Since the start of the pandemic, there has been something of an exodus of people from big cities to smaller communities.

Depending on a range of factors, including the number of good or outstanding Ofsted-rated primary schools, some areas may be better than others for families if you want to get away from the bustle of a big city.

To help, estate agents Savills have ranked all cities in England with relatively low populations and found the places with the highest proportion of “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted-rated primary schools per 10,000 people.

Continue reading to find out about these smaller communities that could be ideal for families to move to.

1. St Albans

St Albans is a city north of London that has 3.7 good or outstanding Ofsted-rated primary schools per 10,000 people. The average house price may be on the slightly higher side at £613,302, but the city itself is a lovely place to live.

Indeed, the city is a great place to raise a family with plenty to do, such as the huge cathedral or the Verulamium Museum. The picturesque city is also steeped in history, as it was one of the three largest Roman towns in Britain.

2. Lichfield

Lichfield is another cathedral city, this time located in Staffordshire. The average house price here is £322,437; this affordability of housing shows it could be a great place for new families to move to.

Even though it is a smaller community that offers peace and quiet, it is close to both Birmingham and rural areas – so you can still get the best of both worlds. There is still plenty to do for families in the vibrant city too; there are several peaceful parks and even a museum dedicated to the birthplace of English author Samuel Johnson.

3. Wells

Wells, a small city of 12,000 people in Somerset on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills, is another great option for families. Even though it is smaller than many others on this list, Wells has 2.8 good or outstanding Ofsted-rated primary schools per 10,000 people, and the average house price is £334,795.

Location-wise, Wells is around 20 miles from the coast at Weston-Super-Mare, the beautiful city of Bath and the major hub of Bristol. Even if you didn’t want to travel, there is still plenty to do in the city. The bishop’s palace and gardens or the Ebbor Gorge, for example, offer fantastic ways to spend time in the outdoors.

4. Durham

If you would prefer to head to the north of England, Durham may be the place for you. With a much lower average house price of £224,943, Durham could be ideal for younger families looking for a slice of the quieter life.

Located just south of Newcastle, the city could be perfect for history buffs. You can visit Durham Cathedral and the Norman castle in the centre of the city, and the medieval hall, which has exquisite gardens and even a maze on offer.

5. Sunderland

Speaking of cities in the north of England, Sunderland could be another great option if you’re looking for a place to raise a family.

The average house price is much lower at £151,910. With housing being so affordable it could be the perfect place for younger families looking to start anew somewhere away from a much bigger city.

There is plenty to do, with several parks, and museums such as the Sunderland Museum, the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and the Ryhope Engine Museum. There is even a winter garden, which has more than 1,500 plants under a glass dome.

6. Norwich

Norwich is one of the larger cities on this list, but it can still be a peaceful place to raise a family. The county city of Norfolk has 2.6 good or outstanding Ofsted-rated primary schools per 10,000 people, and the average house price is a manageable £266,651.

The city was once a Saxon marketplace, so there is lots of history to soak up. The old city walls are still standing and are great to visit, with two imposing gates, St Ethelbert’s and Erpingham, still there to this day.

Even if you aren’t keen on history, there is still lots on offer. There are plenty of attractions a short drive from the city, from the beautiful beaches of north Norfolk to the winding waters of the Norfolk Broads.

7. Chester

Chester, a city in the north-west of England, is another walled city that is steeped in history. The former Roman fortress has an average house price of £266,940.

The city centre is one to remember too – many of the buildings in the Rows shopping district are gorgeous two-level Tudor-style buildings in the typical half-timber fashion, with a wide variety of different shops.

There is even an old Roman amphitheatre just outside the old city walls, making it the perfect place to go for historic picturesque walks with your family.

8. Preston

Preston is a city in Lancashire located on the River Ribble, and hosts one of the UK’s largest universities, the University of Central Lancashire.

When it comes to schooling, there is plenty on offer, as there are 2.6 good or outstanding Ofsted-rated primary schools per 10,000 people. The average house price is very affordable too, at £138,502, which means it could be ideal for younger families.

The picturesque city has lots to do – besides the many parks and hiking trails nearby, families that love animals may be at home in Preston, as there is the Turbary Woods Owl and Bird of Prey Sanctuary, the Bowland Wild Boar Park, and the Brockholes Nature Reserve.

9. Salisbury

Salisbury, a small city in Wiltshire, is best known for its breathtaking cathedral. The average house price is slightly higher, however, at £329,054, though this relatively higher price may be worth it for the stunning cityscapes.

The city would be great for history-orientated families, as it is only nine miles from Stonehenge and the previously mentioned cathedral contains an original copy of the Magna Carta. There are plenty of parks and outdoor excursions to be had, though if you prefer more modern activities, the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection has lots to see.

10. Ripon

If you seek the peace and quiet of an idyllic city, then Ripon, England’s third smallest city, may be what you’re looking for. Even though it is small, there are still 2.4 good or outstanding Ofsted-ranked primary schools per 10,000 people, and the average house price is £263,936.

Families with younger children may love Ripon, as the Lightwater Valley Adventure Park has 35 rides and attractions for the whole family. If you prefer to relax, there are plenty of parks to visit, such as the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens, Newby Hall and Gardens or the Druids Temple, all of which offer lovely walks through nature.

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