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After nearly 20 years of living in London, Sheffield-born Liam made the move to Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast after spending an unforgettable weekend there with his family. Working for Aviva in Norwich, he has the best of both worlds – the city a short train ride away and the seaside on his doorstep.

A new life by the sea

We had no plans to leave London. Then we went to see my wife’s parents in Sheringham for the August bank holiday weekend one summer. The weather was good. We went to the beach and had chips. By the time we were driving home I was like, ‘What are we doing in London?’ We moved a few months later!

It was a great opportunity to live in a larger, much nicer house in a quiet neighbourhood – we didn’t lock our door for ages. And the outdoor space and being by the sea was really important to me. We knew there were some good schools too, so we thought it would be lovely for the kids to grow up here.

The right role in Norwich

Initially I was commuting back to London, which was hard. I singled out Aviva as an employer I wanted to work for – I’d heard good things. I kept looking for roles with them and found one that suited me. Now I’m a performance lead supporting the CIO. It’s a very big organisation, but it’s friendly too with a good ethos.

Comfy commute

I usually work two or three days in Norwich, which is great. There’s everything you need. And it’s a pretty city, like York or Canterbury. The commute’s really easy for me. I jump on a train and it’s an hour door to door. I can get some work done on the journey or just read a book. And I always get a seat!

Out and about

Our lives have totally changed. We’re a two-minute walk to the beach, which is great for paddleboarding. It’s something I love to do, either by myself on my lunch hour or with the kids. After we’ll go to the Offshore Coffee House to warm up. We love getting out and about – to Pretty Corner for the pine trees, Holt for the farmers’ market, or Beacon Hill to enjoy the views. My son’s into fossil hunting at West Runton – he recently found a fossilised sea urchin.

Space to breathe

If someone was thinking of making the move here, I’d say, just do it. You get more space and clean air. I can walk to the pub in five minutes to meet friends who live round the corner, rather than having to get on the Tube. I can also be in Norwich in an hour or jump on the train to get to London. It’s not as far as it might feel, and there’s plenty to do and enjoy.

Liam’s top Norwich picks

Morning coffee
Strangers, every time.

Post-work drinks
In Sheringham we go to The Crown. In Norwich I love The Lamb and the Rumsey Wells.

Kids’ day out
I really like going to Norwich Castle with the kids then to the cinema, or to the RNLI Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer.

Craving culture?
Baconsthorpe Castle near Holt is really pretty. It’s the ruins of a 15th-century manor house where we go for picnics in the summer.

Secret spot
The Gangway in Cromer is a lovely place for cocktails.