Whether you’re looking to make the transition from Southerner to Northerner, returning to your roots after years in a non-Northern place or simply seeking a reconnection with your Northern heritage, here’s a guide about How to be Northern.

1. When people talk to you on public transport, do not panic. Northerners are a friendly bunch. They are not going to stab you.

2. Insert the word ‘proper’ before everything. For example, ‘She is proper spiteful’ or ‘That butty is proper good’. This will convey your true feelings on the matter.

3. Embrace the Wigan Kebab, the Middlesbrough Parmo, the Bury Black Pudding, the Lancashire Cheese & Onion Plate Pie, the Newcastle Stottie Cake, the Chip Barm, the Singing Hinny, Pease Pudding, Chips & Gravy, the Cheese Savoury, the Eccles Cake, Yorkshire Curd Tart, Desolate Cakes, the Manchester Egg, Preston Parched Peas, Parkin and Chips & Curry Sauce. Your life will be the better for it.

4. Talk to your neighbours. They are nice people and are in no way crazy/unhinged/Devil worshippers/bent on making your life a misery.

5. Do not insert a random ‘r’ in words like bath, grass and laugh. No one wants to hear that cut glass accent north of Crewe.

6. Never leave home without an umbrella. This is the North. It rains. A lot.

7. When it’s minus 5 outside, do not complain about the cold weather. The correct adjective is ‘fresh’.

8. Allow an extra ten minutes for each supermarket shop. The check-out staff will want to chat. Let them.

9. If your neighbour’s cat/whippet/ferret wanders into your house, do not reach for a stick/air rifle/shotgun. They are Northern pets and just want to say hello.

10. Wearing shorts in November is fine. In some areas, it is obligatory.

11. If you want a cup of tea with two sugars, the correct vernacular is ‘Tea two’. Using superfluous words in the North is frowned upon.

12. Stock up on de-icer. You’re going to need it.

13. The North is not a cultural vacuum. Put that thought out of your head.

14. A Northern accent does not mean that person spends their evenings eating frozen pizza and watching Coronation Street. Some of the biggest brains come from the North. Remember that.

15. It is possible to buy a house in the North without entering into a Faustian pact with your bank.

16. It is acceptable to wear the same clothes five days in a row in the North. How dry cleaners survive up here is a mystery.

17. The North does not begin at Watford. Get an A-Z.

18. Not all Northerners like Coronation Street. Incredible, yet true.

19. ‘Baps’ do not mean the same thing in the North as they do in the South. You are unlikely to cause offence by praising a baker’s baps.

20. There are many different words for ‘bread’ in the North. If in doubt, point at what you want and smile.

Finally, remember at all times that Northerners are proud to be Northern. If you treat it like an affliction, you will not endear yourself to the local populace.


By Helen Nugent (born in Bury, grew up in Manchester, went to university in Newcastle, lives in Ramsbottom)

If you have anything to add to the list, please email Helen at nugenthelen@hotmail.com