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Expat Exchange - Pros and Cons of Living in England
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King's Passage in Cambridge, England


Pros and Cons of Living in England

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: If you're moving to England, it's important to learn about both the Pros AND Cons of living in England.

Are you considering a move across the pond to the land of the Queen, Shakespeare, and the Beatles? England, with its rich history, diverse culture, and unique lifestyle, is a popular destination for expats from around the world. However, like any country, living in England comes with its own set of pros and cons. In this article, we will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of making England your new home.

Pros of Living in England

One of the most significant advantages of living in England is the opportunity to immerse yourself in its rich history and culture. From the ancient Roman ruins in Bath to the medieval castles in Warwick, England is a treasure trove for history buffs. The country's museums, such as the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, house some of the world's most significant historical artifacts and artworks.

England is also renowned for its education system. Universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London are among the top-ranked institutions globally, offering world-class education in various fields. The country's education system is not just limited to higher education; England's primary and secondary schools are also known for their high standards and rigorous curriculum.

Another advantage of living in England is its healthcare system. The National Health Service (NHS) provides free healthcare to all residents, including expats. While the system has its flaws, such as long waiting times for non-emergency procedures, the quality of care is generally high.

England's location also makes it an ideal base for exploring Europe. With numerous budget airlines and the Eurostar train service, you can easily travel to cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin for a weekend getaway. The country's well-developed public transportation system also makes it easy to explore different parts of England itself.

Finally, England is a multicultural society, with people from various ethnic backgrounds calling it home. This diversity is reflected in the country's food scene, with a wide range of cuisines available, from traditional English fare to Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern dishes.

Cons of Living in England

While England has many advantages, it also has its share of disadvantages. One of the most common complaints among expats is the weather. England is notorious for its unpredictable and often gloomy weather. It's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day, and the country sees a lot of rain throughout the year.

The cost of living in England, particularly in London, is another significant disadvantage. Housing can be expensive, especially in the city center, and the cost of groceries, dining out, and other everyday expenses can add up quickly. While salaries in England are generally higher than in many other countries, they may not always keep up with the high cost of living.

While the NHS provides free healthcare, the system is often overstretched, leading to long waiting times for non-emergency procedures. Additionally, while prescription medications are free in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, they come with a charge in England.

Another disadvantage of living in England is the bureaucracy. Whether it's dealing with immigration, opening a bank account, or getting a driver's license, the process can be time-consuming and complicated. This can be particularly challenging for expats who are not familiar with the system.

Finally, while England is a multicultural society, it's not without its social issues. Like many countries, England has been grappling with issues of racism and inequality. While these issues are not prevalent everywhere, they are something to be aware of.

Despite these challenges, many expats find that the advantages of living in England outweigh the disadvantages. The country's rich history, world-class education system, and diverse culture make it an attractive destination for many. However, it's essential to be aware of the potential challenges and prepare accordingly to make your move as smooth as possible.

Expats Talk about Pros & Cons of Living in UK

"London is a very international city with many opportunities, however it can be expensive. You can make friends and date, however you need to make an effort. Unfortunately the British are quite insular and Brexit has not helped this and will not help the country economically in future. The National Health Service is overall quite good, however you sometimes need to be assertive to get what you need as they're always trying to save money. The cost of housing can be quite high, but that doesn't mean the quality or cleanliness is good. Renting a nice, clean flat at a reasonable price can be problematic," commented one expat living in London, England.

"London is one of the great cities of the world - its way of life, diverse population, great public transport, choice of entertainment and great food are huge pluses. I love to cook, so the access to the highest quality ingredients is a huge attraction (think Borough Market and great online grocery ordering) as are it's wonderful 'city of villages' feel. From one end to the other, the River Thames is its lifeblood and we have lived overlooking it, as well as literally on it in a converted Dutch barge. The NHS healthcare system is good for basic coverage but, like all socialized services, access to specialists, testing, imaging and so forth are all rationed and, as such, you wait. And wait. That said, we plan to purchase a pied-a-terre here. It's a great place to invest and having this world at our doorstep and Europe across the Channel is what we want as we grow older. ," mentioned one expat living in England.

"Loved living there. Opening a bank account was hard Getting a phone with a decent plan was hard ( no credit history) Finding all the grocery you wanted was hard in walk in grocery stores in city (more pre-made foods)," said an expat in England.

"Liverpool is a great city and the people are friendly and have a great sense of humour. There's a lot to do and see and the transport system is good. However, some areas can be quite dangerous because of violent football fans and drug dealers," remarked one expat in England.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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