I know not everyone lives in London but guessing a fair few do or did. Lots of chat about leaving, and I’m starting to think about it (been here 15 years, now got kids etc etc). Anyone done it/doing it, any tips/stories?
left 10 years ago and miss all the obvious stuff - friends, parks, bank holiday specials in dirty pubs.
I don’t miss the rest of it, the snobbery, the politics, the capitalism. Miss the community mostly, not having to arrange to meet and stuff, when everyone gravitated twds the same events.
We lived in Bethnal Green, our daughter was about 8 and for various reasons we decided to move down to Cornwall. House prices had gone mental in the East End and we had bought when it was cheap as chips. Found a house in the middle of nowhere and managed to buy it leaving a few quid in the bank. Most of our work was ‘up country’ so we had best of all worlds, great place to live, no mortgage and ‘London’ money work.
Became obvious very quickly we were not very welcome/wanted, our Daughter was bullied relentlessly, School would do nothing, she very quickly decided she hated Cornwall. Led to some very difficult decisions as we had pretty much left on a one way ticket. Happily she got into Grammar School in Plymouth and as soon as she was 18 left home and now lives 500 yds from our old house in London. Only friends we have made are not from Cornwall.
Work wise it’s very difficult as there is nothing down here and what there is low paid and it’s a real grind to keep work contacts ‘up country’.
It’s one of the most intolerant places I’ve ever been, I loved the East End so that is hard. The village Pub was taken over by a couple of guys who lasted 18 months before they got sick of the homophobia. Two weeks after George Floyd was killed someone put a ‘black scarecrow’ in their front garden as part of village festival, Police came and made them take it down. Massive Brexit fans also… we tried to integrate but now just keep ourselves to ourselves.
Apart from that it’s very pretty!
Miss the great food, pubs, anonymity, friends, random meetings, art galleries, cinema, odd dancing night, record shops… etc etc.
We were planning on getting out, moving to Barcelona or somewhere in Europe, but looks like that’s not gonna happen.
I’d still leave London given the chance again, but I’d try and rent for a year or two and not be under any illusions about Country life if your going to try that. Maybe if you have property rent it out… think that’s what we’ll do next.
But we’re not bitter!
Yes, been here 10 years, I moved here for the music, but I never managed much, I got stuck with my job so much I barely go out; I haven’t managed to get a weekend off in years.
I was really closed to leave this year for Tarifa in Spain, to live a bit more of a “normal” life and probably DJ a bit by the beach and surf.
But because of the pandemic everything got postponed and personally as been really positive because I haven’t worked much for get the first time in all my life and I managed to connect to the music/production/DJing world and met really nice people.
But still thinking to move out there, feels like living in London became a bit difficult in the past years, but still love this city
Left London 5 years ago after having 2 kids and moved to Worcester. One of the best decisions my wife and I ever made. We have a much larger house and garden and easy access to lovely countryside. We also both found it much easier to make friends and meet likeminded people, I guess this is due to there being less people overall and a higher proportion of people with young families.
Thanks for sharing that. It’s easy to look on the sunny side and not consider other parts of the decision.
We’ve been in London 15 years, 2 kids. Persuaded the wife to consider Leeds (still elements of a city but with the countryside), now just need the ‘thing’ to make us make the jump.
Just read it back, sounds a bit bleak on the plus side I do get to surf some amazing places, walk some breathtaking locations… when it’s not raining, did I mention the rain? I’m from Mcr originally and I thought it rained a lot there!
Parents moved to Scotland with me and my two brothers in 1988 and we stayed till 1997 for a better life in the countryside, rural education and a way from the mean streets of South Birmingham. It was mainly idyllic, we were skint but life was relatively brilliant with the sense of freedom and the village community we were part of.
We experienced the odd hatred due to our nationality but my Dad was 6ft 4 and built like a brick shit house. He had a reputation and could speak his mind in the local so things filtered down in the school too. It helped in some respects. We also lived in a cottage ten miles from anyone and anything, that was hard for my brother who was becoming an adult and my mom who only had the sheep to have a discussion with whilst Dad was being a shepherd/gamekeeper. It was the sort of place Ben Fogle would come and marvel at and ask annoying questions about how we live in the place that we did, we just kind of did it but it was hard-core.
I still dream of going back to that life weirdly, I have aspirations to live in the country as my childhood was so nice. I think there are plusses and negatives but for me and my love of the natural world, solitude and the quieter elements of living it seems a better prospect. We will have to wait and see, Birmingham is OK, the neighbourhood I live in is going through gentrification to the book so it’s going to get interesting as the area develops for better and for worse.
Its really shocking
THIS! wise words
also, visit the place you’re keen on in winter
Gavin- Really sorry you and your family went through those rough experiences. There is alot of small minded people in the countryside and unfortunately they seem to make themselves heard more than all the lovely people getting on with their lives and enjoying the countryside.
I am Devon born and raised and have chosen to move back to Devon after a few years away. I do love visiting London to see my many friends who have moved their from Devon and get my culture fix. I really hope people do start to move out of the cities (esp london) back to the countryside and smaller towns, now people are more used to working remotely. I dont think the effects of internal migration gets talked about enough. Nearly all my friends have moved away from Devon- I call it the brain drain- theyre all talented, creative people who when we were young were putting on gigs, loads of raves and art shows etc, they leave to the cities and then eventually theres nothing going as all the creative people have left.
Of course they are lots of factors involved- but where they are pockets of young people in the countryside its great! But it will take abit of research to find the right area for you and your family. I love living in the countryside, but I do tend to get over excited when I meet someone locally whos into the same music as I am!!
Thanks for posting about this. It’s something I’ve been contemplating for a while so I’m always dipping in and out of researching a move back up north. The option to work remotely has opened everything up but the reason I live in London is for the culture and social life which I’m hoping will come back, or at least the rent won’t go up… But yes food for thought, and I agree with renting in an area first if possible.
I’m a Yorkshire man living in London, been here since 2001 and I don’t wish to ever move out. Only thing I’d gain is a larger space and a smaller mortgage which does sound fantastic, but I’ve seen numerous friends move away and find similar difficulties to what people have spoken about here. Many have struggled with being accepted, several experiencing bigoted or racist attitudes and many finding work to be an issue… That’s not to say I couldn’t live in another UK city, I desperately miss my beloved Leeds, and there’s many other examples of great vibrant cities from Bristol to Glasgow to Belfast. The country is a nice place to visit but I’ve no illusion it’s a place to live. Credit to everyone who has made it work!
I left 15 odd years ago back to Edinburgh, I can visit London on the sleeper when need or want to be there. Running a record label is harder when your not living in london but its important for the music industry to become less londoncentric . I could not have afforded to start my businesses had I been in london (label and deli) and also gained a house instead of a rabbit hutch of a flat. Make that move
I left many years ago and settled in Sydney Australia. It was a VERY hard adjustment to make and I spent the first 5 or so years or so coming and going between hemispheres having an endless summer. I decided on Sydney in the end because I was very 50/50 and the weather decided. Because night clubs and the music scene was such a large part of my life, I missed it terribly(still do).
I’m sure some can find a place that is perfect for them, but for most it will be a compromise and if you go into it eyes open your experience will be less bumpy. Missing the cultural richness and social choices of a place like London was pretty hard for me to take. I was lucky and found a crew of like minded, solid partners in crime and we created our own thing here.
There are so many great City’s in the UK with vibrant scenes outside of London. My advice is, have a look out there, see what your gut tells you.
Funny, I’m trying to get to London
Spaniard living in London for 16 years and with thoughts about going back to Spain at some point in my life. I go there for a few days to see family and friends and after 6 days I thinking in coming back home (London) because I had enough. Today I have a family in London, kids, and I am fucked obviously.
Common problem for expats you do not know where you belong.
I know how you feel. Its hard to survive in London and you end up being workaholic. You can even forget your goal after a while. I also worked day and night till Lockdown. Before Covid in 2019 I went to Ibiza for holiday and I couldnt even enjoy it because I forgot what normal people do. I would like to move to Ibiza, I keep planning things but fingers cross. I really dont want to live in London forever. People ask if I have mortgage or something, I dont because I cant even imagine living in London when Im above 50s
If you dont have £30.000+ income, dont. Every year tax time I calculate my expenses and think if its worth it.
Thanks Henry for the kindness, I have pretty thick skin so all good, was really tough for our Daughter though, it’s hard when people hate you for no reason other than where you are from… bigotry rears it’s head in some funny and unexpected places. x