Moving back to England

After 20 years resident in France, we have decided to move back to England. Our house is sold, the removals are booked etc. Does anyone who reads this website have experience of this, or who have friends that do, and can they give any hints or tips, pitfalls in France or UK?

Thank you!

Pamela, there are all sorts of reasons that people consider returning. Most of the comments are helpful and informative, but follow your dream and do not be put off. Take the positives and run with them. Take the negatives, and try to ensure they do not apply to you. The possible, but by no means definite exit of the UK from the EU, has just thrown another dimension in to the mix. I do not feel it will make a huge difference if the UK decide to leave the EU. For me it may mean my state and work pensions will be frozen. Looking long term, it would mean that i would lose very little, simply because the rise in pensions annually is so small. It may also mean continuing to have to pay for health care when i reach retirement age in a couple of years time, but as i do anyway, it will make little difference. There is bound to be a change in the amount of paperwork, in that we may need visas, etc, but i cannot see the French making it too difficult for British people, or any other 'foreigner' to stay put. We contribute too much to their economy. Also, the last thing France needs is a large number of properties hitting the market. There are hundreds of properties in every department that are already empty. If Hollande carries out his threat, to make French second home owners pay full local taxes on there second homes, and in some cases third and fourth homes, there will be another flood of houses, onto an already very depressed market. In a market where you can buy a 1 bedroom apartment for 13000 euros, it would be an economic disaster. The estate agent i rent through, has already told me to take no notice of advertised prices. She said that If i buy, offer what ever i like, as it may well be accepted. I hope your move is a happy one, and that you have a great future in France.

OMG! I have just arrived! May I ask why are you are going back? Not that I'm not tempted!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some of us chose to live in rural France because of what the location offers. Unless I have a total personality transplant I cannot see my wish list changing too much in the future so life should not pall. If I want to enjoy the delights of London I can fly there for a couple of days. I can also, easily, travel back to my native Cornwall to visit friends and family as and when I want. Personally I love visiting but it’s changed do much since I left, got so expensive and busy,I have no wish to live there again. Living in the Poitou Charentes is not living in the back of beyond.
Different people have different needs and wants so what suits one person need not suit another.

As I have said, it all depends on you! You are not yet 50 and I am nearly 80! I am sure you have many dreams and adventures to live still. We did almost exactly what you said i.e. move from London and then commuter land to France and after 20 years moved back to the West Country (Somerset). Dartmouth - yes! I have sailed there often. Also agree that life in provincial France can pall after a while, there is such a lot to do here - just been to the Shackleton exhibition in the Royal Geographical Society. Also back from a trip to Turkey (for some reason airflights are easier and cheaper from UK than France).

There are those that furiously defend their own decisions and think therefore it is right for everyone else. I certainly admit the weather is pretty dire in England but we are not sun worshippers and don't let it affect us.

Hi Ben Hawkins and everyone, I have found this a fascinating discussion which touches on so many issues. I think of going back to the UK, but not 'going back(wards)', as in going back to the same thing and that would mean living in Battersea again and I don't want that! But to move on to somewhere and something new like living in the totally delightful South West of England like Dartmouth? What do you think? Or, should we move on and move back to a city in a new country? We are currently bitten by the bug that is Barcelona!! So much happening there, it is an amazing place! What do you think? Compared to ultra-conservative (voir, boring) provincial France; surely once you've seen one Château, you're seen them all. They do the same thing year after year in our little, not-quite-touristy-enough town. I'm not 50 yet, I can't stay here for the rest of my life!

Yours is a very different position to most people’s Angela. I have lived out of the U.K. Since 1986 and now see it as an expensive foreign country. I cannot say that I will stay put here in my French home for the rest of my life but I cannot see any circumstances that would make me want to return to the UK for more than a short holiday.

Not unless they fiddle with the annual relief again Kwashie, which isn’t impossible. Luckily I’ll have owned it for nearly three decades, otherwise it could have been a bit of a stinger.

There will always be a place for you under my lawn Simon :slight_smile:

You may have to re reside in England for a while…to avoid the wealth tax on your family home if you sell it.

Although I could never see myself living in the UK again - I have willed that my final resting place is!

The very thought of dying and being buried or scattered in France fills me with absolute horror - I've assured those close to me that I'll haunt them if my remains are left on French soil - :-)

I’m not so sure. I think one needs to make decisions, leaving things open isn’t a good option, for me anyway. Certainly circumstances may change and that might cause one to review or even reverse past decisions but having a firm plan is best in my view. That allows one to throw oneself wholeheartedly into the plan. There are many things that my family and I have done and enjoyed (living in Africa, Middle East, etc) that we would probably not do again for reasons such as age, career, political climate, economy, risk, etc. But the one thing I can’t ever envisage doing again is living in Dublin (or the UK for that matter, apart from London). I still have our old family home there and will hang on to it until my daughter finishes her studies and goes abroad to futher her career, which will probably take her to London and then Canada. I visit Dubln four or five times a year and spend on averge two months a year there and I really enjoy seeing my old pals but I could never settle there. France is my home. If my daughter ends up in Canada I might buy a place there so moving on is always an option but “going back” is not. My reasons for coming to France have been in place since 1981 and are still as valid as they were then and I’d feel trapped in Ireland or the UK. It can be hard to get out so after making the effort I prefer to stay out :slight_smile:

Being on the Electoral Register is mandatory now (it used to be a matter of choice, but no longer!) - if you do not add your name/s to this, you can be fined £1000 and other penalties! Do be sure to get your name/s on this immediately you are living in the UK again!

Hear hear!

I always worry when people say ‘never’. You don’t know what you may do if your circumstances change. Better to keep an open mind and embrace the good and bad in each country. I am extremely fortunate to have homes in both France and England and spend equal times in both but always look forward to going ‘home’, whichever that happens to be. I find winter in Dorset very enjoyable with lots to do and I love to catch up with our many friends and family but equally I love my summers in France and enjoy the garden and pool and having the grandchildren to stay. I would never say ‘never’ to anything!

For us there is nothing worse than thinking of returning(never) to the U.K. We are hoping that Cameron will want to keep the U.K. within the European context? I for one will never return to the U.K. I have lived here well over half of my life,I came to Paris when I was 21 and married (to an Englishman) I could not speak French! but was able to find work and learn the language. I will not go into details as it is not worth it ! after many years of marriage and moving to lots of different countries, finding my marriage was finished!I found Happiness and Married a wonderful man in the U.K. he also loved France (thank God) and we moved (back)to the Charente, where we have been really Happy, and for me I will never return to the U.K.


@ John - my comments to Simon made in the thread the other day also apply to you. If you can't think of anything positive or pleasant to say, then (as your mother would have said), don't say it.

Thank you.

Absolutely, we have weighed it up we have a relationship with our grandchildren and we decided to take the risk. We will have some mitigation in place, careful budget to leave a capital reserve and live within our means so as not to eat it away. That's key to our plan!

You mention two of the most important things that bought us back after 20 years - grandchildren and the thought of being alone 'out there' and being unable to come back through senility (decreasing ability to handle stress) or finances. We helped one or two lone elderly people and had to call their 'children' when we felt the end was coming.

On the other hand our daughter led a wonderful life in France and got the best of French and English education. So its back to age, circumstances..........