Many Americans will notice various pros and cons living in the UK compared to the USA. As an American living in the UK, you will find that there are differences from life in the states. Through our many moves, we’ve heard back from expats on things they would have liked to know before beginning their UK life. To help with acclimating to life in the UK, we’ve compiled some of the major differences for expats living overseas.
Check out our article on the pros and cons for differences living in the United Kingdom vs the USA below!
Living in the UK: Pros and Cons Disclaimer
To start off, it is important to understand there are differences in life throughout the UK. Areas are different even within the same country. Living in England will be different than Scotland, Ireland, Wales, etc. For this reason, the differences for the UK vs USA are broad and may not apply to all areas.
Housing in the UK vs USA
Housing in the UK is different in many ways to the housing you may be used to in the states. One of the most notable differences is the size of the houses in the UK. They are significantly smaller than US houses on average. Beyond size, there are also differences in amenities and appliances. Another housing difference noticeable right away is the outlets use a different plug style. Also many bathrooms do not have plugs and if they do they need to be away from the shower/tub. Almost no houses in the UK have air conditioning, while in the US air conditioning is almost standard. Since the UK is pretty interconnected, public transport is usually abundant. This means you can get to where you are going more easily without having to drive. There is also a lot of things do in most urban cities.
Housing in the UK Pros
- Public transport is generally accessible to housing in the UK
- Many large cities offer great amenities nearby
Housing in the UK Cons
- The housing is generally smaller and less roomy
- Different setups from homes in the US
Food in the UK vs USA
There is a wild difference in many aspects of food in the UK vs the US. Within the administrative level, many food items allowed in the US are actually banned in the UK. One item to show that difference is eggs. In the UK, hens vaccinations are mandatory which makes the eggs safer from salmonella. In the US, this is not the case and is the reason why American eggs need to be refrigerated. There are also interesting cultural difference such as people in the UK use a fork and knife for most meals. Eating a rack of ribs with your hands looks normal in the US, while this could be gross in the UK.
Food in the UK Pros
- Generally safer due to more strict regulation
- Local UK foods that can only be found there
Food in the UK Cons
- Costs on regulated items may be more expensive
- Some food may seem odd coming from America such as haggis
Drinks in the UK vs USA
Many Americans have different drinking habits compared to the UK. A majority of Americans drink soda, while British people drink tea. There is always a surprise for people from the US when their drink arrives with no/less ice. People in the UK believe that ice waters down a drink and is preferable without ice. Sizes are also one size down in the UK. A large there would be a medium in the US.
Drinks in the UK Pros
- Tea is a healthier option compared to soda
Drinks in the UK Cons
- Changes in drinks from soda or coffee to tea may be difficult
Work Culture in the UK vs USA
When Americans go to the UK for work, they are always surprised by the difference in work culture. Employees in the UK generally prioritize work life balance, and companies usually provide 20-30 days of paid time off. The US on the other hand has no minimum vacation days and having 10 is considered very good. Conversely, salaries in the US are higher on average and allows more wealth flexibility comparatively. Within work, British people have different customs and practices as well. There will generally be a lot of tea, small talk, and pub going after work.
Work Culture in the UK Pros
- More vacation days
- Better work life balance
Work Culture in the UK Cons
- Lower salary for similar jobs
- Need to adjust in new environment for American expats
Want to Live in the UK?
If you are moving or thinking about moving to the UK, we at Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you out. With over 40 years of experience, SCL is the premier moving company to the UK. From cars to full households, we can ship your goods door to door from the US to anywhere in the country.
There are more pros and cons to living in the UK, but we’ll let you experience the rest while you’re there.
To get your move started, fill out our Online Quote Form or read another of our UK guides below.
Additional UK Guides
- London Moving Guide
- Scotland Moving Guide
- UK Moving Guide
- Ship a Car to the UK
- Import a Car from the UK