10 Reasons Canadian Millennials Should Say Goodbye To Canada & Move To The UK

Just hear me out. 🇨🇦🇬🇧

Trending Editor
A Canadian flag. Right: Big Ben in London, U.K.

A Canadian flag. Right: Big Ben in London, U.K.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

If you've ever thought about saying goodbye to Canada and moving to another country, you may have considered the U.K. — and you'd be right to!

With incredible job opportunities, iconic landmarks, endless travel options and a truly unique culture, it's arguably one of the best places in the world to live as a millennial.

Having lived in both Canada and the U.K. and ultimately deciding to settle in the latter, I often think about how the countries compare and the pros and cons of living in one versus the other.

While Canada has so much going for it — including breathtaking scenery, bustling cities and the oh-so-wonderful Canadian people — the U.K. and the countries therein just offer a way of life that I couldn't permanently say goodbye to.

With that in mind, here are 10 things I think the U.K. does better than Canada and why you should consider ghosting the Great White North for a new life on the tiny island.

The weather

I'll admit, one of my favourite things about Canada is the four seasons it promises each year. A snowy winter, a bright spring, a warm summer and a golden fall — beautiful!

Over in the U.K., the seasons are a little less romantic, with most of them blurring together into a wet, drizzly mess.

That said, British winters are short (albeit wet) and practically toasty in comparison with Canada's long, dark, snowy and extremely frigid winters. Temperatures rarely get lower than minus 1 in most places, which generally means the conditions don't prevent you from doing anything.

Comparatively, when I lived in Canada, it felt like time stood still during the winter season. People stayed at home a whole lot more, there were fewer social activities going on and the length of time it was dark and cold just seemed to last an eternity.

Admittedly, Canada's summers are much warmer and more pleasant, and the orange colours during fall are truly beautiful (although they are here, too), but I'd sacrifice the loveliness of both for a milder winter season.

The cost of living

Right now, the cost of living in both Canada and the U.K. is expensive, and there's no getting away from it.

But, according to data from Numbeo, the price of goods is around 9.2% higher in Canada as of March 2023, with rent also costing 12.5% more on average.

In my experience, the cost of groceries is also higher in Canada, and there are fewer stores that offer budget groceries or hefty discounts.

Not to mention, one of the best things about buying products in the U.K. is that all of the tax is included in the item's ticket price, so you know exactly how much you're paying before you get to the cash register.

What's more, in the U.K. you can save a fortune on your phone bill in comparison to Canada, where the cost of a basic plan made my eyes water! In the U.K., you can pay as little as £5 (CA$8) per month for the cheapest plan.

You can save money while eating out, too! In most service industries in the U.K., employees don't rely on tips to earn a living wage, so there's much less of an obligation to leave anything extra if the service isn't top-tier. It's a nice gesture, but in most cases, it's not expected.

Finally, if you do move to the U.K., the National Health Service (NHS) has got your back when it comes to any medical or dental issues. It's not without its problems for sure, but having totally free universal health care — which includes dental and some other things not covered in Canada — is one of Britain's finest attributes.

The time off

If there's something that millennials globally are talking about more and more, it's a healthy work-life balance.

In the U.K., I'd argue that this is much more accessible than in Canada.

A recent study found that Canadians have among the fewest vacation days worldwide, and with just 10 mandatory paid vacation days for full-time employees, it's not hard to see why.

The U.K., on the other hand, offers a minimum of 20 days of paid vacation, in addition to 8 national bank holidays per year.

That's a whole lot more time off, folks.

The travel opportunities

For me, one of the biggest benefits the U.K. has over Canada is its proximity to other countries — and therefore how easy it is to travel.

Depending on what part of the U.K. you fly from, you can get to bucket-list countries in Europe like Spain, France, Greece, Italy and more within just a few hours.

What's more, strong flight connections within Europe and a whole host of budget airlines means you can secure return flight tickets for less than £100 (CA$163) — and many countries are close enough for you to visit just for a weekend.

And, while countries like Thailand, Australia, Dubai and Egypt are much further away, high demand and a high volume of flight routes mean it's not only easy to book a trip to continents like Asia, Africa and Oceania, but it's also comparatively affordable.

Even better, the U.K. is literally four separate countries in one — so you can experience the wonders of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales without even having to pick up your passport!

All of this leads me nicely to my next point...

The size

Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world by surface area, and I think it feels that way.

Although I knew before arriving in Canada that the country is huge, I couldn't believe just how big each province is — and just how far some of them are from each other.

It's truly wild to me — but also kinda cool — that you can fly for hours and hours and still be in the same country you started in. But, there are also some downsides to this.

With the cost of airfare in Canada being pretty high, Canadians often have to fork out hundreds of dollars to travel within their own country, which is really strange to me.

Living in a smaller country (the U.K. could fit inside Canada over 40 times!) means it's a whole lot easier to explore where you live. And, if you have friends and family on the opposite side of the country, you can travel to be with them in a matter of hours — even if you're driving.

What's more, if there's ever an event, festival, sporting fixture, music concert or something else taking place on the other side of the country, it's not a big deal for you to attend!

The entertainment

Ok, I love Schitt's Creek, Workin' Moms and Kim's Convenience, but I strongly believe that Canadian entertainment doesn't even come close to what the U.K. has to offer.

From easy-watching trash TV like Gogglebox and Love Island to gritty ITV crime dramas and BBC documentaries, I think British television is top tier and you can't convince me otherwise.

A lot of investment is pumped into making British TV among the best in the world, and it's not surprising to me that highly rated shows from broadcasters like Channel 4 ( Derry Girls, Peep Show, It's A Sin, Stath Lets Flats, This Is England '86), ITV (Broadchurch, Downton Abbey, Des) and the BBC (Fleabag, Line of Duty, I May Destroy You) are streamed worldwide.

Canada's cable channels, in my opinion, were comforting at best, whereas you can enjoy a lifetime's worth of incredible, unforgettable content on television in the U.K., whether you have access to streaming services or not.

The sports culture

Canada has hockey — I get it, and it's cool.

During my time in Canada, I attended hockey games, baseball games and even basketball games, and all of them were busy, entertaining and a good day out.

But never once did I experience the same emotion, excitement and undiluted passion that you find in the U.K. — regardless of the jeopardy.

Football (or soccer, as you Canadians call it) is a relationship builder like no other. Total strangers will always find common ground around football — the teams they love, the teams they hate (with equal passion) and how their team is doing — and it evokes a camaraderie you just won't find anywhere else.

Rivalries run hot, Match of the Day runs weekly, and fans of lower-league teams can always rely on their Saturday being ruined.

It's not always pretty, but it's a way of life.

While football is, undoubtedly, the U.K.'s main sport, you'll also find grown men sobbing in Welsh pubs during the rugby Six Nations, you'll spot people who have waited a whole year to enjoy strawberries at Wimbledon, and you'll spy cricketers on every corner as soon as the weather permits.

The U.K.'s sports culture is unlike anything else in the world, and once you've lived it there's just no turning back.

The history

Like every country, both Canada and the U.K. have their own rich, complex and unique history.

While Canada's is surely as interesting, Britain's long history is visible on every town corner, in every local museum and through almost every piece of architecture, all in a way I didn't experience during my time in Canada.

The pub culture

British pub culture is illustrious, and for good reason.

While drinking is arguably a cornerstone of British life, spending time in the pub doesn't have to revolve around alcohol.

Lunch with your grandma? Pub. Beer with your bestie? Pub. Hard day at work? Pub. Want to get drunk? Pub. Want a quick meal? Pub. Want to take your dog on an adventure? Pub. Extremely hot summer day? Pub (garden).

Pub on a Monday? Yep. Pub on a Wednesday? Yep. Pub on a Saturday? Yep. Pub on a Sunday? You bet!

Essentially, the pub is a safe space to do whatever you need to, and you'll find one on every corner of every village, town, city and even farm that you find in Britain.

While, of course, "pubs" exist in all countries around the world, British pubs are like hubs for the local community. Kids, dogs, grandpas — everyone is welcome! And naturally, you'll find the sport on TV in almost all of them.

They're great places to make new friends (talking to strangers here is extremely normal), socialize and just be — and Canadians are missing out on this pub life!

The drinks

This is a short and sweet point, but in Britain, you can buy alcohol — wine, beer, ciders, spirits, anything — from pretty much any store you go in.

Gas stations, grocery stores, supermarkets and small retailers all sell alcohol, so it's super easy to stock up if and when you need to.

Of course, Canada is a beautiful, wonderful, special country, and I am so grateful for the two years that I spent living there.

Above all else, Canadian people are so warm, friendly and welcoming, and it was so easy to call the country home while I was there.

However, clearly, the U.K. has my heart and I would encourage anybody dreaming of a change from Canada to try it — even if it's just for a year or so. After all, you might just never leave!

Helena Hanson
Trending Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Canada's Trending Desk focused on major news. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.