Where to live?

I’m currently looking at pretty much all of the UK with a blank slate as to where I might live. Obviously I cannot visit everywhere, so tell me about where you live, what’s good, and what’s shit.

I’m definitely looking more towards cities, too rural is just shit for me. If I can get away with not having a car, that would be ace. I do also need to be able to get back to France from time to time too, so airport links are helpful.

Obviously a final decision is going to be something of a balancing act between location, cost of living, what job I can get and how much it pays, but there are batshit numbers of permutations out there.

Edit: I may or may not continue with cheffing - I’m still fine with going back to tech / Customer success type work as well.


Cumbria is rural, only City is Carlisle. No shortage of work for chefs though (decent hotels, 1* gastro pubs and the obvious Rogan) and towns like Kendal and Ulverston don’t die on their arse in winter. Scenery is great but you are isolated from Manchester and Leeds. London is under 3 hours by train.

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Norfolk is a nice county and Norwich a fine city.
A good mix of rural and urban near Norwich. Plenty of coast and inland waterways too within a short drive. Property rentals and house prices are very reasonable.
Norwich has an airport and Stanstead about an hour away.
Good that you don’t want a car as you’ll not find a garage big enough for one anyway :rofl:

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Depends what you’re after from a city.
If I was young and didn’t want London,I’d pick Bristol.

Part of me loves city life,but the reality is I don’t use what a city has to offer hence moving rural which I love.


Bristol might be worth a look with your skill sets. Airport, culture, not as hectic as London.

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Luton - has an Airport. End.


I love living in St Albans, but it’s ludicrously expensive; there’s no way I could afford to move here now! With a tech job maybe, but no chance if you’re any kind of chef. Most of the South East is the same.

In your position I would be looking at somewhere fairly central in a decent size city - Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield all have lots to recommend them.

I loved living quite centrally in Brighton.
I think Bristol and Brighton have a lot in common
I didn’t own a car for 8 years
Loads of work (with your skills)
Great gig scene
Easy access to Gatwick and London


Brighton is another cool place.
Enjoyed staying there for a while in the early 90s

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I live in London.

Pros: diverse, excellent cultural life (live music is particularly important to me), excellent public transport, sufficiently huge as to be able to support any kind of business or venture that you’d like to dream up (or use).

And despite the “hurr hurr, why do you want to move somewhere just so you can leave”, London obviously has the best transport connections in the country. I can be door-to-door in several European cities in 3-4 hours including all the waiting.

Cons: crowded, expensive, noisy, expensive, dirty, expensive. Safety fears are overblown by pearl-clutchers IMO.

Where I live, and TBH most areas in London is a “15 minute suburb” - you can walk to everything that you would do day-to-day. And not being car-dependent is important to me. But it’s not a “15 minute city” - if you want to get to somewhere specific, like a gig venue, then it’s an hour whatever you try to do.

If I was parachuting in single like you, I’d want walkable, excellent live music (and other culture in general), good food and drink.

In my experience this might be Edinburgh (lived there car-free for many years), Bristol (I have less experience but it looks like a go-er, and is maybe a long-term plan).

Maybe Liverpool but I have zero experience.

Antwerp (Bristol with better beer), but freedom of movement :frowning_face:


Absolutely this, Brighton too.

I’ve lived in many places, most of them shit. Crawley, Bracknell, Reading, London, Southampton

TBH I’d suggest somewhere near family and friends, I’ve come back to where I grew up and have roots and it was a good move.

Scumhampton is not a bad place now and has quite good bars/restaurants. If I had to move back there would live in Ocean Village or around the Oxford St area again quite happily.

Good place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. Chances of a decently paid job cheffing are small. No idea of what a tech job up here would pay, or if there are many vacancies. It is cheap, has decent nightlife and the airport is excellent compared to MCR, Heathrow or Gatwick,

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Lived in the derby/Graham road area for a short while in the 90s.
Was a pretty grim red light area then.

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Yikes, Derby rd was really horrible in the 80’s and 90’s, think it’s still a no-go area but not as rough.

Newcastle is supposed to be absolutely buzzing now. Has excellent metro and a decent enough airport.

Probably a lot cheaper than the more fashionable Bristol/Brighton/Bath/London/Edinburgh end of things.

Glasgow also very trendy but can be pricey too. Let’s not kid ourselves though, cities are not cheap places to live.

Not necessarily in Birmingham itself but lots of places just outside which can give you a bit of best of both worlds city and rural.

Pros -

  • not that expensive to buy a place compared to the south;
  • easy to get on train from New St, the Fisher Price airport is not far and also connected by rail, with good motorway links for M40/M42/M1/M6/M5 etc.
  • lots of interesting new food places opening up in the city esp Digbeth
  • decent for job prospects

Cons -

  • not the best for live bands, certainly not as good as Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool etc
  • Birmingham while actually getting better, is not deemed as ‘cool’/ fashionable unless you go to places like Moseley (but generally reflected in lower house prices)
  • cuntz live close by


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Yeah, cities are spendy. Thankfully my requirements are pretty basic in that regard. I’ve spent enough time in crew quarters on boats and things that I’m quite at home in fairly minimal conditions.

That feels a complicated one - lot of history there, not sure how I’d feel about living there again.

I’ve applied for a job in Sheffield, and Liverpool and Manchester both look interesting. I get the feeling London wages at my level wouldn’t equate to London living. Only exception there would be as a private chef for a family or something of that nature, not least because they often come with live in accommodation.

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