Plymouth is one of Britain’s oldest and most important port cities. Founded during the Bronze Age, it was a significant Roman outpost for many years, and the departure point of the Pilgrim Fathers of America. It played a strategic role in the Second World War due to its shipyards, and today it is best known as a university city, with more than 32,000 students attending the University of Plymouth every year. But despite its long and busy history, life in the city itself is surprisingly laid back. Expats living in Plymouth will find the cost of living to be much more reasonable here than elsewhere in the UK, and the city has the major benefit of being right next to the coast, just a few miles from some of England’s finest beaches. In your free time, get to know the city better with a trip to the National Marine Aquarium, or the Plymouth Synagogue, before wandering down the beach with some fish and chips.
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Plymouth is easily accessible by boat, car, train and plane. From Plymouth Airport you can travel quickly to most other UK cities, and local ferry services will take you to the Channel Islands, Northern France and Ireland. Once you have arrived in Plymouth, the first thing you will notice is the weather. Britain is renowned for its wet and cold seasons, and coastal locations like Plymouth are particularly damp. Invest in a good pair of wellington boots and a (wind proof) umbrella before moving to Plymouth, and make sure you practice complaining about the weather – a favorite British pastime. If you are worried about any element of British life or any visa issues, speak to other expatriates on the InterNations discussion groups and forums and ask any questions you may have.
As a port city, Plymouth’s economy is centered around the shipping and maritime defense industries. A large number of people working in Plymouth are employed by the British armed forces or the Royal Navy. Expats living in Plymouth should be aware of basic British military traditions, for instance, it is customary to wear a red poppy for the month of November, and Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday in November) is a day for solemn reflection, including one minute’s public silence. Due to its coastal location, expatriates have always been drawn to Plymouth, and it continues to be a diverse and welcoming town. English is the only language spoken, so it is important that any expatriate planning to work and live in Plymouth is able to read, write and speak to a passable level before relocating to the city. Speak to British expats on the InterNations expat platform for more on what to expect from life in the south of England.