Plenty of Britons have become tired of big city living and are keen to slow things down a little by moving to a quieter town in a more rural part of the UK.
Of course, people still have to earn a living, which means they cannot completely escape the rat race, but it is possible to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle while still being within easy reach of the main cities.
Here are just five small towns that are worth considering when you search for a new home.
Recently featured in the Guardian’s “Let’s Move to…” series, Uttoxeter is steadily becoming a popular commuter town. Based in the pretty east Staffordshire countryside, the market town is quiet, safe, has some excellent schools and is in a fantastic location right in the centre of the country.
Derby and Stoke-on-Trent are just 15 to 20 minutes away to the east and west, while Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham are all within easy reach. Uttoxeter also hosts the Midlands Grand National horse racing event every March, which is a huge occasion.
Many people will have spotted signs for the market town on their way to Alton Towers, which is less than ten miles away.
Harrogate is a spa town in north Yorkshire and it has built up quite a reputation for being one of the more upmarket rural locations in the UK. As you would expect from any town that makes this list, there is plenty of greenery and lots of beautiful old buildings scattered around the place.
There are many lovely independent shops in the attractive town centre and the quintessentially-British Bettys Tea Rooms are a major tourist attraction.
Like Uttoxeter, Ludlow is perhaps best known for its racecourse, but there is far more to it than that. It is a very historic town that has attracted plenty of new residents from cities all over the UK thanks to its quaint atmosphere and beautiful setting.
Ludlow is also a must-visit destination for people who appreciate top-class gastronomy, as the town has no fewer than seven Michelin-starred restaurants. Thanks to its rural location, the talented chefs that occupy these eateries are able to rustle up mouth-watering dishes that are made from the finest and freshest local ingredients.
The south-west of England is awash with charming market towns, one of which is Totnes. Properties in this historic town tend to be more expensive than in other parts of the region, and it is easy to see why.
Four centuries ago, Devon-based writer Thomas Westcote said Totnes was a “city-like town” that had “pleasant soil, fruitful country and healthful air” and it is hard to disagree. Today, Totnes has an impressive number of amenities for a small town, which is always an important consideration for anyone planning to move to a new area.
Based in the so-called Garden of England, Chatham has plenty going for it. Famed for its great naval dockyard, this town has some amazing waterfront properties that are proving to be highly attractive to commuters.
Chatham is only a short train journey from the centre of London, which makes it perfect for City workers who want to spend their weekends exploring the Kent countryside. There is plenty to see and do in Chatham, as the town is home to Dickens World, where you can delve a little deeper into the life, times and work of the great author Charles Dickens.