Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Best UK town to live in


Recommended Posts

Given that I can't afford London, which town should I choose to set up home in now I'm returning to the UK? Being within an hour of London would be good - then there would be easy access to the capital for its amazing quantity of fine dining.

There are other factors than food (arts cinema, photogenic locations nearby, walking, being near the sea are all plus points) - but I'm interested in which town or city you'd choose purely for gastronomic reasons - plenty of fine dining, plenty of good middle range food, ideally some good Asian food, and of course plenty of excellent foodie shops selling free range meat, local cheeses and so on.

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You'd be very welcome in Leicester. Brand new state of the art theatre, three-screen arts cinema opening in the the late summer, excellen,under-rated walking and scenery in the east of the county and Rutland, plus we're not far from the peaks.

Wide variety of Asian food, and wonderful produce in the farm shops inthe county, but I couldn't in all honesty say "plenty of fine dining" (there's some, obviously) still less "near the sea".

We're 100 miles north of London, about 75 minutes on the train with four trains an hour.

Overall I suspect, with your parameters, Brighton or Oxford may have more pressing claims.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overall I suspect, with your parameters, Brighton or Oxford may have more pressing claims.

Yes to Oxford which meets all requirements other than the sea. But there is the river...

Birmingham will be within 30 minutes of London by 2021! Or if you drive really fast now you can do it in an hour ;)

And we have 3 1* restaurants and the balti triangle plus on the doorstep of some great countryside counties - Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overall I suspect, with your parameters, Brighton or Oxford may have more pressing claims.

Yes to Oxford which meets all requirements other than the sea. But there is the river...

Food isn't a strong point of Oxford (city centre) is it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Overall I suspect, with your parameters, Brighton or Oxford may have more pressing claims.

Yes to Oxford which meets all requirements other than the sea. But there is the river...

Birmingham will be within 30 minutes of London by 2021! Or if you drive really fast now you can do it in an hour ;)

And we have 3 1* restaurants and the balti triangle plus on the doorstep of some great countryside counties - Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire etc.

I think 2021 is a little long to wait! Thanks though, must admit being near the balti triangle is tempting...

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to work in Rotherham. It's got a great greasy spoon in a layby just off the Woodhead Pass. I'm sure the town centre had a couple of Indian restaurants but I never tried them. Oh... and there's a Happy Eater with a 'Crazy Jack's' playground attached on the main road out towards Barnsley.

Hope this helps :wink:

Always hungry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Food isn't a strong point of Oxford (city centre) is it?

Sadly no. There are a few interesting places slightly out of the centre - near where Brasserie Blanc is - but the centre itself is mostly Pizza/Italian chains and theme pubs...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in Cambridge right now, which is pretty good, with Midsummer House, 22 Chesterton Road and a bunch of things like Loch Fyne and Hotel du Vin.

Someone mentioned Brighton - better than Cambridge?

How about Winchester? I just found out it's only an hour from London, and exploring the south west a bit more would be nice.

And what about Northampton?

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about it?

Is it any good to live in for a foodie?

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

No-one mentioned Ludlow yet? I know it's not quite the food mecca it used to be, but it does still have 2 1* restaurants, and plenty of other great ones in the area. There's also so much good local produce around, plus the annual food+drink festival. Not a great deal in authentic asian food though, plus it's nowhere near the sea, but you can't have it all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No-one mentioned Ludlow yet?  I know it's not quite the food mecca it used to be, but it does still have 2 1* restaurants, and plenty of other great ones in the area.  There's also so much good local produce around, plus the annual food+drink festival.  Not a great deal in authentic asian food though, plus it's nowhere near the sea, but you can't have it all!

It's not really within an hour of London either!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in Cambridge right now, which is pretty good, with Midsummer House, 22 Chesterton Road and a bunch of things like Loch Fyne and Hotel du Vin.

Someone mentioned Brighton - better than Cambridge?

And Alimentum! Beats many London 1* (although now reservations one week in advance...)

The express (twice an hour) takes 50min to get into London, conveniently at King's Cross which has many central lines (Victoria, Picadilly) to get you to the good places. Very possible (if tiring) to go for dinner in London and be back the same night. Don't forget the jumper as you freeze standing in KX waiting for the train near midnight.

Living close to the station is cheap.

I used to think Cambridge was bad but then I started travelling around the UK. It's pretty good! There is a bubble in "foodie" shops, like origin8 in the centre and that Italian deli (Massano's?) near Zizzi's, and if you speak Chinese Sesame has fantastic food (on the other menu). If by Asian you meant Indian then there are apparently some decent places but I have yet to find them. You can get decent enough meat from the market butcher (haven't tried any others), coffee online from Londinium or a similar "roast to order" place, there's a Tesco's and numerous "ethnic" and surprisingly well-stocked supermarkets (Korean, Chinese, Malay, Middle-Eastern). Two competing cheese shops, one on the market (with a wider range and more British cheeses, but higher prices) and one behind Trinity Whewell's Court.

As for non-food factors, the presence of a well-heeled student population means classical concerts, opera, theatre are very cheap and sometimes good quality, and tehre is an arts cinema as well as two blockbusters-serving blocks. There are many pubs which serve delicious ales, it's quite a safe city if you keep out of certain areas, and the locals tend to be quite smart. In fact there's a company that keeps track of stuff to do for you: http://www.localsecrets.com/. Beware of the awful traffic due to the awful roads which were designed in the 1200s. Once you get out of Cambridge there are surprises like that pub up in Madingley.

No sea though...

[edited to add link]

Edited by Roger le goéland (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

how about Gloucestershire?

Not sure it qualifies as a town :cool:

Cheltenham, Gloucs is worth consideration with LCS and Lumiere ( I've had an impressive lunch there under the new management) and short rides to Winchcombe which has Wesley House and 5 North Street, and to Alium at Fairford.

Also only a short distance to the sea in the form of the Bristol Channel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My advice is to head to London. IMO I don't think there is any other town which gets near it for the breadth and depth of food. The UK has a two categories of town - London and the rest.

OK lots of places have a few good options, but most simply don't have the variety and strength in depth to keep me interested. I find the majority of the restaurants outside of London are quite abysmal. Yes, there are exceptions, and these exceptions are worth travelling for (The Star, Purnells, Sat Baines, Martin Wishart, Margot's etc - I am tempted to go on because it isn't a very long list). But to be honest once you have tried the best 2 or 3 in an area the others tend to be so far behind not to be worthwhile.

I suspect my post will be contentious but can anyone really name a town and list 10 to 20 restaurants at any price point (within a 30 minute drive/bus ride) that are really good (i.e. worth going to 3 to 5 times a year)?

I too returned to the UK after 15 years absence, I had read how the quality of food had improved dramatically, and how the UK now had really great food options. I am afraid these articles were delusional. I now wish I had moved to London rather than the country. Don't make the mistake I did - head for London.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm about to move to Faversham in Kent - fractionally more than an hour from London by train but will be about an hour when the high speed link comes in later this year. Market three times a week, two butchers (one of which is reportedly best in Kent), fishmonger, what looks like a great farm shop and Shepherd Neame brewery. As far as eating out is concerned Reads in the town has a star, about ten minutes from the Sportsman at Seasalter and fifteen from Whitstable. Also easy access to the channel ports.

So I can't say it is absolutely the best place, but I'm certainly looking forward to it. :smile: Anyone know a decent wine merchant in the area?

Helen

Ps and avoid Northampton - a culinary desert. There are places within driving distance, but lots of other better bases!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Bristol of course.

Bells Diner, Moreish, Culinaria, Bordaux Quay, Goldbrick House and our latest Micehlin starred Casamia.

There's three food festivals every year indlucing the organic food festival and the bristol food festival and lots of small artisanal delis plus specialist eastern food stores.

As well as it's generally a great city to live in, head for the Clifton district. Only a few hours from London by train

Edited by iainpb (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...