Category: Location

What is it like living in the Cotswold?

There is no doubt Cotswold is one of the most beautiful regions of England. The Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a gem in the Cotswold area because of the beautiful landscape and the rolling hills.

The Cotswold walkway is one of the amazing features of the Cotswold area. It extends from the quintessentially English market town of Chipping Campden to the Roman city of Bath. The distance Cotswold walkway is 102 miles (164 km).

Cotswolds pretty villages, cities, and towns

Cotwolds major towns have a rich history

Technically Gloucester City and Cheltenham Town are not in Cotswold. However, they are both at the boundary line of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the West. The City of Bath is also at the boundary of Cotswold AONB in the South. Oxford though not at the boundary of Cotswold AONB but not far off to the AONB in the Eastern part.

Traveling to these cities and towns gives you the opportunity to enjoy large urban areas within a short travel from the Cotswold interior. You can have easy access to the richness of the history of these amazing cities and towns.

Cotswold villages are a lot of quintessentially small English market towns and villages within the Cotswold area. I have a detailed article on the Cotswold villages. 

We regularly visit these towns and villages and it is a blessing to leave within a short distance to these villages and towns.

Cotswold places to visit and day out

You are spoilt for choice of places to visit in the Cotswold. Depending on your interest, there are interesting places to visit in Cotswold. As a dad of a son who loves animals, the Cotswold wildlife park is one of our favorite places to visit. We also love the Bibury Trout Farm in Bibury.

I have a list of places to visit in the Cotswold article which you can read. As well There is an article I wrote that is specifically for places to visit for wildlife.

There are various must-see places in the Cotswold. Depending on your area of interest, there are amazing spots and places where you can have a good family time.

If you are single and just want a place to visit alone, there is a place for you also. Basically, there is a place for everyone.

Click here to see my list of best places to visit in Cotswold.

Proximity to London

One of the amazing things about living in Cotswold is the proximity to London. There are people who work in London but live in Cotswold.

There is a direct train from London to Oxfordshire in the south of the Cotswold. I have a friend who work a couple of days a week in London and the rest of the days at home. He lives in Cheltenham and goes to work in London on the train and returns the same day.

Airport

International airports are not far away. From the center of the Cotswold in Cirencester, you can arrive in London Heathrow within one and half hours. Bristol airport is also close and has flights to various European destinations.

Cardiff airport in Wales is an option also. It’s about 1:30 min away.

Motorways

In the UK, having easy access to the motorway is essential for traveling out of your location. The M5 offers a great opportunity to easily get out of the Cotswold area if you want to travel. There are junctions 10 and 11 for Cheltenham, junction 11 and 11a for Gloucester.

Junctions 12, 1,3, and 14 will also take you easily into the Cotswold area.

Schools

Most families who have school-age children will like their children to attend a good local school.

The majority of the primary and high schools in the Cotswold area have good Ofsted ratings. We have school-age children in my household. We’ve never experienced any issues with them in school. You can look at the rating of schools in the Cotswold area on Locrating.

There are a few selective schools in the Cotswold area.

These schools have examinations they use to select children who go there. They are also called grammar schools.

For people who can afford independent schools, there are a number of them to choose from. For list of independent schools, you can see the Independent Schools Council website.

Historic Environment

Cotswold area has a lot of history. This fact always makes me count it as a privilege living here.

Cirencester is considered the capital of the Cotswold. There is a rich Roman history in Cirencester. 

One of these is the nationally recognized Arlington Row in Bibury.

Gloucester and Cheltenham to the north of the Cotswold can offer great opportunities to experience historic environments. Gloucester Cathedral is full of history. Gloucester is not a Cotswold city, however, the city is just at the border of Cotswold. Gloucester Dock and Cathedral have featured in blockbuster movies.

To the south are Bath and Oxford. Bath is one of the Regency cities with an incredible history of Regency Architecture. As a resident of Cotswold you are in close proximity to these places tourists come to the area to see.

Entertainment, Shopping and Dining

There are a variety of places to eat out and have a good social time with friends and family. Once in a while, we eat out at a variety of restaurants in Cheltenham.

We’ve been to the Nandos at the center of Cheltenham and some of the Indian restaurants. Depending on your pocket and the kind of experience you want there is a place for everyone. You can find the list of the best restaurants in Cotswold by clicking here.

The pubs are great also. We’ve been to a number of pubs across the Cotswold. You can see some of the best pubs in Cotswold here (TOP 50 PUBS IN THE COTSWOLDS)

Cheltenham provides a great opportunity to attend festivals which including the famous Cheltenham Race Festival. There are various events and festivals across the Cotswold. 

When it comes to shopping, Cheltenham might be the best in the northern part of the Cotswold and Bath in the southern part.

Final Thought

We enjoy living in the Cotswold area. The area is a good region of England to raise kids and have good family time. 

Whether you are single or you have a partner, you will enjoy living in the Cotswold area if you are considering moving to the area. 

There are a lot of articles on this website that are specifically related to the Cotswold. You can check out those articles and hope you will find them useful.

 

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Haven Quay West Caravan Holiday Park Review

We love Haven holidays in my household mainly because of the cleanliness of their parks. We have been to various Haven holidays parks across the United Kingdom. I thought I should write about our 4 nights experience at Haven Quay West Holiday Park in Wales.

Location

Haven Quay West Holiday Park is located in the southwest of Wales and very close to the seaside town of New Quay. The town is very small with a population of about 1200 people.

The beach

From the Haven Quay West Holiday Park, there are various entrances to the beach. It’s a golden sandy beach which is perfect for a picnic by the seaside.

I personally prefer sandy beaches to pebble beaches. We visited in autumn so we didn’t get into the water because the weather wasn’t favorable. However, we had an amazing time walking on the beach. It was great to experience and feel the sound of the ocean.

The beach is very clean and I absolutely love the neatness of the surroundings.

Caravan

We stayed in a standard caravan. The caravan is a 2 bed which was good enough for us family of 4. They do have 3 bedroom caravans for bigger families. The main bedroom of our standard has a double bedroom. The second bedroom has 2 single bedrooms.

The site has other caravan sizes like deluxe which has more space than the standard.

If you are wondering what is inside a 2-bed standard caravan you can see this video on my YouTube channel.

YouTube video

Swimming pool

I thought the park is a small holiday park compared to some of the other Haven holiday parks we’ve been to. I remembered vividly haven Devon cliffs is larger than quay west.

The swimming pool for example is small. The swimming pool has some of the common activities around the swimming pool, however, it doesn’t have slides for adults. The only water slide available is for little children.

I must say the pool is good enough for a good relaxing holiday swimming experience.

They have various pool activities which need to be booked separately and paid for and are not included in the stay and play fees of the holiday park.

Grocery for self-catering

There is a mini-market inside the park which has the essentials. The price of items is reasonable but not the cheapest.

There is a Costcutter shop outside the park in the town. It’s about 6min from the park. Not a large shop either but it’s more stocked than the mini-market. Again price is not the cheapest but you will find a bit more stuff there that is not in the mini-market inside the holiday park.

The big supermarket like Aldi, Tesco, etc is too far away.

Eating out

You are not only restricted to cooking and eating in your caravan. There are two places to eat at Haven Quay West Holiday Park. There is Papa Jones pizza on-site obviously for a delicious pizza.

We bought pizza one of the nights and really enjoyed it in our caravan. We bought the pizza at the pizza shop and took it to our caravan.

Papa Jones offers delivery to the caravan if you prefer the convenience of seating in your caravan and let it be delivered to you.

There is a restaurant in the entertainment arena. The restaurant also has a bar. We cooked our food most of the time. We wanted to eat at the restaurant one night but we didn’t book on time.

On arrival at the restaurant, all tables were fully booked so we couldn’t eat at the restaurant. The restaurant is large and has a lot of tables.

Activities & entertainment

There are various activities on-site for both young and adults. Some of these activities are

You will have to pay separately for these activities and if you go during school half-term or any other school holiday, you need to book for the activities on time. The spaces can get filled up quickly.

There is evening entertainment that you might enjoy. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to say much about evening entertainment because our children have never really liked seating watching entertainment at the holiday parks.

They are usually interested in activities like swimming, ball games.

   

Local areas

You don’t have to restrict yourself to only the holiday park. You can visit the local area. We visited the New Quay Town Center. It’s a very small town but very lively around the harbour.

It’s a seaside town with a harbour. The area around the harbor is very beautiful. You can go on a boat ride and can have the opportunity to spot dolphins.

Final thoughts

Haven Quay West is not the best Haven holiday park we’ve been but I will still recommend it. Haven parks generally are good. They have a good standard of neat environment. The activities are reasonable.

Mobile Internet isn’t great. We all use EE in my household so am not sure if other mobile networks have better internet. You can use the free WiFi but only available at the entertainment arena building. WiFi was not available inside the caravan at the time of writing this.

In summary, the park is a good park to enjoy a good break and escape a bit from the busyness of life in your home and work life.

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What’s so special about the Cotswolds?

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the Cotswolds in England? For me, it is ‘dreamy natural beauty.’ From antiquated villages, lush rolling hills to delightful valleys, the Cotswolds is distinctive in many ways.

It is little wonder this largely well-preserved countryside is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

With a landscape of 800 square miles of beautiful rolling hills, it is the largest area of AONB in England. Everything about the Cotswolds is picturesque, from villages, market towns, castles and country houses, gardens to arboretums.

The best way to really enjoy the Cotswold is to walk along the country paths as you discover its gorgeous hills, villages and valleys.

The Cotswold Hills span from the fields of the upper River Thames to the Cotswold Edge. The area’s honey-coloured look comes from the ancient limestone that formed the hills.

The limestone can only be found in the Cotswolds. The woods, green landscape and streams make it an attraction for endangered animals.

There has always been some speculation about how the name ‘Cotswolds’ was coined. Most believe it was formed from ‘Wold’ which is an old English name for hills and the word ‘cot’ which means sheep. Given its history, this makes much sense.

What’s the history of the Cotswolds?

Cotswolds history can be traced back over 6000 years which was when the land was first cultured. Remnants of different eras are still visible all around the region. The Neolithic long barrows and Iron Age hillforts are such examples.

Cirencester used to be the second largest town in Britain during the Roman era and was a major stop on the Fosse Way between Exeter and Lincoln. You can still find various Roman villas in the Cotswolds. Local Roman artefacts can also be found at the Cirencester’s Corinium Museum.

The Cotswolds economy was predominantly wool trade in the Middle Ages. They were famed for having some of the best wool in Europe. The rolling hills were very ideal for sheep farming.

A sheep breed with a long golden fleece was very famous at the time. They even called them the Cotswold lion.

The wool merchants at the time were very rich and you can see pieces of evidence in the grand houses and cathedral-style ‘wool churches’  in places like Chipping Campden and Northleach.

The industrial revolution shifted the wool trade from water to steam power and the mills were moved from Cotswold to the Coalfields.

Even with industrialization, most of the Cotswolds original buildings have remained largely untouched. Today those buildings are a big part of why it’s a tourist haven, which is the area’s biggest economic sector.

Because of the honey-coloured look of the local stone, people preferred to build villages and houses with it and the buildings are what is distinct about the region today.

Where is the Cotswolds?

Located in southwest England, the Cotswolds can be found between the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. It also spreads into portions of Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Somerset.

Just like its name, there really isn’t a definite answer to its borders. The borders of the Cotswolds are difficult to define.

Do you choose the AONB boundary or the local government areas? Do you combine places with a similar history, architecture and geology? Where do you place places like Cheltenham, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford?

Distinct Features Of The Cotswold

The cheese rolling?

The cheese rolling is one of the fun events that happen in the Cotswold every year on Spring Bank Holiday. The event takes place just outside Gloucester at Cooper’s Hill, which is one of the steepest slopes in the Cotswolds.

For the event, a nine-pound ball of double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the hill top and competitors chase it to the bottom.

The first person to reach it wins.

Have it in mind that this is a very dangerous adventure due to the steepness of the hill but it is now an international spectacle. People now come from all over the world to take part in the local event. Such is the charm of the Cotswolds.

There are some other strange but fun events like Tetbury’s Woolsack Races, Bourton-on-the-Water’s River Football, the Bampton Shirt Race and the Cotswold Olimpick Games.

Royal Connections

Not only is the Cotswold an AONB, but it is also home to remarkable manmade structures built for royalty.

A few of these structures include Corsham Court, which is an imposing former royal manor with gardens designed by Capability Brown.

Another example is the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove Estate; it is open to the public.

The villages are stunning

The Cotswold villages are stunning and they all share the same honey-coloured look of the local stone they are made from. The Cotswold offer a taste of pleasant rural life.

The three most beautiful villages in the area are Burford, Bourton-on-Water, Chedworth. Architecture apart, the local pubs and local eatery in this area are some of the best around. You can also stroll into many antique shops.

The hills are also great for farming. It’s not uncommon to see fields of dairy cows, sheep and more around.

Cotswold also provides entry points to historic towns and cities like Bath, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Cirencester etc. which are great tourist areas.

Crime Rate

Perhaps the most underrated distinctive feature of the Cotswold is the relatively low crime rate in the area.

In Conclusion

There is no doubt that Cotswold is a beautiful region with beautiful places in the UK. The peace, quiet and greenness are underrated qualities.

But what really makes this area special is the limestone that most of the structures are built from, since they can only be found in the Cotswold.

 

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6 Amazing Destinations for Wildlife in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is famed for being one of the most beautiful places in the UK. If you are looking for places where you can see a beautiful selection of wildlife, you must visit the Cotwolds.

Here are some of the most amazing wildlife destinations in Cotswold.

1. Slimbridge

If you love birds you will not be disappointed here. When we visited Slimbridge, I remember our younger son not wanting to leave because of the amazing experience he had. They have a coffee shop and a big restaurant where you can sit and have fun family time if you are there with your family. The place is family-friendly. Whether you are single, with family or a group, you can be sure to have a very wonderful time at Slimbridge.

2. Cotswold Farm Park

This site is dedicated to the best of British farming, through a sustainable and authentic approach. This farm park provides an amazing opportunity to see a range of farm animals.

Something unique they offer is the opportunity to see small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, ducklings, piglets, lambs and goat kids. You can learn about a lot of animals from the experts on the farm. There are outdoor play areas for children and both adults and children can enjoy a wildlife walk where you can discover stunning seasonal flowers and enjoy amazing views.

Cotswold Farm Park have something to offer for all age group but if you have kids this is a place you must visit with your children.

3. Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens

One of the best places to experience wildlife is the Cotswold. Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens is a family-friendly environment with a lot to offer for wildlife lovers. You can see animals like zebras, lions, giraffes, and camels. There are more than enough places to park your car and enjoy everything the park has to offer. There is also a beautiful large walled garden and a wonderful collection of mature trees which are an integral part of the landscape.

Whether you are looking for birds, primate, mammals, or reptiles they have them all at Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens.

4. Cotswolds AONB

Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers a large area of land. There is no limit to what you can do in Cotswold AONB.

Cotswolds National Landscape provides various locations, from which people can follow walking and cycling routes to explore the surrounding countryside of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There is an abundance of footpaths, bridleways, and minor roads. You have great opportunities to discover hidden corners, epic views, historic sites, and rich diversity of wildlife.

You can find helpful maps of directions by clicking here.

5. Birdland Park & Gardens

Personally, I have been to this amazing park. It is at the center of the Bourton-on-the-Water village. The village itself is one of the best among the Cotswold villages. Bourton-on-the-Water is famous for the low bridge and the streams that flow through the village. You can have a nice time in the village center then easily stroll into Birdland Park where you can see and behold the beauty of over 500 birds at the park.

Discover the amazing world of birds at the Birdland Parks & Gardens. Some of the birds that will dazzle you at the park are snowy owls, burrowing owls, great grey owls, spectacled owls and Indian scops owls. You will also have the opportunity to see mackinder’s eagle owls, Chaco owls, and white-faced owls.

6. Cotswold Falconry Centre

If you love birds of prey, you will have an amazing experience here. You can have an owl experience or enjoy the flying starts of the birds. The birds show off their amazing flying skills, you will truly admire and appreciate the amazing birds at the Cotswold Falconry Centre.

In Conclusion

What I have always loved about the Cotswold is the preservation of green spaces. I guess it is then not a surprise that it is home to some beautiful and explore-worthy wildlife. From beautiful gardens to birds, primate, mammals, or reptiles, it is only a question of what your interest is. There is just about everything for everyone.

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Best Things To Do In The Cotswolds

One of the most asked questions for people who visit the Cotswolds is about the best things to do in the Cotswolds.

The Cotswold is a beautiful place with a breathtaking view of rolling hills and grasslands.

From its rolling hills to the English country homes built with clear yellow limestone, vintage-looking cottages and medieval villages, the Cotswold is awe-inspiring.

It is one of the best places for a UK break. A tour of this place can be the most exciting and soulful moment of your life.

As there are so many stunning areas to visit, we have noted down some of the must-try things you should do while visiting Cotswold.

1.   Visit the lovely English villages.

The Cotswold is well known for its amazing English villages. It is normal to find contrasting villages here but all are beautiful and unique in their way. Some of the villages we would like to suggest visiting are:

Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswold

 

  • Castle comb: It is one of the prettiest villages in England. There haven’t been any new homes built since 1600 AD. The people living here mostly live in the ancient built homes. In 1961, it was recognized as the most delightful village in England. It also features wooded mountains and hills, as well as vintage-looking cottages. Visiting this place, you will be astonished seeing how gracefully the people living here have taken care of this place. It is as beautiful as it used to be hundreds of years ago.
  • Bourton-on-the-Water: If you want to visit a place where you can get both town and village vibe in the UK, Bourton-on-the-Water is the place to go. It is famous for its low bridges and traditional English houses, also known as stone houses. Here you can also visit some eye-catching museums where you will get to see vintage cars and different ages of toys. You will also get to meet different birds like parrots, owls and penguins. Apart from these, it also has some modern-town touch to it. You can spend time in trendy cafes having hot tea and flavoursome freshly baked pastries.
  • Bibury: Its eye-catching honey glazed cottages shining in the morning is one of the most beautiful sights in Bibury. Arlington Row is where most tourists visit because of its breathtaking architecture. In Bibury, you get to appreciate the traditional rural villages, tea houses and many other notable architectures.
  • Blockley: Blockley is a pleasant-looking village in You can have a walk from Blockley to Batsford and experience beautiful golden stone houses, silk and wool mills, and vintage cottages. You can also visit the Batsford Arboretum which is a 52-acre botanical garden. Here you will see the largest private tree and plant collections in the country.
Arlington Row, Bibury

You can read up on 15 of the prettiest Cotswold villages here.

2.   Visit a Garden in Cotswolds

Cotswolds has some amazing garden which refreshes your soul and body. Some of the top picks are –

  • Westonbirt Arboretum: Westonbirt Arboretum is one of the most beautiful tree gardens in the UK. It consists of trees from all over the world. This garden has more than 600 acres of trees.
  • Painswick Rocco garden: Painswick Rocco garden is an English garden in the hidden valley of the north Cotswolds built in the 1740s. Here you can enjoy the garden with flowers, vegetables and also café and seasonal functions.

3.   Visit churches

It doesn’t matter if you are a religious fanatic or not, the Cotswold has some amazing ancient churches that is sure to catch your attention.

These are the best picks:

  • Hailes Abbey: It was founded in 1246 and was once used as a pilgrimage site. The medieval English wall paintings in this local church parish will catch your eyes as soon as you enter the church.
  • Northleach Church: The wealthy wool merchants from the town made donations to keep this church as elegant as it was before. The font in the south aisle carved in the 14th century stone pulpit is one of the few pre-reformation pulpits left. You can also see the stained glass windows, which are also amazing.

4.   Local shops

If you like to visit local shops to get food and items that exhibit the traditional culture of Cotswolds, then you should surely visit the following-

  • Upton smoker shops, Upton downs farm: In this local shop of Cotswolds, you can enjoy not only appetizing smoked trout, goose, partridge but also fresh crayfish, local veg, or cheese with classic French wines.
  • Cutter Brooks: In this store, you can find dresses and jewellers, ornaments from independent brands that are of great quality. It is a lifestyle store set by its owner Amanda Brooks. It was inspired by her husband’s Oxfordshire hometown.
  • Broadway Deli: Broadway is all about food and serving its customers the food they want and crave. Here you can make your sandwiches, get homemade jams, fresh fruits and vegetables. They also have local beer and wines and many more items. It is a must-visit place for people who enjoy local food.

5.   Wildlife Park

If you are an adventure lover, the Cotswold also offers a lot of that. The wildlife parks are an example. Here, you can get glimpses of the beautiful animals living in the Cotswold.

  • Cotswolds Wildlife Park: This Park is home to a series of animals at the risk of extinction. You can visit this place with your family and get to meet the happy penguins, friendly giraffes, and Asiatic lions.
  • Cotswolds Falconry Centre: Here you get to see eagles, hawks, falcons, kestrels, owls, and many other types of birds. In 1988, Geoff and Naomi Dalton, a couple with immense love for and interest in birds opened this wildlife park. You can have a picnic with the birds too as they have a large picnic spot there.
  • Bibury Trout Farm: It is one of Britain’s oldest trout farms and is still going strong. You can enjoy delicious fish items here and other local foods. Besides, during summer, you can fish at the Bibury Trout Farm.

 

Read up why Cheltenham is expensive here.

6.   Castle

The Cotswold is home to some beautiful castles. A must visit would be –

  • Berkeley Castle: It is a great place to visit with family, friends and groups. Berkeley Castle gives the vibe of the medieval era. Outside the castle, you can discover gardens and monuments of the 12th And on the inside, you can observe the treasures of the Berkeley family.
  • Sudeley Castle: This is a Grade I listed castle majestically located in the beautiful medieval market town of Winchcombe in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England. Nestled within the Cotswold hills, this castle is a perfect spot to enjoy your leisure time in the Cotswolds.

7.   Museum

You can also visit some great museums in Cotswolds. A must visit would be –

  • Shakespeare’s Birthplace: A museum about one of the greatest writers of all time. It is the place where Shakespeare was born and raised. In the past, this house was a familial house used by his family members. Now, Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust takes care of it and is still like it was. Here you will be entertained and learn a lot from his workshops, writings, and readings.

8.   Grand cities and Towns

The Cotswold isn’t only home to castles, museums, and beautiful villages, it also has some nice cities. A must visit would be:

  • Bath: With its beautiful golden-coloured buildings in the town, Bath is the symbol of the wealthy people drawn to the healing properties in Georgian times. Bath has quiet city roads with an improving retail sector; a great place for explorers.
  • Cheltenham: If you are looking for a town with unique history with a lot of styles and grandeur, Cheltenham is the place. Cheltenham is the most complete Regency Town. Cheltenham prides herself as the Centre of the Cotswolds. Shopping in Cheltenham is one of the must-do if you go to Cheltenham. Cheltenham is recognized as one of the best shopping destinations in Cotswold.  John Lewis Cheltenham is a masterpiece on Cheltenham High Street.

You can read up on the best place to live in the Cotswold here.

9.   Party and Festivals

The Cotswold is also known for its unique festivals. Here are some you should not miss out on –

  • Cheltenham Literature Festival: It is a learning festival where you can share and exchange knowledge with like minds. Cheltenham literature festival is celebrated over ten days. Talented authors, writers, publishers also get featured to share their knowledge on travel, life, language, art, and more. If you are a literature buff, you will surely enjoy the festival.
  • The Big Festival: The Big Festival is an unforgettable experience. The action-packed festival is a mix of music, food, and activities. From UK’s chart-topping artists to the Michelin star chefs and a plethora of family activities, it is a really fun festival. Supper clubs, delicious pop-ups, and street food are some of the dishes on display. You can also hone your cookery skills in the cookery school.
  • Cheltenham Festivals: The Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival is by far the most popular. There are other festivals in Cheltenham that take place annually. I have an article that explained in detail all the Festivals in Cheltenham.

Find out if Cheltenham or Gloucester is a better place to live here.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Cotswold is a beautiful place to visit. There are tons of activities to do and have a lovely time in the Cotswold. We’ve only mentioned a few here. You can read up on more Cotswold excitement here.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in London

The rush to live in London, especially by foreigners, is understandable. After all, London is the epicentre of many industries in the UK.

From beautiful boroughs, historic streets, renowned restaurants to the cultural pots of London, it is very easy to fall in love with the city.

But what happens years after the nostalgia passes? Or is it actually better to live outside London?

Reasons To Live in London

1. Cosmopolitan

Most people who come from abroad to live in the UK have a relative in London. It could be a cousin, uncle, aunty or anyone you know directly from your home country or someone you know through someone.

Living in London has benefits for immigrants because you can get involved in a lot of social activities that relate to your culture because of the cosmopolitan nature of London.

You can also get to meet people from other nationalities and experience a variety of culture.

About one-third of London’s population are foreign-born according to a recent UK census. London is a true cosmopolitan capital with its hundreds of nationalities and languages.

2. Entertainment and Tourism, Entertainment and Events

London with its iconic and historic locations is also a tourism haven. Famous sightseeing locations in London include Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Tower Bridge.

London has a lot of history and can be great to live in London where you can have access to world-class museums.

Lovers of sport can also enjoy living in London because London has a lot to offer when it comes to sport. From the London marathon to Wimbledon Open, there are a lot of sports in London.

It is also home to several famous football clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham United and Crystal Palace.

The cool thing about London is that it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, there is always something to do. London brims with activities all day and year.

3. Proximity to Airports for International Travel and Eurostar

One of the biggest advantages of living in London is the ease of travel. London has six airports and the Eurostar International Train Terminal.

The train network in London is probably one of the best in the world. All major railways in the UK run through London with 11 underground lines connecting 270 stations.

The truth is that you can get to almost anywhere in London without leaving the underground. I also like that most of the tube stations are equipped with elevators and escalators.

Travelling abroad can be a bit cheaper and easier if you live in London, proximity to one of the busiest airport in the world can offer cheap flight.

As well, as an immigrant when you have family coming over it can be easier to get them from the airport. Unlike when you live in the countryside far away from the airport.

4. Better paid and career opportunity

It’s not surprising that there are more better-paid jobs in London and multinational companies where you can advance your career. That isn’t actually surprising at all. After all, London is Europe’s financial capital.

Employees in London earn about 25% more than most regions in the UK. 

There are a couple of reasons why the wages in London is higher. The first is that living in a cosmopolitan capital is usually more expensive. This is thanks to high accommodation and living costs. Also, industries like tech and finance tend to pay more and there are a plethora of those in London. This automatically has an impact on the average wage.

 

Reasons Not to Live in London

1. Experiencing Nature

For nature lovers, it is better experienced in small villages and towns outside London. I live in a semi-rural environment and will never swap that for London living. I am too in love with this environment. Within a few minutes, I can run into the woods from my house and experience nature. I live close to the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and we previously lived near the Malvern Hills AONB.

Living outside of London is also healthier. According to recent research two of the most polluted areas in Britain are in central London.

There is no doubt London has a  lot of green spaces and parks but most of them are not well maintained. 47% of London is actually green space. The tourist themed parks are actually better maintained. But the truth is that you cannot compare them to the national parks and hiking trails outside of London.

London just feels jampacked due to obvious reasons.

2. Cost of Living

Housing cost takes a high percentage of most peoples income. Housing cost in London is on another level in comparison to other parts of the UK.

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And it explains why they earn more.

Over the years, it has actually slipped in the rankings of the most expensive cities in the world but the cost of living is still considerably high. Monthly expenses in London is quite higher than in other cities in the UK.

This is why many people prefer to live outside of London and commute to work every day.

3. Overcrowded

I seriously think London is overcrowded. Every time I visit London. I am always uncomfortable and looking forward to returning home to the amazing Cotswold area.

London’s biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. Its many tourist attractions make it one of the best destinations to visit. Hence the overcrowding.

4. Crime rate

Because of the overcrowded nature of London, it is no surprise that it has a higher crime rate. Please don’t get me wrong, there is crime in every town or city you go to.

London is a safe city to live in though. It is the 14th safest city in the world according to the Economists Safe Cities Index. However, the crime rate is reasonably lower in smaller towns and villages than in London.

As a parent with two adorable boys, I am uncomfortable raising my kids in London. This is due to a lot of knife crimes that go on in London. Gang among high school kids is more mentioned in London than in other smaller UK cities, towns and villages.

5. Traffic and camera

Driving in London requires a different level of alertness and patience. In most cases, it’s better to use public transport than drive your own car.

The public transport system in London is great so going on them might be less stressful than driving your own car. However, for people who like to drive themselves around, you can run into the trouble of driving in the wrong lane and getting captured by a camera.

It’s not uncommon to receive a letter in the post about a fine for either parking in the wrong place or driving in the wrong lane. Basically, there are cameras all over London monitoring you on the road.

It’s a lot easier to drive outside of London.

Conclusion

To be quite honest, whether you decide to live in or outside of London is entirely up to you. If finance is not an issue and you don’t mind the disadvantages of living in a cosmopolitan capital, then you should go for it.

I personally prefer the calmer life of the semi-rural environment. I guess that is because I am a lover of nature.

Another important thing to consider is savings. If you are keen on saving money, then it is more reasonable to live outside of London. The cost of living and accommodation cost there is relatively cheaper. You’ll reach your savings goal much quicker.

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Is Malvern a good place to live?

I remember we had some time to ponder about our decision to move to Malvern before we moved when we did.

Have you been looking for some information about the suitability of Malvern as a good location to live or work? I am happy to share some insights from my personal experience.

We lived in Malvern for a period of 7 years and we absolutely loved it there. We moved away from Malvern for personal reasons and not related to Malvern as a place to live. In fact, we still visit Malvern regularly because we have found it difficult to disconnect ourselves completely from Malvern.

Let me give you some points that will help you make the decision whether to move to Malvern or not.

Housing

House price in Malvern is higher than in Worcester City which is the closest main urban settlement to Malvern.

Average house prices change from time to time. You can see the current average house price in Malvern by clicking here.

Malvern is a Victorian spa town located at the foot of the Malvern Hills. The beauty of the Malvern area makes Malvern a sort after location in the Worcestershire area.

Good neighbourhood

Malvern is a small town and most areas of Malvern are nice. The main areas in Malvern are Great Malvern, Malvern Link, West Malvern.

If you want to live very close to the Malvern Hills, West Malvern will be the part of Malvern you should be considering. The areas around the Great Malvern Train Station have some of the big period houses with a lot of characters.

Area to avoid

Every settlement does have areas that are not so good. Such an area in Malvern is Sherrard’s Green.

Crime

Malvern is located in Malvern Hills District and Great Malvern town is the largest of the towns and villages in the district. Malvern Hills district is categorised as a rural district and this is one of the factors that make Malvern’s crime rate to be well below Worcestershire and the UK average.

Who doesn’t want to live in a town where the crime rate is very low? I can’t remember witnessing or experiencing any serious crime when we lived there. No settlement can completely be crime-free. Living in a settlement where crime is low is the desire of anyone looking for a place to live.

The Malvern Hills

Malvern town is famous because of the Malvern Hills and Malvern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

AONB is an area where housing development is usually restricted because the landscapes are protected due to their exceptional beauty.

There are a lot of people whose decision to live in Malvern is because of the Malvern Hills. If you love nature and the serenity of the natural environment, you will love Malvern. Personally, I can boldly say I had incredible and unforgettable times around the Malvern Hills. I am a runner, I remember many times running on Malvern Hills. The view from the top of the Malvern hills is amazing and the beauty of the hills cannot only be justified on camera, you just need to see it for yourself.

There were times when I would literarily wake up on Saturday morning around 5 am in the summer, put on my running shoe and run to the hills. There are many posts of entry to the hills, the one close to where we lived was about 10 mins away. I remember hearing the sound of the birds tweeting early in the morning. When you then get to the top, the view that awaits you is glorious.

Leisure

Malvern Town is a town that will tick most of your boxes. There are various leisure centres strategically located in the town. The most popular one is located at the town centre just behind the District Council building.

The leisure centre boasts a swimming pool and gym. The facilities are of a high standard. My boys used to have swim lessons at the swimming pool and I use their changing room sometimes when I go running during lunchtime from work.

If you are looking for a place to relax in Malvern, you can check out Malvern Spa. Everything you need to have a wonderful relaxation is available at the Malvern Spa.

Their services range from hydrotherapy pool, health club and treatments hotel, restaurant and thermal area (saunas & steams rooms).

One of the popular historic tourist attraction near Malvern is Witley Court. This location is a very good place to have a relaxing time in a historic setting.

Event and entertainments

If you are a lover of nature, you will adore the Three County Showground. There is an annual show that takes place at the 90 acres Three County Showground on Blackmore Park Road in Malvern. It is a national event that host people from across the country. There are various activities for all ages during the one-week event. The highlight and the most popular part of the event are the Flower Show. The annual show is often tagged RHS Malvern Spring Festival because of its affiliate with the Royal Horticultural Society.

There are a lot of other events that are hosted by the Three County Showground throughout the year.

Malvern has a lovely theatre that is very popular in the area. The Theatre is also sometimes called Festival Theatre and has been the centre of art in Worcestershire since 1885. The theatre is known for hosting big productions, shows and films.

Education

The primary schools are good schools and the children are well behaved. We were never at any time worried about our boys’ behaviour in school and they never came back home to complain about being bullied.

Being a small town there are only two comprehensive high schools in the town. These are ‘The Chase School’ and ‘Dyson Perrins Church of England Academy’. Both are very good schools.

There is also a reputable independent school, Malvern College.

Final Thought

Based on my personal experience, Malvern is a great place to live in the UK. And we really enjoyed our time staying there. Being a nature lover, I particularly love the landscape and nature. If the housing price isn’t an issue for you then I would recommend Malvern as one of the best places to live in the UK.

 

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