High heels or wellies? Gym or hike? Clubs or fetes? Street Art or Nature Trails? Malls or farmer’s markets?

Yep. In today's post, we're diving into the age-old debate of rural vs. urban living in the UK. We'll explore the unique pros and cons of each, helping you decide which lifestyle aligns best with your personal needs and aspirations. 

Whether it's the tranquillity of the countryside or the buzz of city life, this guide aims to provide insights into your ideal living choice.

The lowdown on rural living

When we think about rural living in the UK, we're not just picturing quaint villages nestled amidst rolling hills and wide-open fields, but also the tranquil pace of life that accompanies them. 

These picturesque landscapes, often dotted with historic cottages and winding country lanes, offer a stark contrast to the bustling city streets. In these rural settings, the air feels fresher, the skies seem clearer, and there's a sense of serenity that's hard to find in urban environments.


Definition of rural living


Rural living in the UK typically means residing in areas that are sparsely populated, often surrounded by farmland, forests, or natural landscapes. 

These areas are known for their close-knit communities and a slower pace of life. They're the kind of places where everyone knows everyone, and there's a real sense of belonging.


Pros of rural living


Tranquillity and scenic beauty

One of the biggest draws to rural living is undoubtedly the peace and quiet. 

You're surrounded by nature, from stunning countryside views to starlit skies at night, unspoiled by city lights. It's the perfect setting for those who love the outdoors and crave a serene environment.


Community spirit

There's something special about the community spirit in rural areas. 

Neighbours are more than just people living next door; they often become like extended family. Local events, from village fetes to seasonal markets, are the heartbeat of these communities, creating a strong sense of togetherness.


Space and privacy

In rural areas, you're likely to have more space – both inside and out. 

Gardens are usually larger, and homes are spaced further apart, offering a degree of privacy that can be hard to find in urban settings. It's ideal for those who value their own space or want to cultivate a garden.


Cons of rural living


Limited amenities and services

One trade-off of rural living is the limited access to amenities and services. 

Things like supermarkets, hospitals, and entertainment options might not be as readily available. This means you'll often have to travel further for everyday needs or special outings.


Transportation challenges

Public transport can be a bit hit-and-miss in rural areas. 

If you don't drive, getting around can be tricky. Even if you do have a car, you'll likely be clocking up more miles, whether it’s for work, shopping, or socialising.


Limited job opportunities

Lastly, job opportunities in rural areas can be more limited, especially in specialised fields. This isn't a deal-breaker for everyone, but it's worth considering if you're planning a career move or looking for diverse employment options.

What’s up with urban living?

Urban living in the UK paints a different picture compared to its rural counterpart. 

It's all about the energy of the city, the vibrant streets, and the diverse mix of people and cultures. Living in an urban area has its own set of perks and challenges, which we’ll explore below.


Definition of urban living


Urban living typically refers to residing in densely populated areas such as cities or large towns. 

These areas are characterised by their bustling streets, high-rise buildings, and a wide array of commercial, cultural, and entertainment options. It's a lifestyle marked by convenience, accessibility, and a fast-paced environment.


Pros of urban living


Access to amenities and services

One of the biggest advantages of urban living is the sheer convenience. 

You’ve got everything you need right on your doorstep – from supermarkets and healthcare facilities to schools and leisure centres. The variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options is unparalleled.


Employment opportunities

Cities are often hubs for employment. 

They offer a wide range of job opportunities, especially in sectors like finance, technology, and the creative industries. For career-minded individuals, urban areas can provide a wealth of opportunities to climb the career ladder.


Cultural and social opportunities

Urban areas are melting pots of culture and diversity. 

You’ll find museums, galleries, theatres, and music venues offering a rich tapestry of cultural experiences. Additionally, the social scene is vibrant, with endless options for meeting new people, networking, and socialising.


Cons of urban living


Cost of living

Living in a city can be pricey. 

The cost of housing, along with day-to-day expenses, is typically higher than in rural areas. It’s important to factor this in when considering urban living, as it can significantly impact your budget and lifestyle. 


Noise and pollution

Cities can be noisy and polluted. 

Traffic, construction, and the general hustle and bustle contribute to a higher level of noise and air pollution. For those seeking peace and quiet, this can be a significant downside.


Crowding and space limitations

Urban living often means dealing with crowded spaces. 

From busy public transport to packed streets, the sense of personal space can be limited. Additionally, housing in urban areas often provides less living space compared to rural homes.

Making the choice

Deciding between rural and urban living is no small feat. It's not just about where you want to live, but how you want to live. 

This section will help you consider various factors to make a choice that best fits your lifestyle and needs.


Lifestyle considerations


Your lifestyle plays a huge role in this decision. 

Are you someone who loves the quiet and space of the countryside, or do you thrive in the buzz of a city? Think about your hobbies, social life, and what you enjoy doing in your free time. 

If you love nature and tranquillity, rural living might be your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you're all about cultural events, dining out, and a vibrant nightlife, then urban living could be more up your alley.


Family and future planning


If you have a family or are planning one, your priorities might be different. 

Consider schools, parks, and community activities. In rural areas, schools might be smaller and community-focused, while urban areas offer more diversity and extracurricular options. Also, think about the future. 

What might suit you now could change in a few years, so try to think long-term.


Financial implications


Let's talk money. 

Your financial situation can significantly influence your choice. Urban living often comes with a higher cost of living, especially in terms of housing and day-to-day expenses. Rural living can be more affordable in terms of property prices, but don't forget to consider travel costs if you're commuting to a city for work. 

It's crucial to balance your budget with your lifestyle preferences to find a sustainable and enjoyable living situation.

If you’re thinking of moving, and are based in or around Wanstead, East London, we can help. Petty Son and Prestwich have been helping people just like you realise their property dreams for well over 100 years, and we’d love to make you our next satisfied customer.

Give our sales team a call today to find out exactly what makes us the number-one choice for homeowners and landlords in E11.

Article By: Gregory Moore

Gregory has been in the industry for over 15 years. He has an innate ability for negotiation and management, which makes him an immensely valued part of the team. He’s also an enthusiastic fisherman who puts his family, and Shih Tzu, Elmo, first.

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