Well, it’s been over a year and a half since I moved to London, and I’m still absolutely loving it. It’s such a huge, busy and varied city that I still haven’t even scratched the surface – so as much as I’d like to write a guide to London, I simply don’t feel prepared for it! What I am experienced in, though, is moving to London – something tons of people do everyday and which can seem like a pretty daunting prospect – so I thought I’d put together a little guide of things you might want to think about when moving to London.
There is so much variety when it comes to London that it’s going to take a whole separate post for me to cover it all. But in brief, London is generally divided up into four quarters – North, South, East and West. There’s a bit of a North/South divide in London, and there are pros and cons to both. The South is probably cheaper than the North, on the whole, but I suppose the North is trendier, with areas like Islington and Camden attracting a young crowd. I prefer the South, because it’s greener, and there are some really nice parts like Dulwich, as well as Brixton and Clapham which are both really cool, busy areas with great bars and restaurants. The East, like Shoreditch, Hoxton, Hackney and Whitechapel, generally used to be poorer areas which are now very artistic, trendy and ‘shabby-chic’. The West is the polar opposite, places like Kensington and Chelsea which are very expensive and what some would call ‘posh’. The further out you go, the cheaper the rent becomes, but transport costs also go up as you move into zones 3 and beyond.
Finding Somewhere to Live
In London, rent is higher than most other cities, as are the agency fees and deposits you’ll be charged when finding a flat. It’s much cheaper – although slightly harder work – to find a place with a private landlord (no agency fees) through sites like Gumtree or SpareRoom. If you’re moving here alone, a great way to make friends and settle in is to move into a shared house (plus you’ll save money on rent). A one/two bed flat is going to be more expensive, but you can find good deals through independent landlords.
Get an Oyster card before you move, and download a decent travel app. Google maps is usually perfect for finding your way around the public transport system, although the bus times are sometimes a little out!
Meet People and Have Fun
Make the Move!
London is a really friendly city and there’s always something amazing going on and something new to discover! If you’re thinking about moving here, I say go for it!