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Romanticised Idea of UK?(26 Posts)
So having spent most of our adult life as expats in various countries, my DH and I are starting to consider where we want to spent our retirement.
We have dual UK / US nationality and, having spent the past few years in the US, I had always thought we'd move to Florida and spend our retirement living by the beach somewhere like Naples or Sarasota but recently I've become more and more homesick for the UK.
We left England in the 90's and although I've had fleeting visits back to see family, we haven't spent any significant length of time there since leaving.
In my mind, life would be all cosy pubs with roaring fires, walks along windswept beaches eating fish & chips and days out to palaces / castles / stately homes and other such things that don't exist in the US!
I'm from the North East of England so I'm drawn back to this area, my DH is very easy going and open to all my ideas but I'm worried that I've romanticised the idea of living in England in my mind and blurred reality with too much time spent watching Richard Curtis type movies and old Britain tv shows.
Does my version of England still exist or should I stick with the idea of Florida where at least I'd be guaranteed some sun, sea and sand?
Depends if you have the money really.
Wait and see how the election goes. The sun and sea option would win for me without trump
My life is like that (minus the beaches as we're in a landlocked county). It's pretty great. I can't deny it. Sunday roasts in the pub, cheery chats with the locals, walks in the countryside, steam trains etc. .
Read the "British people are all dirty thick slags" thread to put yourself off a bit?
Yes, I think that you can get cosy pubs and lots of visits to national trust properties and beaches (depending on where you live)
If you are happy with the changing seasons and the high risk of wet, miserable and dark (in the Winter) weather....
Depends what you want out of life.
On the plus side, “free” NHS medical treatment (treatment very good, although not so great for the elderly, comfort not so great). My cousin moved back to the UK (from the US) because she was worried about medical care as she aged in the US.
Although the cold, damp weather not so great for arthritis etc.
Can you do 6 months in each location? Eg winter in Florida, summer in UK (rent out Florida when not in use?)
Before you make a more permanent decision could you travel back to the UK for a long holiday and stay in an AirBnB or something to get a feel for whether you would like it long term? I’m not sure what is possible currently with Covid so you might have to quarantine.
Especially as your DH doesn’t have a strong opinion on where you live you both need to be sure before you make the move.
We’ve just had fish and chips at the coast after a windswept walk on the beach with our dog. It was wonderful. But it’s Covid time so remember to wear your mask whilst ordering. We had sun/warmth/humidity in the summer plus rain. Local pub have a log fire burning now as it feels chilly since clocks changed. All as normal as it can be considering we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Just remember to wear a mask, keep your distance and wash hands. 😄. Although how much time will you spend on holiday here? No place is nirvana we all have to work and pay bills wherever we are living.
The UK has changed a lot since the 90”s and not for the best. It was amazing for me then but we are leaving England. For me it would be Florida with the plus of the lovely weather.
I will miss the countryside pubs and the British people and England will always have a special place in my heart. I guess I will visit sometimes.
I'm in the NE and it's mostly okay still, but places are looking very run down these days and my pretty tourist city area is unrecognisable now due to empty shops, drug addicts harassing people in the street and the general air of despondency.
It's okay as long as you're happy with a simple life and don't expect too much. Standards have declined.
We moved back to the UK after 18 years in the USA just 2 years ago. Very happy we did - we definitely get out more here. Of course there are things we miss like amazing restaurants but I definitely prefer the seasons here and day trips to the country. I actually found the heat in Atlanta quite restrictive and now love nothing more than a dog walk in the rain. We're in W Yorkshire and intentionally chose somewhere we weren't from or had lived before so it still felt like a new adventure. Good luck!
Thank you for all your replies so far, it's really nice to hear some positive perspectives on the UK and I appreciate the more brutal opinions too.
@Vello Sunday roasts in the pub is the dream!, in our early 20's we would walk to the local and spend Sunday afternoons having a roast dinner, drinking cider and watching football.
We'd hoped to spend some time in England over the summer but of course that didn't work out and I'm not even sure that next summer will be realistic for a visit at the moment.
I live in a Southern State at the moment but not as far south as Florida so we still have cold dark winters which don't bother me too much (but make me long for that cosy pub fireplace!).
We have thought about splitting our time between both countries, although that would of course mean splitting our money into two smaller properties but that could be a good option, at least to start with for a few years.
Honestly I'd stick to Florida and pop to the UK pavilion at Epcot if I was homesick (only half joking).
Big one for me would be health insurance. If you can afford it and any other social care/health fees as you get older then it would be the States. But if there's any question over it then probably the UK.
My advice would be to take some time to see the UK as it is now, before making any lifelong decisions. Covid means you might not be able to do that until next year. So maybe use that time to fully research the Florida options. The grass will always be greener, whichever way you go. Remember, you can always visit the UK, even if you’re living in FLA. Not an easy decision, that’s granted. But with a dripping roof after weeks of rain here, I’d be keen for Florida. Then again, hurricanes. Like I said, not an easy decision! Best of luck. Keep us posted. ❤️
Agree that health insurance / public health system is a big consideration, especially as you age.
I get what you mean about romantising places you left ages ago, but (as you know) Florida wouldn't be perfect either. You seem to be pretty comfortable moving around, so if you did move to UK and thought it wasn't all that, why not move to Florida then. I know it's not that easy but it's possible right?
I sometimes get homesick for England... then on the occasions that I go back to visit, I'm always shocked by how much it's changed, how busy it is, and how cold, wet and dark it is.
I'm not dumping on the UK - I absolutely love it and I'm always recommending that people here go and visit the UK because I think it's a really unique place and full of character. I just think that places are never quite how you remember them, and especially in terms of sun - once you have grown accustomed to living in a part of the world that gets bright sunshine, it can feel very oppressive and bleak to go back to the UK because the sky is so dark and grey most of the year.
Why not the US Northeast? You couldn’t pay me to live in Florida but you can have cozy winters in much of the States.
For those who don’t know there is government health care in the US for people over 65 called Medicare.
I love sun and sea but I’m not sure I’d want to live in Florida. A friend recently came back from a two year stint there, because she hated having to drive everywhere and being stuck in traffic on six lane highways. It wasn’t the paradise she’d imagined.
If weather is a big concern for you, how about the south of England instead of the NE? Our summers have been getting hotter and hotter. I live in Sussex, and this summer was spent swimming in the sea, sitting in beer gardens (when they reopened) and long walks in beautiful countryside.
Now that winter is drawing in, my life is as you describe in your op - log fires in our local pub and visits to National Trust places. This sort of life does still exist.
Thank you again for all your thoughts @turnitonagain we have actually considered Boston as a kind of hybrid between the US and the UK, the only thing that puts me off is the extreme winter weather in Massachusetts but my DS will probably go to University in the NE of the US so will we have plenty of opportunities to visit that area over the next few years to see what we think.
If you can afford to live comfortably in the US (health insurance etc) I think you would be insane to come back the the UK (we had a forced repatriation from the US to the UK a couple of years ago). Personally I think the UK cannot come close to matching geological and climate diversity of the US, and an active retirement would be the ideal time to make the most of that. Like a PP said, Florida wouldn't be my personal choice all year round - I'd want to spend the summer and fall somewhere like Colorado. The UK just feels so small after the US. But it depends what is important to you - perhaps the draw of being closer to the cultural diversity of Europe might be a consideration.
Trump, gun culture, consumerism, work to live and racism had us packing our bags in 2018. It was a tough transition after 20 years away but if you find the right place to settle it's great to be back in the UK. You just can't compare them - it's chalk and cheese. We have history, open spaces, culture in W. Yorkshire but miss great restaurants (especially Mexican!) and service, and speedy, if expensive healthcare.
I also think that you could give the UK a go and see how it works out. Some people I know have second homes in Florida or the south of Spain (that’s probably trickier now given Brexit) where they go in the winter.
Do both! Winter in Florida, spring/summer in UK best of both worlds.
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