Why we live where we do

We live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, all rolling hills and patchwork-quilt countryside, picture-postcard villages and a genteel kind of life where the Horticultural Show takes priority in the yearly village calendar.

We have outstanding schools, both primary and (if you are lucky enough to get a place) secondary, and (if you are even more lucky enough to get a place) an outstanding grammar school not too far away.

We are close to a lovely city which has a tasteful arrangement of shops and a few leisure and sporting facilities.

I have family a few miles away, it is a reasonable commute for Matthew and is close to a train line.

We have so much space here. I hadn’t realised how much until we viewed a beautiful house in a beautiful area and I couldn’t put my finger on what wasn’t quite right about it. It was only when we got home and I stepped out into the garden that I realised it was the feeling of space that was missing at the other house.


There is a local park just down the dirt track which we pretty much live at. There’s not much traffic (although village drivers drive brutally fast so no walking along the road unsupervised) and it all feels pretty safe.

We chose to move here for all those reasons.

I love it, I honestly do. This house, that I love so much, has served us well. It has seen us through some really tough times and as a family we are still standing. I would hate to leave it.

But after all these years here, I’m dying to get away.

We moved here from a small but bustling market town where we could walk to everything. We moved there when we only had one child and I didn’t even need a car, there was pretty much everything I needed on our doorstep. It was small enough that you couldn’t walk into town without meeting a whole bunch of people you knew but it wasn’t so small that everyone knew all your business.

In our village, everyone knows all your business. There is no shop, so popping out for milk becomes a military exercise. There is nothing for the children to do. The nearby city has some things for the children to do but not enough. Almost all the children go to the not-so-good secondary school, so if you choose the great school (which is relative anyway because it doesn’t really compare with the grammar) you are the odd-child-out. The local grammar is massively competitive; tutoring is pretty much essential – and that is both costly and takes up precious weekend downtime. The grammar skews the rest of the school system. And you cannot move around here for private prep schools (known mostly as 11+ grammar-crammers). And the schools are in opposite directions so moving into the city/town to be nearer one would be a bit of a gamble.

But mostly, now our children are tweens I am seeing years of being a constant taxi-service looming ahead of me. I don’t mind being a taxi service but I would prefer that the children had a great peer group of friends who live nearby and that they all have good, productive things to do that are close by. It sounds terribly middle-class, writing that down, but those are my hopes.

We can’t go back from whence we came mostly because of schools. So we are on the search for the next place, one which ticks most of (or enough of) the essential boxes: a community with enough going on locally, great state schools, a reasonable commute for Matthew, a train line, affordable housing, a hospital with a children’s ward and a paediatric nephrology hospital not too far away.

Those are a lot of variables but we are enjoying the search. And soon I hope we will be able to say we have found the town we hope to be based in until the children have left home. It feels like a bit of a commitment, this uprooting and moving lark, and sometimes I think it would just be easier to stay here. But in my heart I have already moved. Now we just need to find the right place to move to.

Why do you live where you do? Would you live somewhere else if you could choose to move?

Friday ClubWelcome to the Friday Club Carnival, a weekly carnival held here. This week’s Carnival is all about the reasons why you live where you do and here you’ll find lots of posts on this subject:

Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine tells us Home is where the heart is.

Jules at I Need Curtains for the Window In My Head posts Why Do I Live Where I Do?

South of the River Mum writes about Bringing up children in London.

Scribbling Mum explains why she lives where she does.

Jacq from Mymumdom posts about why she lives in London.

Rachel at Midlife Singlemum tells us Why she lives in Israel.

Kelly at Domestic Goddesque tells us about Wonderful, wonderful Bromley, and why I live there.

Bibsey Mama gives us 7 reasons to live in Spain in Cool España.

Helen at Cheeky Wipes tells us There’s Always a Compromise.

Jenny at The Gingerbread House tells us about her home in Our house.

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family tells us Home is Where The Heart Is.

Jax at Live Otherwise/Making it Up explains Why I live here. Right here. In this house.

Emma at MummyMummyMum tells us about where she lives.

Cara at Freckles Family posts Where I Call Home.

Merry at Patch of Puddles writes Why I Live Where I Live.

Pure Lanzarote tell us the reasons for their choice in Why live in Lanzarote?

35 thoughts on “Why we live where we do

  1. Pingback: Our house | the-gingerbread-house.co.uk

  2. Muddling Along

    Gosh it is beautiful – we are also countryside based and have to drive everywhere which does worry me for the future (either that or we won’t let the children socialise!)

    Always so hard to know where to live – for us the commute is important, as is proximity to family (whilst also not being too close…)

    1. ella

      I have wondered whether where we live is a good-enough place and that the taxi-service for the children in the future is a price we are willing to pay for that.

  3. Pingback: Call for submissions to the Friday Club Life Carnival – why do you live where you do? — Notes From Home

  4. SAHMlovingit

    What a beautiful post Ella and what a gorgeous place you live in – how lucky you are. That space you have looks amazing. I’m sorry I missed this Friday Club (my attention to blogging has been somewhat lacking over the past 4-5 weeks really) as I would have loved to have joined in.

    Hope you’re well x

  5. Crystal Jigsaw

    A good school is vitally important and I know exactly what you mean. Is that your field in the picture above? I live very remotely and it’s a military exercise to buy anything here as well, but I love it, I love the tranquility and the peace of it all.

    CJ xx

    1. ella

      Yes, those are the two fields behind our house. I will miss the space when we move but I’m secretly holding out for a beautiful house on the edge of a thriving town because I hadn’t realised how much I valued the space until we started househunting.

  6. Pingback: Why live in Lanzarote | PURE LANZAROTE

  7. Make do mum

    I live in a grimy part of London so I’m very envious of your photos! Good luck with your area hunting, hope you can find somewhere that ticks all the boxes

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  10. Midlife Singlemum

    Whereever you go you already have a little community of six to share the experience. That must help a lot. I think some of my inertia is a reluctance to do it on my own. Good luck in your search – Rachel

  11. Pingback: Cool España – 7 reasons why I live in Andalucía | Bibsey

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  13. cass

    It sounds like you live in an idyllic area but I do agree that children need a bit more as they are growing up. I love moving house and I’m really jealous of your house hunting – keep us updated x

  14. Pingback: Why I live where I live #Friday Club | Home Educating the Puddle Chicks.

  15. Harriet

    That’s alot of things you have to think about! I hope you find somewhere and then let me know where it is, because it sounds like it will be perfect 🙂

  16. mummymummymum

    It looks absolutely beautiful! Schools are such a big factor when considering a move aren’t they? Good luck with your search, it sounds like you have a lot to think about. x

  17. Soph

    It’s all just so lovely – where you live, where you want to move to.

    I have to admit that if everything else was right I would be prepared to be the mum that’s always in the car taking her children about but I can see the downsides of that, especially if they want picking up at 2 o’clock in the morning!

  18. Ems

    Gorgeous pics.

    We live in an area with good schools and all the children can walk to their friends’ houses. We don’t have the perfect house but I love that the children all have a good set of friends and haven’t fallen in with a bad crowd. It’s perfect for us.

  19. Scribbling Mum

    I was nodding the whole way through reading this post. I think I may be writing something similar in about eleven years or so. But I’m also excited for you by reading it. It’s time for a change and that’s exciting! The next stage. I think homes do have a sell by date especially when you have kids, it’d be impossible to find one to last a lifetime, and that’s ok, it’s healthy. I wish you luck on the next family adventure ! x

  20. Jacq

    Oh god, I know I’d be like that about living in a village.
    I love that we have enough of a community here that you probably will run into someone you know at the local shops but 5 years later not everyone I speak to knows I’m a vet.
    I agree that it’s important for kids to have stuff to do and to be able to get there easily. Mine are too young still but most of the teenagers here get on well with buses and the tube which is encouraging.

  21. Karen

    It looks very beautiful where you live but I couldn’t bear to live in a tiny village where everyone knows when someone else sneezes.

  22. Cheeky Wipes Helen

    I’ve always lived in reasonable sized towns – there are lots of beautiful villages near us, but for some reason the idea of living in one brings me out in a cold sweat. That thing of everyone knowing your business I think…

    Good luck with the search…

  23. katressa

    There’s always something to compromise on.we live in a good sized village with shops,pubs etc, its beautiful and quiet at night and perfect for the little ones to walk to sch/park takes 5 mins.when they are older they can get the bus to the sch/town 3 miles away. But the house is small,small garden and we r overlooked. To move to the edge with a view and space like urs would b great but i’d probably end up driving to the shops n school cos the road is too busy n no footpaths 🙂

  24. Cassie

    Hello Ella, just popping by to say hello and good luck with the impending move, I hope you find your dream home. X

  25. Jackie

    To be honest, if you have an outstanding grammar and an outstanding state school you have the best of both worlds. I doubt you will find that anywhere else very easily. Good luck though 🙂

  26. southoftherivermum

    Hi Ella – It sounds lovely where you like but I agree there is a window when space is the priority and it’s when your children are little. You can live the dream of throwing them into the garden or down the dirt track you described. As they get older they need more and you want a good pool of friends for them so they can choose who they hang out with. I think Kent is the place that people head to from London for space, grammer schools and quality of life so you might look there. As you know I love London and don’t think I’ll ever move (although a bigger garden would be nice but that’s just greedy!)

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  28. Annie

    I live in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk. Sounds like it might tick some of your boxes! Good luck with your quest.

  29. Mia Jarvis

    Sounds like it might tick some of your boxes! Hello Ella, just popping by to say hello and good luck with the impending move, I hope you find your dream home.

  30. Pingback: Why We Live Win the Fens | Friday Club Post | Home Educating the Puddle Chicks.

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