Poppy Mae Higgins
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If you live in or have spent a substantial amount of time in the UK you know there’s a divide between the North vs South of England.

My name is Poppy and I am a flight attendant and freelance writer, and around 6 months ago I moved from Yorkshire, in the North of England, to Windsor which is just outside of London.

Immediately I noticed a shift in lifestyle due to the numerous economic and cultural differences between the regions. However, it begs the question: Is the divide between the North vs South of England real?

Although the North and South have differing opinions on many subjects, they seem to agree solely on one thing: the Midlands aren’t a part of either one. They hold their own share of the country in the center and can typically adhere to either the Northern or Southern culture and values. 

The Shambles, York

Windsor Castle, Windsor

Driving courtesy

Within a few weeks of moving I’d already had multiple drivers honk or swerve around my small Fiat 500 just for going the speed limit!

At first, this annoyed me. Then I spoke to my Southern friends who said “that’s just how drivers are down here!” and shrugged. It might be worth noting that if you visit London or any of the surrounding counties, the aggression while driving is most likely not personal.

The Southern way of life is full of hectic commutes and hustle and bustle so it’s no surprise that everybody is in a hurry to get somewhere. 

You’ll also always hear cars racing around with loud sports engines. I can’t count the number of times that my roommates and I have thought people were setting off fireworks midday, or that there was an explosion nearby when in reality there’s just an Audi racing down the street. 

Rent rates

Before I moved I knew that rent and the cost of living would be more expensive down South, especially in the areas surrounding London. Obviously, there are some questionable abodes available to rent, but finding somewhere to live down here is like finding a good man–it’s not impossible to find if you commit to finding one you really like!

After looking at places to live in Berkshire (a county adjacent to West London) I couldn’t help but notice the difference in what you can get for your money at each end of the country!

A budget of around £1,200 would land me a nice one-bedroom apartment down South. On the other hand, in Doncaster (the Northern town where I was born), you can get a 4 or 5 bedroom house for an average of £700 a month.

Weather

In most recent years we have had quite a few heatwaves—July 2019 saw Cambridge reach 38.1C (100.58°F). Statistically, the South is always warmer than the North whether it be in summer or winter. This is due to factors such as the amount of solar heat being received is greater in the South and latitudes/altitudes of the country.

Contrary to popular belief, the UK isn’t constantly covered by one giant rain cloud. Click To Tweet

I always have friends and family from home commenting on how warm it looks down here. While my flatmates and I are sunbathing on our balcony, those up North are stuck inside hiding from the rain.

With this in mind, I’ve noticed how Northerners have built up quite a resilience to cold and windy weather. In Yorkshire, I have been on nights out in the snow and seen girls in dresses wearing heels but no jacket. However in the South of England just going for a meal or drinks requires a coat at the slightest hint of a chill outside.

*Statistics gathered from the BBC

Greggs vs. Pret a Manger 

Pret a Manger is a popular sandwich shop in the South of England. And whilst Greggs is more widely known as a bakery, they often come up simultaneously in conversation. Greggs appears more frequently across the UK and boasts over 3x as many stores as Pret a Manger, which is located mainly in and around London. 

This sparks the debate between the North and South over which lunchtime (or dinnertime, if you’re Northern) delicacy is superior.

Most Northerns will say that Southerners will jump at the chance to grab a BLT and smart water from the nearest ‘Pret’ within walking distance. Whereas those from the South will assume Northerners can’t resist a sausage roll when they pass the nation’s largest bakery chain. 

There can only be one... Greggs or Pret a Manger? Click To Tweet

Food

Fries

There are many differences I could talk about on the subject of food. However, one that springs to mind is how the North and South eat chips (or fries).

Up North, it is a staple to have gravy alongside them from the ‘chippy’ (fish and chip shop), whilst down South, you’re most likely to be offered ketchup and no other condiments! 

Bread rolls

Another debate across the country is what to call a roll of bread used to make sandwiches.

A bread roll, bread bun, barmcake, bread cake, cob, etc. The list of names is endless and though it’s more of a national dispute rather than the North vs South, I couldn’t leave it out of this list!

Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?

A very controversial difference is the fact that Southerners would refer to their daily meals as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, whereas up North, they’re referred to as Breakfast, Dinner, and Tea.

I’ve had so many of my Southern friends be confused when I ask if they want to go out for ‘tea’ and we end up in a restaurant and not a café. 

There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a good cup of tea! Click To Tweet

In short, there are many differences between the North vs South of England. So much so that if I were to include them all on this list I would probably never finish writing.

That being said, despite our differences we all come together in our Britishness; we will continue to root for England in the World Cup, have our Sunday roasts, and be incredibly polite. As the saying goes: there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a good cup of tea!.


What differences did you notice between the North and South? Drop a comment below.

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