Looking for the top things to know before moving to London? You’re in the right place, read on!
When wide-eyed 18-year-old me moved to London from the U.S I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Looking back, older, and hopefully, wiser, I’ve learned a lot about this city, and now I’m sharing it with you!
In no particular order here are 10 things to know before moving to London.
1. Opt for Experiences
Mildly stating the obvious, but there is no way around it, London is expensive. However, over the years I’ve found there are tons of ways to create a lifestyle full of London adventure without necessarily breaking the bank.
From taking advantage of London’s greenery and popping into free museums and events across the city (and the occasional afternoon tea of course), being savvy with a pound and opting for experiences should become second nature if you’re calling London home.
2. Choose Your Borough (and Flat) Wisely
London is broken up into 32 boroughs, each with its own neighborhoods, distinct character, and culture. From hipster Shoreditch to posh Kensington and leafy Islington, take the time to get a feel for each borough before moving to London.
Similarly, if you’re opting for flatmates, be sure to have ample conversations before moving and make sure you share a similar lifestyle. If possible stay in an Airbnb while you flat hunt and avoid paying a deposit before seeing your place in person.
3. Prepare for a Language Barrier
We both speak English, how different can it be? The answer? Very. British English and slang is its own vernacular, and unless you’d like to be me (i.e thinking “are you alright?” meant something was wrong with you and “queues” were a golf term) it’s worth getting familiar with some words and phrases before your move.
This article is a perfect start 🙂
4. Find a Community
Whether you’re moving for study or for work, when you’re living in a big city loneliness is inevitable as everyone is constantly “on the move”. To combat this, make sure to find a community and network to create bonds early on.
Here are a few ideas…
- Join Bumble BFF
- Attend Eventbrite Events
- Join a weekly fitness class (Yoga, Zumba etc.)
- Go to Meetup events
- Or Internations
- Join Facebook Groups (type in “your hobby, London”)
5. Don’t Forget to Get Out of London
Okay so I may be a bit biased given the entirety of my existence seems to be dedicated to the capital. But it can be easy to get sucked into the allure of London and leave England behind. So don’t!
London is truly its own bubble so if you leave the rest of the U.K unexplored you’ll be sure to regret it. From discovering the Cotswolds to soaking up a seaside weekend, always make time for U.K travel.
Moving to London? Check out my E-book!
6. And Give up Driving
It’s very rare for Londoners to drive, let alone own a car. Luckily London transport is one of the best in the world and the Underground can pretty much take you anywhere and everywhere. So activate your Oyster to get around London with ease.
The city is also extremely walkable and cycle-friendly so you may end up opting for a lazy stroll or popping onto a Santander bike most of the time. But yeah, don’t expect to get behind the wheel anytime soon.
7. Smalltalk isn’t a Thing
The biggest culture shock coming from America to London is the severe lack of small talk. Even on the elevator, you’d be hard-pressed to find a friendly chat.
I’ll admit, I still find myself trying to spark up the odd conversation, but just something to keep in mind.
P.S The tube is also pin-silent so don’t forget to invest in a good book or worthy podcast for your commute.
8. And Healthcare is Free
The U.K healthcare scheme runs under the NHS, meaning it is utterly and wonderfully free. If you’re coming from America this is definitely one of the best things about moving to London, and you’ll simply register for it as apart of your visa process and pay a one-time fee. Amazing!
9. You’ll Need These Apps
Before moving across the pond, you’ll want to fill your London app arsenal. I personally couldn’t live without these apps for London life and highly advise downloading them before you go.
10. And You’ll Probably Fall in Love…
I’ll admit, although London isn’t always an easy place to live, there’s a magic in this city that quite frankly, I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. If you’re anything like me a few months will easily make you want to stay a few years (oops) and falling in love with the city, is, unfortunately, oh too easy.
Oh and never forget….
Look both ways.
Don’t forget to read more London travel tips before you trip!