The streets of London are paved with gold goes the age-old adage. Sure enough, the capital has lured talent from far and wide, and has proved to be the launch pad to fame and fortune for some. And inevitably, this vast and endless pool of talent has created a vibrant, dynamic city with all the amenities, delights and opportunities you might wish for. London draws visitors from every corner of the world – and rightly so. It is an exciting place to be, where every taste and budget can be satisfied, and any adventure arranged. So obviously we all want to live there. Or do we?

London is also a crowded and polluted city where commuting is – for most people – an exhausting and expensive daily chore. The price of property continues to sky-rocket, with the chance of getting on the property ladder minimal. And the rental market? Fancy paying half your salary for a shoebox in Zone 6? Exactly.

Not a fan of the big smoke then? It wasn’t that I disliked London. In fact my boyfriend and I loved it! Walking out of our front door and into our favourite café within minutes, a new restaurant or bar to experience every weekend, amazing West End shows, galleries and museums, Sunday afternoon strolls through London’s stunning parks, not to mention friends nearby to catch-up with up on a regular basis. There’s nowhere like London; it has a buzz, a hum, an atmosphere that is completely unique, and it is, without doubt, an amazing place to live.

But it’s the niggles of everyday life in London that get to you eventually – and when they outweigh the thrills, it’s time to move. We wanted a family home and garden, and flexibility to eventually add children and a cocker spaniel into the equation. And finally, we wanted a release from the pressure that came with London living; the expense, the commute, the noise, the crowds…

Not really knowing where to start in our quest for lifestyle perfection, we took the lazy route and settled on my home county of Yorkshire. And despite this destination being the product of pure laziness, it was hard to ignore the many reasons why this county was so perfect for us.

Firstly, it’s no secret that you get more bang for your buck up north. RightMove became my app of choice as I scrolled daily through properties on offer at our budget, feeling encouraged by my findings. A one-bed flat in London bought a three-bed family home with garden in Yorkshire! And for those looking to rent, £900 a month would easily secure a spacious home in Leeds or York – unheard of in the capital. In London? You’d be lucky to score a bedsit in Dagenham.

Secondly, Yorkshire is a county of outstanding beauty; from rugged seaside resorts, cobbled historic towns to rural, villages surrounded by rolling, green fields. Home to not one but two stunning national parks – the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales – there is a reason why Yorkshire is known as ‘God’s Own County’. Having had our fill of the often claustrophobic atmosphere of London, the idea of spending our weekends pottering through The Shambles in York, having fish and chips on Whitby beach or exhausting ourselves walking one of the many trails in the Dales held great appeal.

And so, the conversations between us became more persistent – ‘No room to swing a cat’ ‘They’re putting up the rent by how much?!’ ‘Sorry I’ll be late, train’s delayed again’ – and the niggles of everyday London life were harder to ignore.

For my now-husband – a keen cyclist – Yorkshire’s particular affinity with cycling was certainly a key factor. Picked to host the first two stages of the Tour De France in 2014, Yorkshire has become renowned as the leading county for cycling in the UK, with the Tour De Yorkshire attracting thousands of spectators every year. For myself, it was all about the culture, theatre and arts venues across the county – from the Hepworth Gallery which recently won Art Fund museum of the year award – to The Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Queuing around one of London’s top galleries is fine, but enjoying world-class sculpture surrounded by rolling countryside? There’s nothing like it.

And as someone who loves their food, I was delighted to discover that Yorkshire now boasts the largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants than any other county outside of London. Starting with The Black Swan at Oldstead, North Yorkshire, which has been named the best restaurant in the world 2017, beating heavyweights such as The Fat Duck to the top spot. York in particular is renowned for its food culture, with plentiful cafes, food festivals and a growing reputation for superior locally-grown foods. And that is not the only thing York has become known for, having recently been named ‘the best place to live in Britain’ by The Sunday Times. Listed as a “mini-metropolis with cool cafes, destination restaurants, innovative companies – plus the fastest internet in Britain”.

Our decision made, we are now settled in Leeds in a spacious, three-bedroom flat overlooking beautiful Roundhay Park. Three bedrooms in London for a couple? Unthinkable, right? A short drive to the station gets us directly back to London in a couple of hours. York, Harrogate or the Dales are perfectly located for days out and the Lake District or Northumberland are easily accessible for weekends away. Leeds itself offers the perfect combination of bars, restaurants and shops – meaning the transition from London has been pretty painless. Most importantly, it combines all the characteristics of a bustling city life with the glorious Yorkshire countryside moments away. The streets of London maybe paved with gold, but the cobbles of Yorkshire are certainly nicely gilded too!