Top Five Famous British Expats

Becoming an expat can be stressful, daunting, lonely… but it can also open the door to a host of incredible opportunities. If you’re a British expat (or thinking of becoming one) than read on and see why you’re in red carpet company!

Charlie Chaplain


This star of the silver screen might have found fame during his forty years in the US but he started life in good old Blighty – Walworth in London to be exact. Chaplain emigrated to the US in 1914 and went on to became a household name in films like The Great Dictator, The Kid Auto Race and The Knockout. Chaplain was forced to give up his life overseas after he became the centre of a little misunderstanding involving a President, communist accusations and a UK film premier… It seems Chaplain missed being an expat though. After a brief stay in his homeland he departed for Switzerland and remained there for the rest of his life.

John Lennon

1940- 1980

After dominating the world musically with The Beatles, John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono moved to the US in 1971. Although their stay in New York was only supposed to be temporary, they ended up falling in love with New York and staying. Lennon had always felt an affinity for the Big Apple. After visiting the city with his band mates he was quoted as saying ‘If I’d lived in Roman times, I’d have lived in Rome. Where else? Today America is the Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself.’ For Lennon New York was the hub of creativity and culture. He remained in the city until his untimely death. Yoko Ono then scattered his ashes in New York’s Central Park.

Julia Gillard

1961 – Present

Although born in Wales, Gillard and her family left Britain for sunnier shores in 1966, settling in Adelaide. After a brief stint in law Gillard entered politics and rose quickly through the ranks. Despite taking a controversial stance on some issues, by 2010 Gillard had become the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and the most powerful woman in the country. Although British by birth, Gillard considers herself Australian and is a firm advocate of the nation becoming an independent republic.

Sean Connery

1930 – Present

The names expat… British expat. Quintessential James Bond actor and all round smooth operator Sean Connery was born in a working class neighbourhood in Edinburgh. Despite getting a tattoo in his youth which proclaimed ‘Scotland Forever’ Connery has lived abroad extensively. Marbella in Spain became his home for several years and Connery became known for soaking up the sun and playing golf when not filming. After leaving Spain in a cloud of controversy, Connery retired to the Bahamas where he now spends his time enjoying his family and their glamorous surroundings.

Victoria Beckham

1974 – Present

She was one fifth of the world’s biggest girl band, but when Victoria Beckham’s career started to go south she moved east, leaving Britain for Spain. Despite initial problems adapting to Spanish culture, and rumours that Vic longed to return for the UK, she came to see the benefits of the Spanish way of life. She was quoted as saying ‘It’s great here – the climate, the people, the restaurants [...] I can’t think of anything I don’t like about Spain’ – well, apart from her eldest son picking up a few Spanish swear words! After her famous husband moved football teams Victoria and her family went on to re-expat, crossing the pond to America in 2007. The LA lifestyle has kept them there ever since.

The next time you feel nostalgic for home just remember, being an expat worked out well for these famous faces!

The Expat Hub
This post was written by
If you’ve already moved abroad, if you’re in the process of moving abroad or if you’re only thinking about it, the Expat Hub is here for you. For expatriates looking for advice, support and information, we’re the number one online stop.