A year ago I had never heard of a town called Beeston, but now it seems like I mention it to someone just about every day! I’ve recently started a new job and there was only one answer when I asked my colleagues where I should live: “Beeston”.
Of course, there were different versions: “I used to live in Beeston and loved it,” “Most people live in Beeston,” “Beeston is a really nice place” – along with the other advice of “Don’t live in Lenton – that’s where the students are!”
After a nightmare of trying to find housing (any housing!) to rent, I was lucky enough to get somewhere in Beeston – just where my colleagues had suggested. It has only been five months, but I have fallen in love. Beeston, how do I love you? Let me count the ways.
Firstly – and most importantly – there’s a sense of community you feel as you walk around. It’s things like people sat chatting on high street benches and shopkeepers saying “hello” when they recognize you. Seeing people in the Incredible Edible Beeston plot I pass every day on the way home from work, the amazing street art and murals, and all of the community events and groups you can join. New groups seem to pop up everyday (like Beeston Craft ‘n’ Chat – we meet each fortnight in Bendigo Lounge).
Secondly, Beeston is bursting with possibilities to join in to said community, and Beestonians welcome you with open arms. Where else do you email the editor of a magazine offering to help with copyediting and they ask you to write an article! I grew up in a tight-knit neighborhood where we would walk into each other’s houses unannounced and always had someone to rely on if you needed help – I miss that feeling every day.
While I promise not to walk into any of your houses, I have already experienced the generosity of my neighbors and friends in Beeston which has helped make this place feel like home.
Third, it’s got be the transportation. When people ask what I love most about living in the UK they think I’m joking when I answer “public transportation” – but it’s true! The state of UK public transport is up for much debate, but Beeston’s rail, tram, and bus connections are something I marvel at.
Public transport in the US is only good if you live in a major city, or your local authority decides they want to invest – otherwise, you really need a car to do things like a food shop or going to the GP. In fact, my parents were just over for a visit and my Mom mentioned how much she would miss taking public transport when they went back. Yet Beeston is also walkable – I’m able to stroll around pedestrian streets or on pavements and enjoy two parks within walking distance of my house.
I walked past Broadgate Park last week to pop into the Post Office and ended up stocking up on ‘Merry Christmas from Beeston’ cards for the coming season. The man at the counter asked “Not a Nottingham card? Will people know where Beeston is?” My answer: “They all do now, I am always telling people how much I love it here!”