1.) The accents
It’s a well known fact that all southerners sound the same (with the notable exception of Bristolians. People from Bristol sound like pirates, which, frankly, is
brilliant). It’s not nearly so boring up north. From Scouse to Mancunian, to Geordie and beyond, the sheer range of different accents is enough to keep things interesting (if somewhat confusing). Plus, it doesn’t hurt that those accents are pretty hot. Northerners just sound sexier. Which brings us to our next point…
2.) The eye candy
With Alex Turner representing the men and Cheryl Cole stepping up for the ladies, historically northerners have proven themselves to be very easy on the eye.
Greggs — beautiful, wonderful, glorious Greggs — was kindly gifted to us by the north. The first shop was opened by John Gregg in Gosforth, Newcastle, in 1951. There is little in this world that can compare to the unspeakable joy of sinking your teeth into a piping hot Greggs sausage roll or pasty, and for that, Newcastle, we can only say:
4.) There are so many universities…
At last count there were more than 25 universities in the north of England, with Leeds and Liverpool alone each having three unis a piece, so you’ll be spoilt for choice.
5.) …And they’re all huge
With over 40,000 students, the University of Manchester is the second largest university in the UK after the University of London (which is made up of 28 different institutions, so in our opinion doesn’t count); plus another four make the top ten (Sheffield Hallam, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Leeds and University of Central Lancashire). More places = more chance of getting in.
6.) Talking to strangers is socially acceptable
It’s not a myth — people really do get friendlier the further you go up the country. Talking to people you don’t know is not only accepted, but actively encouraged in the north. You should probably still exercise caution around strange men offering you sweets though, just in case…
7.) You’ll learn loads of amazing new slang
No matter where you go in the south of England, a bread roll is called a bread roll. In the north, depending on which exact town or city you’re asking, it could be a bun, a cobb, a bap, a stottie, a barm cake or a nudger. As if that weren’t enough, there are loads of cool words and phrases to learn, like ‘belta’ (Newcastle, meaning good or great), ‘monkey’s blood’ (Newcastle, strawberry ice cream sauce) ‘devoed’ (Liverpool, devastated) and ‘give your ‘ead a wobble’ (Manchester, have a think). If you live in one city in the north and you’ll feel like you’ve learnt another language, travel around a bit and you can quite possibly call yourself multi-lingual. The perfect place to study linguistics then.
8.) The terms of endearment are actually really endearing
Northerners are way more inventive with their pet names for people. ‘Our kid’, ‘chook’, ‘queen’, ‘duck’ and the pleasingly literal ‘pet’ are all actual things that people in various parts of the north will call you if they like you.
9.) You will become impervious to the cold
It is a truth universally acknowledged that northerners do not feel the cold. Raining outside? T shirt weather. Snowing? Mini dress and high heels. You very rarely see a northerner wearing a coat, particularly on nights out, meaning you could save a fortune on nightclub cloakroom fees.
10.) It’s cheaper up north
Speaking of saving money, everything is cheaper in the north of England. Literally everything, especially now that Pound Pubs have arrived. There are currently two in the UK, the first in Stockton-on-Tees and the second in Manchester, so you definitely want to aim north for a cheap night out.
11.) The University of Manchester is the only university in the world to offer a degree in Mummy Studies
As in Egyptian mummy, not your mum. Arrrghhhhh! Run away!
12.) You get the best chips in the north
Cheesy chips and gravy. Enough said.
13.) Also, Yorkshire Pudding
With gravy, naturally.
14.) While we’re thinking about it, gravy
You get gravy on everything in the north, and it’s proper, thick gravy, not the brown water they give you down south.
Ok, last foodie one, we promise. Once upon a time, the people of Middlesborough did a great thing. They took a classic Italian dish, Parmigiana, deep fried it and served it with chips. Hence the parmo was born. Essentially a deep fried, breaded chicken breast smothered in béchamel sauce and melted cheese, the parmo is a tasty take away treat popular in the north east. It’s so popular, in fact, that some local branches of Pizza Hut now sell parmo pizza, and when Asda is Teeside began selling parmos, it became their fastest selling product. It’s worth bearing in mind that a large parmo and chips contains roughly 2,600 calories, which is more than you’re supposed to eat in an entire day, but it’s probably still better for you than a London kebab. Clearly the north is for you if you’re off to uni to study catering.
16.) Yorkshire is the happiest place on earth
Well, technically Disneyworld is the happiest place on earth, but Yorkshire comes a close second, having been named the happiest place in the UK twice in recent years, first in a survey by Mintel in 2011, and then in another by property company Rightmove in 2013. According to the 2013 survey, nine of the UK’s most
unhappy places are in London. We’re saying nothing.
17.) Yorkshire Tea
Maybe the reason the people of Yorkshire are so happy is because they have the best tea — Yorkshire Tea branded bags are pretty much universally considered to produce the UK’s tastiest tea, even in the south. Tea is something northerners take very seriously, with many cities claiming to be the only place that can provide you with a ‘proper brew’.
18.) The countryside
If it’s not the tea making northerners so happy, maybe it’s the views. The north of England is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country — the photo above was taken in the Lake District. One third of the Lake District lies within the borders of Sheffield, making it the only city in the UK to house part of a National Park. Consequently, Sheffield has more trees per person than any other place in Europe, and is the UK’s greenest city. It’s not all concentrated in Sheffield though, as any northerner will tell you the Yorkshire Dales are also a wonder to behold, as is the Peak District, home to Manchester’s famous moors.
19.) The beaches
Or maybe it’s the miles of sandy beaches bringing a smile to people’s faces? We don’t tend to associate the north with the seaside, but in fact you’re never too far from one of the prettiest stretches of natural coastline up north. Pictured above is Scarborough, north Yorkshire, a popular holiday resort. It’s somewhat of a southern tradition to make the summer pilgrimage up to Scarborough to catch some rays.
20.) The nightlife
The Rough Guide once named Newcastle’s nightlife as the UK’s top attraction and we’re not going to argue as Newcastle’s
Northumbria University recently came top in the city life category of Whatuni’s very own Student Choice Awards.
21.) Ferret legging
Some of the world’s most awesome, if slightly niche sports are to be found in the north of England, including whippet racing, pigeon fancying (well, they’re very attractive birds) and ferret legging. Ferret legging was popularised in Yorkshire in the 1970s and remains an occasional pastime in a few parts of the north and Scotland too. Participants in ferret legging competitions typically put one or more ferrets down their trousers and tightly secure the legs at the bottom. The one who keeps the ferret in his trousers the longest wins. Just to keep things interesting, in traditional ferret legging competitions participants are barred from wearing underwear.
22.) Home Bargains
While southerners were busy mourning the loss of Woolworths in 2008 (where else will we ever be able to buy pick ‘n’ mix, saucepans and CDs all in the same place?), folk up north were able to console themselves with the fact that they at least still had Home Bargains. Founded in Liverpool in the 1970s by Tom Morris, Home Bargains is a chain of discount shops that sells a plethora of products for discount prices. Beloved of northerners, Home Bargains has recently expanded southwards (apparently there’s a branch near Enfield), but the vast majority of its stores remain out of the reach of anyone south of Merseyside, meaning you’ll have to go to uni in the north of you want to take advantage of the cheap loo roll.
The north is home to some of the biggest Premier League teams, so if you’re a fan of people (and penguins) chasing balls and falling over quite a bit, you’ll love it. Plus, Newcastle’s Northumbria University is one of the best in the UK for sports and offers a range of bursaries and scholarships for talented players, so if you’re off to uni to read sport science or just planning on playing, it could be the ideal place to study.
Northerners love their beer, and if you choose to go to uni in the north you’ll be able sup on some great local ales, including Newcastle Brown Ale, possible Britain’s most famous beer. First brewed in 1927, it’s the UK’s most widely distributed alcoholic product. When it fist went on sale in Newcastle, legend has it the local police asked the distillery to water the ale down because they believed it was contributing to a rise in rowdy behaviour.
People come to the north for a variety of reasons, but inevitably they stay for the pencils. Possibly. Pencils were invented in Keswick, near Cumbria in the 18
th Century after the discovery of a large deposit of graphite in the region back in the 1500s. Originally, pencils were used for marking sheep. Nowadays, Kewswick is where you’ll find the Cumberland Pencil Museum, home to the world’s biggest colouring pencil. We don’t know where the world’s biggest sheep is, but surely they’re a match made in heaven. If you’re off to uni study art then, may we recommend the University of Cumbria?
26.) The culture
The Cumberland Pencil Museum isn’t the only world class cultural attraction you’ll find in the north (although if it’s not top of your list of must visit destinations, your priorities are clearly all wrong). Liverpool was famously named European Capital of Culture in 2008, partially because it’s where you’ll find Tate Liverpool, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and of course a whole host of attractions related to the Beatles, including The Beatles Story and the famous Cavern Club, where they played their first gig. Over in Gateshead you can visit the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (pictured), a groundbreaking gallery based in a former flour mill, an imposing reminder of the area’s industrial past.
27.) The music
Liverpool gave us the Beatles, Manchester gave us the ‘90s ‘Madchester’ music scene (including bands like Oasis, pictured, and the Stone Roses), Sheffield brought us the Arctic Monkeys and Newcastle produced, um, PJ and Duncan (AKA, Ant and Dec in their boyband days). Nonetheless, when it comes to British music, some, if not most of the best emanates from the north, so it’s the ideal place to look for music students to search for inspiration.
28.) Jimi Hendrix launched his career in Newcastle
Jimi Hendrix may have been an American guitar legend, but he was discovered by one Chas Chandler, a Geordie music producer, in 1966. Chandler brought Hendrix back to the UK, where he began his career busking on the streets of Newcastle.
29.) There are no fewer than seven Russell Group universities in the north of England
We already told you that there are lots of unis up north, but did you know that seven of them (the University of Liverpool, the University of Manchester, the University of Leeds, the Durham University, the University of York, the University of Sheffield, and the University of Newcastle) are in the
Russell Group, meaning they’re among some of the best places you can study in the world?
30.) Durham University is the third oldest in England
No prizes for guessing who comes first and second (hint, it’s Cambridge and Oxford), but Durham University, established in 1832, comes in third. It’s also currently fifth in the UK university league tables, which we think is pretty impressive.
31.) In York you can take a Saints and Sinners tour or you can shoot a Scotsman…
York is a historic city so it follows that it has some pretty archaic laws. Famously, an ancient law proclaiming it legal to kill a Scotsman in the centre of York if he is carrying a bow and arrow has never been repealed, making York simultaneously the ideal destination for people with a grudge against Scotland, and somewhere that Scottish people may want to avoid, just to be on the safe side.
Other, less violent activities on offer in York include a number of ghoulishly themed tours, playing on the city’s self proclaimed status as the most haunted in the UK. Take a ghost walk, join the Saints and Sinners tour, go along on the Guy Fawkes guided tour, brave the Graveyards, Coffins and Plagues walk or lighten the mood with the Historic Toilets tour.
Either way, it’s easy to see why York is so popular with students of history.
32.) You can still get dressed up for nights out
We used to like getting glammed up for a night on the town in London, but then hipsters came along and ruined everything, and now everybody in clubs looks like this:
The pernicious spread of the hipster hasn’t made it up north yet though, meaning for now at least, you can still enjoy a traditional night on the tiles dressed up to the nines. Be careful where you put your feet if you’re wearing open toed heels though — the result of all those £1.50 drinks will be all over the pavement by 4am.
33.) Northerners are really, really funny
We can’t guarantee that everyone you meet up north will be a laugh riot, but the odds are pretty favourable when you look at the number of top comedians who hail from up north, including Sarah Millican (pictured), Peter Kay, Jason Manford, John Bishop, Lee Mack, Paddy McGuiness, Ross Noble…the list goes on and on.
North of England, we salute you!
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Top image via thehuntinglife.com