Northern England vs Southern England? It’s a classic argument and one which has many angles and variables, making it a tricky one to answer.
You might be a southerner planning to move, or a northerner who got a job down south. Or, perhaps you’re moving to the UK and wondering where is best to live in England, north or south?
For an England native like me this is a big question. So I did a little bit of research and wrote this article for you to make your decision easier.
When it comes to economy though, it’s not really a fair fight. Southern England is almost three times bigger than Northern England and as a result its GDP is bigger, too. It also makes more exports (578 billion compared to Northern England’s 212 billion). The South also has more scientists and produces more patents per person.
Adding to that, people in the south of England earn much more than their northern counterparts, which is mostly thanks to the powerhouse that is London.
But that’s not really an answer for which is best between northern and southern England, right?
So, lets dig a little deeper….
Whats so good about the north of England?
Northern England is packed full of historic cities and towns with some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. From bustling Newcastle, metropolitan Manchester and Leeds, to the rural Lake District, there’s plenty to explore for pretty much anyone.
The North is home to some of Britain’s most exciting cities. Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield all have their own unique character and offer plenty of things to do.
Of course Manchester has two football teams that are both world famous – Manchester United and Manchester City. And Liverpool too is well known for both football and music (home of the Beatles after all). While Sheffield has a thriving music scene, with many bands coming out of the city in recent years such as the Artic Monkeys.
There are also many gems in Northern England that aren’t as well known as they should be. These include Hull (home to the largest fruit market in Europe), Harrogate, Huddersfield and Durham (with its stunning cathedral).
The North West is also known as “Football Country” because of its huge passion for football!
When it comes to natural scenery, well, the north of England does have some pretty epic backfrops. From the Yorkshire Moors and Dales, to the Pennines and the Lake District, it’s hard to argue that the scenery is boring. In fact, the wilds of the north have inspired countless novels and movies.
In the north of England, there are plenty of great culinary traditions. OK, well, theres good food anyway. The Yorkshire pudding is an obvious product of the north, but we also have pork pies, Lancashire hot pot, many types of meat pie and stews such as Scouse (from Liverpool, surprise surprise).
Ok, so what about the south?
Whats so good about the south of England?
Southern England is home to some of the best known cities and institutions on the planet. London does of course dominate the south of England, both economically and as a central focus point. But there are also vibrant and historic cities such as Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter and Canterbury.
The South of England also has some of the best beaches and coastline in the UK. Yes, Ok there are beaches in the north, but why do people head to Devon and Cornwall in the summer? It’s because the quality of the coastline is so much better. Sorry guys.
And it’s not just beaches. You’ll also find stunning Dartmoor and Exmoor right here in Devon, the New Forest and Salisbury Plain, the Mendips and the incredible scenery around Sussex and the South East.
In terms of culture, the south of England has just as much to offer as the north. Cities such as Bristol and Brighton are known for their excellent music scenes, not to mention London of course. Many musical genres have been born in the South of the UK including drum n bass garage, grime and dubstep, acid jazz, trip hop and even (whisper it) heavy metal.
Another benefit of the south of England is the weather is usually milder and less extreme than the north. Winters tend to be less wet or cold in the south, and summers tend to be warmer.
As for food? Well, in the south of England we’ve got cheddar cheese, the Cornish Pasty (actually from Plymouth, don’tcha know), pie and mash, jellied eels (love em or hate em, but they are a British classic), fish and chips and scones and clotted cream (aka the Devonshire cream tea).
So which is best?
We might be biased, but we do think the south wins it on many levels. But thats not to disrespect our northern cousins… A trip to the north is always full of fun and often feels like a trip abroad, mostly because we can’t understand their accents (jokes).
Of course, that’s just our opinion. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below…