Life
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    The best cities for buying property outside London

    9 July 2019

    Last month, the Office for National Statistics revealed that more people left London in 2018 than any other year on record. Admittedly, they only started collecting data back in 2012. Nonetheless, high property prices and crime are causing Londoners to exodus in search of serenity and a mortgage that doesn’t see them sobbing into their pillow each night. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places outside the capital to consider moving without losing a sense of being at the heart of things.

    Manchester

    Manchester City centre with tram

    Manchester City centre

    Most Macunians would argue their city is superior to the capital in every way, but Manchester is still the closest thing to London you’ll find in the UK. The BBC moved much of their operations here some years ago. Channel 4 are soon set to follow up north to neighbouring Leeds. The northern powerhouse is beginning to look more and more like a reality and Manchester is very much at the centre of it. Prices are going up rapidly in the city centre, but there are still bargains to be had. Other interesting spots include the rapidly regenerating Salford Quays and Chorlton, one of Manchester’s most upscale neighborhoods. An abundance of bars serving prosecco on tap here. Something you never knew you needed, but obviously do.

    • A new build 1 bed flat in Salford Quays, home to the BBC and Lowry Gallery:
    • 5 bed in Chorlton, Manchester’s poshest vicinity, for a fraction of the equivalent in London.

    Cambridge

    view of Cambridge colleges

    View of Cambridge colleges

    Prices in Cambridge have short up in recent years and aren’t a million miles away from London not, but the pace of life is certainly a lot slower. There are some big benefits to living next door to a world class university too. They host a whole raft of free events throughout the year including public lectures, exhibitions and free educational activities for kids.Of course museums and bookshops are everywhere and the Cambridge Junction, Arts Theatre and Corn Exchange provide plenty of culture for the evenings too. Train to Kings Cross in London takes less than an hour.

    Bath

    Aerial view of Royal Crescent, Bath

    Aerial view of Royal Crescent, Bath

    Bath’s picture perfect streets need no introduction. Jane Austen’s former home is today a UNESCO world heritage site and rightly so. It’s regency era streets have featured in all sorts of Hollywood movies from Les Miserables to the The Dutchess. As for house prices, they’re roughly similar to Cambridge, so not much cheaper than London, but there are a lot of perks to living here. The Cotswolds are of course right on your doorstep and Bristol, if you’re missing that big city feeling, is just a short drive away too.

    Leamington Spa

    Architecturally similar but significantly cheaper than Bath, Leamington is full of white washed regency era pediments and columns. The town has been a fashionable retreat since the Victorians tapped the natural spring here and built a resort town around it.They said the water is great formaking bread, preserving meat and curing rabies.It’s also been bouncing around the top five of Rightmove’s surveys of the happiest places to live for several years. How scientific their test is isn’t immediately clear. What is apparent on visiting is that Leamington Spa is very pleasant.

    Norwich

    imber Hill, Norwich, with St George Tombland

    Timber Hill, Norwich, with St George Tombland

    A fine city. Norwich stretches the definition of commutable for those working in London. Being nearly two hours by train from the capital one could end up looking rather bloodshot at morning meetings. Not for much longer though. Greater Anglia is putting some new Swiss made trains into action soon, with boasts of “London in 90 mins”. Contrary to Alan Partridge’s caricature of Norwich as a provincial backwater, culture abounds here too. There’s urbane restaurants and nightlife and the Sainsbury Centre on the University of East Anglia campus has regular exhibitions. Authors like Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro attended UEA’s famous creative writing course here. The Norfolk Broads are also just outside the city.

    Canterbury

    Canterbury Canal

    Canterbury Canal

    Very commutable for London as it’s on the HS1 route, the same line the Eurostar trains run on. You can be in the capital in around forty five minutes and the city itself is nothing to sniff at either. Plenty of interesting restaurants and bars and good to look at. The population effectively doubles during term time. There are three universities which lend the city a buzzing feel, not to mention the throngs of tourists visiting the cathedral. Whether or not you consider that a plus point, the surrounding countryside is stunning and you have seaside destinations like Margate and Whitstable all close by. Well worth a punt. Incidentally, punts can be hired in the city centre for meandering down the beautiful River Stour.