Your Guide to Moving to the UK from the US - The Smiling Heart

Your Guide to Moving to the UK from the US


Whether you are moving because of work, a relationship, retirement, or just because you are ready for a new adventure you will find there are a few things that you have to keep in mind when moving from the US to another country, and the UK is no different in that aspect. Here are some tips to make your move as smooth and seamless as possible.

Power Outlets

Europe including the UK has a different voltage power grid structure, so your current appliances and electronics will not be happy if you simply plug them in to any outlet once you get there. To avoid costly equipment replacement or potentially starting a building fire be sure to bring plenty of power converters. As for items such as your washer and dryer, you are better selling your old pair before your move, and purchasing a new set when you get to where you are moving.

Size Matters


Due to the overwhelming number of historical buildings, sites, and generations old properties you will find that space is at a premium. The roads are narrower; and the holiday apartments or living quarters are substantially smaller, as are the appliances such as washers and dryers. Oh, and don’t get too attached to your dishwasher as they are not common in the UK. In a survey done in 2014 research showed that only 44 percent of UK households had a dishwasher.

Because many of the roads in the UK are hundreds of years old the cities were built very close knit, making it difficult or even impossible in some cases for larger vehicles to traverse these narrow streets. This combined with the expense of shipping your vehicle are excellent reasons to leave you bulky SUV in the US and look into affordable personal car leasing to find a cute compact car when you reach the UK.

Guns are only for Hunting

Unlike the US in the UK few people have guns. As a matter of fact until the emergence of terrorist threats began to flood the world, even the police did not carry guns. So leave your armory and holsters back in the US and you will find it easier to escape the “Cowboy” stigma that is attached to the American way of life as viewed from many other countries.

American English is not what the UK Speaks

Besides the many different dialects of English spoken in the UK, you will find that the everyday language has quite a few of its own differences. Here are a few basic language idiosyncrasies to help minimize your embarrassment.

  • A boot is not something you wear on your feet; it is what the British call the trunk of their car. When referring to foot wear boots are called Wellies, sneakers are Trainers, and Pumps are gym shoes.
  • A Lift is an elevator.
  • Clothing – your pants are called trousers, and men’s underwear are called pants, while your sweater is called a jumper.
  • The Loo is the polite and correct way to refer to a bathroom in the UK.

These basic language differences should get you started, but you will be surprised to learn just how different the two versions of English actually are.

Décor is anything but Modern


The British value their history and have maintained the historical aspect of their buildings. As such you will find that the décor such as flooring and wall coverings are typically antiquated or retro in design and colors. Depending on your lease agreement, you may want to update your living space with some new laminate flooring designs, just be sure to check into local regulations before you go updating things too much.

Time to Purge


Unless you leave everything except the clothes on your back behind when you move, you may find that even though you thought you downsized substantially before you left the US that you still don’t have the storage space or room for your current furnishings and belongings, so you have to purge even more when you get to the UK.

However with the much smaller car it will be difficult to transport larger items like sofas and comfy reading chairs; that is where van hire services comes in. These vans are ideal for moving those large items that you may need to get rid of, or delivering your new more appropriately sized furniture.

Jumping the pond in order to move from the US to the UK doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming as long as you do your research and prepare for the differences in language, lifestyles, and culture. If you follow these tips and dig a little deeper into the differences in lifestyle between the two regions you will have a happy transition to your new home.