I moved to England from Canada in 2015. I was looking for a change of pace and new challenges. My husband, Mike, and I quickly fell in love with the country and its people. We both felt that we had found a spiritual home. It was an emotional transition to say goodbye to a place that you love so much and leave behind friends and family.
Our biggest decision before we left Canada was where we were going to live. We had been travelling a lot for work, and had seen most of the world, but we wanted to settle down in one place and raise a family. We found a semi-rural house with stunning views in England, and we couldn’t be happier. There is plenty of space to land a helicopter on our front lawn, and our kids can happily play in the garden until the sun goes down. It feels like a dream come true.
As well as the space, the other thing we love about our home in England is the quality of the air. We rarely have to worry about poor air quality, which means we can enjoy our garden in all its glory without being stung by allergic reactions. In the past, we had allergies that would make it virtually impossible to go outside without risking an attack. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you can just go outside and enjoy the fresh air.
Where To Begin
Like most new places, we were curious about what was available locally for our family. In our case, this meant knowing where the good restaurants and cafes were, as well as the best places to buy a baby car seat and bike helmet.
Before we left Canada, we had a list of things we needed to do before we came back. One of them was to register with the post office so we could get our mail easily. We also needed to establish a bank account and get a debit card. Finally, we needed to purchase some English speaking books, as well as a few films and games to watch or download. We were fortunate to find a local library that was both affordable and large enough to fit all our needs. This way, we could enjoy all the books and films we wanted without having to visit a few libraries across the country. It was also nice to be able to borrow films and games to watch at home. Without our own library, we would have had to purchase most of these items.
When we were first getting to know the area, one of the most important things to do was to visit the tourist office in order to find out what was available in terms of activities and things to see. Being new to the area, we were both a little concerned about what might be available, especially since we were a couple of mums-to-be travelling on our own. That’s when we were contacted by a friendly local who turned out to be the head of the tourist board for south west England. She gave us some great advice about what to do and where to eat, as well as mentioning that there was an annual food and drink festival that takes place in May. This encouraged us to visit the area more, as we realised there was plenty going on besides our family holidays.
The next step was to look for English speaking tutors who could teach us the language. We wanted to be able to speak at least some English, since we would be living in England, as well as being able to travel around the country and communicate with locals.
One of the best things about our new area is that there are plenty of opportunities for our children to be active. The nearest park is only a couple of minutes walk from our house, and it has a playground that the kids love. In addition to this, there is another park not too far away that also has a playground. Our neighbourhood is also fortunate enough to have a soft-surface bowling alley, which the kids can enjoy during the winter months. These are just a few examples of the types of activities available to our children. Of course, we can’t be everywhere at once, so the convenience of the local parks and activities makes it worthwhile to have a look around before we make any long-term plans. This is especially important since our kids will soon be starting school, which will dictate a lot of their day-to-day routine. We want to be sure they have the leisure activities they need in terms of sports, arts and crafts, or whatever else they might enjoy.
So, we were discussing the above and how it relates to our family when Mike’s sister Elle emailed us to ask if we were doing okay. We had forgotten that she and her husband, Sam, live in Canada as well, and were curious about how the move to England had gone for us. We told them it had been a great move so far and that we were loving every minute of it. They then asked if we were settling down okay, to which we replied in the affirmative. They went on to ask if we needed anything, and we told them we were okay but still looking for things to do and places to visit. This encouraged them to tell us about some amazing opportunities that are available for families in England. Some of these are listed below:
– There is a wealth of green spaces and natural beauty that families can enjoy, including national parks, countryside, and coastline. Many places are dog-friendly, which is great for us since Mike is allergic to animals, and it’s also good for the dogs to get some fresh air and be able to leave their dirty laundry outside for other dogs and their owners to pick up. We also love the variety of climate and wildlife that the country has to offer. It’s great that our children can grow up surrounded by nature and be inspired to be curious about and protective of our planet’s various creatures and eco-systems.
– England is home to some of the most beautiful medieval castles in the world. They aren’t just for show either, as many of them offer family-friendly activities, like jousting matches, falconry displays, and wine tastings. Some of the more historic ones even have restaurants and guest rooms, which are great for parents who want to get away for a night without worrying about their children.
– The River Thames is surrounded by castles and palaces, much of which have been converted into hotels and serviced apartments. These places give you easy access to some of the greatest cultural hubs in the world, like the Tate Modern, the V&A Museum of Modern Art, and the London Eye. You can take a sightseeing cruise on the Thames, which is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. It can be a relaxing day out for the whole family.
– One of our favourite places in England is Warwick Castle. It’s been an annual family holiday for the last couple of years. We can’t afford to visit as often as we would like, but when we do, it’s magical. There are plenty of exhibits and activities that the kids can enjoy, as well as castles, battlements, winding stone passages, and courtyards to explore. The best thing is that the castle is near Warwick, which is on the edge of one of England’s most beautiful and fertile wine regions. On our last visit, we were able to sample some of the region’s finest wines, as well as eat some of their delicious and locally-sourced food. It’s an experience that we won’t soon forget.
– As well as the tourist attractions, England is also home to some amazing museums. The list is endless as far as museums go, and many of them are practically next to each other, meaning you can easily spend a whole afternoon in one place and not have to move around too much. Even better, many of the above attractions and museums are free, which is great for families, especially since it’s hard to budget when you’re on holiday. Museums offer great exhibits that teach you about different cultures and countries, as well as showcase some spectacular artwork.
If you’re looking for a new country to call home, England should be at the top of your list. Its beauty and charm is inspiring, and it has plenty to offer families. Despite the distance that separates some of its towns and cities, there is always plenty going on. It would be a shame to not make the most of the opportunities that England has to offer, and above everything else, it’s a place where you can find peace and quiet, as well as plenty of socialising opportunities for your children.