Why living in the UK is a global experience

11 August 2023

In the first of three articles on moving to the UK from overseas, we provide some helpful insights into life in Great Britain, covering everything from schools and property to culture and regulations.

The UK is a popular destination for wealthy individuals from all over the world, thanks to its rich history and culture, pulsating cosmopolitan cities and robust economy.

These factors and more continue to attract people to the country, whether it’s to work or study, or join family members already living here. Britain also holds strong appeal to overseas property investors, who see its ‘bricks and mortar’ as a long-term investment opportunity.

Culturally diverse

The UK has a long history of immigration and is today home to an incredible tapestry of cultures and languages. Having this broad range of communities and nationalities – with many bringing their home comforts with them – is precisely why you can experience the world right on your doorstep in the UK. 

This diversity also offers up a large pool of potential business partners and contacts from all over the world – allowing for greater networking opportunities, which can be beneficial for expanding your business, learning new things or, more simply, to meet new people. 

A stable home

Against this backdrop, the UK is considered a safe place to live with crime rates relatively low1. Britain also has a temperate climate, experiencing mild-to-warm summers and cool winters – only rarely facing the extremes of heat and cold often seen in nearby European countries. 

There’s also a well-developed infrastructure – excellent transport links, high-speed internet and a world-renowned healthcare system. For instance, over 40 airports in the UK can accommodate private jets2, while the district around Harley Street in London has garnered international acclaim for its private medical excellence. 

Banks and legal systems are also well regulated, while the political system tends to produce stable one-party government majorities. The UK also has some of the highest health and safety standards in the world, evidenced by the low rates of workplace injuries and accidents.3

Rules-based order

The rule of law is a defining principle of the UK – allowing for an open, fair and relatively peaceful society. Essentially, no-one is above the law. 

For instance, rules and legal processes must always be followed when buying or letting property in the UK, or applying for planning permission. 

For more information about the property market, check out this article: “Things to know when buying UK property.”

And whilst all these regulations are in place to ensure things are done correctly, some people can find the processes overly complex and time-consuming. Yet, for all of this, the UK still ranks 8th globally in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index4

Education system

One of the main reasons wealthy families choose to settle in Britain is the quality of its elite private schools. There are around 2,600 private schools in the UK5, offering a range of high-quality educational experiences. The majority are day schools, but about 800 offer boarding options. You can read more about this in our recent article, “Moving to the UK? Do your homework to find the right school for your child.”

However, the definitions of private schools in the UK can sometimes be confusing. ‘Independent’, ‘prep’ and ‘private’ schools are all fee-paying institutions, while ‘public’ schools are often the most exclusive private schools. State schools, meanwhile, are funded by the government (via taxes) and offer free education to all. 

Most UK private schools require children to pass an entrance exam, which becomes more demanding as the child gets older. Admissions procedures can vary, so it’s important to research each school individually – and to apply early to avoid disappointment.  

UK-based international schools might also be an option for children wanting to follow an international curriculum, for non-native English speakers or for those who frequently relocate.

Older students looking to study at a UK university will need to apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, or directly to the university. Fees for international students are typically higher than for domestic students, so it’s worth planning for the expenditure.

Quality of life

The UK is a very welcoming country, with a strong sense of community. And as we’ve already touched on, it has a high quality of life, political stability, a business-friendly environment, diversity, quality of education and a strong cultural heritage.

There are also many world heritage sites to enjoy, as well as the great British countryside to take in – including the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District and Peak District. The country also has more-than-its-fair-share of iconic theatres and sporting events, as well as a thriving arts scene. 

It all makes the UK a great place to live. And much like its cuisine, which draws on influences from all four corners of the globe – not to mention the 183 Michelin-starred restaurants dotted around Britain6 – you’re sure to find something to your taste.

If you found this article useful, the second in our three-part series, "Finding the perfect place to call home in the UK", explores the key factors when finding the perfect place to call home. The third and final article focuses more on London living: “Buying in London: Claim your corner of the capital”.

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