Rural Britain is one of the most scenic places in Europe. Therefore, it’s understandable that so many people want to call it “home”.
Prices can be lavish in some of the UK’s most picturesque postcodes – but not everywhere sits on the higher end of the affordability scale. There are cheaper options available.
Here are 10 of the cheapest rural areas to live in the UK – plus a small guide on what to expect from each location.
All prices are based on the average property price for the cheapest home type in each area.
10. Shetland Islands, Scotland, £133,632
So, where are the cheapest places to buy a house in the UK?
Formerly known as Zetland, Shetland Islands is a small number of scattered islands in Scotland. Lerwick is Shetland’s capital, where the average price is an even more affordable £106k. The town offers a lifestyle more akin to the British mainland, yet retains its island feel.
Lerwick is Shetland’s only town and is home to the Old Waterfront, where you can set your sights on pleasure boats, visiting yachts and working fishing boats. It also happens to be Britain’s most northerly town. Most of the buildings date from the 18th century – handy if you admire period properties.
The New Town section of Lerwick has villas and public parks, while two cinemas and a modern leisure centre make up the amenities.
Those who are looking for the island life right here in the UK will be able to pick up a home for an average of £133,632 in the Shetland Islands.
9. Allerdale, North West, £130,554
Looking to experience countryside living without the price tag?
Allerdale is a district of Cumbria in North West England. Cockermouth is perhaps the most rural area of Allerdale, where property prices average £139k. The town of Cockermouth has a population of around 8,000 and is home to the Cockermouth Rock Festival – ideal for rock lovers!
Wigton, another rural town in Allerdale, is considerably cheaper than Cockermouth, with property prices averaging £100k, much lower than the national average.
This historic market town is just 10 miles from the border of Carlise and nine miles north of the picturesque Lake District.
Whether you’re thinking of moving to Cockermouth, Wigton or one of the other areas of Allerdale, such as Workington, expect to pay an average of £130,553.
Allerdale might be the second most expensive place on our list, but it’s still pretty affordable when compared to most of the other rural UK areas.
8. Highland, Scotland, £130,057
We’re heading back to Scotland for the number eight pick, this time in Highland.
Often referred to as The Highlands, the area is well known for having Scotland’s most scenic sights. Many parts are still remote, which means it has many sections of unspoilt wilderness.
For rural delights, house hunters should look at the Strathspey region. Expect to find a cluster of villages that lay along the River Spey and contain views of the Cairngorm mountains. Inverness is the only major city in The Highlands.
There’s good news if you need help as a first time buyer, as you can find some low house prices here.
With an average property price of £130,057, house hunters can enjoy sweeping cliffs, sand-filled bays, and some of the most preserved areas in Europe.
7. Carmarthenshire, Wales, £114,109
The only entry from the south of the UK, Carmarthenshire is one of the historic counties of Wales. Its three largest towns are Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford, where flat prices are £115k, £112k and £85k respectively.
Llanelli is the largest town in Carmarthenshire and enjoys views of Carmarthen Bay towards the Celtic Sea and the Gower Peninsula. Over the years, Llanelli has benefited from regeneration and is a popular commuter town to Swansea.
Carmarthen features a quaint old town and well-known market which has been around for 800 years. The village of Ammanford has plenty of local cafes, as well as Michelin Starred restaurants. It’s a popular rural place to live and offers a great quality of life.
6. Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, £99,698
Dumfries & Galloway is illuminated by its cultural heritage, dominating cliffs and wild landscapes. In fact, many have gone as far as to describe it as “Scotland in Miniature”.
Part of Dumfries & Galloway is designated by UNESCO as a “biosphere reserve”, after being recognised for having outstanding natural landscapes.
Those thinking about becoming a resident of Dumfries & Galloway will be able to claim having the only Dark Skies Park in the UK – which is an open space with exceptionally dark night skies due to the lack of pollution.
Dumfries & Galloway is the first entry on the list to have average flat prices for under £100k.
5. County Durham, North East, £96,574
While the majority of average house prices on this list are based on flats, County Durham’s most affordable homes come in the form of terraced houses. Sitting at £96,574, you can expect to pay less than £100k for terrace in County Durham.
The only district in England with “County” prefixed to its name, County Durham features UNESCO World Heritage Sites, sprawling countryside and the third oldest university in England.
Darlington is the biggest area in County Durham, but Durham City is the official town of the area. There are plenty of market towns and villages too, which have a history of famining heritage, railway industry and mining.
4. Western Isles, Scotland, £93,170
The Outer Hebrides and Outer Isles, also known as the Western Isles, form a 130-mile-long archipelago made up of more than 200 islands. Of those islands, only a few are inhabited – with the current population sitting at just under 27,000.
If you fancy becoming one of those inhabitants, expect to pay a little over £93k for a flat. You might need to brush up on your Gaelic, tough – more than 50% of the population are fluent speakers of the language.
The islands receive around 219,000 visitors a year, meaning that tourism is the main industry in the Western Isles. Those handy at fishing, weaving and crofting will be happy to know that all three crafts are highly valued in the Western Isles.
3. Copeland, North West, £84,494
Cumrbira featues again on our list, with Copeland proving to be one of the most affordable rural areas in the UK. Set along the Western Lake District area, Copeland provides plenty of rural delights.
If you’re thinking of moving to Copeland, expect to find quiet sandy beaches, sprawling valleyways, and scenic rivers and lakes – not to mention a fair few mountains. If fact, the area is home to Scafell Pike and Wastewater, the highest mountain and lake in England.
The average flat costs just shy of £85k, which means saving for a deposit will be considerable easier than in many other UK areas.
2. East Ayrshire, Scotland, £82,902
East Ayrshire shares borders with Dumfries & Gallows (no.6 on our list) and is made up of several towns and villages, including Kilmarnock. Yet it’s the many villages that will appeal to those wanting to live in rural surroundings.
Very much part of undiscovered Scotland, Cumnock is one of the rural villages in East Ayrshire. Flats average just £61,409, and there is strong Victorian era feel in Cumnock, thanks to the many period properties.
Other popular villages include Stewarton, where the average flat price is £88,648, and Darvel, where you can purchase a flat for £51,874. Finding a home in East Ayrshire will cost an average of £82,902.
1.Wyre, North West, £79,703
The top spot on the list of 10 cheapest rural locations in the UK goes to Wyre. The Lancashire area, which is named after the River Wyre, offers flats for an average of £79,703.
Those who want to call Wyre “home” will have access to the many rural delights of Lancashire. The Yorkshire Dales and National Park and the enchanting castles of Lancaster are all within a 30-mile radius. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is also nearby for when you want to mix things up a little.
Getting the best deal for a home is important, and knowing the average house prices will help you find an affordable place to live while enjoying the rural life.
Want to get to know an area before you move there? Get one of Phil Spencer’s property reports. It will collect all the necessary information you need to know, from crime rates to local schools. After all, you can change a property but not it’s location!
Last Updated: August 13th, 2021