From the Thames to the Tyne

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re considering relocating for the job that you want and the life that you want. Maybe you don’t know where that is, but hopefully, my experience can help with your decision.

I moved from London to the North East of England in 2019. I wanted to become a homeowner and start a family. I had to give up many creature comforts gained over 28 years. My friends and family are in the south and I know where all my favourite places are in the capital. That being said, I never wanted to commute on the underground again, as I’d be lucky if I didn’t have my face pressed against the window, let alone getting a seat… “Mind the doors, please”. Also, I knew I could never own a home around the M25 ring.

So, why the North East, in particular? Here are my top 5 reasons for living here…

  1. There is such a fantastic community spirit in this part of the country, which stands out among all else. When the first lockdown hit us, my street set up a WhatsApp group so we could talk to each other and help with our neighbours’ food shopping. We stood outside to clap the NHS, heck, we even arranged a street party when restrictions were lifted. While that was a sign of the times, nothing has changed. Everyone is open to having a conversation locally or at the studio. You can strike up a conversation with a stranger and become friends; something that can be bizarre and unsettling if you come from London.
  2. There is a stark contrast to the cost of living. Economically, my money goes further. I am paying half of the money as a homeowner compared to what I was when renting in London. So, I can enjoy my trips to IKEA knowing the flat pack furniture I want won’t be eating into my savings. I can save up much more money that can go towards my next holidays. Wow, holidays! Are we doing that again post-pandemic?
  3. The North East has the most beautiful countryside and coastlines in England. With the Pennines, Moors and Dales all within touching distance, you can enjoy the fresh air for long walks, bike rides and plenty of outdoor activities. My favourite places to explore are the Heritage Coast and the Lake District.
  4. It is well connected for national transport to London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and more. Sure, I miss Cornwall, but that is why we use annual leave, right? I personally prefer driving. We’re a small island, so a 4-hour car journey or 3-hour train ride isn’t much in the grand scheme of things if I want to show my face at the next social gathering with my family and friends down south.
  5. There are plenty of fun things to see and do. The North East is great for attractions, restaurants and nightlife. Personally, Durham ticks all those boxes for me, where I have enjoyed the winter illuminations at the cathedral, gluten-free fish & chips and a pint by the boating lake. When my wife and I have children, there will be many trips to the sandy beaches of Seaham & Whitley Bay, outdoor leisure at Preston Park and Pottery experiences to feed creativity.

When Ubisoft offered me the role, I was over the moon! If you would like to join the Ubisoft Reflections team, and relocation might be part of your experience, please reach out to me and I’ll happily help with understanding your journey and painting a picture of #LifeAtUbi.

Luke Murtagh, 31 January 2023.
Connect with Luke on LinkedIn here.




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