How To Write A 'Why I'm Leaving London' Article

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 8 months ago
How To Write A 'Why I'm Leaving London' Article
Laters. Photo: David McKelvey

So. You've left London. You'll probably be wanting to write an article about it, directed at the last 8.6m or so stragglers, who'd be mad not to follow suit. Using excerpts from various 'Why I'm leaving London' articles, we've pasted together a guide to writing the perfect ode to buggering off.

Start with a catchy (or not so catchy) title. We've taken the quotes in this article from the following:

Any of these places will do, just get me out of here. Photo: Andy Thornley

I appreciated London once...

"Until last year, I never even considered leaving London. I was born in the city and lived there almost my entire life. As far as I was concerned, everything happened in the capital."

"The city's credentials as a global hub are beyond doubt: the diversity, the history, the old cultural pedigree, the new cultural ingenuity, the attitude, the pace, the permissiveness, the ambition, the money…"

"I wanted you London, I wanted all of you. I had paid my dues; studied, interned, lead a lowly but fruitful freelance life, nannied, waited tables, ushered at theatres, said yes to anything and everything."

...but now London's gone rubbish

"It was fun while it lasted, but fun doesn’t give my daughter a garden."

"Yet something changed. Nothing sudden, but a gradual realisation that there might be life worth living outside the M25. My wife, Caroline, and I dreamt of being mortgage-free, a virtual impossibility in London."

"We've seen the writing on the wall: this is not a city for families. It's not a city for people running small firms. It's not a city for people who earn their living in the arts. We've given it the best we have, and we're getting out because we can."

That's right, off you slink to your 'disposable income', whatever the that is. Photo: richardbw9

Come to think of it, London was always rubbish anyway

I often think: "There's so much wrong with London, why did I ever think it was that amazing?"

"...you probably won't be popping back to Kensington to check out the latest amazing restaurant. Instead, you lie on the sofa self-medicating on Chardonnay."  

Actually, forget rubbish — it's a ruddy dystopia

"London is a city whose two priorities are being a playground for corrupt global elites who turn neighbourhoods into soulless collections of empty safe-deposit boxes in the sky, and encouraging the feckless criminality of the finance industry."

"[zone 1] is like something out of a Doris Lessing novel: ugly and bleak."

"I fell out of love with London on the A2 outside Greenwich. The tower blocks rose like teeth from the horizon, shrouded on a clear day in brown-grey vapour — stale coffee breath of the overworked capital."

"In winter, the only time you’ll see daylight is probably on the overground segments of your morning commute."

"Modern London is replicating the overcrowding of Victorian times, albeit without the cholera."

What someone leaving London might look like. Photo: psyxjaw

...whereas where I live now is utopia

"You forget how green it is here; when you come to Newcastle from London it's like someone’s applied an Instagram filter."

"The USA is putting curbs on surveillance, expanding its national healthcare, and there are mass parental boycotts of standardised testing in its public schools." [Note: this was written before the 2016 US elections]

"Now I can walk up a mountain, swim in a lake, or go to the sea — it's lovely."

Look, the experts agree with me too

"Charlie Taylor of Knight Frank agrees. 'We are seeing more and more buyers leaving London to cash in on the value that Bath offers.'"

"Estate agents, politicians and policy experts agree that London needs 40-50,000 new homes every year to compensate for generations of shortfall."

"'We have a rich cultural heritage, a fantastic local workforce and we’re located right in the heart of the country,' says Stoke-on-Trent North MP Ruth Smeeth."

"John Lees, a careers expert and author of How To Get A Job You Love, tells me: 'Jobs increasingly exist outside London...'"

We know he's actually heading into London, but our Flickr pool's short on bindle pics, OK. Photo: bradman334

Now, better keep the London readers onside by saying a tube thing...

"When people talk about the vibrancy of modern London, they tend to mean central London (known in the local transport vocabulary as "Zone 1")"

...or a Dr Johnson thing...

"Tired of London; tired of life? No. Never. Actually, yes, tired of living in the belly of the beast."

"Most Londoners aren’t tired of London but they are exhausted by it."

...or, to be on the safe side, both

"And I couldn’t take another morbid ride on your Underground to another lacklustre job interview, while involuntarily mangled into someone's armpit. I bet Dr. Johnson didn’t have to deal with that."

Another one bites the dust. Photo: souadam

But seriously, my life is so much more rewarding now

"Since leaving the capital, I've been at the helm of a medical journal, written for most national newspapers as well as the Lancet, paid off my debt, bought a house with my partner and I am currently writing my first book."

"Now I'm working for a multi-award-winning practice and my career hasn't suffered at all. I can eat out whenever I like here, and I also have a car and have joined a gym, which I couldn't afford in London."

My house is so much cheaper and better

"The rent is half what we paid in London. We had a studio flat there, and here we have a two-bedroom cottage, with mountain and coastline views... Now we’ve settled in and made friends with our neighbours, who have taught Rollo woodwork: he made my engagement ring."

"My success allows me a happy and fulfilled life with my wife, daughter and our dog on a six bedroomed farmhouse set in 15 acres and we regularly enjoy sunshine breaks to our villa in Spain."

"Dating back to 1809, our "artisan cottage" with a lovely garden was just what we were looking for. It's a 10-minute walk from the centre of town and I even have my own vegetable patch."

Ta-ra, chuck. Photo: oliyh: facebook.com/oliverhinephotography

And anyway, it's, er, just like London here

"The London connection is strong in Bath — so much so that some of the locals jokingly refer to it as "west west London""

"I now live with my family in Brighton, which is a coastal exclave of pseudo-London urbanity."

"It has a lively alternative vibe, an impressive arts scene (plays at the Theatre Royal regularly transfer to London)"

Honestly, I've definitely, definitely done the right thing by moving out

"We haven't felt cut off. We don't want to go back to the city."

"Two years on, I am still glad I left you. There is a wider world out there that gives me the time of day."

"Personally, I never considered that I would need to move to London to 'make it' and I have no desire to live there."

Last Updated 17 March 2017