10 Things I’ve Learnt Since Moving Back To England From Australia (1 Month Update)

About Us
Londoner In Sydney is a community of expats and locals who love sharing the best destinations and activities around Australia. Be inspired, find hidden gems, stock up on local tips and discover awesome new things to do with our authentic travel guides.

If you’re thinking about moving back to England from Australia, here’s an honest post on how we found it. We actually only lasted six months before we moved back to Australia, but here’s how we felt in the first month.

After travelling the world for six months, we decided to try out something different and before we knew it, we were moving back to England. It’s been 7 years since I last lived in England, and with Steve being Australian, he lived here back in 2005 for two years before we met.

We have only lived together in Sydney before so the time felt right and here we are now living in Brighton. I also have my PR in Australia so we can always go back at a later date if we want to and of course we will go back to visit family and to write more updates about Sydney for this site.

A lot of people wonder whether moving back to England is a good idea after their time in Australia isn’t quite what they hoped it would be for one reason or another.

It’s a big risk especially if you have kids, so you want to make the right decision even if you end up becoming a ping-pong-pom (you move to Australia, end up moving back to England and then return back to Australia not that long afterwards once you’ve realised what you actually missed about England wasn’t quite worth it!).

So I’m going to document everything we’re going through with our moving back to England to show you what it’s like for someone actually going through it. You’ll be seeing updates every so often about how we’re getting on with an honest view point as always.


Our go to migration agent in Sydney called AUREC Migration & Mobility are offering Londoner In Sydney free visa assessments. This means if you have any questions or concerns about applying for your Australia visa, you can simply email them here with your and they’ll get back to you at no cost!

Why Did We Move To Brighton In England?


When we decided we were definitely moving back to England, I wanted to be near my brother who lives here in Brighton. It’s also by the sea so we hopefully won’t get too many withdrawals from the beach. Plus it’s super close to Gatwick for some quick getaways. Of course, there’s also a direct train line to London in supposedly 50 minutes.

I have heard many expats end up moving to Brighton from Australia, probably for similar reasons. I also lived here as a student years ago and always felt like it was home for me.

How did we find a flat in Brighton?


Moving back to England isn’t actually that easy when it comes to finding a great place to live. We were actually really lucky as we stayed in an airbnb for two weeks when we arrived and got on with our owner so much that she agreed to let us move in. Phew!!

We didn’t have the money to rent our own place and we found it hard to find a flat share that was OK with couples. There are also laws here that you can only rent a studio for one person if you were even thinking of going down that route too.

What about Steve’s Visa For England?

Steve’s come into England on a six months tourist visa. This means he has six months in the country without working whilst I get a job.

He will then have to return to Australia in the New Year to apply for the defacto visa (which is what I was on in Aus). But he’ll only have to wait a couple of months in Australia before it gets approved and he can come back into England.

We’ll talk you through the entire visa process when he goes through it to help you if you have an Aussie partner too. PS, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re married.

So within our first month of being back, here are 10 things we’ve learnt since moving back to England from Australia. 

1. The heatwave in England


During our moving to England process, we actually moved at the end of June 2018 to be hit with the UK’s best Summer yet. We didn’t see any rain for nearly five weeks (first bit was for ten minutes yesterday). Temperatures have been up to the late 20s/early 30s and it’s been glorious.

Honestly, if the weather was like this all the time in England, it would be absolutely brilliant. But how does the heatwave compare to summer in Australia? See below for more insights as I’ve written a whole blog dedicated to everyone’s favourite topic, the English weather!

2. How bad is the transport system in England?

Considering we have been travelling around the world over the last six months, we’ve been shocked at how incredibly bad the transport is in England. Trains don’t run you know, because the driver hasn’t turned up, there are power line problems and so on which delay the trains. Oh, and it’s incredibly expensive too.

We were going to go and visit friends up in Chester this weekend but had to cancel because it would have cost us £200 for a 3-hour train journey. We were then going to rent a car, but unbeknown to us, the car rental prices increase by the minute.

So we looked at flights from Gatwick to Manchester and it was going to cost us £300 each. How can a flight to Barcelona cost less than flying in your own country? Mental! My friend was even charged £60 return for a 20-minute train journey into London during peak hour. That’s just nuts!

It’s definitely made me appreciate the transport system in Sydney much more. All those times I would think how bad it was, and now we often say how you can go to Newcastle NSW which is a three-hour train journey for FREE with your opal card on the weekend! Obviously there are way more people in England but with the lack of aircon and the expense of the trains, it’s a total joke over here.

The most interesting thing I have learnt about the transport system in England is without a car, I feel quite trapped because it’s so hard to go anywhere in the country without paying loads of money. In Australia, I felt trapped because I felt like I couldn’t leave the country without paying loads. I do miss having a car in Australia and being able to go out on the weekend to explore NSW.

There is so much to do there but as I’m starting to realise, there’s so much of England I’ve not seen yet so I’m excited to really start seeing what I’ve been missing out on all this time! I’ll just need to be more organised and try and get some cheap train tickets in advance next time!

At least one of the perks about living in Brighton is the access to Gatwick airport and the abundance of countries to visit because like I said, flying out of the country is cheaper than flying in the country. Weekends to some great European cities, here we come!!

3. How much cheaper is everything in England compared to Australia?

When we arrived, we didn’t really notice much of a difference with the price of everything in England.

Food is slightly cheaper but the quality doesn’t even compare with the standards in Australia. At the moment, we are spending about £100 a week on food from Asda for 2 people compared to our $200 shop at Aldi in Sydney. However, we’re totally into the £3 meal deals, when you think about it $5 for a sandwich, drink and snack is amazing value!

Water is also very cheap here, you can get a 2-litre bottle for 80p, oh and if you like alcohol, that’s super cheap too. No more $20 for a pack of 6 beers, you can buy them for like £8 in England.


It’s quite interesting thinking about the cost comparison between London and Sydney.

As we mentioned transport is really expensive and so is petrol. In Australia, it cost us $40 to fill up our car whereas over here it costs us £70 (that’s over $100!!). It’s honestly a joke and it’s upsetting how much we are getting ripped off in England.

Housing in Brighton is quite expensive, we’re having to flat share at the moment and we’re paying £800 a month for a flatshare compared to our $2000 a month for our own place in Sydney. If we wanted our own flat in Brighton, we’d be looking at at least £900 for something decent plus bills.

Now, this is the difference when it comes to Sydney. In England, we have to pay for water, electricity, gas, internet and COUNCIL TAX. In Australia, because we had solar panels, we only paid for the internet and Netflix. But having solar panels isn’t the norm I know, but I’ve never paid for water, gas or council tax in Aus before.

Clothes shopping is cheaper because there’s much more variety in England and when you have shops like Primark, it’s good for basic cheap items, like paying £6 for shoes rather than $100. Although let’s not forget Kmart. It’s funny because when we arrived, I was thinking about Aussie shops like ‘oh we could get that from Kmart’ but it’s not here!

International stores like Zara are much cheaper here in England and probably the main thing I’ve noticed is that they don’t keep the same stock in the shops for months on end. The stock is being updated every single day in England. Interestingly, when we first arrived and still now, I think in Aussie dollars, not in pounds and am in that comparing stage like the opposite when I was when I first moved to Aus.

4. Let’s talk about the people in England

At the pub during the World Cup in Brighton.

Firstly, the people in England have been so nice to us, it’s one of the first things that has stood out. We’ve probably spoken to more people since we got here than we did in the last six months of our trip around the world. Also with Steve being Aussie, everyone has a story about Australia. Either they lived there, their mate did or it’s turned to chat about New Zealand. Steve’s enjoying the attention that’s for sure.

We always found most Aussie peeps in Sydney quite hard to get along with (obviously not all, I have some awesome Aussie mates), but they were so clicky and just didn’t get my sense of humour at all. Basically, it felt like people were at a job interview most of the time in Sydney and I couldn’t relate. But I’ll write more about this soon as it’s a topic I think a fair few Brits might be able to relate to.

In England everyone chats to you, whether you’re on a train or lining up to buy something, we’ve found English people to be lovely. The funny thing is, everytime we tell English people this, they seem shocked but proud too. But, this could be because it’s Summer so we will have to see if it lasts!

But there are so many types of people in England, we’ve been surprised by the number of chavs in Brighton. Obviously, if I was living in London, I probably wouldn’t notice it but in Brighton, it’s definitely apparent. At first, the kids especially scared me because they are just so unpredictable unlike in Australia. I always found school kids in Australia much more well behaved.

It’s not unsurprising to see groups of girls in their gym gear all weekend in Sydney. Image source:

It also refreshing to see some individuality in England, unlike everyone looking the same wearing activewear gym gear with a full face of makeup on, with the same haircut. I know this stuff doesn’t matter but when you’re a creative person and you’re constantly around what feels like a group of drones, it’s a sigh of relief to be back in the land of the norm again. But, at least it made me want to treat my body better in Sydney. Seeing active people constantly definitely made me more active myself. 

Because Sydney has become what’s known as a nanny state (because it’s become strict with various laws), it’s funny to see how people don’t abide by the rules in England. For example, there will be a sign saying ‘no dogs on the beach in summer’ yet everyone has their dogs with them. At first, Steve was getting paranoid about us cycling in a no cycle lane but I reassured him this is England, no one cares!

This also relates to the police. They are much friendlier in England as I’ve had some shocking behaviour from the police in Sydney before like when we got pulled over because Steve had literally just got into the car and hadn’t put his seatbelt on yet. We got fined $400. Imagine the police doing that in England? I’m sure there might well be cases like that but from what I’ve seen, police don’t have time for that.

It always made me wonder whether that was a good thing in Sydney because there isn’t much of a  crime rate so I’m guessing the police would have to fill their time doing RBTs obvs.

5. Job opportunities in England

Image source:

Since I’ve been back, it’s incredible to see how many global brands there are to work for in England. It’s very exciting and has made me realise how small the job market is in Sydney. It’s no wonder it’s really hard to get work in Australia because there are so many educated people with fewer jobs on offer.

Depending on your industry, unsurprisingly Australia is way behind the UK in many industries, mainly on the digital side. So if you’re thinking about moving to Aus, keep this in mind. But the pay in UK is terrible. I’m having to take a 50% pay cut for a similar job to what I had in Sydney.

6. The English Countryside

The countryside is one of the things I missed the most when I lived in Australia. We often went down to Bowral and the drive there is incredible but it just wasn’t the same as it is in England. I am loving visiting all of the beautiful villages and lovely country walks and picnics on offer again.

7. The streets and shops

A beautiful cobbled street in Rye.

I’ve found the streets in Brighton especially are so dirty it’s crazy. Chewing gum, alcohol, probably wee, the list goes on is what is filled on the streets in Brighton. Luckily when we go to nearby villages, it’s normal again. I’m also surprised by many shops I go into whether its a supermarket to a clothing store, most of the time they are in a mess in England. It made me appreciate the cleanliness in Sydney.

At least people in Sydney know how to use a bin. The beach can be full of litter here that recently when I fell asleep on the beach, I was woken up with an empty packet of crisps flying into my face from the wind. Not fun. But again, this could just be Brighton.

8. How to be healthy in England after living in Australia?

It’s funny because although I miss how healthy I was in Australia by cycling to work, running, going to F45 and eating really well, I was actually really ill when I lived there with SIBO.

In England, it’s pretty hard right now to stay healthy when everyone wants to go to the pub all the time, the mandatory Sunday Roasts at a classic English pub and of course, who would pass up a cream tea in a quintessential English village? Let’s not forget about fish & chips too.

Food choices totally change in England, like I’ll be eating smoothie bowls in Winter here? Yeah right. It’s also hard to find a really good healthy cafe to eat at and I do miss the wide selection on offer in Sydney terribly. But I suppose I’ll be living off sandwiches and Pret for the foreseeable future then!

9. How different is it moving back to England than coming for a holiday?

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed is how different I feel coming back to live in England than coming for a three week holiday. Before it was always incredibly exciting, yet exhausting trying to fit everyone in, get my shopping fix and generally trying to appreciate everything I had missed about England.

This time around, because we decided to move here, it feels different. We’ve both been through many emotions since coming back and often wandered the following; is this the right thing to do? I miss Sydney, should we move back? It’s not like how I remembered.

It’s also been a bit of a roller coaster coming back after spending six months travelling the world. We weren’t only exhausted but quickly realised that there was no more of the where are we going next? on the agenda. But, if there’s one thing we learnt about this recent trip is, we don’t need to travel for long periods of time anymore, we just want to settle down now.

Moving Back To England Is Not The Same As Visiting

Coming back full time is definitely different because it’s not a holiday. I realised all of my friends I have missed terribly have moved on, just as I have too but I realised fast that I won’t see them all the time like I hoped I would have. They are all settled down with their new families now so of course, with seven years passing, the time has definitely changed for all.

But, Sydney changed me for the better. I grew up and since coming back to England, I’ve realised how different I am now as a person.

Sydney taught me to really explore, to become adventurous with my hiking, to spend most weekends getting out and about rather than sleeping off a hangover.

Now as I’m living in England, I’m starting to see there are so many places I’ve not been to and there’s so much to discover yet. Best of all, there are so many countries I can easily go to on a budget.

10. But after everything…

The main reason for us moving back to England is that I’ve noticed I’m feeling back to myself again. There are so many things I love about Australia but I never quite felt like me there. Now I’m back in England, I’m absolutely loving it and appreciating so much there is and what I have here.

10 Things I’ve Learnt Since Moving Back To England From Australia (1 Month Update)


If you found this post helpful, please share it to your social accounts below 🙂

  1. Hi Annie

    Thank you so much for completing this blog

    I have returned to the uk London with my Aussie husband after 30 years living in Manly Australia completing some travel along the way in Europe children now adults one daughter living in Sydney and one son just completed university in uk loves uk also all my family in the uk some NZ

    Well the first hurdle we had was discovering the spouse visa wasnt allowed to be processed while living in the uk

    I have been in finance insurance for many years and starting to apply for jobs very nervous being 50 +
    We can only get a property to rent in my name as Alan does not have a written visa
    My husband is very unsure about the move we do have properties in Australia to go back to.

    Still very unsure and confused and many discussions not sure whether to enjoy 6 months together and return at a later date with visa etc
    I love England it is my home all the things you mentioned were my thoughts and Alan my husband mentioned the things your husband did (jokes etc 🙂

    Just travelling in the country at the moment yes put the expensive petrol in It is a beautiful day

    Take care

  2. Wow this post just really resignated with me. I have recently moved to Aus around 6 months ago, having applied for the partner visa. I am having a bit of a hard time adjusting and would love to be in the UK idealy. My partners work is really keeping him here though.

    All the things you said I think arine very true! The well behaved school kids in oz, the good shopping in england, countryside, pubs, etc. These are all things I miss! How do you start enjoying life in Aus when you really want to be home? Any tips?!

  3. Hi there,
    Interesting read! I moved to Sydney with my wife and 3 daughters through work back in 2011… Then returned to Edinburgh after 3 rollercoaster years of highs and lows. Even though we are happy in the UK I day dream about going back. Sometimes I think I opened Pandora’s Box in terms of knowing there is an alternative reality out there for us. I think there is no Right Answer… There are great things about life in Sydney ( we lived in Cronulla…. Which I loved) but equally, I love Scotland and as time goes by I’ve realised the importance of family… Particularly as my own parents have gotten older!! i knew quite a few Brits who married Australians but felt very homesick…. As you get older I think home calls you back!

      1. I was dragged to West Australia when I was 4 in 1969’. We were the first and only migrants to leave the UK leaving a massive family behind. Mum passed when I was 13. I travelled to the UK several times for short trips. Dad later when I was 53 and married a Tasmanian girl to which we have a 12 yr old son. My Dad was a Grenadier Guard and Mum was a WPC in Reading. Over the last 10 or so years, as some of my UK Aunts and Uncles have passed – I have become almost depressed with wanting to live in my home of birth. All my life I have been a proud ‘Brit’ and will buy anything British plus the main shows I watch are UK sitcoms. My wife’s not that keen but I feel I am just not complete starting to move toward my 60’s. I have duel-Cit and my son is a Brit Cit by decent. Of course the rules have changed and now they want my wife to have finances to not be a ‘burden’ on the UK taxpayer. She has a Grandparent who was UK born so she may get a ‘Ancestry Visa’ for 5 years but I am not sure what money she needs. Not sure what to do…

  4. Currently living in outback mining town , which is a very clicky small minded environment , I’m 24 married to a lush Australian who has a fab job and feeling super stuck here. It’s so refreshing to hear someone else mention not feeling like themselves in Australia but also to see your other posts about moving back to Australia. I crave being home and the Uk people and it’s good to know I’m not just being overly emotional about this seeing lots of other people feel the same. I feel aus is a holiday destination for me and becoming a mum in such a lonely environment has been bloody hard but it’s what we’ve had to do. Your blogs helped me so much in realising I really do miss home !!

  5. We moved back to Yorkshire November 2018 after living for 11 years in Perth. I regret not coming sooner. We really enjoy the proximity of everything WA is so isolated very beautiful but we ended up doing the same things over and over again to do something different meant a very long Rd journey or a flight. I love the seasons here and celebrating Christmas it never felt Christmassy in OZ. I’m delighted that people understand my humour. The rds are busy here but people are generally polite and help each other. In Perth some drivers thought they owned the Rd and were abusive if you dared to enter their area. Shopping is fantastic here clothes that is the food was good quality in OZ and I miss that. It’s been hard moving back no credit history but we are more or less back where we started now. I will always feel glad I went but regret staying so long it was hard to admit defeat. It strangely feels like a very distant memory.

  6. This is absolutely the situation I find myself in… in Perth WA. Great to hear you’re nicely settled. I want to come home. I don’t feel myself but with my wife and children all settled into life here, it’s impossible for me to even mention how I’m feeling. I’ll never adjust fully to life away from my country. Green fields, proper roads, driving through Europe, a little colder climate now and again, ‘people’ difference, cultural diversity, history, watching England Rugby, mental health benefits, less sand. My wife has all of her family here, Mum, Dad, brothers…. many friends. Pretty desperate but I feel my true self is on hold for the sake of everything/everyone else. Is this how it should be for a father/husband? Put all on hold until the children are on track in their lives and then have a conversation with my wife? Desperately unhappy here.

    1. Oh no, that’s awful Peter. We actually ended up moving back to Australia. I remembered England to be a different place than what it actually was within a few months after writing this article. We only lasted 6 months in the end. Sometimes it’s easier to remember the good parts rather than everything else. The endless grey days made me miss the Aussie sunshine too much. I hope you manage to find some kind of peace, and recommend you definitely talking to your wife about how you feel sooner than later. Best of luck!

    2. Hey Pete!
      You are in the same situation as me. A doctor once told me that I was ‘Culturally separated and deprived’ and unless one is a extreme case, being separated from family will never bring ultimate contention.

      The question is, will I ever get so bad that my unfulfillment leads to divorce despite still loving my family I have here?

  7. Hi I’m from Australia and my husband is from England. He has not been home for 5 years. We have decided to move this august and I’m so so exited! Being an Australian of course it’s a dream come true.

    I have no idea what to do about a passport and how it works? Any help would be great. We plan on staying there a few years and will have a 3 month old..

    Thanks Toni

  8. I have had a rollercoaster of a ride and totally torn, you really do open that box.
    10 years in Sydney, I always missed ‘home’ and would not feel myself because of this. I constantly would wonder what people are doing, friends and family etc. I had a good business in Sydney and kept telling myself I had a good lifestyle, which I did. I always had an itch though. So in the end I decided enough was enough and I moved back letting the staff go in Oz. All my friends and family always said ‘move back move back’ loads of work and stuff going on etc. So I decided to just do it, when I arrived it was raining and the sky was grey and seemed to just sit above your head. I got to my old town and thought right don’t let the weather deter your mind.
    All the buildings were grey and run down (the high street in some areas is dead). None the less I was in a good place Cornwall and thought let’s just flow with it. Long story short it’s been the hardest 1.5 years of my life, no credit history ment it was very difficult to find a place to live, a short supply of housing also makes it difficult, to the point where I couldn’t get anywhere to live, so lived with family. Those friends that asked you to come back, I have seen maybe 2/3 times in a year. Life has totally changed, they have all got on with their lives. I have changed, you are no longer the person that left and sometimes you left for a reason. It’s very important to consider what you think your missing and what you have to come back to, make sure you sort housing, think about how not seeing your friends May effect you. It is not an outdoors life here, I’ve never watched so much tv in my life because the winter was so cold and wet. It’s a different lifestyle. You do see friends but not like you think you will, everyone has moved on with their lives and although they always give opinions when your the other side of the world, do what is best for you as you probably won’t see them like you think you will.
    Proximity to Europe, yes is excellent and you can see different cultures, but honestly how many times do you think you’ll do that? With work and kids etc. Australia is close to Asia all be it a little further these days the prices are close to the same(when things work)
    It’s hard to describe the emotions, very hard. Especially when you see the old faces still doing the same things. Funny most of the people that asked me to come back keep saying when my kids are older were getting out of here, ‘can’t wait to move somewhere warmer’ ha.
    So there are good points but really think about it, yea the changing of the season lovely but it’s cold here and miserable more than it is nice. Which stops outdoor activities. The food is English so it’s nice and wholesome but Sydney has amazing food and healthy. Healthy culture is yet to take over the uk just yet but it is happening.
    Basically don’t move back thinking it’ll be the same as when you left if you’ve been away for a long time. Friends have moved on and times change. Have a direct and on point plan as you don’t want to be stressing about a home etc.
    For me it’s been the scratch that needed to be itched, what I believe it’ll do is help me settle for good, back in Oz. After a year of trying the UK it’s made me realise how good my lifestyle was, work was and the outdoor health and living was. I love the UK but it’s changed and although will always have a place in my heart lifestyle is more healthy in Oz, it has more to offer if your outdoors person and I believe has more opportunities being a growing country. England I think will be a place to visit for the foreseeable future and it’s good to get that out of the system.
    Sorry also yes family, seeing family in the uk is brilliant, although again I find I’m making most of the effort and if I didn’t I’m not sure how much I’d see them. Move with your own life, flow. There is no right or wrong but I personally have spent so long in Oz that I now feel that’s my home.

    1. Hi Brian, I 100% agree with everything you mentioned in your comment. Did you read my post about why I left UK and moved back to Australia? It’s funny how we keep the good memories in our head, and when I moved back to UK, I realised I had changed too much. Now I’m back in Australia, there is always a piece of me who will miss UK, but I’ve realised Australia is now my home. It was a difficult 6 months for me moving back, but I’m glad I did it, because essentially I got it out of my system. I have had many people email me to say the same as you about how everyone says to move back, and when you do, you hardly see them. Best of luck with the move back to Australia, you’ll see it in a totally new and better light than you ever did before. Two years on since we came back and I’m still appreciating how good we have it over here.

  9. Hi Brian, That’s an interesting read… and I sympathise! Although we only had 3 years in Sydney rather than 10, I still found the transition back to be hard. I would say ‘Give it Time’. Sounds like you never felt quite at home in Australia… and I doubt that would ever change. I met poms that felt marooned half a world away from their roots… and over time that gets harder to deal with.

    You made some great points that I totally agree with; especially with regards to seeing friends and family and feeling like you are making all the effort. It’s hard to admit but I think friends and family back home are often secretly envious of expats… and want you to come home – as that means life isn’t better if your brave enough to ‘go for it’… makes staying home with a more mundane life easier to accept. So you have to live life for yourself (and immediate family) over everyone else.

    However, all that still doesn’t necessary mean you made the wrong move. The way I see it is there is no wrong move – you make a decision and then you have to make the most of it. I think the first year home is really hard… especially the first Winter when life feels grim! (I’ve never felt sooo cold!)

    With regards to the outdoor life; I actually think the UK is amazing though… As Billy Connolly once said…”No such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”. We live in Edinburgh and spends loads of time hill walking and trail running in the highlands… Way better than the blue mountains IMO!

    With Citizenship – you could go back (Once covid restrictions are relaxed)… We have thought about selling up and going back many times. After being home for 1 year a great work opportunity came up for us to go back (Me, the wife and three daughters) The thing is having already done it once, we knew the ramifications of properly emigrating (Selling UK property, potentially never seeing parents again, missing my roots as I got older etc)… I just didn’t want it that much.

    So, we make our Edinburgh life as good as possible… (Although I do miss plenty of things… our home in Cronulla, Darook beach, Sunny Sundays in Darling Harbour, city2suf, Gloria Jeans coffee, rebel sport, sunshine etc…)

    Whether you settle back into life in the UK or head back to Sydney I wish you all the best!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *