Making Plans to Leave London

Making Plans to Leave London

One of our members shared their story with us and we thought it might be interesting as we feel sure there are others in the same or similar positions.  You never know if it might be handy for you to talk to each other...and hear of similar experiences.

Have you moved North after living in London or are you in the same boat, biding your time and doing your research before a huge life change....

We'd love to hear from you - do give us your comments, share your feedback below.

I signed up on Life After London to try to find out more about people's experience of moving from London up to the North West.


My boyfriend and I are both 30 and have recently bought our first house in Brixton. We both live very full lives, both professionally and socially, and are therefore adamant we will either live relatively centrally in London so we can fit everything in/minimise commuting time, or we will live somewhere else entirely - we will not 'do the commuter thing'. Yet the pace and chaos of London life is suffocating, and it seems unless you're in banking or law it's hard to imagine how you can bring up the next generation in anything like the way we'd like to, or the way we were brought up, given the cost of everything down here.
So we are exploring / hatching a plan to live here for around 5 years, hopefully start a family during that time, and then make a new life for ourselves in Greater Manchester or Lancashire. But it would be quite a shift (especially for me as a born & bred South Londoner) so we'd like to do lots of research before we take the plunge.
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  1. Hi, I have lived in Yorkshire for the last 20 years, but was born in South Wales and have lived in London, Sheffield and Warwickshire. Personally I love living up north. The housing is cheaper, the countryside is fantastic and the people are really friendly. There is huge choice about the area in which you want to live – you could live in Manchester or Leeds or choose a more rural location. I live in Ilkley, a medium size town and have found it a good place to bring up kids. I suggest that if you come up north you rent first – then you will get a good feel for the type of place you like. I guess it also depends on jobs etc. If you are outdoory there is loads to do and there is also plenty of culture in the big cities. Good luck, whatever you choose!

  2. I can so understand as we are in a similar situation. I have lived in North London all my life but now find it too much. I’m in my 40’s and though I need to keep my job in London I thought I could commute until I found a local job and we’re thinking of the Lincolnshire area. Having lived and worked here all my life it is a scary thought to move away, but it’s down to quality of life, which as you well know doesn’t exist here! I wish you all the best.

  3. I too am solid south Londoner and lived here all my life but I am now a mother to a 2 year old boy and living in a flat with rubbish schools near by and having to work 12 hours has just pushed me to the edge . I have decided to move to Northampton near my cousin but like most people I am very nervous about the move. I was wondering if anyone knew where are the best areas to move to in Northampton. This will be my last move so want to make the right decision.

    • I’m so sorry for some reason I missed this comment from you. I’d love to get you some help. We have loads of people on here who are in Northants so i’m sure we can get you some advice. The key is what sort of thing do you want to know. Best way to get answers is to post in the forums as they can be promoted to all our members and on social media. My email is if you need some help doing that. Again sorry not to have replied before.

  4. Hello, I have just done that move from London to Lancashire. We have now been ‘oop norff’ for a month & I can honestly say hand on heart it has made such a different to all of our lives. For the better.

    My husband and I have lived in London since the last century! He is from Portsmouth and I am from Lancashire, but left for university and never came back. Getting away from the pressure of London has revitalised all of us (I have 2 boys) and would highly recommend. Taking that pedal off London is honestly something you won’t regret. I see Manchester now as my ‘London’. It used to take an hour to get into London from Southfields (and over an hour to see any of my friends) and now Manchester only takes that about of time. It has the theatre, restaurants, shops etc of London and just needs a change of mindset. The pressure isn’t the same for schools and nurseries as well.

    I’d recommend starting with where you want to live and pinpointing the roads you want to live on and then start viewing. It opens your eyes and everyone is so friendly.

    Best of luck.

    • Thanks Amanda, just what I wanted to hear.

  5. I have been wanting to leave London for quite some time now and feel I am really stuck in a rut.
    I am a 32 year old single female and after working 8 years in banking, trying to find a husband in the rat race of London to settle down with and a job that is rewarding and enjoyable all seems so impossible in order to get the life that I desire.
    People here are money hungry, career focused and completely disregard what an actual quality of life or quality in people is anymore.
    I just don’t know where to start!

  6. Rebecca, I understand you so well.

    After almost 3 years in London, I started to feel unhappy, lonely, anxious, empty and mentally exhausted. I have been thinking about moving to a more affordable city in the UK, but don’t know how to start. I also don’t know what I want to dedicate my professional life.

    I currently have a customer service position in London, and although there are opportunities to grow within the company, the main thing is that I don’t want to live in London for more than 4-5 years. I agree with you that most people here are money hungry and career focused, and seem to forget other areas of life that are very important.

    I’m originally trained as a teacher, but not sure if I want to do that as a career and how many opportunities in that field I can find in smaller cities.
    I love photography and I thought about studying photography in a smaller town while working part time to pay my bills. But the fear of not having or not making enough money in other areas of the UK is what keeps me stuck here in London, despite the astronomical rental prices.

    Something inside me says that it would be good for me to move out from London. The urge to escape the long commuting, the crowds and the fast pace this city absorbs you into is getting stronger.
    I can feel that my skin gets better (it’s horribly irritated here in London because of the polution), my hair remains cleaner for longer, and I can have such a nice sleep when I go out of London for a weekend or on holidays.

    Just don’t know how to start the new path in my life.


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