how one family made a fresh start in north Wales, in a house twice the size for half the monthly rent

Rebecca with daughters Laurel and Claudia (Luke Pilling @abersapp)

When she turned 40 Rebecca Hinde threw a big party for all her London friends. Two days later she packed her bags and plunged into the unknown.

She and her two daughters – both ‘devastated’ to leave the capital – moved to the coastal village of Llanbedrog, Gwynedd, in north Wales in 2019. And although it’s a very different world from Brockley in south- east London, the family is prosperous.

Rebecca, 43, grew up in Chester but has spent most of her adult life in London. In addition to raising Claudia, now 14, and Laurel, 13, she ran an art gallery, Someth1ng, in Honor Oak Park. After separating from the girl’s father, she and the girls were renting a two-bedroom house, paying £1,600 an inch.

At first, business was booming and life was good. But slowly things started to change. “I don’t know if it was Brexit but the gallery has started to really slow down and financially it’s been a bit of a struggle,” said Rebecca. “As the girls got older, I knew we’d need more space, but I just couldn’t afford it. And although I really love London, I started to worry more and more about the crime: a girl was bottled up right outside the gallery by another group of girls for no reason at all.

The view from Rebecca's new house (Rebecca Hinde)

The view from Rebecca’s new house (Rebecca Hinde)

Rebecca’s mother had already moved to live in North Wales where the family had a long-term holiday home, and her sister and her family lived nearby. Rebecca decided she wanted to be closer to them. “We went up one year for Christmas and it was just magical,” she said. “That really made me decide.”

Rebecca now works as a freelance writer and researcher and pays £650 an inch to rent a four-bedroom farmhouse. “It’s at the top of a hill overlooking Snowdonia and Cardigan Bay,” she said.

Claudia and Laurel, meanwhile, dove straight into life in Welsh-speaking schools and, after a period of intense language lessons, handled the change with aplomb, including learning to surf and going out to the beach with their new bands of friends in their downtime.

The move was, of course, a culture shock. There is far less diversity in Wales than the family was used to, although Rebecca she says she hasn’t faced any anti-English sentiments, and there are obviously far fewer options when it comes to culture. Rachel also misses her busy London social life – “If you like your gastropubs you’ll be disappointed” – although the fact that Claudia’s asthma has recovered since the move is a great compensation, as is the sheer beauty of the surroundings.

“The landscape here is so amazing,” Rebecca said. “I don’t know if Covid has changed my perspective, but I feel very safe here with the boys, away from the chaos of the rest of the world. I don’t worry anymore like I used to.

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