1. Fresh air
Ain’t nothing like stepping out of your front door, strolling down your steps and breathing in the thick, choking smog of a London bus chugging past, right? No.
Luckily for us in England’s green and pleasant southwest, we’ve got acres and acres of fresh, pollution-free air that seasons itself over woodlands, moors and oceans before it works its way into our lungs. The only thing we need to worry about breathing in is a rogue fly from the farm down the way.
The southwest’s calendar is filled to bursting with community events, school fetes and town festivals. We all love getting together to sell cakes and raise some cash for charity and have a right old knees up whilst the kids play in their school band. We look after each other’s kids when needed and know everyone from old Ethel round the corner to the mad bag lady who wanders the streets clutching her toy cats. We natter in corner shops and can go to the pub on a Friday by ourselves, because there will always be someone in there we know, or who knows our mum’s, cousin’s son. You don’t get that in London town now, do you?
3. Real cider
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, we make the best cider in the country down here in the foot of England. Our apples are sweet and our cider is so pungent it smells of feet. It’s cloudy, it’s crisp and it’s made no less than three hours away from where we drink it. More often than not, it’s made up the road. Tell me about your cider, London. Go on, I dare you.
4. Wide, green open spaces
We’ve got tons of ‘em. Sod Hyde Park, don’t even bother with Richmond Park and why would you even waste your time by jumping on the tube and ending up in London Fields when the southwest is so full of nature that we don’t know what to do with it? Wild camp on Dartmoor without being told off, walk for days on Exmoor for some time out in the great outdoors and climb England’s rudest hill, Brown Willy, on Bodmin Moor. Nothin’ better for the soul than green fields, muddy boots and miles under your belt. ‘Ansome.
We’ve got loads of them, too. From Porth Cressa on the Isles of Scilly to Selworthy Sands in Somerset and Seatown in Dorset, the southwest is fringed by miles and miles of sand and salty air. What’s London got? A slimy, pollution riddled Thames. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
6. Affordable rounds
According to the Telegraph, the average cost of a pint in London is £4.01 (exchange rate correct at time of writing). The average price of a pint in the southwest, however, is £3.31. Quids in for us, don’t you say?
7. A visible sky
There are things in the sky that twinkle at night called stars. We can see them down here because there is so little light pollution to ruin the view. We also have horizons and blue skies rather than sky scrapers.
8. People smiling
Even on public transport. Really.
9. Locally sourced produce
Whether we’re cooking a roast or making a cuppa, our veg, meat and milk probably all came from a farm up the road. We know it’s fresh and we’re proud to be supporting our local economy, even if we have to lie to the little ones in the families about where poor little Sally the pig went whilst carving the joint at the table.
10. Slower pace of life
We’re happy to stroll and wait for the bus and it’s OK to be late for work because you got stuck behind a herd of cows crossing the road. We dawdle behind tractors and we amble to the pub, we take country walks to find a cream tea at the end and we’re happy to sit and watch and wait. Our local shops trust us to come back with some change if we’re caught short and Grandma’s lunch will be an hour later than she promises. We can’t handle your London rushing, and we wouldn’t want to.
11. Our own West End
Go and check out the Minack Theatre and tell me more about great theatres.
12. Festivals like nowhere else
Beautiful Days. Leopallooza. 3 Chords. Sat in a Field. Boardmasters. Looe. Rock Oyster. Camp Bestival. Womad. Boomtown Fair. And of course, Glastonbury. I rest my case.