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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Game Groups » Europe » England

Subject: Moving to Nottingham or London rss

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Joe Lassberg
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I have an opportunity to move to England for work in the near-ish future (from America - Texas specifically), and I've never lived abroad. So I figure I would hit up a few places and try to get a feel for how life is in my new potential home!

I'm not 100% sure where I'll be going yet, but we have offices in Nottingham and London.

I'm married with a 2 year old, so day care (and eventually schools) are a factor.

Can anyone weigh in on what it's like in these areas for a US transplant? Cost of living? Would I need a car? Is it worthwhile to buy a home (this move would likely be fairly long term)?

And lastly, I know the board game community in London is great, but how about Nottingham?

Thanks in advance friends!
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Steve
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I'll leave others to weigh in on other factors, but if you live in Nottingham, you'll need a car, but in London a car is more of a burden than useful, except in the outer suburbs.
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Tom P
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London's incredibly expensive, and also can be quite stressful especially with a young family, but it sort of depends where you live and where you work. On the plus side everything is going on down here. As for car, you don't *need* one in London but may want one if you live out in the suburbs or home counties and commute in. I'd imagine you'd want one in Nottingham.

The other plus about London for someone who's never lived abroad is that there are millions of people who are or have been in your shoes, so lots of support around. No idea about Nottingham, the last time I went there some tit tried to mug me at the atm so it kind of coloured my perception a bit.
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Rob Stevenson
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The most obvious thing I can tell you is that the cost of living is significantly cheaper in Nottingham than London. The bulk of that difference is down to the cost of housing - both rental payments and purchase price of comparable properties in London will be significantly higher than in Nottingham.

London is well served by public transport, so you might be able to do without a car. Nottingham probably less so.

I found a website called expatistan.com that does cost of living comparisons that might be useful.

A quick search revealed that there are a couple of Game cafes in Nottingham, a shop (Chimera) and the usual array of meetups etc. I have no personal experience of any of these, but I'd be surprised if you weren't able to find something suitable for your tastes.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Hell then cost of living is cheaper here, a an of cock costs about 3 times what in does here in London.

Of course (as others have said) it depends on where you mean by "London".

If you are working in London do not live there, get a cheaper place in one of the satellite towns (say Basildon or Southend) and travel in by train.
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Lee Broderick
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Others will be able to offer better advice, since I've lived in neither but these are my impressions:

Board game culture:
Nottingham has a currently thriving boardgame community - two board game cafes and quite a few resident designers. Plus, of course, it's arguably the world miniatures capital if you're into that side of things (GW and Mantic).

London has lots of everything, including board game players, thanks to sheer numbers of people. That said, London is a much bigger city and you may have to travel over an hour to get to something on the other side of town.

Cost of living:
Nottingham is, I think, one of the cheapest places to live in England. London is the most expensive. Both are more expensive than the US.

Transport:
With taxis, buses, water buses and, most significantly, the Underground, you are actually better off without a car in London if you don't need to leave the city.

Nottingham has buses and, I think, a recently installed tramline. That last is probably still quite limited in its coverage though so, although a car may not be required (again, unless you plan on leaving the city regularly) it might make life easier.

Houses:
Be prepared to be horrified. House prices have gone up year after year since the end of the recession in the early nineties. When the last recession hit, Brown's government made it a priority to protect house values and so prices have just continued to rise. That said, if you can afford it and you're here long-term then it might be worth thinking about - rental prices are just as bad. Again, as with cost of living, you'll find that Nottingham is much better in this regard than London.

Day care, schools, etc.:
Frankly, it depends less on what city you're in and more on which part of what city you're in. If you look for houses (sale or rent) online, there should be a link to find out about schools in the area.
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Nigel Buckle
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For London, unless you're getting some sort of rental subsidy, if you can afford to buy do it.

It's crazy, mortgages are cheaper per month than rents - but people stuck in rental accommodation can't get a mortgage because they banks say they can't afford it ... instead they need to save for a huge deposit, which of course they can't because the rent is so high shake

Simple supply/demand imbalance, far more people wanting housing than what is available (in the right places).

London is really a mix of connected urban areas, rather than one centeralised area, so it depends which bit of London you want to move to. North of the river is well serviced by the tube for transport, South of the river much less (and currently Southern rail is utterly hopeless).

Will you need a car? Depends which bit of London you live in and where you want to travel to really. However cost of fuel will shock you.
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Lee Broderick
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bucklen_uk wrote:
For London, unless you're getting some sort of rental subsidy, if you can afford to buy do it.

It's crazy, mortgages are cheaper per month than rents - but people stuck in rental accommodation can't get a mortgage because they banks say they can't afford it ... instead they need to save for a huge deposit, which of course they can't because the rent is so high shake

Simple supply/demand imbalance, far more people wanting housing than what is available (in the right places).


In fairness, that's not limited to London. Even in Leicester, when we moved there a year ago (gone again now), we could have afforded a nicer house paying a mortgage instead of rent.
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Peter Gray
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As a life long resident of Nottingham, I say choose Nottingham.

I can't speak in great detail for the other place, other than to say cost of living (in my profession - teaching, there are special pay grades for those living in London to account for this). I have family and friends who work there but they live outside and commute in, or work from home when they can.

London is a major metropolitan center of course, with all the attendant attractions, shops etc, but also a higher cost of living than the rest of the country. Its public transport is good - it has to be, owning a car there is expensive and difficult (though of course most do). Many who work in London live outside the center and commute (up to an hour each way).

Nottingham is much smaller - driving a car costs less but is still a nightmare at rush hour. Its got very good public transport but no tube - trams and buses plus rail, but as suggested a car is a benefit. If you are commuting for an hour you aren't living in Nottingham or its suburbs, and maybe not even in the same county, or else doing it wrong.
It has good travel links to the rest of the country and its central position helps even travel times and distances out.

Nottingham has a good Board Game community - 2 board game cafes, FANG (Friendly Association of Nottingham Gamers) plus other groups, and is convenient for lots of places (conventions, meetups etc) around the country, both for work, and the more important things in life (games). Game costs are about the same as everywhere in the UK thanks to the internet, or there are several good stores in nearby towns, besides those in the cafes already mentioned.

Schools are good (slightly biased opinion but not by much), daycare is good. House prices are much better than London, and your commute is likely to be shorter. East Midlands Airport flies direct to Orlando and NY regularly, and other close airports (Birmingham especially) has more US destinations (favoring the east coast).

Hope this helps, good luck wherever you end up.

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Chris McChrisface
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The board game community is really strong here, I would recommend the dice cup as a good starting point to meeting other like minded people. As week as being a great place there is a free weekly meet up on Thursday evenings for more serious gamer types.

http://dicecupcafe.co.uk/

Other places do exist so you'll not be short of choice if you want to explore other options too.

There are several clubs and groups around and which you like will depend on, I would start here with FANG (the Friendly Association of Nottinghamshire Gamers) I've peeped at your games list and your ratings and I think you would fit right in.

As well as the clubs there are plenty of private meet ups too.

I would say that it depends on your lifestyle if you need the car or not. London not worth it. Nottingham maybe, It depends on where you live and where the office / school / other import place is. We have a new tram system and the public transport is okay. Just don't try and live in one of the villages and work in town. (however it is possible, I cycle in the summer)

If you make it to Nottingham look me up.
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Joe Lassberg
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Fantastic!

Thank you all so much for the information (and quickly to boot)!

I think that Nottingham will be more likely where I wind up, and that sounds like good news given the cost of living. And I had completely forgotten that Games Workshop was based in Nottingham! I don't play anymore, but I did quite a bit when I was younger. Makes sense that there's a solid gaming community there.

I'll be sad that BGG Con will be much more difficult to attend (I live 30 minutes by car from the current location) - But Essen and UK Games Expo will be doable.

Is central air conditioning a common thing? It might not ever get warm enough to warrant it. In my part of Texas, we see 100F+ temperatures for a good 2-3 months of the year. Hell, it's still 85 outside in late October!

I guess I'll have to look into whether it's worthwhile to ship my car or just sell it and buy a new one (if I wind up in Nottingham) - and learn how to drive a left handed manual lol!
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The one thing I remember most about visiting Nottingham early one Sunday morning is that the whole city smelled like a kebab.

Where you will live will largely be determined by the deal you are given on housing costs. These could well be higher in both locations than you are used to. If your employer pays them, probably opt for a pleasant town just outside London. Someone mentioned Basildon, but I'd go for a pleasant town. Nottingham is not the best place in the country to live, it is a child of its heritage.

If you do work in London be prepared for a beastly commute no matter where you live. If you value family time over excitement, do not work in London (well, depending where in 'London' the offices are). Most of your day will be eaten up travelling, most of your weekend recovering from travelling.
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Martin G
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Quote:
It might not ever get warm enough to warrant it. In my part of Texas, we see 100F+ temperatures for a good 2-3 months of the year. Hell, it's still 85 outside in late October!


You may need to shop for some new clothes before you come over
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Joe Lassberg
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The London office is in 'London NW1'. Is that the correct nomenclature? I'm likening it to a borough in New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, etc).

Quote:
The one thing I remember most about visiting Nottingham early one Sunday morning is that the whole city smelled like a kebab.


You say this like it's a bad thing

qwertymartin wrote:
You may need to shop for some new clothes before you come over


Haha, no doubt! Might even have to get a raincoat (we also have a lovely thing called 'drought season' where we don't see more than an inch or two of rain for months on end...)

Tadpoleface wrote:
If you make it to Nottingham look me up.


Will do! It's still very much not set in stone, but I appreciate the invitation.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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AngryJoe wrote:
The London office is in 'London NW1'. Is that the correct nomenclature? I'm likening it to a borough in New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, etc).
That's Camden i THINK (ok MARKET IF YOU LIKE OVERPRICED TAT).
Quote:

Quote:
The one thing I remember most about visiting Nottingham early one Sunday morning is that the whole city smelled like a kebab.


You say this like it's a bad thing :D
Have you had a UK kebab?
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Jim F
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You won't need air conditioning.

Expect a considerable change of climate. The weather in the UK is very different to Texas. Far less heat/sun, especially in the Midlands where it tends to be cloudier than it is nearer the coast. Bugger all chance of what my partner called 'Texas Skies' (she lived in Dallas for two years).

Having moved to the Midlands from Surrey around 14 years ago, I really wish I still lived down South. The positives far outweigh the negatives.



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Tom P
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Aircon very uncommon except in modern offices, and even then you never really need it.

It's possible to buy an automatic car here. Just a tip from someone who's lived in 3 countries on 2 continents and travelled to many more: you'll get a better experience if you try not to compare everything to home too much. American friends baffle me by complaining so much about how no one has a dryer in the UK. But you can buy one from the shop if you want one, it's just not as common as the US that's all.

Houses are smaller, gas and food prices higher, weather much worse, roads small and windy with terrible traffic, good bbq/steak hard to find. BUT! You can hop to almost any country in Europe for a weekend for less than the cost of a meal out, and falling over and breaking your arm won't bankrupt you. So swings and roundabouts. Or rotaries, depending on where you're from.
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Ian Bennetts
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slatersteven wrote:
Have you had a UK kebab?


Something that should be tried ... once.

Nottingham's certainly alright if you like Curry. Due to some redevelopment parts are very nice now, some parts still not so nice, but that's the same for any city really.

It's certainly a decent location for getting to UKGE, should be less than an hour.
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We also have Radio 4.
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Joe Lassberg
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crazylegs wrote:
It's possible to buy an automatic car here. Just a tip from someone who's lived in 3 countries on 2 continents and travelled to many more: you'll get a better experience if you try not to compare everything to home too much. American friends baffle me by complaining so much about how no one has a dryer in the UK. But you can buy one from the shop if you want one, it's just not as common as the US that's all.

Houses are smaller, gas and food prices higher, weather much worse, roads small and windy with terrible traffic, good bbq/steak hard to find. BUT! You can hop to almost any country in Europe for a weekend for less than the cost of a meal out, and falling over and breaking your arm won't bankrupt you. So swings and roundabouts. Or rotaries, depending on where you're from.


Yeah, fair advice on all points. And I know it's possible to get an automatic, I just don't like them. A manual is way more fun to drive!

The travel piece really appeals to us as well. We really enjoy it, but it became a little cost prohibitive once the kiddo came around. Having a less expensive avenue to visit anyplace in Europe is really nice.
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Ashiefan wrote:
Expect a considerable change of climate.
Also expect a considerably changeable climate. It is possible to experience summer- and winter-like conditions on the same day. But neither are particularly extreme, although you might be forgiven for thinking the opposite given the prominence they will be given on news programs with people sitting on sofas chatting about stuff they know little about.
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crazylegs wrote:
good bbq/steak hard to find
but neither it nor milk will be full of the hormones which I insist are the cause of my moobs.
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Joe Lassberg
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enoon wrote:
We also have Radio 4.


Had to google Radio 4 and this is one of the first things that pops up on their Twitter account:

BBC Radio 4 Twitter wrote:
Did you know that chameleons look so bizarre because the Devil made them from spare parts?


That's super weird. I like England already
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AngryJoe wrote:
I like England already :)
Some people find other parts of the UK agreeable too. I dare not venture my opinion - the last time I did it cost me a 2-month posting ban. Which was no bad thing.

If you can get Radio 4 on tinterweb it will stand you in good stead as preparation. I recommend tuning it at 18.30 UK time on weekdays to find out how we really live.
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Boaty McBoatface
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enoon wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:
Expect a considerable change of climate.
Also expect a considerably changeable climate. It is possible to experience summer- and winter-like conditions on the same day. But neither are particularly extreme, although you might be forgiven for thinking the opposite given the prominence they will be given on news programs with people sitting on sofas chatting about stuff they know little about.
leaf in the middle of the road, England grinds to a halt.

More news on the leaf falling crisis if we survive, go out and buy up everything in the shops now!
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