Hi! i'm from up there in the 'cold' north of England! - Newcastle-Upon-Tyne - the most northern city really. Having lived down south for five year as well and there is a notable difference! Cost of living is def much cheaper further north ( i have a mate in Brighton who drives up to Newc 2 have his car MOT'd cos even with the petrol costs it works out cheaper! thats what he told me anyway!) It is perhaps a little colder up here but not by much! Also we don't get the rain the west coast gets. True sometimes the accent is difficult up here to strangers but i think you'll find that in lotsa places in the UK 1st off. Newc is in the top 10 party cities in the world and has beautiful countryside only a stones throw away! (So i like my city )
On the other hand i love Brighton 2 - very arty/crafty - which i love! A city centre on the beach - i love it there! Only downsides there is stoney beaches and prices. Brighton is a place i'd def wouldnt mind spending time in - and as its so close to London and a lot of other busy cities i'd prob say for your purposes its better than up north!
But like most of the others say i'd keep away from Birmingham!
Hope you like wherever you lay your hat!
Wow...thank you all so much for responding...it's all really great advice!I'm saving every post, I still haven't decided on a city, I'm leaving in less than a month so I guess I should try to make a decision soon...
So far I'm leaning more and more towards Brighton but it's hard to tell because some are telling me its less expensive than London but still more expensive than other places. I like it because it's near water, near London, near other cities (even though its far from the beauty of the north!), also it seems to have lots of job opportunities for the type of job I'll be getting.
But one question about Brighton - besides the end all of how expensive is it...- is it too touristy? Are there so many tourists that I won't get a real British experience? I want to feel part of British culture while I'm over there. Mainly I want to...
1. Get a job
2. Be able to afford costs of living and travel (if not every weekend travel then at least a trip at the end of summer to other parts of the UK)
3. Meet lots of new people
4. Experience British life/culture
A city that has lots of job opportunities for retail, restaurant, or clerical workers, lots of young people, a lively city...but one that is not too expensive. ...Does this exist? Haha...maybe I'm just dreaming here.
Brighton sounds wonderful but is it as expensive as London and is it too touristy??
Oh but I'm so excited!! I got my work permit this week!!! Less than a month away...less than a month away...how exciting!!
One to try out, there's a lady called Dee Cooper who lives in bonnie Perthshire, she specialises in finding travellers jobs with accomodation thrown in. She has plenty of info on Scotland but she also helped a couple of Italian guys I know get set up in Bournemouth. her website is:
Brighton is very nice, but is becoming very expensive (allot of people now commute into London etc). It's slightly less expensive than London (or parts of it), but more expensive than most other cities - accom for example, may be 2 or 3 times more expensive there than in Birmingham or Manchester for example.
There's always stuff going on, and there are allot of tourists, but it's manageable. As a base to see more of the UK, it's not that great as it's out of the way (yes there's lots of places down south you can go to etc, but to go anywhere North you are always trekking through London).
Would be inclined to say that if you want to live cheaply and be able to afford to travel allot across the whole of the UK, then Brighton possibly isn't the best bet. Not much cheaper, but somewhere to consider would be Cambridge - it has the extra bonus of being close to Stanstead airport (i.e. where most of the cheap low cost airlines fly from).
Probably one of the larger provinical cities (Brum, Manchester, Newcastle or Leeds) would give you the best possibilities for lively city, easily accessible, lots of young people etc and still affordable.
I have to say, because I have done it (albeit a few years ago now) but it is a student town, you can live in brighton reasonably cheaply . . yes it is a tadge more expensive that some other cities, but there are cheap places to live . . .there have to be, because although there are aa increasing number of people who commute to London the vast majority still live and work in Brighton . . . .so go for it!!
Stay in a hostel when you first arrive, get to know the neighbourhoods, visit a few pubs and choose wisely . . .I think you will love it.
It is very touristy in the summer, but the tourists tend to stick to known areas, so there are plenty of places (including cafes, shops and pubs) where only locals plus the odd tourist go.
Hope this helps
As my darling sister has said it all above i will merely add that Brighton is lovely, especially in the summer but it is RIDICULOUSLY expensive, especially now it's even more fashionable than ever before so finding a half-decent place to live that costs less than £70 a week requires much luck and perseverance! If you really are on a budget i would leave Brighton and London for visits only.
I completely agree with her about Bristol - its a fantastic city - really good transport links to the rest of the country and youre close enough to cycle or bus into some of the most picturesque parts of the country iif you want a bit of peace and scenery! Good luck!
I've actually been looking into Bristol more, because I've been hearing how expensive Brighton is. The internet is telling me that Bristol is less expensive than most UK cities but my BUNAC handbook has a list of the estimated student costs per week, and it says for Bristol, students usually spend:
45-60 pounds each week for rent
75 pounds for food/transport/etc.
Most other cities in the list have 60 or 70 for the food/transport/etc category. The only city more expensive than Bristol in this category is London. Incidentally, Brighton says:
40-60 for rent
60 for food/transport/etc.
So this confuses me. Is Bristol really as affordable/inexpensive as people say? Or is this list more accurate?
Also, Cambridge has:
55+ for rent
60 for food/transport/etc.
And people are mentioning Manchester but it is a little too out of the way for me, I'm more interested in the southern parts of the UK. But every city is still open at this point. Any suggestions?
I wouldn´t stick to what the books say too much. Yes they´re good guidelines but at the end of the day it depends on your lifestyle and how capable you are of budgeting when you need to. Food wise you can save loads of money by not splashing out too much and buying cheap supermarket food in bulk. In Bristol there is an ENORMOUS american style Walmart and my student friends from Bristol absoloutely swear by it. You can buy everything in that shop, food, booze, clothes... really cheap. Bristol has a good bus system too and the season travel tickets are very good value. And as my sister lex mentioned you can always ride your bike around instead. There are LOADS of cyclists in Bristol and they have a habit of trying to hit us pedestrians down as we walk into work! If you want to get to other parts of the country Bristol is a really good base. The train station, Temple Meads, is big and has trains to the whole of the UK but i would favour using the bus services (also a big bus station in bristol) because they are much cheaper and more reliable than the trains. Okay, i´ve said enough. Come to bristol!!!
I don't want to seem like my family is ganging up on you but my sister is so right! I've got three months left in Brighton and its getting more and more expensive all the time, especially now the tourist season is coming. They've just put the bus fares up AGAIN to a scandolous £2.60 for a day saver (i.e. any more than one journey) and that is a complete rip off!
And your guide books are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out! But i find you always have t otake those with a pinch of salt. My lonely planet in West AFrica kept directing us to hotels that had never existed, restaurants that had closed down years ago and gave 'accurate' prices that were so far out that i had to grovel to my mum to western union me some cash to get back again! OK so you'll be in a the Uk - a developed country (though judging by our transport system i think that's a little dubious) but just be a tad sceptical of the travel guides, however well meaning. That's why this forum is so great - it's real people, not a writer who got fed up and invented the figures!
I've just looked at one of your other posts - i think when you come back to this side of the world you should get a job with the Bristol Tourist Board! It's amazing how nostalgic we get for our quiet little country whe n we're far away...
Bet you're not missing the rain though! Love you. xxx