UK Dopers - Where should I move to?

So my husband and I have been here for two and a half years now, really enjoying the British experience. I work from home and my husband will shortly be going freelance as well, which means we won’t be tied to living in a particular location any more.

We both grew up in places with a lot of water nearby. I grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, which is a city with two rivers, and my husband grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, which is on the narrowest strip of the North Island, with many beaches and harbours on both sides.

We’ve recognised that the water element is something we miss, and so we’re thinking of moving somewhere that has more water around. We’d also like to be a bit further south (we’re currently just south of Manchester) to potentially enjoy some milder weather.

Can anyone suggest any nice watery towns/cities below Birmingham? Don’t feel you have to give a big speel about your recommendation, we can look places up on Wikipedia, etc, it’s just a bit hard to narrow a search down to ‘places with rivers’ so some starting towns/cities would be a great help.

The obvious suggestion is what will be the centre of the sailing world for the next 3 years and that’s Weymouth - events galore and everyone will be out there learning the currents and winds.

The further west of there you go the more desirable it is imo, the south Dorset and Devon coasts are just breathtakingly beautiful. And then you get to Cornwall . . .

Maybe take a car and explore.

Birmingham - more miles of canals than Venice. Nicer architecture, too.

Oxford and surrounding area is good for the Thames - quite a busy river for boating, walks etc.

Bristol seems quite a pleasant city whenever I’ve visited. On the coast, rivers galore plus the city to go with it for jobs etc. The West of the UK is usually wetter though, so it might rain a lot.

I was fond of Pretoria. I lived in a “British” neighborhood and it was very friendly.

Thank you all for your suggestions, I shall look into them! Sadly, I suspect the South West coast will be out of our price range, but it never hurts to look!

I was going to suggest somewhere on the river in Cambridge, but that’s pretty expensive too.

Perhaps the Norfolk Broads would suit you? Somewhere like Norwich or Lowestoft, with lots of rivers and a really rather nice seaside, not difficult to get to London if you have to travel in to work now and then.

Places like e.g. Twickenham in West London (which have river views) cost a fortune.

If you’re working from home, may I suggest the countryside?

Rutland Water has sailing, watersports, fishing, bird-watching, nature reserves and the Rutland Belle cruise boat.
Oakham is the county town and house prices are much lower. :slight_smile:
The crime rate is low and we have good schools.

We live between Southampton and Winchester - semi rural, but close to the cities and the Solent, and good travel links to wherever. It is a bit pricey, but we managed to get a house 8 years ago having moved from rural NZ. We really like it.


How about Ipswich? Property prices are not outrageous, the old docks are being developed into a trendy area, there is a reasonable range of shops, a good train service to London, and the coast and scenic countryside are just a short drive away.

Lowestoft? Lowestoft?! shudder Norwich is a good call, though, however the generic waterside development in Ipswich is looking like it’s going to end up half student ghetto, half abandoned. At least one of the big blocks of apartments is being mothballed, incomplete. That said, there’s a lot of very nice small towns around the area.

I’m in Bristol, and would definitely recommend giving it a look. It is near the coast (though the beaches round the Severn Estuary are more silt than sand) and has the River Avon and a ‘floating harbour’ that I don’t truly understand.

Plus, people down here talk like pirates, which is a novelty bonus.

Bristol looks intruiging! Does it have much in the way of heritage? I always thought it was a new city rather than a historic one, but I could be wrong!

Reasonably new - 11th century according to wiki. :wink:

Definitely historic, it got its Royal Charter in 1155. A very handsome city it is too.

Is “below Birmingham” an unavoidable condition? If not, consider Newcastle upon Tyne. Nice city, it’s been tidied up considerably in the latest years, got the required river and the sea is very close by. Cost of life is slightly cheaper than Down South, which goes down very well on limited finances.

People are ok and they have an interesting accent, and the city is famous for its many clubs, pubs and discoes. Here and nearby there are lots of things to see, such as Durham and York (worth considering in their own right), more castles than you can shake a camera at, enough forests to get lost in, lots of hiking tracks if you’re into it. The airport has connection to nearly every major city in Europe (I’m leaving in an hour for Rome), and, well, why not just drop by and evaluate it yourself?

Yes, below Birmingham is pretty much the only unchangeable requirement, simply for the ability to take a train to London for work purposes as required.

It’s definitely got history (albeit a fair bit based on the slave trade…) with various olde buildings and Brunel bits and bobs like the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and SS Great Britain.

And people do commute to London from here, so I’m told - the rail/motorways are pretty direct.

Plus it’s 30 minutes away from Bath (according to Google maps), and both my husband and I really like Bath!

I think we will be heading off for a weekend in Bristol to find out what we make of it!

I live in Oxford, and while we do have the river, the two people I know best who come from seaside communities are both going independently crazy about the lack of sea.

There’s something strangely addictive about being near it, which I understand, so here might not be a good idea. Bristol sounds ideal. Great little city and really close (around an hour’s drive) to some good beaches in both the West Country and Wales. And convenient to London too.

My wife and I met at uni in Bristol :slight_smile:

My little bro is there at the moment for his PhD.

Lovely city - some not-so-nice parts, but they are easy to avoid, but there are some really nice leafy places (Redland, Stoke Bishop etc). Loads of culture, especially down near the docks, and it’s a “river city” so has that vibe.

You’re not far from the coast, close to the Welsh hills, good access to London on the M4 / Paddington rail line, and as you say Bath and the Cotswolds etc are not far away.

Good for work too - lots of media work, and a fair number of major national/multinationals have their HQs in Bristol now.

Definately worth a visit!