Below are thoughts we had about moving to the UK.  In addition to my thoughts, here’s another site focused on the US to UK move:

US to UK Moving Tips like packing, shipping, timeline, etc. Also, here’s a post about moving electronics (computers, playstations, etc.) to the UK and also thoughts on books–buying and bringing.

Cost to move from US to UK for deposits, setting up house, etc. Also, here’s my related thoughts on financing the UK PhD. It’s lots of money, but a great experience.

Tips on Settling in the UK: Setting up home. Housing, Banking, Phone, Mobiles, DSL, TV, and Utilities.

Tips on Settling in the UK: On the personal side. You gotta come planning to keep connections at home and build ones here.

Looking for a house, this will tell you the crime rates for different areas.

Driving in the UK: Thoughts on Driving in the UK, Driving in the UK, pt 2 and What’s life like without a car?

Places to stay when visiting Durham: I list a couple of reasonable hotels and B&B options at the colleges.


10 Responses to “Moving to the UK”

  1. Tori Says:

    Hello Blackwells!
    Kris, I and the rest and our kiddos are in the final “countdown” process. Woke early today with details and qustions running through my mind…so I pulled up your blog and found some answers (and more questions arose! Ha!)
    You mentioned a waterproof hooded coat. Is this an item you recommend for all family members? What outerwear has been most useful for you and your kids? In Houston, many raincoats, but not lined for cold, so I’ve been hesitant to buy them. Same for golashes. Any helpful tips on packing toys etc. for your kids? What about DVD’s? Oh yes, and are you able to find pretty much what you need (spice wise) to bake recipes from home? Do kids use backpacks for school?
    Any thoughts will be appreciated. We are looking forward to connecting with you in Durham.

  2. Ben Says:

    Hey! Here are Heather’s ideas…

    You mentioned a waterproof hooded coat. Is this an item you recommend for all family members? Yes, I think it is essential. Funny enough, we’ve just recently purchased them after living here for 2 years. There were some really wet days without them though!

    What outerwear has been most useful for you and your kids? I would say that gloves, scarf, and hat in the winter are a must. Also, a good pair of walking shoes are great. There are just so many hills…and we do so much more walking in general. I even wear my hiking boots into the city centre most of the time because of the trek in and the cobblestones. In fact, unless you are planning to get some type of office job I would forget all the impractical shoes. Durham is casual enough that you won’t find the occasion to wear any.

    Same for golashes? ‘Wellies’ are great here. You can find them for under £5 or £10 most places, so I may not worry about packing any.

    Any helpful tips on packing toys etc. for your kids? We let the kids pick 2 things for their rooms, and then only packed toys to fit into their backpack for the plane. There are several charity shops, enough people handing things down, and a great semi-annual children’s sale through a non-profit here that toys aren’t essentials, IMHO.

    What about DVD’s? We’re on a different region than that of the US. But, you can pretty easily ‘adjust’ DVD players here to work both. We bought a cheap £17 DVD player from Tesco and have managed to code it to play discs from both UK and US.

    Oh yes, and are you able to find pretty much what you need (spice wise) to bake recipes from home? Yes and no. How’s that for an answer? You can find most things. . .or figure out a good substitute pretty easily. Things that I regularly request in care packages from the states are diced green chilies in a can, Lipton onion soup mix, Kraft macaroni and cheese, taco mix (they have it here, I just think it tastes different), Rotel, Velveeta.

    Do kids use backpacks for school? They don’t at our school, and from my understanding they don’t at other primary schools. For the comp (secondary school) I’m not really sure. Most schools have a standard flat bookbag that you buy from the school (about £4 or £5, I think) with their uniform. I will say that having a good backpack to carry your camera, packed lunch, etc. on day trips is fabulous though.

    Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. Best wishes in the packing process.

    — heather

  3. […] from a couple of students already in the program (thanks Anthony and Aaron!). And, Tiana also found this incredible resource which, although that guy attends Durham University, should still apply pretty well to the UK in […]

  4. RCarter Says:

    Hi there
    We have found the information on your blog very helpful for our upcoming move this fall.
    We are just beginning to apply for our visas and I was wondering if you knew if we could just wait til we got to the UK and then applied for our visas since we are allowed to be there for six months without a visa (from Canada).
    I was also wondering if you knew of anyone who did not bother apply for a visa and just left for a week before the 6 months was up and then returned. I don’t know if it works that way, but I was thinking it would save us the hassle and expense of the whole process if we could just go for a vacation somewhere outside of the uk for a week or so and return. Any thoughts?

    1. Ben Says:

      I posed your question to my office mates, which includes one Canadian, and it was unanimous that you should apply for the visa before moving. We couldn’t think of any good reason not to, and several for bad things that could turn out. There is a couple here that came without a visa (traveled through France so no checks) and almost got kicked out of the country when they flew back to the US to get a visa with a face-to-face meeting. It just seems that you would be leaving yourself as a hostage to fortune if you try to wait. Hope that helps. Isn’t it more expensive if you apply while in the country than outside?


  5. Christopher Says:

    Ben, when we’re considering a move to the UK two years, your blog proved pretty helpful. Now we’re in Edinburgh, and my wife has put together a blog dedicated to moving to the UK. I wonder if you might add its link to your sidebar for the sake of generating more traffic and helping more folks: Just a thought! All the best, Christopher

    1. Ben Says:

      Christopher, Yeah, I’m happy to put the link. I think y’all have some good info. Also, it’s good to have more recent stuff since things change.

  6. Brooke Ellsworth Says:

    I have a question.. I want to move to the UK from Utah, USA. I guess I have more like a few questions! I am 22 years old and the mother of 2 children ages 5 and 16 mos, and my husband makes 4 of us. There are so many reasons I want to move to the UK but I suppose one of the most prominent is to be in television and films there. That being said I do not have a college degree or any prominent work experience that would score me a special job there. Is it impossible to move there under my circumstances? If it is possible, what steps do I need to take? What visas will we qualify for?

    1. I think without a degree or plans to study at a UK university, it will be difficult. The hoops to jump through to get visas these days are getting higher.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s