Six months after moving from London to the seaside town of Swanage, Dorset Hatty shares what leaving London has given her family – the good, the bad, and the ugly!
I’ve talked before about our sudden decision to leave London and move to the country. It is hard to believe that six months has really past since we left London. It has whizzed by and we love what moving house has given us as a family.
A sense of space
Lots of people move out of London to gain more space for less money. In fact, the house we purchased in Dorset is actually a tiny bit smaller than our London house (which had more stairs and landings but it wasn’t necessarily space you could use). The space we have gained is open space. Sea views, a bigger garden, a short walk to the beach and country footpaths. Sad as we were to say goodbye to our Edwardian semi, we’ve fallen in love with the light and feeling of space provided by our new house.
The chance to re-engineer our finances and work slightly less
We did save money by selling in London and buying in Dorset (even though house prices are not cheap here). Putting some money in the bank has given us time to re-engineer our working lives as well as giving us flexibility to choose how and when we work. We’re still working hard (perhaps harder, as we are starting again in many ways) but 9-5 constraints have gone and our preconceptions about what constitutes “work” has changed.
Time as a family
Moving out of London has changed us as a family. The sense of space, abundant fresh air and less pressured lifestyle has calmed us all down (yes even me who just loves to be busy). This, combined with the fact we don’t have to commute to work anymore, has given us the opportunity to enjoy more time together as a family. There are so many lovely things to do together too – and you don’t have to battle with London transport.
Making new friends and taking up invigorating hobbies
I’ve already talked about how we have made a real effort to make new friends. We’ve been busy taking up new hobbies, re-discovering things we used to do, finding new communities and making friends.
It’s reinvigorated us personally.
Building new relationships with old friends
One concern we had is that we might lose contact with our old friends in London (and beyond). In fact, we’ve found people have been very keen to come and stay with us. What’s more, because people come and stay (rather than just popping over for lunch or supper), we actually have longer together. We enjoy sharing this beautiful area, there is more time to talk and so we discover new things about each other.
We are getting to know old friends better!
So far we really haven’t found much we don’t enjoy. People said we’d hate the “cold, dark months” of January and February but we actually enjoyed experiencing nature (and all it can throw at you) in close quarters. Somehow nature doesn’t get a look-in in London.
We do miss the multiculturalism of London. It’s not just the faces you see in the street, it’s the range of multicultural food in shops and restaurants, the buzz of hearing another language spoken, the variety that different cultures inject into our communities. We do miss that.
All I can say is seagull poo on your washing (left hanging to dry on the line) is horrendous!
All told, we’re feeling very settled and are so glad we took the plunge to move out of London.
The tourist season has started here and, over Easter weekend, we got our first glimpse of what it will be like sharing this lovely place with an influx of tourist. Official statistics say Swanage’s population doubles in size over the summer months! It’s lovely to see people playing on the beach, enjoying walking in the stunning countryside and smiling (people do tend to smile more when they are on holiday).
Perhaps we might tempt you down to explore this beautiful area? Look out for a series of posts on things you could do down here if you do choose to pop down for a holiday or weekend break…