We currently live in Plymouth UK (my mother-in-law is about to relocate here from Camborne, Cornwall). Plymouth Hoe with its iconic landmark Smeaton’s Tower (the red and white striped lighthouse) is a great advert for the city. The Hoe is just minutes away from the historic Barbican area, where the kids can look at the boats in the harbour and we can buy some chips to jealously guard from the seagulls – I wonder if French seagulls are quite so vicious?
Plymouth’s climate is pretty mild for the UK, if a trifle on the rainy side, but with any luck wherever we relocate to in France the summers will be a little warmer and more reliable. The kids would also quite like to build the occasional snowman – we’ve never seen enough snow in Plymouth to even muster a decent snowball.
Living on the edge of Dartmoor in South Devon, with several beautiful beaches just a short drive away, certainly has its advantages. But we prefer to enjoy life outdoors in t-shirts rather than waterproofs. Don’t get me wrong, this part of the world is lovely when the sun is shining, but we’re always looking for the next black cloud.
Within a half an hour drive of the city we can find all kinds of great activities and interesting places to visit. There are a number of historic properties on our doorstep and they all have fabulous grounds. We love Saltram, situated next to the River Plym, which has flat paths for the kids to cycle, and a great place for the dog to splash and have a swim. Wembury beach, which like Saltram is owned by the National Trust, is fantastic for rock pooling and has a great café too.
Plymouth itself seems to have more than its fair share of green spaces and within walking distance of our house there are four parks that the kids will happily walk to. We can also enjoy the National Marine Aquarium and Dartmoor Zoological Park without having far to travel. And just a little further afield are Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts, Dinosaur World and Eden Project to name but a few.
Actually, writing this makes me realise that Plymouth is not so bad at all, and wherever we move to has quite a lot to live up to. One negative about Plymouth is the shopping centre, which most people love to hate, though it was ground-breaking when it was built during the post-war period. And Plymouth does actually feel like it is a long way from everywhere else in the country (especially when the main railway line falls into the sea) and in fact moving abroad will not make it any more difficult to see the rest of the family, as they don’t live down here in the South West.