you.

It’s quieter - If you’re living in the middle of nowhere, it’s quiet. Like, pindrop quiet. No traffic, no neighbours a few inches away on the other side of a thin wall you can hear arguing about whose turn it is to put the bins out. No drunks falling out of nightclubs at 2am on a Sunday morning chucking chip packets and bits of kebab into your front garden.

The cons of rural living

Expenses - Yes, you get a bigger house for your money but if you’re still working in the city, your commuting expenses are going to be massive. And if you want to go out at night, unless you drive, be prepared for taxis costing a lot more than they do in the city.

It’s remote - The remoteness might be the sole reason you fancy the countryside. Perhaps you fantasise about living the hermit life, never having to see anyone ever. Or hardly ever. Just you pottering in the garden tending to your homegrown fruit and veg while cats, dogs and chickens bask in the sun.

This is all very well, but what about when you run out of milk? Unless you’ve got your own dairy cow (do not buy a dairy cow), you’ve got a long drive or walk to the shop. Which, being the countryside, probably isn’t even open when it says it will be.

Public transport is irregular and expensive - People in cities are spoilt with their public transport system. Buses, tubes, trains and trams will get you wherever you want to be all day and all night. And it doesn’t even cost much.

In the countryside, however, buses are irregular, there’s no such thing as a tube, and if you do manage to get on the one bus a day that runs, it costs an amount that will have you raising your eyebrows the first time you buy a ticket.

To be fair though, you’ll get a lot further in a lot less time in the countryside than you would in the city. For example, five miles on a bus in the countryside will take about ten minutes, as opposed to the three hours it’d take you in London.

You’ll get snowed in - You know how in London when it snows, you look out the window, exclaim at how pretty it is, then by the time you get out the door to go to work, it’s all gone? In the countryside, when it snows, it sticks around for weeks. You can’t go anywhere because the roads and pavements (if you even have pavements) are icy, no one can get to you because the roads are icy, and snow is no longer the pretty thing it once was but is now just a load of cold and icy inconvenience.

The pros of urban living

More job opportunities - Although COVID heralded a new wave of remote workers, plenty of companies still want their workers to show their faces at the office now and again. Fine, if you’re within commuting distance but if you’re not, you might get passed over for someone who lives nearer.

And if you’re not a remote worker, there are obviously far more opportunities in big cities and towns than in the countryside.

Entertainment is aplenty - If you’re a bit of a culture vulture, you can’t go wrong with city living. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything is there for you to enjoy. Cinema, bars, restaurants, theatres, museums, galleries - whatever you fancy doing, you can do it in a city.

No need to have a car - You don’t need a car in a city. Even if you do drive, you’ll have nowhere to park it and you’ll only travel at an average of 4mph anyway. But that’s okay because you can get rid of the car and walk, bus, train, tube or tram wherever it is you need to go quickly, easily and relatively cheaply.

The cons of urban living

Price - We all know how expensive it is to live in a city. London, especially, is so expensive now, would-be homeowners feel they’ve as much chance buying a house on the moon as one in London.

It’s not just the price of houses that’s eye-wateringly high. Have you seen the price of a pint in London lately? Eek.

Noisy and crowded - Cities are crowded. They’re also noisy. There’s traffic and people everywhere. Houses and flats are all bunched up together and you may well have people not only living next door to you on both sides but above and below you too.

Higher crime rate - Of course, there’s going to be a higher crime rate where the population is higher but it’s not simply a question of percentages. Crime rates are higher in cities and if you live in a city or big town, if you haven’t been a victim of crime yourself, the chances are high you know someone who has.

Of course, you don’t have to live at such extremes as in a city centre or in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of suburbs that will give you easy access to the city or perhaps semi-rural will prove to be the best of both worlds.

Whatever you decide, make sure you consider all the pros and cons of urban and rural living before making the move.
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