Living in London is exhilarating. It’s also exasperating and exhausting. If it’s time to shift focus towards a better quality of life, South Devon could be your perfect exit from the rat race. Give us five minutes to explain why.
Most of South Devon - even the quiet villages - is served by nippy broadband. If you count on staying connected, you won’t be left feeling like you have traveled back to the digital dark ages. Oh and while we are talking infrastructure, excellent road, rail and air links mean you can reach London, Bristol and Manchester in a snap.
Why should you care that Exeter University consistently features near the top of reputable rankings tables? (Such as this one.) Because it brings fresh waves of talented students to the city every year. And seeing as fewer graduates are choosing to move to London - blame eye-watering rental prices - South Devon is retaining more of its intellectual muscle. Good for prosperity, good for senior-level pros like you.
How would you like to have seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty on your doorstep? There’s the sweeping rural landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor, 289 miles of stunning coastline and lovely beaches - not to mention the charismatic resorts of the English Riviera. Kids love it. And the whole county is peppered with delightful villages. At the heart of it all? The historic city of Exeter, one of the most architecturally important places in southern England.
Living in a place nicknamed The Big Smoke doesn’t exactly give your lungs bragging rights. With two coastlines and a sea of rural landscapes, you’d better be prepared for a long journey if you want to find fresher air than Devon’s.
Strike up a lunchtime chat with a stranger in London and they might just choke on their falafel and halloumi wrap. Things are a bit more easygoing in Exeter - a point of pride for the city. And if you live in one of the leafy suburbs or cute villages of South Devon, your neighbours, the local bakers and Jack and Linda from up the road will all become part of your social tapestry.
Despite the focus on community, South Devon gives you all the freedom you need to be yourself. No more getting barged by strangers. Want to visit the region’s best museums and galleries? There are 25 National Trust properties and 14 English Heritage sites to choose from. And you won’t need to get up at 5am to start queuing. Fancy a cold pint at the end of a sunny day? Your local beer gardens won’t be chock full of thirsty, shouty hoi polloi. It makes leisure time far more leisurely.
It’s easy to get smothered by the routine of London living. When you do decide it’s time to get active, the gyms are jammed, the pools are packed and don’t get us started on booking a football pitch or tennis court. Facilities are easier to reserve in South Devon, with plenty of clubs that welcome new faces across a range of sports. There’s also acre after acre of stunning scenery to run and cycle in. And Exmouth is one of the watersports capitals of the Westcountry. Hit your fitness goals.
8. You can do more with your money
Whether you are hoping to climb the property ladder or step onto the bottom rung, Devon is a fine place to do it. Full disclosure: house prices are high. But your hard-earned goes much further than it does in London. As for the other end of the scale? Let’s just say farmer’s markets offer field-fresh treats for pocket change. And you’ll never get bored of hearing the landlord tot up a round of drinks at your local. Cheers!
So there you have it. Whether you want culture, community or - whisper it - quiet beer gardens, life doesn’t have to be ringfenced by the M25.