A few months ago, I shared our journey in terms of deciding where we were going to pick up and move our life. We’d been living in Cheadle Heath for 8 years, not too far from where Wayne had spent his entire life just outside of Manchester. Deciding that we wanted to (and had the ability to) change our lifestyle and move elsewhere was a huge decision and we were quite pragmatic when it came to narrowing down our choices. In the end, we decided Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire was at the top of our list. We arranged to see four different properties on a very snowy day in December and found our dream home. We put in an offer the next morning and the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, sort of. I mean, we chose the town ‘on paper’ as it were and the first time we ever even stepped foot into the town, we bought a house here. Outwardly, it may seem to have been a rash decision but we knew it’d be right – at least we were pretty sure it’d be right. So after living here for 4 1/2 months, was it the right decision after all?
Given the title of the post, I’m pretty sure you already know the answer to that one. But I thought it’d be fun to talk about all the ways that moving to a location we love has changed our lives. It seems Kirsty and Phil were right – it really is all about location, location, location. And as much as I’d love to keep this hidden gem to myself (I mean, not many people have even heard of it nevermind visited!), here are 9 different reasons why I’m SUPER happy about deciding to move to Shrewsbury.
There’s a sense of community
Since moving here, I’ve met so many lovely people both on Instagram and in person, eager to share their favourite spots or events in town or to meet up for a coffee and a chat or simply to share their own experiences of living here. I’ve met some wonderfully creative people and small business owners who clearly love this little gem of a place just as much as we do. I hope to attend more networking events in the future but it’s just great to know there’s a lively community here.
People care about their town
I swear I see the neighbours across the road from our house out trimming bushes, sweeping their front paths and touching up paint every single week. When you see people taking that much pride in their homes, you know you’re on to a good thing. We did some weeding of the front of our house when we first moved in but some have grown back now and while the inside of our home is taking priority at the moment, I’m so conscious of this that I actually feel guilty about it! Ha! As you walk through my neighbourhood and head towards the centre of town, you see this everywhere – flowers blooming, lawns cut, bushes trimmed. There’s no rubbish in front gardens and everything is rather nicely kept. There’s a real sense of pride here that’s wonderful to see.
The old buildings and bridges are beautiful
The town itself is so picturesque with over 500 buildings in the town from the 15th and 16th century – that’s a lot of buildings in a small area! It’s stunning to walk around and see the various different kinds of architecture over hundreds of years happily side by side. It’s probably one of the first times in my life that I actually feel rather proud of where I live. I get excited to share it with visiting friends because I know they’ll be oohing and awwing the whole time over the beautiful setting.
There are great places to eat
We’ve already had the experience of a few amazing eateries and there are simply loads around. For a small town, you wouldn’t expect to get so much great food but it’s here for the taking. We have about 20 different places on our ‘must-visit’ list (including an amazing vegan Japanese restaurant) and more are added all the time as recommendations come flooding in. We recently went to Harvey’s of Fish Street for drinks and it was such a beautiful setting that we’re determined to go back soon. We also recently went to Casa Naranjo, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant that’s fully run by Spanish people and the food was outstanding. I know that you’d get this in any major city but in a small town, it’s just not the norm in my experience so it’s fantastic to have great food practically on our doorstep!
There are great places to shop
Of course, alongside great bars, pubs and restaurants, you’ve also got great shopping. With everything from amazing small independent shops (Workshop is one of my favourites) to a huge indoor market to outdoor markets in the town square to the larger chains like House of Frasier, Marks & Spencers, H&M, there’s genuinely something for everyone here. There’s even a shop that sells a whole bunch of American candy and my nieces were thrilled walking into the Harry Potter store too. Because it’s the county town, pretty much all the retailers are here that you can think of and dangerously, they are all within a 20-minute walk of my house! I’ve always had to travel into Manchester city central to get to decent shops so it’s just a novelty to have everything so close by!
Everything is on our doorstep
Speaking of which, I think this is probably the biggest change for us. Where we previously lived, we pretty much always had to jump in our car if we wanted to go anywhere of interest whereas now, we leave the car sat in the drive all weekend long. I got rid of my car when we decided to sell up as we figured we didn’t need the added expense and I thought I’d be eager to get another car when we moved. So far, I’ve not really needed it. I can walk just about anywhere I need to go and when I can’t, there’s a train station within walking distance that leads directly to major city centres like Birmingham and Manchester. Even the larger stores like B&Q, the garden centres or the larger supermarkets are less than a 10 minute drive away.
There’s plenty of nature too
Of course, one of the nicest things about essentially living in a town in the middle of the countryside (Birmingham is the nearest city and that’s 30 miles away) is that you have nature all around you. I have yet to explore much of the Shropshire countryside but even the parks here are beautiful and The Quarry (a 29-acre park) and The Dingle (the main flower garden seen above) are favourites of ours just to walk along the river and see the beauty around us.
We go out a lot more
Where we used to be quite happy to settle down at home on a weekend, we’re out and about so much more now. It was one of the things we really wanted when we moved – access to everything a place had to offer and we certainly have found that here. With community events all summer long from Food Festivals to a River Festival to the annual Shrewsbury Flower Show, there’s almost always something to check out. And even when there’s not an event taking place, it’s just lovely to walk a few minutes and have access to a host of places to shop, eat and drink. Of course, the downside of this is that we are spending a lot more money here! Ha! It’s far too easy to get carried away with spending but I’m happy to be experiencing where we live rather than always just stuck indoors.
It’s busy but not too busy
And finally, I do often laugh when I hear of people talking about “traffic” in Shrewsbury. Let me tell you, after spending hours on a motorway or crawling our way into Manchester’s city centre in the car, what we have here (ie, 4 cars ahead of you at a stop light) can’t possibly be considered traffic! We often remark as well that what you end up with here at pubs and restaurants is “TV busy”. Ya know how on television, when they show people in bars or restaurants, there are people around but they always get a table, can always hear each other speak and the bar isn’t 4 people deep as you wait to place your order? It’s like that. All the time. Busy in the sense it doesn’t feel like you are in a desolate town after some outbreak but also not so heaving that you can’t get a table or order a drink easily. It’s nice busy. Even on a Saturday night. We will even go to garden centres and DIY stores on a Saturday afternoon and you don’t feel like you are fighting off hoards of people. Hopefully this blog post won’t change that either! ;)
I took these pictures at the weekend when we had Wayne’s family visiting and I hope you enjoyed this little jaunt around our town! How do you feel about where you live? What are the best things about it? I’d love to know what makes your home great! Let me know in the comments!