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Coast or Countryside?

Coast or Countryside?

City dwellers often begin to dream of a new life somewhere new and exciting. Many reminisce on previous holidays, by the sea or camping in one of the nation's finest beauty spots. Whatever the reason, many urban inhabitants now have a burning desire to change their surroundings. And for many, the recent experience of being locked down during the Covid-19 pandemic has only added fuel to that fire.

In our green and pleasant land, the two primary options for escaping the city life are to move to the coast or the countryside. The driving urge is to attain greater freedom by increasing the available living space. But where is the location that is right for you? At Griffin Property Co, we're here to help you make sense of the choices.

ADVANTAGES OF LIVING BY THE COAST

There are many advantages to living near the coast for people of all ages. For the younger coastal buyer, there are opportunities to get involved in a vast range of water sports activities, such as surfing, sailing, jet skis and much more. There are country walks and beaches to relax on with the family for those seeking a more sedate existence.

There is always something to do in coastal towns, and even if you opt to live in a smaller community, you're never far away from a busier beach hub. There are endless entertainment opportunities, whether it's sunbathing, swimming, fishing, sailing, taking a stroll on a pier, dining by the sea, or taking advantage of the tourist activities, such as amusement arcades and crazy golf. There is so much to do!

There is also a wide range of facilities, such as restaurants, health centres, theatres, and much more, that are common in busier coastal towns.

Research has shown that living by the sea, especially near a beach, significantly reduces stress, aids in a restful night's sleep, and helps residents live happier lives. Part of this is the effect of sunlight on the skin, but also because of coastal air. Coastal air differs from the air further inland. It is charged with negative ions that allow the body to absorb oxygen more efficiently, resulting in a stabilised level of serotonin, one of the four "feel good" hormones that our bodies create, which helps improve mood and induce a greater sense of calmness.

Regardless of what activities you choose to do, you will likely feel healthier and happier when living by the sea. Studies also show that the benefit of all this extra outdoor activity boosts vitamin D levels, which is excellent for overall health. The fresh onshore breezes are also enjoyable and raise spirits.

Socialising at the coast can be a chaotic and enjoyable affair, with new people constantly entering and departing the local community thanks to the heavy tourism of such areas. This movement of people makes for great opportunities for the socialites amongst us to meet and greet many people from all walks of life.

Here is our pick of the top 4 coastal communities that we think you should check out.

1. Weymouth, Dorset.

There are few nicer places to be on a sunny day than the attractive harbour of Weymouth, Dorset. It has a mixture of traditional fishing trawlers and modern luxury yachts, framed against a background of the many pastel shades of the buildings that pack tightly up to the water's edge. Away from the harbour, the beaches are fine golden sands. Whether you want to sunbathe with the family or sit on the harbourside sipping a drink and watching the world go by, Weymouth is an idyllic place to do either. London is a 2 hour and 40-minute drive from Weymouth, with trains taking around 3 hours.

2. Hastings, East Sussex.

The beaches of Hastings are an expansive sand and shingle mix, backing onto whitewashed Edwardian buildings, a two-layers promenade, and a new pier that opened in 2016. It's as if as many of the stereotypes of what a British seaside town should be all gathered together in one place to show off. Ultra-fresh seafood is a mainstay of the town, which is no surprise, given that the UK's largest land-launched fishing fleet departs from Hastings. Antiques and curio hunters will revel in the Old Town's George Street shops. The commute to London by train is 98 minutes.

3. Whitby, North Yorkshire.

Of course, it's not all about the south. Whitby, in North Yorkshire, is a lovely beach, and with its blue-flag status, it is perfect for letting your kids splash around in the many rock pools. Fossil hunting is a popular pastime on rugged coastal walks. The town has a unique character that is popular with a wide array of visitors. It is well situated for travel to Newcastle or Leeds, both of which take around 90 minutes by car.

4. Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear.

Tynemouth sits at the mouth of the River Tyne, hence the name. It features, among other things, the best surfing beach in northeast England, called Longsands. If surfing is a family favourite or an overriding passion of yours, this might be the right place for you. Surfing here is best in autumn and throughout the winter. In spring, the cove changes, and swimming becomes the norm. The town is packed with places to eat and is a handy 15 minutes from the centre of Newcastle, should you need to commute to the nearest big city.

ADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

Of course, not everyone who wants to get away from the city is in love with the seas and oceans surrounding our small nation. For many, it's the beauty of the countryside that beckons them. The UK is far more versatile than the average city dweller imagines. We've got hilly and mountainous terrains, moors, rivers and streams of all kinds, plains, forests, to name just a few features of our landscape.

It's no surprise that people seek out different landscapes that give them inner peace. While one home buyer will seek property in the rugged mountainous beauty of the Lake District, others will seek out the tranquillity that only the New Forest in Hampshire can offer. For some buyers, the idea of self-sufficiency, or at least a nod towards growing their own food, brings the desire for a large garden and fresh countryside air.

Countryside areas are typically stocked with smaller communities. Small towns, villages and hamlets are sprinkled liberally throughout almost every environment the UK offers. Everyone can find the right place to call home. However, the amount of entertainment facilities is generally much lower outside the larger towns and the cities, so countryside pursuits often default to walking and mountain biking through the various terrains on offer.

When surveyed, many people declare that they are more than willing to give up the noise and bustle of their current homes for the peace of the countryside. Sound and air pollution are reduced significantly when moving to the country. No more wailing of sirens or noisy neighbours heard through too-thin walls. Cleaner, fresher air is on offer in the countryside, and just like at the coast, this has a positive impact on physical and mental health, general wellbeing, and stress levels.

Countryside communities are typically smaller groups, relying on local pubs, or communal activities like summer fetes and sales, to help integrate new arrivals into the scene. Unlike in the cities or even in the busier coastal towns, neighbours tend to get to know each other and lend a helping hand.

The countryside is a perfect environment for bringing up children. Whilst they might believe that life will be better with the latest city amenities, it's well established that children raised in the countryside are generally more active and consequently more healthy. They can play outdoors, roaming the woods and fields, although let's not fool ourselves into believing they won't hop in front of a console or sit on their phone given any opportunity. But opportunity is precisely what the countryside offers for families that want to change the pace of their lives.

Statistics show that the countryside is a safer place to live, with much less crime in rural areas – just half of the crime rate of the cities.

Check out our recommendations below if you're wondering where the top 4 countryside areas might be.

1. Kendal, Lake District, Cumbria.

Starting in the north, Kendal is a lovely town that sits on the edge of the Lake District. It gives residents the best of both worlds, as it has all the amenities that you'd expect in a larger town, such as a cinema and climbing centre, but with large areas of open space. It is a great jump-off point for quickly accessing the Lake District to the north and west, while a short distance to the east, you'll find the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Of course, there are more central towns, such as Ambleside and Windermere, but for connectivity, Kendal is well positioned, being a short drive to the M6, which acts as a conduit both to the northern city of Carlisle and on to Scotland, or south towards Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham.

2. Brockenhurst, New Forest, Hampshire.

Brockenhurst was officially declared the most people place to live in 2021 and regularly features in lists of best places to live. It is located within the New Forest and is therefore highly convenient for walkers, cyclists and even horse riders. The forest features wild ponies, deer, donkeys and cows, all of which are free to roam the woods and towns. There is an enchanting quality to living within the forest itself. For locals, there are a number of inviting pubs from which to enjoy the view after a hard day's walking.

3. Chagford, Dartmoor, Devon.

Chagford is situated on the northeast edge of Dartmoor in Devon. Chagford itself Is known for a strong community spirit and was voted 'Best place to live.' It makes the perfect step-off point for walking on the moors. Walkers can get close to nature and well away from the hubbub of busy towns. In fact, Dartmoor allows for some of the best night sky photography in the UK because of its remoteness from any significant source of light pollution. If walks and unspoiled nature are your thing, this is one to check out.

4. Cheddar, Somerset Levels, Somerset.

Cheddar sits on magnificent limestone moulded and eroded over the past 1.2 million years. The Cheddar Gorge and Cheddar Caves are not only geological masterpieces but are also of archaeological interest, with Britain's oldest complete skeleton found there. The gorge is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and a Special Area of Conservation. Cheddar is on the edge of the Somerset Levels, an area of wet lowland grassland and wetland habitats that covers 35,000 hectares. It's fantastic for nature reserves and trails.

HOUSE PRICES

The most expensive coastal wards have the highest average sales prices when it comes to house prices. If we consider Aldborough, a well-established seaside hotspot in Suffolk, the average is £509,168 compared to Stowmarket (only 30 miles away), the average drops to £240,857.

Good commuter routes can raise the value of rural areas. For example, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells are two well-connected areas that are less than an hour from London, which increases the average value of inland properties in Kent.

Predictably, areas of outstanding natural beauty tend to have limited housing opportunities yet are the target of second homes for wealthy investors. This does drive up the price of homes in these high demand areas. While this is not ideal for first-time buyers, the potential returns for investors in property in either of these areas, whether by the sea or in one of the UK's finest countryside locations, will be exceptional.

For those looking to snag a bargain, look instead to the countryside areas that are perhaps a little less well connected and not yet a hotspot for tourist activity. Buy something that you like and want to live in, rather than concerning yourself with making the perfect investment. You're sure to see an increase in property value anyway, and you never know, in the future your home town might become the next tourist destination.

Whichever you decide is suitable for you, your family will love it.

Check out which properties Griffin Property Co have available in the UK's best coast and country destinations - https://griffinproperty.co/find-a-property

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