The Dreaded North

Article by Mark McKenny

A few times a year, I sit and consider a move to London: the place with all the opportunities! The nightlife, the bars, the people – the ideal of living in the capital. But slowly, and particularly over the last few weeks, I’ve started to realise that I can have all that here, up in the North, in a small city called Liverpool.

A few things have led me to this belief. The first was a lucky break after applying to a number of design companies in and around the Northwest area. Smiling Wolf welcomed me on a placement, and I’ve been there a few weeks now, learning something new everyday. Being in this creative environment, I’ve also discovered other big company names like MilkyTea, Lucid Gaming and the other bigshots housed in Liverpool’s ‘Baltic Triangle,’ an area that is forever expanding. There certainly are opportunities, yet a few weeks ago I was totally oblivious to this fact.

It’s not just Liverpool that has these opportunities. Manchester is now considered to be, by many, the-place-to-go-if-you’re-fed-up-of-London. A number of businesses are making the move up the M6, most noticeably the BBC who moved a huge number of offices to their Salford base last year. And here’s why: fewer people, cheaper living/rent and a friendlier environment.

In the last two weeks alone, I’ve met three people currently living in London, but wanting to move away. When they visit the North, they are initially shocked by how different it is to what they were expecting, and then they see the prices. They start adding up the numbers in their heads, quickly realising just how much they’re wasting for the sake of being in the capital. And they ask, is it really all worth it?

Well, my answer would be, no.

I have to say I’d been extremely ignorant since moving back to Liverpool. When I moved down to Winchester for university, all the talk was of a future move to London and since I’ve been back home, I’ve seen friend after friend make the jump – some successfully, some not. I’m certainly not saying I never want to move to London. But I do know I’m only willing to go when the timing is right, and just now I’m not in a position to intern/work in a city where it costs £600-£700pm minimum for a tiny box room.

In owning up to my ignorance, I’m saying that that’s exactly what is wrong. We are lead to believe that all the opportunities are in London, and it isn’t so. If you look outside the box, you realise there are opportunities wherever you live. And when you see the North, and how friendly, up-and-coming, comfortable and cheap it is in comparison, you realise it’s not all about London.

I believe sooner or later a lot more people are going to realise this… and then they’ll all make the move, prices will go up, and Liverpool/Manchester/Leeds will be just as expensive as the South… I joke, but if you are considering a move, I suggest you do it quickly. Book a weekend away and visit the dreaded North. It’s not as harsh as Game of Thrones makes it look, and it could be a real eye-opener.


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