I am after some much needed advice! My husband and I are moving from New Zealand to England at the very end of this year, and are still unsure about where we should live.
We both love culture, history, and natural beauty. I am a Primary teacher so would obviously want somewhere with enough schools and/or teaching agencies to find a job, and my husband works in ICT, so would need to find a job in that area too.
We don't want anywhere with a really high cost of living. Also we love friendly people (as we, too, are friendly people!), so really do want somewhere where the people are welcoming and friendly, and we can get to know people easily.
What do you all suggest? Where do you live/have you lived that you have loved? What makes each city so great? I really am after any advice on any city you have to offer, even advice warning us against certain places, as that is always valuable too!
Thanks for taking the time to reply, I look forward to reading what is suggested...
Well obviously the South of England is more expensive than the North of England. I'm from the North East, but if you're looking for job prospects then you obviously need to find a balance. How about Manchester/Leeds, cities that offer the opportunities, but are still relatively cheap if you can find the right areas. With Leeds especially, you're also near to York, a really beautiful city with some great countryside and castles.
For my money the big cities have a poorer standard of living - more traffic congestion, pollution, crime, social problems, etc, and less community spirit and openness, so I'd aim for some of the nicer towns and small cities. Obviously that has an effect on your job prospects so you need to figure out if there are jobs around.
York, Scarborough, Lincoln, Chester, Kendal, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Carlisle, Taunton, Exeter, these are all towns (some are cities in name) with some history and character, with natural beauty on their doorsteps.
Re cost of living and friendly people - the South East is the expensive bit, and as a rule of thumb I'd argue that people are more open the further north you go in Britain.
You've said England but maybe also consider some of Scotland's nicer towns - I'd live in Galashiels, Stirling, Perth, Elgin or Inverness - in each case there's beautiful scenery on the doorstep, although on the jobs front there aren't big population centres near Elgin or Inverness.
Do you get to visit and explore before you decide?