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Tips for relocating to London

26th March 2019

London skyline Big Ben and London Bridge

Are you thinking of relocating to London? The wonderful city attracts people from across the world because of the amazing sights, things to do, and diverse culture. A common reason people relocate is because of the fantastic job opportunities in the City of London, where there are many professional careers available including London legal jobs. We’ve assembled a list of the best tips to follow if you’re relocating to London, with input from bloggers who have thrived in this exciting city.

Find the right home

London is infamous for its extortionate house prices making it unrealistic for most people to buy their own place, as a result, people often opt to live in flat shares. The main factors to consider when looking for your new London home is, of course, the surrounding areas. Do your research before you make any commitments and make sure you consider the noise, tube links, and the development of the area. Ensure you talk to people about the different parts of London, especially if they have a lot of experience in the city.

We asked Taylor, from the blog Travel Colorfully, what her top tip is for anyone about to move to London: “don’t rent the first flat that you see unless you really love it. Estate agents do a really good job at pressuring you. And while rooms and flats do go quickly, if you don’t love it, it’s not worth living there for six months to a year because you felt rushed or pressured into renting it. If you have a friend who already lives in London, ask them if you can stay with them for a few weeks until you find something.”

Be prepared

Girl planning a diary on her desk

Relocating comes hand in hand with a lot of organizing. Moving to a new house, switching jobs and changing your lifestyle is something that requires a lot of time and effort, especially when you move from a different country. We spoke to Deyana, from the blog I’m Moving To London, who relocated to London from Malta. Deyana writes about her experiences and tips on her blog, as well as regularly conducting live Q&A’s on her Instagram to help others who are considering moving to the city.

Deyana says: “be prepared to be patient with the administrative side that comes with moving to London. I think setting yourself up at the start with a bank account, NI numbers, registering for bills, finding a flat is just an administrative madness. But it will end, and all will be fine, it just takes a while and if you are moving from other parts of the world that are not as heavy on the admin side as London, this may be very frustrating. So, arm yourself with patience and just expect it to take anything from one month to three.”

We spoke to Clelia, from Keep Calm and Travel, who moved from Italy to London without having ever stepped foot in the UK before. Her advice is: “plan as many details as you can in advance. Depending on what you want to achieve by moving to London, you will have to sort out visas if necessary, get familiar with the bureaucracy, immediately apply for the National Insurance Number and try to open a bank account.”

London Transport

London underground

For those who have rarely visited London before the tube system and bus service may appear to be complicated, however, in London, using public transport is quite often the quickest way to get around the city. Our top tip is to be wary of ‘rush hour’ every morning and evening when most commuters are travelling to and from work. With this considered, allow extra time for your travels and be prepared for busy crowds.

Kalyn, from Girl Gone London, comments: “my top tip for anyone moving to London is to familiarize yourself with the public transportation systems. Between the London Underground, London buses, boats down the Thames and even the Emirates Cable Car, there are so many ways to get around the city and the first step to becoming a Londoner (even for a short term) is to learn your way around these systems. This will help you feel confident in exploring the city and mapping your future journeys - hardly anyone drives in London due to the congestion and lack of parking, so being able to get yourself around on public transportation is a great first step.”

Remember that London is a busy city and there are often daily diversions and closures to public transport. Keep updated with the latest news so you can plan a stress-free journey to work, you can check the live status updates online. To blend in with the Londoners, when you go underground have your ticket ready at the barrier, keep right on the escalator and move down the platform for free space.

Deyana, I’m Moving To London, continues to say that this is the most surprising thing she found after her move to the city. “Having a car, is completely pointless in central London. When I moved, I bought a car, as I was used to driving everywhere in the previous places I lived in. London is surprisingly difficult when it comes to owning a car with all the rules and regulations, weird street signage with mysterious parking messages that are difficult to decipher. Ultimately the tube is the best thing ever and it has been years since I used anything but that during the day”

After you relocate to London, you will discover that there will always be new places to explore. Be considerate that it takes longer than you may anticipate when travelling from one side to another. Clelia from Keep Calm and Travel, comments: “to visit a friend who lives in the opposite part of the city is almost like having a long-distance relationship. The time you'll spend on the tube/buses sometimes can be insane. It might take hours to reach your destination.” This is something to consider when choosing your new home in London, check the travel times between your location to work, central and your friends.

Things to do

London St Pauls

One thing you will learn after moving to London is that you will never be bored. There is always something to do or see in this magnificent city. Our tip for things to do is to follow events on Twitter or join groups on Facebook, by doing this you will discover the latest events London has to offer with ease. If you don’t know anyone in London, our tip to meet new people in your area is to join the local exercise classes. You’ll be surprised how many people you will end up talking to!

Kalyn from Girl Gone London, told us the most surprising thing about London: “the sheer amount of free things to do! London does a fantastic job of opening up the city to whoever wants to explore, and that means plenty of free top-tier museums like the British Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A Museum. There are also plenty of parks to hang out in, as well as free events happening every day.”

Moving to London may seem daunting at first, but within a few weeks you will be blending in as a true Londoner. The trick is to work hard at work, lower your expectations on where you live and master the transport system. Matt, from Little Grey Box, sums up relocating to London perfectly: “Go into the move with realistic expectations. It’s not always going to be perfect, there are times it’s going to be really hard (especially finding a job and a flat!) but you can get through it. Don’t give up. Remember why you moved and try to see the bigger picture. Make friends, stay busy, travel often, eat and drink well and see the world.”