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Why life doesn’t have to start and end in London

Posted on Fri 25th Oct, 2019 in: Advice, Blogs, Culture, Graduate, Insight, Public Relations, Recruitment by Lucy Bristow

It has been four weeks now since I packed up the car to swap tube commutes and scummy cups of tea for soft water and a ten-minute walk to work. In a scene very similar to that from my first day at uni, my parents came up with me to help me move and then subsequently left me in my new flat in Leeds. New city, new job, new people, new style of living, all stretched out before me as I stood in the middle of my kitchen thinking ‘well, what now?’.


Having lived in London for two years, I decided to make the move whilst sat in a coffee shop, having breakfast on my own back in June. I really did enjoy the two years I lived there, it gave a big boost to my career, a hell of a lot of experience and memories, and I met a lot of great people along the way, however, I felt like there was always something missing. It never felt like a home, just a stop-gap.


I decided that it wasn’t worth sitting on that feeling for much longer. Channel 4 did it, so why couldn’t I?


Why leave?

It’s never explicitly said, but it is strongly implied, that the most successful careers start and end in London, and when job hunting in my final year it was an approach I abided by. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great opportunities to kick start a PR career in London, and I was lucky to land a graduate scheme which provided me with all the necessary skills to get started. But all in all, London life didn’t suit me at all. I’ve always liked my own personal space and taking things slowly, two things which living in London doesn’t really allow for.


Why Leeds?

My heart undoubtedly belongs in the north. I grew up in Lancashire and having moved from my first home to the Midlands when I was 14, cups of tea have never been the same. When I decided to move it was a choice between Leeds and Manchester, as both cities have booming PR industries, you only need to take a look at the Prolific North 50 to see the brilliant array of agencies across the region. I knew that the type of PR I would be doing would be different from the PR in London, but I have been impressed by the range of campaigns I’ve been able to be involved with since moving to Leeds, Yorkshire business is booming and it is reflected in the calibre of work coming out of the region. For instance, CPP Group’s global headquarters is based in the heart of Leeds, along with First Direct, both of which are testament to the growing Digital Hub that is developing within the region.


The standard of living also stood out for Leeds. I couldn’t believe that I was paying rent for a tiny box room which could afford me a one bed, modern, city-centre flat in Leeds. I’ve finally left student-style living behind and can function like a regular adult i.e. not living off meal deals and sleeping on a crooked bed.


Don’t be fooled that London rules supreme as the food and drink capital, Leeds has a lot to offer in terms of eating and drinking. As a fan of craft beer, Leeds offers an enormous range of breweries and options (all at a fraction of the cost of a London beer).


Making a change

When it comes to uprooting from London, it can seem a little daunting as after a while in the Big Smoke, it’s hard to imagine life beyond it. But trust me, there is a lot beyond the Watford Gap.


From my experience, there are a couple of things to consider which can help you make the move:

  • Window shopping never hurt anyone; if you’re even considering a move to Yorkshire or Leeds more specifically, just look into it! There are lots of great information sources out there which give you a great idea about what it is like to live in Yorkshire. Some of my favourites are Leeds Live, Yorkshire Post, and Prolific North
  • Find a good recruiter as finding a new role in an entirely new market can be overwhelming as it is hard to know where to start. I was lucky to work with a range of great recruiters who made the process a breeze
  • Keep track; there is so much going on in Leeds which is mirrored by how many great opportunities there are out there. I’m a sucker for organisation so I created google sheets to help me track everything from job interviews to house viewings
  • Be open-minded; If you’re looking for a London replica, you should probably stay put! Northern cities are very different to London, the people are very different and the style of living is too. Go into a move with open eyes and a willing attitude and you’ll most definitely make the most of it


A total life overhaul was never going to be easy, it is hard work and you do have to put a lot of time and energy into organising it. But it really does pay off. Four weeks in the making and this has been one of the best decisions I’ve made to date.


I’ve joined the Aberfield team from a predominately technology PR background and have really enjoyed getting stuck into campaigns such as WYCA Future Goals, NAFIC and NG Bailey

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