What do London migrants miss about home?

By Andrew Glover
BBC News


It was the writer Samuel Johnson who was moved to say: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford." It is not clear, however, if Johnson ever yearned for chips and gravy.

Hundreds of years on from his quote, a new report has highlighted how young people are still being drawn to the capital's bright lights in droves.

The Centre for Cities says a third of twenty-somethings who relocate head for London, with many of them never moving back to their home towns.

But away from the London life portrayed by Johnson, what are the simple pleasures migrants miss while throwing themselves into the frantic ways of the Big Smoke?

Did you move to London for university or work? Is there an everyday delight you crave? Add to our list below by emailing england@bbc.co.uk

The 'big shop'

image copyrightThinkstock

The weekly trolley dash, crumpled list in hand, may not top many people's list of favourite things. In London, however, there are fewer opportunities to browse the aisles and do the "big shop".

Ellie Shaw, originally from Stafford, said: "It would be great to shop at supermarkets that weren't 'metro', which seems to be code for expensive."

Last year, Transport for London said it was in talks about opening a chain of "click and collect" stores on the Underground network.

Chips and gravy

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The classically northern comfort food is missing from many takeaway menus in the capital, where there are also differences of opinion over whether sausages should be battered.

Vic Grimshaw, originally from Ormskirk, is one of those who misses a splash of gravy on her chips.

Starry skies

image copyrightCain Scrimgeour

Gail Curry, who left Motherwell for London, counts "starry skies and quiet nights" among the things she misses most.

Light pollution from the city's mass of built-up areas certainly makes gazing difficult, although not impossible.

Elsewhere in the UK, Northumberland National Park, above, and Kielder Water and Forest Park were granted dark-sky status by the International Dark Skies Association in December.

Getting behind the wheel

image copyrightThinkstock

Those who do drive around the capital contend with gridlocked roads and the congestion charge.

Those who choose not to often miss getting behind the wheel and being in control of their own journey.

Catherine Wilson, an exiled Teessider, said: "Even though the transport's great in London, I miss the freedom of getting into a car, putting on some tunes and getting to where you want to be without unnecessary stress or someone's armpit in your face."

A cheaper pint

image copyrightPA

"How much?" The price of a pint is the stereotypical outsider's gripe with London.

In 2013, the Good Pub Guide said the average cost of a pint around the capital was £3.60, with the country's cheapest ale on offer at £2.95 in Staffordshire.

Else Grant, originally from Birmingham, misses "cheaper beer" in pubs with "sticky carpets and a crackly TV with the football on".

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