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The ultimate guide for moving to London

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London is a cosmopolitan metropolis, home to 8.9 million people, who speak over 300 different languages. If you’re considering moving to one of the 32 boroughs that make up The Big Smoke, here is your ultimate guide. 

  • Housing 
  • Employment 
  • Education 
  • Cost of Living 
  • Transport
  • Health Care 
  • Language
  • Weather 
  • Making Friends

Housing 

London is one of the most sought after places to live; unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive. On average, a one-bedroom flat will cost you £900 a month, utilities not included. If you want to make the move, but can’t afford the astronomical price of housing, don’t worry there are alternatives.

House-shares are a very popular, cheaper, alternative way to live in the city. A group of people live in a shared household, each person having a private bedroom, but sharing communal spaces.

If you don’t fancy sharing a house with people you may not know, consider the benefits of moving to outer London. Boroughs, such as Bexley, Havering, and Croydon have cheaper rent prices and are often quieter than the inner city.

Photo by Stephen Colebourne

Employment

London has a thriving economy that is helped by the countless employable industries accessible throughout the capital. If you are making your move before finding a job, it’s always best to look online to see what’s available. There are countless job sites, including London specific sites, that advertise available jobs in the city and it’s surrounding areas. 

Finance, fashion, technology, media, and manufacturing have always been thriving industries in London. If you specialise in one of these areas, then work may be easier to find in the Big Smoke. 

Education

In the UK education is mandatory for any child between the ages of five and eighteen. There are two school systems in the UK- state and independent. State schools are funded by the government and are regulated by local education authorities. They are free to attend and will often accept any child regardless of their intelligence level. Alternatively, independent schools are private and therefore cost money to attend. They are often very selective when choosing the children they want to join.

London is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including Imperial College London and UCL. These universities accept students from across the globe to study specialist subjects and gain an education beyond the statutory requirement.

Photo by David Hawgood 

Cost of Living 

Living in London is expensive. On average, half of your salary will be spent on rent and utilities. A further £150 can be spent on travel and an additional £200 on groceries. Any spare money can be used for additional expenses and leisure activities, such as attending theatre shows or grabbing a drink at a classic London pub. 

Transport 

There are many amazing ways to travel around the 50 miles that make up London. Travel options include the underground (otherwise known as the tube), the overground, buses and, in some areas of London, trams. As previously mentioned, travel around London can cost upwards of £150 a month. There are several methods available to try and control the cost of travel, such as getting a travel card or using an Oyster. 

Travel cards can be bought on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. Depending on how much you travel, and which of the 1-6 zones of London you travel between, depends on which type of travel card will be most effective for you. For the best information, check out the TFL website. 

Alternatively, you can buy an Oyster card and top it up whenever you need to travel. Oyster cards can be topped up from all tube and train stations across London or online. For the best management, top up your card at the beginning of the month.

Healthcare

The UK uses the National Health Service (NHS), which is completely free. Depending on where in the world you are moving from depends on whether you will have access to the NHS on immediate arrival to London. It’s always best to check this before making your move. Alternatively, there are private doctors surgeries and hospitals that you can pay to attend. 

Photo by EDDIE

Language

The most spoken language in London is English, however, over 300 languages are spoken in England’s capital city. The top languages spoken are Bengali, Polish, Turkish and French. If you really want to delve into London culture, you can try Cockney rhyming slang, an early 19th-century slang language. 

Weather

If you’re looking to move to a sunny paradise, London may not be the destination for you. On average it rains 11 days out of the month, so make sure you pack your umbrella. However, throughout the year the temperature remains somewhat mild, with snow very rarely falling. In the summer, temperatures average out at a balmy 18 degrees- perfect for exploring the serene parks that can be found across the city. 

Making Friends 

Making friends can be hard when you move to a new place, and can seem harder when moving to a city. One of the easiest ways to make friends is by moving into a house share. Sharing communal spaces with strangers may seem daunting at first, but the more time you spend with your housemates the more you may find you have in common.

If you’re planning to move into a flat or house alone, there are plenty of alternative ways to make friends. Try joining your local gym or running club and begin conversing with the people you meet in the locker room. Alternatively, start exploring the city and its amazing restaurants, independent coffee shops and countless museums. Strike up conversations with people and see if you have anything in common. This can seem nerve-wracking, but is a great way to really delve head-first into the multiculturalism of the city and begin making friends.

Relocating is a massive step that requires adjusting. Give yourself optimal time to readjust to your new surroundings by ticking laundry off of your to-do list. Download the Laundryheap app and let us pick-up, wash and deliver your clothes to you within 24hrs. 

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