Guide To Moving To London By A Real Londoner
Thinking of making the move to London? Get advice from real Londoners.
To be brutally honest, moving isn’t a fun process, even less so when you’re moving from one country to another. Regardless if you’re moving to London from New York, Toronto or Brighton, there is always going to be the fear of the new. New places, new routines, new flats, new friends, new culture, and a new you. At the best of times, all of these changes will have you feeling optimistic about the unknown, and at the worst of times, you’ll probably feel a little bit overwhelmed. This guide is written by those who have experienced the worries of moving, sharing the ins and outs of their most beloved London to make your move as effortless and carefree as possible. A guide to working, living costs, and transportation, you’ll feel like a local before you even relocate and arrive.
Relocating to London and Living Costs
If you’re moving to London, it’s unlikely that it’s the high rent prices that incentivized your move. The average Londoner allocates the largest portion of their salary to their rental fees, making finding an affordable flat a challenge, you can read more about the average rental fees in London here. When living in the city of London, on top of your rent, other common utilities and bills to pay include, council tax, electricity, gas, water, internet, and TV license. Council tax is a mandatory fee that’s collected to support local services such as rubbish collection, fire service, and the police service. While mandatory, it differs depending on your borough, and reductions are available for certain classes of citizens such as students or if you live alone. Other fees such as electricity and gas will likely cost about £30 each per month, and the TV license is optional if you want access to BBC channels. Grocery store prices are relatively comparable to elsewhere in the UK, with various chains to satisfy your price preferences. For more affordable groceries there is Asda, Lidl, and Aldi, for mid-range groceries, Tesco and Sainsbury's, and lastly M&S and Waitrose are on the higher end. Services such as Numbeo, allow you to view a statistical overview of the average prices of services and products in London. So now you know, one kilo of bananas is likely to cost you £1.11.
Living and Working in London
Due to the high prices of accommodation and flat rental in London, moving on a whim without any job prospects is not the most ideal of plans. To ease your transition, finding a job quickly or having one lined up will be greatly beneficial. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have an existing job offer though, no stress. London is the working capital of the UK, offering plentiful jobs in a multitude of sectors such as finance, education, and public health. Although a costlier city to live in, the higher prices are compensated for by a higher salary. According to UK government data the average salary in London is £8,000 higher. To be eligible for job applications you need to be in possession of a national insurance number, for which you need to apply along with a UK bank account. Another benefit of having a job in London ready before moving is that you are then able to search for flats in proximity to your workplace. The average commute of a Londoner is 74 minutes, for ease of commute, it is best to select a flat along a transportation route directly to your workplace to save money, avoid transfers and delays.
Transport Options in London
The red buses, the tube, the black cabs, transportation in London is iconic, but not for their prices. Oyster cards are the key to navigating London’s public transport, as they can be utilized for the tube, tram, buses, and more. Oyster cards cost £5 for the card and then can either operate on a pay-as-you-go or a monthly basis. Monthly fees vary depending on the London zones you wish to access, with an adult zone 1-2 access card costing £142.10. Buses are an alternative to the underground, but while frequent and a great way to sight-see they are slow and unreliable at the best of times. Owning a car in London is not recommended if you live in central London or quite close, as driving your car through congested parts of London necessitates an £11.50 daily congestion charge. If you’re ever in need of a car on a one-off, Zipcar comes in handy. Zipcar allows you to drive on-demand by instantly accessing a car near you, enabling you to drive for mere minutes or the whole day. Or if you're feeling brave, there is the option of biking, if you’re going to bike in London a helmet is an essential. With the Santander Cycles app, bikes are always accessible to you, perfect for short distances or when you want to get some exercise. However you choose to get around London, keep your curiosity and never forget to keep looking around at your surroundings to discover more of what London has to offer.
If you’re relocating to London or are an ex-pat, the best knowledge of London will come from the people you meet there. Meeting new people and making friends right away is the best way to set yourself up for success in a new city. With Gravity Co-Living, you’ll be able to integrate immediately into a community with like-minded people who have already gone through the process of relocation. Making new friends is essential to moving, as it helps you overcome that initial feeling of isolation. At Gravity, you’ll have access to private living accommodations that are one fee covers all, which is inclusive of all additional utilities, so that you have one less thing to worry about. Choose a home with different amenities such as gyms and communal spaces, so that you’re home has it all, a luxury that few Londoners can afford.