Tell me why I should be excited to move to Plymouth, England
March 4, 2012 1:40 PM Subscribe
Talk me in to being excited about moving to Plymouth (UK, not US)
posted by olinerd to Society & Culture (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Later this year I'll be moving from Boston, MA to join my fiance in the UK. We are both in our late 20s. He is currently in Plymouth but we had planned to move to Bath when I got over there. However, today we found out that his work requires him to stay in Plymouth for the next two years. Since he travels extensively for work, I will be spending a fair amount of time on my own as a newly minted ex-pat.
I've lived in Boston for the last six years, with four years of college just outside the city before that. I love Boston. I work in the tech industry and I love the culture of nerdy overeducated workaholic professionals that seems to permeate the whole city, and especially in Cambridge, where I most frequently socialize. I'm a proud yuppie and a foodie (both of which may make me intolerable, I know). I'm a history nerd. I like the old neighborhoods and brick sidewalks and cute little boutiques and cafes in Boston. I like laying on the Common with a book in the summer. I live in Beacon Hill and love it. I grew up in the Midwest but I easily and happily became an east-coast liberal elite who walks too fast and drives like a Masshole.
The Bath prospect was easy for me to get excited about because it's a really neat city with beautiful architecture and really interesting history that's still accessible. It has neat cafes and tea houses and neighborhoods, and the touristy center of town felt a lot like the touristy centers of Boston. Even though it's a much smaller city, it's dense, and while we were visiting there were tons of people out and about; it feels like a good pedestrian city. I managed to stumble onto a fair amount of greenspace even when I wasn't looking for it. Even though both Plymouth and Bath have major universities, Bath had more of a "college town" feel, which I liked. The surrounding countryside is beautiful. Nearby Bristol seems to have a great tech industry. I also like the relative proximity to London, since both my fiance and I have family and friends there.
I've visited him a couple of times where he is now in Plymouth, and while it's been nice to visit and enjoy a pint at one of the pubs in the Barbican, I'm having trouble feeling as excited as I was about the Bath option. Plymouth isn't nearly as dense (or at least, it doesn't feel that way) and while it doesn't seem to require a car to get everywhere, it doesn't feel as walkable. On average the population seems a bit older than Bath or Boston so I worry about the sorts of social stuff and young professionals networking that I'd hoped I could keep up. Though there are a few neat areas, the near-total rebuild of the city after the WWII destruction to me has left a lot of areas feeling a bit bleak and industrial. I seldom see people out walking around outside of the Drake Circus area. There are lots of newish restaurants around the Barbican where my fiance lives, but the majority of the time I walk past them, they're totally empty.
I guess what it comes down to is that given my limited experience with each, I felt like I could see myself fitting in in Bath whereas I can't as much in Plymouth. But since I'll be working from home and my fiance will be gone a lot, it's rather imperative that I have a lot of motivation to get out of the house and meet people and do things and generally avoid becoming a homesick hermit.
So I need help. What don't I know about Plymouth? What are the groups of MeFi-type people and where in the city can I find them? What things to do and people to meet are near Plymouth but maybe just outside the city in other towns? What should a US east coast city slicker do to be happy there for a couple of years?