We’re getting on for 3.5 years of living in Spain, and have only been back to the UK for a few days in that time. We try to embrace everything about our new Spanish life as much as possible, but while a life full of sunshine and paella is amazing, there are of course plenty of things we do miss about living in the UK.
Luckily, not many of these are big things, most are just ‘nice to haves’ and definitely not deal breakers. Though we do find ourselves saying ‘I wish we had…’ from time to time!
For those thinking about moving to Spain, and those already living here who understand the struggle, we’ve put together a list of the main things we miss about the UK…
Family & friends
It goes without saying that people are the biggest thing we miss since leaving the UK. We’re lucky that we’ve managed to see all of our closest family members in the last 3.5 years, we’ve still missed a lot of family time. We haven’t seen most of our friends since moving, partly due to the travel restrictions that came with Covid. If we could just bring all our loved ones to live Spain it would make a big difference!
The beaches and mountains here on the Costa Blanca are amazing, and I don’t think we’ll ever get bored of looking out over the turquoise sea or a mountain range. However, there’s no denying that one of the best things about England is the beautiful landscapes. We’re from Dorset so are used to the English countryside and definitely miss the rolling fields of real grass!
I love the hot weather and would much prefer it to be summer 365 days of the year, but when it’s 40°c in August, you haven’t stopped sweating for a month, and it’s too hot to sleep, it would be nice to be able to pop back to England for the day to cool off.
I might not miss the weather in England, but I do miss the seasons sometimes. We don’t really get to see the beauty of autumn colours in this part of Spain, or the pretty Spring flowers. And at this time of year I really do miss the fields full of pumpkins! I can’t say I miss winter though, it’s nice not to have to scrape frost and ice from the windscreen, or feel like your fingers will freeze when you’re on a Sunday walk!
I’m going to say it, I miss Tesco! Sometimes it would be nice to be able to pop to the supermarket and grab the food and brands you’re used to, without having so go on a tour of several shops to get everything you need. Spanish brands are great, but there’s certain food they just don’t produce. Most of it you can easily go without but there are times when you crave a certain type of biscuit or crisps, especially when you have kids. You can get most things in the British/Overseas supermarkets here but they can be very expensive. €5.50 for a jar of Marmite or €5 for a 6 pack of Monster Munch anyone?! I also miss ordering my weekly food shop online and having it delivered.
An English pub
We do sometimes miss a good English pub where you can have someone else cook a good roast dinner or pie. There are lots of fantastic restaurants on the Costa Blanca but you’ll find that if you visit a Spanish restaurant your choice will usually be between paella or grilled meat with potatoes. And don’t get us started on having takeaways delivered, we haven’t had one in 3 years!
What others said…
I also asked a few of my fellow expats on Instagram what they miss from home, here’s what they said…
@charlotteroseallbright – Family, food and now I have a daughter English books.
@megandalgliesh – Tesco! We do have one locally but it costs a fortune. And Facebook marketplace isn’t the same!
@heppy86 – Some food items and having to hunt through six different shops to find certain things in stock. And being able to pick up paracetamol in the same store instead of going to the pharmacy.
@debtodd44 – Autumn colours! Back in the UK en route to holiday and we’d forgotten how pretty the UK is in autumn.
@oliva_casa_ania – Family and friends, and my gynaecologist!
@offwegotraveling – Target in the US, or spicy potato chips from Mexico!
@awaywithelijah – A good chinese takeaway, family & friends, decent online shopping, click & collect supermarkets, and banks open on weekends.
I think it’s fair to say that we all miss the food!
Things we don’t miss from the UK
But what about things we definitely don’t miss from the UK? Here are the main things that we have been glad to leave behind…
Weather – Far too many grey, wet and miserable days in the UK for my liking! I much prefer shorts for 6-7 months of the year rather than a coat for 11 months of the year.
Traffic – We have driven 1000s of miles since moving to Spain and have never sat in a traffic jam. I definitely couldn’t cope with the work and school commutes again when 5 miles used to take almost an hour.
Prices – I read today that the price of a pint is going up to £7! We can get a pint and a coke here for €3.50. And we won’t talk about the electricity and petrol prices.
Grumpy people – Don’t get me wrong there are grumpy people in Spain, but on the whole people definitely seem to be happier and more positive. It must be down to the sunshine.
Politics – Brexit, endless Prime Ministers…enough said.
If you have left the UK for a new life in Spain, what are some of the things you miss the most?
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