Adapting to life in a city

25th August 2014

Liverpool Pier Head

It’s almost two years since I moved to Liverpool and into halls of residence for my first year of university. I moved from a tiny market town in the countryside to a big city, and while I felt really nervous, I knew that I was making the right decision.

I feel like I settled in quickly in Liverpool and it wasn’t long before I was referring to it as home. It does help that the locals are so welcoming and that it’s a fun city to be in. To get the most out of city life you will need to adapt to your new surroundings.

Today I’m going to share with you my tips on adapting to life in a city after moving from a small town.

Spend some time being a tourist

The best way to find out about your new city is to spend some time being a tourist. Grab your camera and a bunch of maps, and then proceed to wonder around aimlessly for hours on end. Visit the museums, try out some restaurants and do a little shopping. Even hop on the tour bus, if there is one. You will get to know your city in no time.

Do as the locals do

The locals know best, so go to where the locals go. This applies to bars, pubs, restaurants, entertainment spots, shopping, etc. Be brave and speak to the locals too. I find that the locals are happy to tell you all about their city, and may even share some secrets with you regarding the best places to go.

Walk with purpose

Crime is always a worry when you live in a city, and tourists and newbies are easy targets. From day one, walk around your city with purpose. Look confident that you know where you are going, even if you don’t. If it gets to the point when people stop you and ask you for directions, mistaking you for a local, then you know you are doing it right!

Know where not to go

All cities have areas/districts that are known for high levels of crime. It’s just the way it is. Know where these places are and avoid them if you can. This also applies to when you are looking for somewhere to live. There is nothing worse than living somewhere where you don’t feel safe.

Find somewhere quiet that you can visit

Cities are hectic. If you come from somewhere rural and quiet then it will take some time to get use to the noise. Take a walk and find somewhere that is peaceful that you can visit when you are in need of some quite time. It might be a park or a church yard. Personally, I like to visit the docks in Liverpool. It’s usually pretty quiet there, and I can relax by watching the boats come in and out.

Accept that change is inevitable

This is something I learnt the hard way when a the construction of student accommodation next to my flat took away my beautiful view. Cities are places of development. They are constantly evolving and growing. Things don’t stay the same forever, and unfortunately we just have to learn to deal with this.


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  1. Good tips, Holly! Moving from one environment to another always takes some adapting to, unless of course, you were already in the mindset of a city girl living in the countryside. Nice to see that you’ve adapted okay though! Never been to Liverpool myself, but by golly, it’s a gorgeous city! Do as the locals do & do some nice dining at some delicious places!

    • Holly

      Actually, now I come to think about it, I was probably a city girl just trapped in rural Shropshire. My brother hasn’t got use to living in a city after moving from the countryside. He finds the noise a real issue.

  2. Kirsten

    I have moved around a lot, my father is ex-military. When I was in the last 2 years of high school we did the opposite, went from a large city (Calgary) to a small town in rural Nova Scotia. It was quite an adjustment!

    I have also after 6 years of living in that small town moved back into the city. A new city for me (even though this was still a number of years ago). The tips you give are really great. Especially the last one about accepting change. Change can sometimes be much more noticeable in larger cities where it happens more often and it can really through you off.

    • Holly

      I can imagine! Even when I go home to visit my parents for the weekend I find it hard to adjust to living in a small town. I’m just not use to it any more.

      Thanks! Glad you like them. 🙂