How have I been living in London eight years?! Thinking I would only be here for a couple of years, I now call it my home after owning a lovely flat in North East London. I’ve had a few messages asking if I have any advice on moving to London, so I thought I would put this post together and hopefully it will help some of you lovely lot if your thinking about that move.
I grew up in a small village in Cambridgeshire, which is where I’ve lived for 22 years of my life. I feel very fortunate to have been bought up in such a lovely place. A quiet, quaint village where everyone knows everyone, where people say hello to strangers when you see them passing. I went to Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and studied Nursing (paediatric) for three years. I didn’t move into halls, I stayed at my parents and commuted to placement and lectures. After qualifying I worked for a year afterwards before making the big move to London. After me and my ex boyfriend broke up, I thought sod it what have I got to lose, I’ve always dreamt of living in London, loved the buzz of it all and always enjoyed visiting for the day when I was younger.
Explore/research the area
Looking for a flat in only one or two areas makes searching and viewing places easier. Take your time to walk around the area you’re interested in. Can you see yourself living there? The area I chose to live in to begin with was Clapham, I knew a couple of people living there at the time. I made sure I loved the area before viewing some flats. Choose the areas you think will be good for you based on price, transport links, the local vibe and where your friends are. Being close to good transport links was important to me, however can push the price of the flat up. If you’re prepared to walk, cycle, take the bus it might open up more options. Get to know where to eat, the best bars, cinemas, gyms, where to stock up on groceries and where the nearest post office and banks are. These are all things I wanted to know before putting an offer on a flat.
Finding a flat/flat share
It’s very common in London to share a flat with other people. I have used spare room in the past and have had a good experience with it. Spare room is a site where you can find other people looking for a room in that specific area. I met two girls who were lovely, we arranged to meet in a pub for a drink and we ended up living together. I guess it’s the luck of the drawer, I’ve been lucky in my past experiences in finding flatmates. London rentals are expensive and the market moves fast. If you do like a flat or a room in a flat share be prepared to put down a deposit there and then or at least within 24 hours.
Cost of living
I’m not going to lie, moving to London is expensive. With rent being more expensive than many other cities. Before renting a flat you need a deposit, which can be as much as two months rent. On top of your rent you’ll have to pay council tax, gas, water and electricity. It’s best to shop around for the cheapest deals, there are plenty of good price comparison websites that will help you to do this. Budgeting didn’t really come into the picture when I first moved as all I wanted to do is go out and socialise and shop, however I feel London has lots to offer on any budget. Knowing all your outgoings and monthly income is important.
Knowing how to get around
I think I found this the most overwhelming part when I first moved. The tube can be horrible during rush hour, however it’s the quickest and easiest way to travel when you get used to it. The buses are also great, sitting at the top of the bus watching the world go by I find more relaxing sometimes than standing on the tube. Also you get to see more of the city where you can get your bearings as your travelling above ground. I remember doing a lot of walking to begin with and being tired towards the evening, your body soon adapts.
The cheapest way to get around is by using your contactless bank card or oyster card (unless you want to walk of course). If your travelling everyday you may want to get a monthly travel card as it may work out cheaper than paying as you go. I’d definitely recommend downloading Citymapper, a journey travel app that helps you get to your destination whether that be walking, by bus, car, uber etc.
I find London a very friendly city most of the time. I came here without really knowing anyone, but through work/house mates and just being active I found it relatively easy. The easiest way is to get along with your house-mates. A lot of people in London are in exactly the same situation as you, so they’re open to meet new people and they will introduce their new friends to their old friends and that’s a great way to meet people I found.
Say yes. Go to that party, dinner or have a look what’s going on in the city. Join a gym or go to an evening exercise class, participate in a park run on the weekend. I found park run’s a great way to meet people, they are held most weekends in your local area.
I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing when I moved here. I had a lot of determination and faith that everything would turn out ok, and it did!
Is anyone thinking about making the big move?
I’d love to know. G xx