The 8 things every London newbie should know
Moving somewhere entirely new to you can be daunting, especially if your future hometown is big, busy and quite unlike anywhere else in the world. If you’re planning on making a move to London, it’s completely normal to wonder what it’s going to be like living in the capital, or what to expect when you arrive and during the settling in phase.
Whether you’ve already purchased your property in London or you’re thinking about trying out the area before making an informed decision, we’re at hand to offer you plenty of helpful information ahead of the big move. Our eight tips for first time London dwellers should equip you with all kinds of know-how for a speedy settling in, so that you’re living like a local in no time at all.
1. Take in the local area
It’s an understatement to say that London is rather large. The different areas and boroughs can vary vastly in terms of what they offer and the community feel they provide. That’s why it’s so important to take a walk around the local area - wherever it is you are choosing to purchase a property - to see what’s on offer, where like minded people are spending their time and how you can make the most of the area without having to venture too far out.
2. Find out where your local resources are
From the nearest tube station for early morning commuting, to the closest corner shop where you can grab some milk when you’re running low - get to know where your local amenities are, ready for when you’re going to need them. Your London apartment is bound to be just a short distance from a supermarket, tube station, bus stop or pharmacy, wherever you take up residence in London.
2. Get used to the public transport system
From the underground to the bus system, the DLR to the city cycle scheme, there’s a wealth of public transport on offer across the city, connecting your home to all corners of London. Because of the sheer amount of routes and stops on offer, it pays to spend some time getting used to the transport system, so that you know how to use it to get where you want to be. Driving is a nightmare in London, so you can expect to find yourself using this system day in, day out.
Top Tip: If you’ve secured yourself a job in London, why not practise your commute ahead of your start date?
3. Grab an oyster card
When you set about the city getting used to the transport system, make sure to grab an oyster card before travelling. This nifty card allows you to load money onto it that can be used for your travel around the city. Once you’ve added however much money you want onto it, all you have to do is scan the card as you pass through the underground barriers or as you hop on the bus, and do the same when you reach your destination. The total cost of your trip will then be deducted from your oyster card, so you don’t have to worry about taking the time to pay for each individual trip you make.
4. Rework your budget
As one of the most influential cities and economies in the world, it goes without saying that London can be rather pricey to live, work and socialise in. That being said, it’s incredibly worthwhile living in this fantastic destination, but it might also mean that you’ll have to rework your budget.
It’s all well and good knowing what outgoings you have concerning your mortgage or rent, as well as any additional bills you have, but if you haven’t factored in the cost of travelling or socialising in London, now might be the time to make some adjustments. That way, you’ll stand yourself in good stead, knowing how much expendable income you have and how you can enjoy using it.
5. Tackle the tourist attractions early on
If you’re planning to live in London like a true local, you’ll want to avoid the tourist attractions as much as possible, especially during the weekends. Of course, it’s absolutely worth spending some time exploring the attractions that London is so famous for, but we’d recommend doing this as early on in your move as possible. That way, you can dedicate more of your time to adjusting to life in London the local way.
Did you know: There are a number of hop-on, hop-off bus companies that will take you around each of the tourist attractions in a short space of time. Grab yourself a two- or three-day ticket and you’ll have seen all of the attractions in all their glory, within the first few days of living in London.
6. Make the most of having Europe on your doorstep
Wherever you choose to live in London, chances are you won’t be far away from one of the five major airports in and around the capital. That, along with a number of large train stations such as Euston and St. Pancras, means you have plenty of accessibility to others areas of the UK, as well as numerous international destinations, too. It’s never been easier to travel cross-country or overseas, than when you’re living as a local in London.
7. Learn to move in time with the hustle and bustle
If you’re used to living life at a leisurely pace, you may want to mentally prepare yourself for your new life in London. With millions of people choosing to live in the capital and even more choosing to work there, the pace of life is much speedier than you might be used to. In order to live like a true local in London, you’ll need to spend some adjusting to the hustle and bustle that surrounds you and waits around every corner of the city.
8. Keep an eye out for future opportunities
This one is more for when you’ve settled in and you’re finding London living to be rather enjoyable. If you could see yourself living in London for the foreseeable future, why not keep an eye on the property market and potential opportunities that arise? With many regeneration areas in the works that offer fantastic property for an affordable price, you might find a more suitable property further down the line, that’s perfect for you to relocate to or invest in for some rental income.
Moving to London can be rather intense and intimidating at first, but don’t let that stop you from taking the plunge. Like many others before you, once you get to know the city and slowly make your roots there, you’ll find it hard to think of ever living anywhere else.