How to feel at home in the UK (15 useful tips)

If you want to feel at home in the UK, let me help! I’ve been living in the UK for the last 8 years and now the UK feels like my second home. Here’s my top 15 tips on how to feel at home in the UK before you know it!

1. Say “Yes”

It can be overwhelming living in a new country and sometimes you just want to hide away in your apartment. But saying “yes” to opportunities can really help you feel at home.

Colleagues invite you to the pub after work?
Christmas work party?

Go for it!

How to feel at home in the UK

2. Watch British TV

I know it’s comforting to watch your favourite shows from home (and you should definitely keep watching what you want) but I found it so helpful to watch British TV.

A lot of the pop culture references or even some of the language or accents went over my head – but eventually it made sense.

3. Open a UK Bank Account

You’re going to need a UK bank account as quickly as possible. Annoyingly, it’s not that simple – but I have a bunch of tips in case you need help opening your first UK bank account.

You definitely don’t want to be using your home country debt card while in the UK and rack up conversion fees.

4. Explore your new home

I loved walking around my new neighbourhood. Every weekend (or after work if I had enough energy) I’d walk in a new direction, seeing how roads connected and where shops were.

Eventually I had it mapped out in my head. It made my new home feel much less isolating and strange.

Even now, when I move to a new flat and perhaps even a new town, I still do this exercise.

5. If you’re not sure – ask

I always feel so embarrassed asking for help, or asking someone to repeat themselves, or asking how something works…

But sometimes, you just gotta.

I find that a lot of British people just assume you know everything but until you do the thing, you won’t necessarily know.

When I registered for my GP, I had to ask so many questions: about making appointments, about what forms were needed, about how to refill my prescription, where to go, where to pick it up..

You’ll figure it out after you do it, but sometimes you just need to ask for clarification first.

6. Register with a GP

As soon as you arrive, register with a local General Practitioner (GP) for healthcare services. This ensures you have access to medical care when needed. It’s much better to register before you need help, so when you ultimately do need to see a doctor, you can do so quickly.

And less important, you’ll need a dentist – but it can be extremely important if you ever crack a tooth!

7. Find your favourite tea

I never drank tea before living in England, but there’s something so fun about trying new British teas.

Tea bags, loose leaf, something regular, something fancy – it’s so much fun and it’s definitely cozy and comforting during the dark winter nights.

My personal everyday favourite is Yorkshire tea, but it’s super fun to get loose leaf tea from a local tea house.

and with that…

8. Afternoon tea!

It feels soooo British, it’s unbelievable.

Whenever my Mom or friends visit from home, I love taking them to an old tea house for afternoon tea.

9. Navigate Public Transportation

Get to know the public transportation system in your area. Trains, buses, and the London Underground (for those in the city) are common types and all are super helpful.

Eventually it becomes second-nature to jump on the train or grab a bus, without having to stress about it.

10. Visit your “local” and try a new drink

Even if you’re not a big drinker, pubs can be a special community place full of history. Grab a pint (or even just a pop) and get to know your local! It’s a great way to feel part of the community.

11. Try something new every day

Trying something new can gradually help you overcome the feeling of culture shock and learn more about another country and its customs.

but also…

12. Surround yourself with familiar things

For some people, this means physical items such as photographs, whereas for other people, digital reminders of home such as online photos and videos are the best way to feel comfortable.

Being a new expat can be really overwhelming so it’s not a failure to keep reminders of home nearby, as long as you don’t shut yourself off from your new British home. If you keep too much of your home country around you, it can make homesickness that much worse.

13. Join local clubs or teams

Whether it’s a sports club, book club, or hobby group, joining local clubs is an excellent way to meet people who share your interests. A great way to find out what’s on in your area is joining your local Facebook group – many towns and cities have their own Facebook page which is great for local information.

14. Get involved in local festivals

From local Bonfire Night celebrations, to Christmas carnivals and parades, participating in local festivals is a great way to feel a part of the community. If you’ve got time, you could volunteer to help, but at the very least you should definitely visit them.

15. Stay positive (even when it’s tough)

Moving countries is a major life event. Keeping an open and positive mindset is essential for a smooth transition. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.