They might be separated by the Atlantic Ocean and a few thousand miles of land mass, but surprisingly London and Seattle have quite a few things in common. One of the first things is…rain!
Both cities have rain, and even though London has a reputation for raining a lot – Seattle has more. Quite a lot more in fact, beating London’s average rainfall of 23 inches by a substantial amount (Seattle has 38).
The average temperature in both cities is also fairly similar, with London being slightly colder, but not by much. But Seattle does see far more hours of sunshine, despite having a higher rainfall.
So, what else can we look at when we compare the two cities?
Cost of Living
Ah yes, we can’t get far into this article without comparing which city is more expensive. And sorry, London, but you don’t come out too well in this comparison.
For instance, average property rentals in London are around 40% – 60% more expensive than their US counterpart, and when it comes to purchasing a property, well, the difference is breathtaking.
But there are ways to be able to get onto the housing ladder in London, with various Government backed affordable home ownership schemes.
Utilities, such as gas, water, and electricity are also more expensive in London, by over 60%. This is one reason that people in the UK switch their energy suppliers so often.
Doing so often means you can lock into a cheaper deal. These can be checked out on independent comparison website Uswitch. However, one thing that is substantially cheaper in London is the cost of home Internet – by almost 40%.
Transportation in London, such as the monthly cost of using public transport, is also dearer. Expect to pay around double the cost of what you will in Seattle.
And if you drive, it’ll cost you around 123% more in London. Gas prices for a litre of fuel in London are currently around £1.14 per litre, as opposed to £0.51 in the US.
Eating out in London is expensive – you’ll pay an average of 50% more for a meal here, but many regular grocery items are cheaper: bread, for instance is over 50% less, cheese is a lot less expensive, as are most fruits and vegetables.
Now, with the cost of living being so much higher in London, it would make sense to assume that the average net monthly salary is also higher.
It would make sense… but it’s definitely not the case. In fact, on average, those who work in London have around 17% less disposable funds per month than their American counterparts.
No wonder Londoners eat out on a far less regular basis than those who live in Seattle!
- London currently has an unemployment rate of around 8.1%. but in Seattle, it’s only 4.8%.
- In London, you can take advantage of a bike sharing scheme – fondly known as “Boris Bikes” in honour of London Mayor, Boris Johnson who introduced them. You can hire them for as little as £2, pick up from one of the hundreds of docking stations around the city, and drop it off somewhere else.
- London has a lot more inhabitants. As of November 2015, it’s around 8.17 million, as opposed to the Seattle population of around 1 million.
- London boasts considerably more museums. Not only that, but most of them are free to visit. There’s the Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum… The list goes on and on. There are currently 240 museums in London. Seattle has 16.
- London has no coastline, whereas Seattle is on the shores of the glorious Pacific (well, okay – Puget Sound – but it’s still the Pacific). Sorry, London – we can’t beat that…
- There’s public healthcare in London (well, the whole of the UK, actually). Known as the NHS – or National Health Service – you don’t need to pay when you visit the doctor or the hospital.
To cover the costs, every person pays a proportion of their wages – this is known as National Insurance. However, the NHS is somewhat struggling to keep up with demand, and because of this, many people choose to take out private health cover instead.
There are many providers in the UK, including BUPA and Aviva.
Each city has its good points and its bad points. For those who love the great outdoors, then you’re never going to fall in love with London as much as you do Seattle.
Although London is but a short train ride away from some wonderful outdoor playgrounds such as The South Downs, and if you travel for a few hours north, The Lake District, The Pennines, and Snowdonia National Park.
You’re also only a couple of hours away from completely different countries and cultures. Take a cheap flight from one of London’s airports, and you could be sat drinking coffee in France, eating chocolate in Switzerland, or having tapas in Spain before you know it.
Both cities are pretty safe places to live, with comparable crime rates (Seattle is slightly lower, but not by much). They are both easy places to get around on foot, with the centre of both cities being compact and walker friendly.
If you want to go further out in either, you’ll need a car or to take public transport.
For those who drive, both Seattle and London suffer from congested streets and limited parking (and if you manage to find a parking space, you’ll pay a pretty penny for it).
There are lots of differences between the two cities, but there are a fair amount of things that are similar as well.
Many people love both – and that includes people who’ve lived in both cities, as well as visitors. Of course, one thing that makes visiting or living in any city in the UK or the US simpler – we both speak the same language (well, with a few differences).
So on that note, it’s goodbye from London, and “have a nice day” from Seattle…