17 Things Northerners Living In London Will Never Understand

As a red-blooded Northerner you probably never envisaged in a million years that you would wind up in the south, let alone in London, but due to a series of events and life choices you’ve made over the years, here you are. If you’ve been here for a while now then you’ve probably already found your groove, got used to the £5 6 7 pints, reined in your use of northern slang words and pretty much learned to adapt. That’s great, but no matter how long you stay here, there are some things no Northerner will ever be able to acclimatise to.

Now, me personally? I’m not a Northerner, just another Australian transplant. But the Northerners living in London that work on the Secret London team sure had a lot to say. So here are the 17 things that Northerners living in London will never understand:

1. Why is everyone sprinting for the tube?

a blurry tube train, passing through
Credit: Shutterstock – photo by prochasson frederic

There is one literally every two minutes and people are trampling each other to death to clamber aboard the train that’s just pulled up – even though it’s full to bursting point as it is.

Calm down, London.

2. Jellied eels…

Just… why?

3. Where’s the gravy?

Apparently in this part of the world, people buy a portion of chips, or a plate of pie and mash, take a look at it and then think to themselves “Ok, that’s complete and normal, and it definitely doesn’t need any gravy on it”?

a generic pie, with veggies in the background
A sadly gravy-less pie. Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by food-o-graphy

Gravy goes on pie and mash. That’s just a universal law, like gravity, or the changing of the tides. Are you trying to disrupt the fundamental principles of the universe, London? Is that what you want?

4. What’s the obsession with Pret?

No, but really, what is it? Just get a pasty in you, for the love of god!

5. Do any of you actually know where the North is?

a super birds-eye shot of the UK
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by Anton Balazh

It’s not just everywhere beyond Watford. To be honest, Nottingham is pretty much the cut-off point, (much as it pains our north Northumberland hailing contributor to admit).

6. The tea…

It’s a real struggle to get a decent cup of tea down here. But it shouldn’t be difficult. Just leave the teabag in for longer than 5 seconds and you’re laughing.

7. The price of a pint

friends cheersing their beers
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by DavideAngelini

Why has everyone just universally accepted that six quid, or even seven quid, is a reasonable price? Where and when does it stop?

8. Since when does the word ‘bath’ have an ‘R’ in it?

It’s not “Baarrrth”, it’s “Bath”. Notice the spelling. Perhaps you southerners should go and take a long hard look in the mirror before you go mocking our accents.

9. The unspoken public transport etiquette

Don’t go making eye contact on the tube, and heaven forbid you strike up a conversation with someone on the bus! It might be the norm up in the motherland but down here it’s quite the opposite.

buses on a London street, right outside Big Ben
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by Sergii Figurnyi

And don’t you dare be caught unawares when you reach the tube barrier without your card already in hand, lest you be met with a symphony of scoffs and tuts from behind. We have gotten on board with the escalator thing, though. There’s a sign and everything. If us Northerners are capable of adhering to this then so should everyone else be.

10. Extra words = more polite?

While you’re out here with the whole ‘oh, could you possibly pass me that please, thank you very much’ business, we’ll stick with ‘chuck us that, ta’.

11. But no one says hello?

What, you mean you’re not going to greet me with an ‘alright?’ with a knowing nod and the sincerity of someone who’s known me my whole life despite never having seen me before? Not even a little hello?

12. Where’s B&M?

the exterior of a B&M store
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by Lukasz Sadlowski

I don’t care how many they claim to have in London – I’ve yet to clap my eyes upon a single one!

13. And where’s Wilko for that matter?

It’s so convenient – so where are they all? There are even fewer Wilko’s than B&M’s!

14. The lack of Greggs

Sure, London has stepped up their game in this regard, but there still aren’t enough. There can never be enough! Call us when there are three on the same street, and then we’ll consider changing our stance on this.

15. The London level of preparedness

an umbrella with rain sleeting off it
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by perfect strangers

Big coats come out of hibernation in early October. Umbrellas are everywhere. We’ve even seen people walking around Hampstead Heath with walking poles and waterproof trousers.

Most Geordies don’t even know what a coat is.

16. ‘Doing’ everyone else’s accent

We sort of get it. Your accent is boring and you want to try ours on for size. But come off it, you do get that it’s not particularly polite…

17. The cost of housing…

Why does this, in London…

a drawing of a man sat cross-legged in a house so small the roof only just covers his head, he is holding a cup of tea
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by lassedesignen

Cost more than this, up north?

an aerial shot of Alnwick Castle, with rolling greenery around it
Credit: Shutterstock – Photo by Craig Duncanson

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration but you know what we mean.

That’s the magnificent Alnwick Castle, in case you were wondering.

And yet…

There is something special about this place. Aside from all the expensive drinks, astronomical rent prices, puzzling eel-related cuisine, and traffic, London is a pretty special place. But, sooner or later, the smell of home-cooked pies and proper cups of tea will pull us back up north like a tractor beam. Back to the green, green grass of home…