How do you choose a town to live

This might be too similar to the rolling buying a house thread (feel free to move it if so) but thought this was less about those really specific steps and more general, how do you decided if somewhere is alright?

Everywhere near me is pretty expensive so I am looking bit outside of the places I am familiar with, but have no idea how to approach places I don’t know. I’ve got a pretty concrete idea of the nearby towns I can afford (downloaded the land registry price paid data, whittled it down to places where I could afford the 25th percentile of ‘Flats’ price in 2017). I’ve found out various key bits of information (commute time, distance from home, proximity to frensham pond, leave/remain vote ratio), but need to find out more qualitative stuff

Seems to be most of the info out there is based around decent schools, crime rates, stuff that doesn’t concern me that much, was wondering if there are any resources to get to know music, entertainment, restaurants, environment and culture that kind of thing. So yeah, can anyone recommend any resources or advise on how they did it, cheers

For tacit things like that, the best thing is to spend time in a place, speak to people you know who live there, and maybe have a look at local facebook groups etc.


… Are you looking at places within easy reach of London venues? With the possible exception of Kingston, you probably have to go to places as far out or as big as Brighton or Reading, or Cambridge to find other towns that have their own venues and galleries worth visiting, because London swallows up so much in the towns around it, and they become dormitories.


Mostly terrible for gigs.

Compared to London, or other larger cities, maybe, but it gets a fair few. I was mainly thinking of the art galleries, libraries, theatre etc for Cambridge though, and they’re pretty decent, to be fair.

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Disagree. Terrible for people bothering to go to gigs, but for a city if its size, it does well.

Compare it to Peterborough, which is about the same size and has almost literally no venues other than pubs.


The main problem is many (non uk) bands of a decent size only play about 3 cities on a uk ‘tour’ these days.


I’ve never been to peterborough but i can’t imagine there is ANY metric for which ‘compare it to peterborough’ is a fair & balanced thing to do.

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Bit prejudiced mate. It’s a very ‘average’ city in almost every respect and therefore a very good comparator.

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work/relationships dictated it for me.

As for which part of the city… rented for a year or two in or near to different parts of reputable areas to get a feel for them. then bought somewhere on the size/location/price matrix that suited me.


Yeah I am going to visit the areas, Facebook groups are a good idea. I am very limited by my 3 criteria of commutable to london, not too far from home, affordable.

I work in London so will always have access to London gigs, I know few towns can compete to big cities, I guess I am after a place that isn’t completely barren.

I go to a lot of local gigs at the moment, and have always considered my town not as good as other nearby ones but there is still plenty on, guess I just need to research all the little venues in these towns and see what kind of events they have had.

For other non-music things, I know it is not realistic to expect london level options, it is more about there being some life to the place, where I live now is ok, it has theatres for touring productions, a couple of film seasons, events that take use of the public space, it is that kind of fairly modest stuff I am interested in. More as a proxy for knowing there are interesting people there.

I’ve found these really blunt and slight offensive demographics ONS use going to look at the demographics for my chosen areas

I’m not saying that you should expect London-level options, but that if it’s easy to travel into London, then

  1. maybe living somewhere with limited gig venues isn’t as much of an issue, and
  2. somewhere within easy travelling distance of London is likely to have less going on there as a result.

There’s always going to be a trade off between space, privacy, travel and cost.

One other thing that hasn’t been mentioned in this thread yet is amenities. Things like accessibility of shops, doctors, dentists, hospital etc can become pretty critical if you don’t drive, or if they’re not well-connected by public transport.

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Anywhere but London


I think 2. is how the place I live now has tended to be (guildford), it has always coasted on being close to london so there was not much going on (this has really changed in the past couple of years but sadly I can’t afford here), where as towns that are further out seem to have had more in the way of their own little scenes. Now by necessity I need to move somewhere further out, so think it might be an opportunity to find a place that has its own thing going on. I think having access to local venues is important to me, as a proxy for knowing there are other music fans in a place as well as for the actually entertainment.

Where are you thinking? Still Surrey?

surrey or hampshire

this is my shortlist of places I can afford if anyone has any anecdotal experience


Farnham, Alton, Aldershot and Farnborough are the ones i’m initially thinking

Good penoid scene there.

That’s all I’ve got.

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cracking theme park

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door, hand, car, hook


I would like to think at least one person has moved there based on this confusion