Living in nature, independent character and London 1 day/week

Hi all! This whole working from home thing has got my partner and I (Aussie and American) thinking about whether or not it's really worth it to live in London, although we officially work there. We're near Richmond right now and love the quiet, the greenery and the general vibe, but would like more value for money (max £1400) and nature. We might want to go to our offices in the City one day a week when things start up again, relying on the train.

We would love to rent a 2 bed house with a small garden to adopt a greyhound. We're both 28 and don't have/want children, so not family-focused at all. At the same time, we love exploring cute little coffee shops, having breakfasts in small cafes and going out for a very chill drink in a classy wine/cocktail bar or super nice restaurant. We aren't really 'pub people' in a sense (not to knock anyone who is!) We don't need endless choices like in London, but it's important to have these independent places with some character and culture nearby within walking or cycling distance.

We've been researching St Albans and Guildford, but any other suggestions for something with natural beauty and some 'trendy' independent stuff? Really looking for a super chill place where younger, very liberal expats without kids might be happy doing walks, cultural and foodie outings, meeting like-minded friends etc.

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

Some disjointed thoughts.  I was born and raised in London; I wouldn't describe anywhere in the suburbs as being "very liberal"; in fact, based on the current political scenario, I'm beginning to wonder if you've got the right country.  So, to start off, if the politics are important, I would look at moving elsewhere, Liberalism has died in the UK.

If politics are not important, then I reckon St Albans is a good shout, although I suspect the bang for your buck would be about the same as Richmond.  Kent would be a good place to check out.  In the Guildford area, Aldershot and Farnham may be worth checking out now they've got rid of most of the military that were based there.

The commute into the City is a nightmare wherever you live and anywhere within walking distance of the new Elizabeth Line has already been snapped up and the prices went up accordingly.  In your position, I would seriously consider France, Belgium and Holland; you can commute quite easily into London using the Eurotunnel and for 1 day a week, it's very doable, although as non-EU citizens, you will struggle to get residence permits while working in London; Brexit kills that off very soon.

Hope this helps a bit; if you have any further specific questions, please come back to us.

Expat Team

I love Richmond. I went to Kingston University (Polytechnic in my days) and visited Richmond often along with all the other beautiful areas in that part of Outer London.

I have friends who live in Sussex, and they commute to London every day. One is an editor for the TImes, Some are in Brighton and some in other places like Hastings or anywhere in between. Sussex is really beautiful with some beautiful towns and villages (Lewis, Rye etc). I also lived in Hove as a kid and also in Burgess Hill, and at that time my father worked in a university in London. The good thing is that in Sussex you can live near the sea, probably Kent has the same vibe.

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