I have been living in London for just over a year which I almost can’t believe. It is scary really how quickly time flies! I grew up in a small town, left to go to Keele University, a university in a small village surrounded by fields. As you can imagine living in London is quite a contrast to my small-town life experiences.
During my time in London, I have lived in East, West and North London so I have packed a lot into my one year of London. In this post, I wanted to share with you my advice for those looking to move to London.
Allow yourself time to settle into London life
From my own experience and from talking to my friends, we agree it takes a while to settle into London and get your bearings. London runs at a much faster pace to the rest of the UK so can be a bit overwhelming at first. So, take your time and don’t pressure yourself to do too much too soon. For me, it was at least 6 months until I felt completely comfortable living in London. Now I enjoy using my weekends to explore what London has to offer but I’m grateful I didn’t rush into it when I first moved.
Make the most of what London has to offer
Once you are settled to explore what is on your doorstep. I think it is so easy to think you will do something later (which often never comes!), so I have made the conscious effort to do one activity every weekend and it has really helped me to fall in love with living in London. Whether you just want to get back to nature (I would suggest Hyde Park and Regents Park), explore a museum (such as the British Museum or The Transport Museum) or Visit a Market (Camden Market or Covent Garden) or simply wander. You can never be disappointed with what London has to offer. Check out the free Time Out Magazine for inspiration, there is something for everyone. Also, ask your friends who have lived in London for longer than you as they know the hidden gems.
Accept that London is busy
For me, this is something I still struggle with, but it when I put it into practice this my it massively improves my experience. I try to accept that London is busy and see it as part of the experience rather than stressing out. For example, I like to experience Oxford Street during Christmas (just like every other Londoner) as it is so festive with Christmas lights and shop displays. Rather than stressing about being busy I go in and enjoy the atmosphere. And in the case of my example be extra nice to shop assistants! Also arrive somewhere earlier if the crowds really bother you. I visited Covent Garden at 9 am on a Sunday once and it was completely different to normal. I was basically the only one there!
Budget: Make the most of the money you have
As I’m sure you know living in London isn’t cheap, so it is important to budget! I feel like a 20 something-year-old grandma saying that! The way I budget is to work out what money I have left after the bills are paid and after I have set some aside into my savings. Then divided what you have left by how many weeks until you get paid which will provide you with your weekly budget. You might have to make sacrifices, for example, I would rather spend the money on a day out than an item clothing. Not to say I am not often tempted! There are also loads of free activities to do in London including Sky Gardens, British Museum, Camden Market, Covent Garden, Primrose Hill, Greenwich etc.
Transport: Not just for commuting!
In my hometown and during my time at University I was used to a bus turning up when it likes or one bus every hour. No one can deny that the transport system is amazing in London. The complex network of tubes, DLR’s, overground trains, boats, buses and cable cars can be confusing but thanks to City Mapper it is so much easier! If you don’t have this app download it, now! It has helped me out more times than I can count. If you can and the tube is rammed, wait 1 minute, I promise the tube won’t be as bad! The tube network is perfect for exploring London as you can always get home. You can even explore London whilst on transport. I went on the Thames Clipper and Emirates Cable Car and got a whole new perspective of London.
What advice would you have for someone living in London? It is an amazing city but can be a little daunting. Let’s help each other out!