Moving to the UK from abroad can be quite daunting compared to typical local house move, and we all know how stressful they can be! Therefore knowing a little bit about the place to which you are moving can be an immense help…
Is Bootle a Good Place to Live? That obviously depends on what you are looking for in your new home. Bootle is not a vibrant social hub where you can see celebs and the latest artists scintillating and doing their thing, but it is a solid residential area perfect for those wanting a regular peaceful life.
Expansion of the Liverpool’s docks has brought Bootle’s status up: from slightly scrubby outlier to neighbouring suburb of the city. This has seen, in the past decade, an increase of investment into the area which is slowly but steadily making improvements in the town. Oriel Road Station, hardly touched since Victorian times apart from the necessary repairs following WWII, has been given a facelift, as has Strand Road, which now boasts a large indoor shopping complex. Despite the damage of the Liverpool Blitz, which impacted heavily upon Bootle, there are still many beautiful old buildings in the town, redolent in warm red brick and sturdy Victorian architecture.
Is Bootle a Good Place to Live?
Bootle has had quite a hard time, since it was most bombed part of England outside of London due to its proximity to London, investment was slow in coming. In fact, as the docks declined in the 60s and 70s, Bootle’s whole reason for being was called into question – easy access to the Mersey from the sea was an irrelevance when the docks were struggling to attract custom. The decline in business at the docks had a knock-on effect on the whole town, and by the 80s, Bootle was a hotbed of frustrated unemployment, with high instances of crime and anti-social behaviour.
In the very late 90s and first decade of the 2000s, things slowly began to improve. Liverpool played to its advantages, reviving the docks and introducing tourist-friendly attractions. This pulled investment into the area, and some of this spilled over into Bootle, with the Health and Safety Executive choosing the town as the site for its massive headquarters, and ASDA and Lidl establishing large stores in the area. These investments provided jobs and bring financial stability to the area, creating something of a community spirit and encouraging an increase of investment.
While the crime rate in Bootle is still fairly high, it is decreasing: instances of anti-social behaviour, for example have dropped from 438 in June 2016 to 176 in January 2019. Investment in education and a tightening up on truancy regulation is most likely responsible for this decrease, as youth are coming through the school system able to get into further education or work more easily than earlier generations.
There are thirty-five primary schools and twelve secondary schools in the Bootle area. Primary attainment tends to be good, with something of an underachieving strain in early high school. However, positive attainment returns in education for the 16-18-year-old group, and there are two further education institutions in the area: Hugh Baird College which caters for over five thousand students aged fourteen and above, offering college courses, A-levels and a wide variety of apprenticeships, and the L20 Building, which is technically part of the Hugh Baird College, but aimed at university level rather than A-level and college students.
The area of Bootle closer to Liverpool – or more accessible to Liverpool, which is not always the same thing – tends to be more popular as people commute regularly, working in Liverpool and living in the quieter and cheaper Bootle.
There are no nightclubs or theatres in Bootle, but, as mentioned before, Liverpool is a mere four miles away, and has a full and vibrant nightlife, from nightclubs and pubs to theatre and even opera. Bootle offers a range of good pubs and restaurants, and even snooker clubs. There is a comprehensive leisure centre with a gym, swimming pool and amenities for various indoor sports.
If you are moving to the UK, then Bootle can be a good starter home while you settle in and find your feet.
Is Bootle a Good Place to Work?
The biggest employers are divided between places that ‘hire out’ and those that ‘hire in’. As the more mature population – those aged thirty and over – of Bootle tend to be poorly educated due to deficiencies in the education system during their school-age years, employers requiring high levels of education, such as the council and the Health and Safety Executive have tended to hire people from outside the area who commute in to work, returning home at the end of the day.
ASDA and Lidl plus manual work offer better employment opportunities to the people of Bootle providing easily accessible and manageable employment, which helps to lift families out of poverty and a cycle of crime and violence. Santander is also one of the top employers in the area, offering a way for a school-leaver to get a foot into white collar employment.
Health and social care is a growing employer in the area, with high demand for carers, often with full training being given to school leavers and those looking for a job change alike.
The average salary in Bootle is around £27K per annum, with, obviously, something of a divide between white collar work and manual or unskilled labour.
However, the unemployment rate in Bootle tends to be higher than the national average with eighteen per cent of the population on some form of benefits. This is, to look at it optimistically, hopefully the remains of the forgotten generation working their way through the system, with young people being more inclined to want and seek opportunities denied their parents and grandparents.
Is Bootle a Good Place to Buy a House?
Bootle is an affordable place to buy a house, and it may well turn out to be a wise investment. If regeneration continues and Liverpool continues to expand its wealth into the Bootle area, house and flat prices – currently quite low, comparative to the rest of the country – may rise, giving a good return on your investment. Currently prices range from as low as £35,000 for a three-bedroom terraced house, all the way to about £200,000 for a detached home with a large, well-maintained garden.
Rental prices are more in line with the rest of the country, with one-bedroom flats going for around £300 per calendar month and two- and three-bedroom houses, both terraced and semi-detached, going for upwards of £500 per calendar month.
Is Bootle a Good Place to Retire?
Bootle is, as mentioned above, plagued by a legacy of governmental neglect that was only brought to public attention when the toddler Jamie Bulger was abducted and killed by two disaffected ten-year-old boys. This shocking and tragic case brought youth offending and the causes for it to the public eye, and saw more attention begin given to early years education. This neglect gave rise to a culture of anti-social behaviour and violent, petty crime, poor morale and low employment.
Fortunately, steps taken in the last fifteen years or so have seen massive improvements in reducing truancy and improving literacy and numeracy rates: all of which boosts employability. Councils and police community work have joined forces to combat these issues too: young miscreants find it is less fun to smash up a bus stop for the second or third time when you might be the cause of your family losing their council house, especially when part of your community service may well be cleaning up the mess you have made!
These improvements in both education and community spirit have begun to have a positive effect on Bootle’s crime rate – but there is still a small core of anti-social behaviour that can affect residents in some areas of Bootle.
Bootle is a good, quiet place to retire to, with many amenities locally and all of Liverpool a short bus or train ride away – with the proviso that any area should be assessed for instances of anti-social behaviour or crime before you commit to moving to Bootle.
Is Bootle a Good Place to Visit?
Bootle is so close to Liverpool that it has almost been subsumed by the city, and the trade-off for this proximity is the easy access to everything that Liverpool has to offer: fantastic shopping at Liverpool One and other outlets, the entertainments which range from music to theatre to circus and comedy. Restaurants in Liverpool can provide food from almost anywhere in the world, and of course, there is the docks themselves. Stroll along the wide promenades and watch the ships and boats busying themselves on the water.
If Liverpool’s urbanity is not for you, you can head for the peace of Crosby Beach, a mere ten minutes’ drive from Bootle and enjoy the tranquil waves undulating their way to the shore while you stroll from one of Anthony Gormley’s Another Place statues to the next. See if you can see them all: a leisurely two-mile stroll will get you from one end to the other.
Hotels in Bootle tend to offer good ‘overflow’ rooms when Liverpool hotels are full, so you will usually be able to get a room in a Bootle hotel for a reasonable price. Rooms tend to be more basic, catering to business travellers and families holidaying on a budget, but standards are quite acceptable, with the rooms being clean and the hotels offering reasonable amenities.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.