‘Full of shopping centres!’ A New Life in the Sun pair slam rural UK as they jet to France

A New Life in the Sun: Expats discuss why they left the UK

Simon and Rebecca from Sidcup, Kent jetted off to France with their three children in 2020 to set up a new life for themselves in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. The Channel 4 show followed the pair as, along with Rebecca’s parents, they got to work renovating a stunning seven-bedroom farmhouse purchased for less than £70,000. However, when detailing their reasons for moving abroad, the couple had some rather strong words when it came to buying a property at home in England.

With Rebecca’s mum and dad, Tracey and Michael, in tow, the family had high hopes of transforming the century-old farmhouse into their own brewery.

The property Rebecca and Simon had landed came complete with a number of outhouses as well as a lake and substantial plots of land.

And reeling off their reasons for the move, the Channel 4 guests didn’t hold back in their criticism about the current England property market.

Rebecca began: “I just love the simplicity of France. 

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“It’s just like going back to my childhood. Everything’s just so straightforward and simple and open and safe and green.”

Simon echoed his other half’s sentiment: “It’s green and rural, whereas in England, rural England isn’t so rural anymore more.”

The New Place in the Sun guest then criticised: “It’s housing estates and new builds and shopping centres popping up everywhere, 

“Whereas here, the place is untouched,” Simon added, referring to the French property they’d bought.

The pair then discussed how much of a bargain they’d landed in the French town when compared to back home.

“In the UK, we just have a semi-detached, three-bed house,” Rebecca told the cameras.

She continued: “The rent for that house in our area is £1,100-£1,200 a month. 

“Here, we’ve bought a seven-bedroom house, lots of outbuildings, a lake and land for £67,000.

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“To buy that sort of house you’re looking at half a million where we live.”

The two got to work renovating the property in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic as they set to France before lockdown was reintroduced last year.

But the renovations were far from plain sailing as viewers witnessed the family struggle with installing a bath in the newly-converted hayloft.

Mum Tracey even detailed how she’d been staying in a caravan for two months while construction was underway.

But after months of hard work and obstacles, the family did eventually set everything up to their taste.

The episode also transported viewers to Italy and Portugal on Tuesday to watch a couple set up their dream of an Italian B&B and a Skegness-based bar owner set up shop in a stunning Portuguese location.

A New Life in the Sun continues weekdays at 4pm on Channel 4.

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