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Brighton or the country – whats it to be?



I’m having something of a dilemma.  My husband, Greg and I have been talking for a long time now about moving from Brighton. Should we swap the blue of the sea for the blue of the woods?  On the plus side, there are so many brilliant things about where we live; we can walk to the City centre in about 10 minutes, to the beach in about 15, and to the station just as quickly.  We have a baker, a deli, florist, post office, dry cleaners, coffee shops all at the end of our road.  It really is a great location.

But there are little things that bug us; the fact that if you go out for the day on a Sunday when you come back the chances of being able to park in the same street as the house let alone outside it are slim to none.  The noise; it’s not that we have particularly noisy neighbours, but we live in a terrace house, and lately we have both become pretty sensitive to noise, I think it’s an age thing!  The garden; for a city garden, ours is considered big, but in reality what that means is we have room for a table and chairs, a small slide and tiny playhouse for the girls but not much else.

We talked it through on numerous occasions, and we had decided we were ready.  The good life was calling.  A house in the country; land to grow veg and a cutting patch for flowers of course.  Outbuildings for my workshops and possibly for others to use too.  Plenty of grass and woodland for the girls to run feral.  All topped off with a rambling old house, and not forgetting the aga of course!  For about the same price as our terrace house in the City!

Why the dilemma?  Summer has arrived and now I’m not so sure, I have been reminded what I love about Brighton.  I don’t know if I can leave all the convenience, the beach and the  lively atmosphere behind for country living.  I really am struggling with this, my heart is torn.

Is there a solution, well I guess one of sorts, and that’s the suburbs.  I always said I didn’t want to live in the ‘burbs.  I know it is ridiculous, but I immediately think of Edward Scissorhands and it freaks me out a little.  We could definitely get more space and more land, would we be able to walk to the beach and to the shops, maybe, it would depend on the house location.  But I’ve always said it has to be all or nothing for me, as with most things in my life.  So that’s it, a dilemma.  What we do know, is that where we live right now doesn’t suit our needs anymore, but what will, that is the question.

Emma x

10 comments on “Brighton or the country – whats it to be?”

  1. Hi Emma, I thought I’d leave a comment, I love reading your blog. I’m an old friend of Melanie’s (geoffrey and grace) I totally know where you’re coming from. We lived in Brighton for about 10 years and loved it, the vibrancy and everything you mentioned, it’s quite a unique city. We then moved to Worthing where we lived for a few years but had a big pull to the countryside and the longing for space and peace after our first child was born rather than the bustle of the city. I think this was due to me and my husband both growing up in the countryside. We took the leap nearly 5 years ago, we now live in a quiet village in Kent (we’re both from Kent originally) deep in the countryside but 10 mins drive from the coast. At first it was quite an adjustment and of course there are many things we miss, especially our lovely friends but it just feels right and it’s lovely to be able to hear owls hooting at night and the calm and still of the countryside rather than the busy bustle of the town. Good luck with your decision & follow your heart.

    1. Hi Hannah, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I grew up in Kent too, in a village. It is helpful to know that you are happy. It is a difficult decision, and I wonder if keeping an open mind and looking at houses both in and out of the city might help us decide.

  2. This is a topic so very dear to my heart, Emma! I grew up in the country, moved to the city, and have spent years asking myself whether or not I’m ready to move back. I’m not sure I have any wisdom, but I have a few thoughts…

    The first is that it might help to have more clarity around what you are hoping will be different if you do move to the country. How do you imagine living in the country would make you feel? How would that be different than if you stayed in Brighton? Often times we know concretely what we think we want (to live somewhere quieter, etc.), but we are less clear about the impact we think those changes will have on our life (e.g. I’d be able to relax if I lived somewhere quieter). If you have this kind of clarity it can be useful to ask if there’s a way to create a more relaxing atmosphere in your current home. Maybe you don’t really need to move.

    And maybe you really do need to move. Maybe it’s time. In which case you may need to allow yourself permission to grieve the life you’ve had and the memories you’ve built in Brighton. Moving to the country (or the suburbs) can be the right thing to do and it can still be heartbreaking to leave behind the life you’ve had. If it really is time to move then allowing yourself to grieve may help you find more clarity about where you want to go next.

    I don’t know if any of that is helpful (and please ignore me if it’s not!). I wish you only the best as you make this difficult decision.

    1. Hi Jessica. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. What you wrote is very helpful. I think we both know what we would like the impact on our lives to be, but I think you are right and we need to think about that even more to gain some clarity. I never expected to feel so torn about it, but it is a big decision as the impact will be great.

  3. Go go go! You’ll never regret it. We love living in our cliff top village but it is rather large so I guess it might be considered the suburbs-ish? But we have a 2-minute walk to the country park at one end of our road and the cliffs and coastal walks 5 mins in the other direction – heavenly. I do miss being able to nip out and well, buy anything ‘unusual’ – but we have one great shop here (with flowers). The convenience is only fleetingly missed. No street lamps or light pollution and all the stars are out here in the country. We do have amazing internet here though so not cut off in a technological way 😉

    I will never go back if I don’t have to. xxx

    1. Hello you. Your spot sounds idyllic, I’m not sure we could find anywhere quite so perfect. You never know though. Thanks for commenting lovely lady xx

  4. Emma, I can really relate to this too! The lure of the countryside is growing ever stronger for me, especially since my daughter was born. The city is winning out for now – but I am not sure for how much longer! I’m not sure how helpful this is but a couple of thoughts: how often do you go to beach/shops etc? If just weekly or fortnightly, maybe you’ll miss them less than you think and weekend visits will be sufficient? Also, I’m not sure if you have found the house yet, but if not, perhaps finding the right house/village will give you clarity. Maybe if you can find a small town or village with a shop & a warm/active community etc that will be a better fit than somewhere right in the sticks? I do think Jessica is right about the grieving process – whatever you decide will always involve a degree of compromise & sacrifice – and it would be a big leap into the unknown, so natural to feel torn. Good luck with your decision.

    1. Hi Rachel. Thank you so much for commenting. I think you are right, it may be the house we like dictates the location, at the moment we are keeping an open mind and looking both in the city and out of Brighton. But Brighton is such an appealing place in the summer with the lure of the beach and the buzz in the air.

  5. One small consideration, from someone who has a teenager. When the children are small, the thought of the countryside is idyllic and the teenage years seem so far away. However, when they do arrive, the isolation and difficulty getting anywhere can be really hard for teens.
    I have friends who work, and in the summer holidays their older kids are stranded in the middle of nowhere with no pavements and unreliable buses, making it difficult to get anywhere. There’s a lot to be said for the freedom of being able to walk to meet a gang of friends, pop to the shops, easily get the train. It certainly alleviates my stress to know my daughter can go to meet friends and walk into town if she needs anything, especially as, with our own shop, I barely get any time off.
    It’s great for their independence and confidence; I would have loved to live in a vibrant city like Brighton when I was a teenager. We are in the dreaded suburbs, but it’s ok…we have the countryside on our doorstep and halfway in between London & Brighton on the train.

    1. Hi Nancy

      What you say makes absolute sense, and it is definitely a factor that I am considering, my eldest is nine and I almost think that it is too late now. I grew up in the country and until I learnt to drive, I felt incredibly trapped. Thank you for commenting.

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