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Moving From England to Northern Ireland

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Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

13th Feb 2023 (Last updated on 26th Apr 2023) 8 minute read

Northern Ireland is a great place to consider moving to. UK citizens can still access benefits, such as the NHS and the cost of living and property prices are significantly lower.

In general, it has a quieter pace of living compared to England. This makes Northern Ireland an attractive country for people looking to settle down away from busier areas of the UK, such as London, Manchester and Liverpool.

In this article, we discuss moving from England to Northern Ireland, from removal costs to property prices.

  1. How to Become a Resident of Northern Ireland
  2. Property Market
  3. Travel and Commuting
  4. Jobs and Salary
  5. Cost of Living
  6. Education
  7. Culture/Art
  8. Nightlife/Social Scene
  9. Is it Worth Moving to Northern Ireland from England?
  10. Removals from England to Northern Ireland

How to Become a Resident of Northern Ireland

If you're a UK citizen, moving to Northern Ireland is straightforward. You are not required to have any specific visas or applications. If you're not a UK citizen living in England, you will be required to apply for the necessary applications and visas.

You can use the Gov.UK website to determine whether you will be required to apply for a VISA. If you require one, you will need to apply through the UKVI (UK Visa and Immigration).

You can apply to become a resident of Northern Ireland if you're not a UK citizen. The most common way is through naturalisation if you're in a civil partnership or marriage with an Irish citizen. Some of the regulations you need to meet include:

  • Over 18 years of age
  • In a marriage for over 3 years
  • Have been living in Ireland for 3 out of 5 years
  • You live with your spouse
  • You will continue to live in Ireland once accepted as an Irish citizen.

After you have collected all the relevant information, you will need to send this to the Immigration Service Delivery for the citizenship to be approved.

Property Market

Property prices are more affordable in Northern Ireland compared to England.

The UK House Price Index indicates that the average home in Northern Ireland is £176,131. The average property in England costs £316,000 on average.

This table displays the average house prices for Northern Ireland and England as of November 2022:

House TypeNorthern Ireland (Average Price)England (Average Price)

Flats and Maisonettes

£129,230

£254,485

Terraced Houses

£122,673

£259,045

Semi-detached Houses

£169,956

£302,583

Detached houses

£270,991

£495,804

* Data taken from the UK House Price Index for Northern Ireland and England.

The average rent in Northern Ireland costs £722 per month according to HomeLet. Compared to an average of £1,174 in England, Northern Ireland is significantly cheaper.

Popular areas to live in include Ballycastle, Belfast City, Cultra and Londonderry. Ards and North Down are some of the most expensive areas to live in Northern Ireland. Dungiven and Coalisland are more affordable areas.

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Travel and Commuting

Travel and commuting in Northern Ireland is straightforward. There are good public transport and road links between the different towns and cities, making commuting easy and accessible.

Transport in Northern Ireland is more limited in comparison to England. There are no metro, trams or London underground systems, which does impact commute times. However, bus and train links are efficient and frequent in most areas.

Bus and train services are limited in more rural areas of Northern Ireland. Having a car would be necessary for rural areas if you need to travel or commute to work.

Jobs and Salary

There are many different types of job opportunities in Northern Ireland. In general, the available jobs aren’t too dissimilar to those in England. The most popular industries according to NI Direct include:

  • Creative and digital media
  • Agri food
  • Renewable energy
  • Recycling
  • ICT
  • Business and finance
  • Health and life sciences

In England, the jobs are not too dissimilar. However, there is a different focus. The most popular job in England are:

  • Wholesale, retail and motor trade
  • Human health and social work
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing

The average salary in Northern Ireland is £28,363 according to Totaljobs. Think Plutus states that the average salary in England is £26,192. Not only is the pay higher in Northern Ireland, but the average salary is higher too.

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Cost of Living

In general, the cost of living in Northern Ireland is cheaper than in England.

Here are some cost of living figures taken from LivingCost.Org for both Northern Ireland and England:

Cost of Living ExamplesNorthern IrelandEngland

Public transport pass (monthly)

£51.20

£77.80

Utility bills (monthly)

£74.30

£113

Gym membership (monthly)

£27.90

£33.10

Chicken Breast (1kg)

£5.62

£5.87

Beer (0.5L)

£1.68

£1.88

Taxi (5 miles)

£14.20

£14.10

Preschool (monthly)

£760

£1059

Inexpensive restaurant meal for 2 people

£46.30

£49.80

NHS Prescriptions (per item)

Free

£9.35

* Data based on one person

The cost of living in London is more expensive than in other areas of England. This does have an impact on the national average as a result.

Education

There are many high-performing schools to consider in both Northern Ireland and England. These include Lumen Christi College in Derry and Strathearn school in Belfast.

Northern Ireland schools use a similar curriculum to those in England and Wales. All children receive a free school place. However, compulsory education is between the ages of 4 to 16. In England, education begins in primary school at the age of 5.

There are fewer universities in Northern Ireland, with only 5 universities to choose from:

  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Ulster University
  • St Mary’s University College
  • Stranmillis University College
  • College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise

England has a wider variety of choices when it comes to universities. It’s home to some of the most notable universities in the world. Some of England’s prestigious universities include:

  • University of Oxford
  • King’s College London
  • University of Bath
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Bristol

University tuition fees in Northern Ireland are more affordable compared to England. The maximum fee is £4,630 and in England, it’s up to £9,250. While tuition fees are lower. However, student life is less prevalent in general.

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Culture/Art

Irish culture is unique and Northern Irish people in general are open and welcoming. Being a Celtic nation, they have strong roots in history.

Smaller towns and villages such as Banbridge are close to the city to commute and travel but offer a quieter way of living. This is a contrast to built-up cities such as London and Manchester in England.

For those that enjoy walking there is Bangor Castle Walled Garden and Slieve Gullion Forest Park. There are many castles in Northern Ireland, such as Glenarm Castle. Giant’s Causeway and The Causeway Coast World Heritage Site are popular areas.

There are many art galleries in Northern Ireland. This includes the Golden Thread Gallery and the MAC. Popular museums include Ulster Museum, the Tower Museum and the Titanic museum.

While English is the most popular language, many people speak Irish. Religion is important to the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland. Christianity is the dominant religion.

The 2021 Census for Northern Ireland shows that 42.3% of people identified as Catholic and 16.6% as Presbyterian. In general, culture and religion in England are more varied and ethnically diverse in comparison to Northern Ireland.

Nightlife/Social Scene

The nightlife and social scene in Northern Ireland varies. If you enjoy a busier way of life, Belfast is a great city to live in. It's the most popular location for nightlife and those looking to socialise. There are many bars, restaurants and clubs to visit.

Ulster is home to the Mid Ulster Arts Festival, and Belfast runs a Children's Festival each year. There are events and social groups for all interests and ages.

St Patrick's Day is a national holiday and one of the most popular days in Ireland. There are marching bands, street festivals, and traditional dancing. Armagh is the home to the yearly St Patrick's Day festival.

Pubs are as popular in Northern Ireland as they are in England. Live music is well-loved, and there are often local shows to attend.

The social scene in Northern Ireland is varied. While Northern Ireland is a smaller country compared to England, there is still a lot to experience.

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Is it Worth Moving to Northern Ireland from England?

If you're looking to save money, it's worth considering moving to Northern Ireland from England.

Here is a summary of Northern Ireland’s pros and cons to provide you with a better idea of whether you should move from England:

Pros:

  • Lower cost of living
  • Rent is cheaper
  • Average house prices are lower
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Rich in culture and history
  • Free NHS prescriptions
  • Good education system
  • A safe place to live overall
  • Green spaces
  • Welcoming and friendly country

Cons:

  • Moving items to Northern Ireland can be more difficult
  • Weather isn’t always reliable with lots of rain and cloudy days
  • Not as many universities to choose from
  • Not as many amenities in more remote locations of the country

Removals from England to Northern Ireland

The average UK removal cost is £1,181. This is based on moving the contents of a 3-bedroom house over a 50-mile distance. With extra transport needed to move from England to Northern Ireland, you can expect the cost of moving to be higher than local move prices.

Here are some estimated costs for different locations in each country:

  • London to Belfast City - £1295
  • Manchester to Ballycastle - £1104
  • Bristol to Omagh - £1245
  • Newcastle to Cultra - £1008
  • Exeter to Derry - £1391

(The average house price for each area has been taken from Rightmove and Home.co.uk. The distance of the move was used to calculate the estimated removal costs. Removal costs are based on a 3-bedroom house. We used our cost of moving house calculator.)

You may need to use additional services offered by removal companies. These will be charged at an extra cost. Here are the average costs for popular services:

  • Packing - £250
  • Dismantling and reassembling - £125

When moving to Northern Ireland, you need to choose the best removal company. Here at Compare My Move, we can connect you with up to 6 verified removal partners. We can help you to save money on your move to Northern Ireland.

All costs listed in this article are correct at the time of writing. Costs may vary slightly and this is just an estimated number.

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Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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