What’s It Like to Live in London For a Year?
London is a vibrant and exciting cosmopolitan city where there’s always something new to see or do. Whether you want to explore the UK’s rich cultural heritage, take in a stage show or two, or have simply found your dream job in the heart of the city, there are hundreds of reasons to up sticks and move to the Big Smoke.
Thinking of letting a London holiday home and spending a full year living (and working) in London to explore everything the city has to offer? Here’s our guide to what it’s really like to live in London for a year:
Getting around in London is both easy and time-consuming, depending on whereabouts in the city you choose to live. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to modes of transport: Transport for London is made up of a thoroughly comprehensive network of underground trains, overground trains, buses, waterbuses and taxis. That means that, no matter what the time of day or night, you will never have any problem getting back to your London holiday home.
It’s not all good news though. The London transport system is notoriously expensive, overcrowded, and getting from A to B might not always be as easy as you think. Our advice is to choose where you live wisely: the Victoria Line tends to be the fastest in the city, whilst the Northern line is notoriously slow. Choose to live on the same line as your office, and you’ll be amazed by how much time you will save each day.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
If you enjoy fine food then you’ll be in heaven when you move to London. The city is home to restaurants offering every type of world food imaginable. Whether you’re looking for an ultra-trendy pop up restaurant or a Michelin starred classic, London offers everything and more. Popular areas for eating out include Soho and Shoreditch, where you’ll find a tasty restaurant on every corner. In fact, the food in London is so great, and so diverse, that you’ll never want to eat in!
London is famed for it’s diverse and vibrant bar life: there’s almost always something unusual to see and do. From traditional British pubs serving an array of cask ales to innovative cocktail bars, many of the world’s best bartenders live in London. Why not spend your weekends seeking them out? Londoners tend to socialize in pubs and bars, so this is a great way to meet people or spend time with your friends.
Take Advantage of Free Activities
Living in London is notoriously expensive but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of fun to be had if you’re on a tight budget. Take advantage of the abundance of free activities across the capital. Most of the museums in the city offer free entry, including The British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the V&A.
Many galleries also regularly host free events and exhibits, whilst the city’s many beautiful parks and green spaces are great places to relax, exercise and people watch during the summer months. And if you’re heading to London to explore your creativity then why not simply grab your camera and get out of the house? There are wonderful photo opportunities on every corner of the city if you take the time to look for them. If you spend a little time researching the many great activities you can enjoy for free in the city then you can have fun and enjoy time with friends in the city without breaking the bank.
London is Huge
What many people don’t realize when they move to London for the first time is just how big the city is. London is spread across a vast geographical area which means that the atmosphere and attitude in each part of the city are completely unique: You’ll soon find the part of the city that suits your interests best. If you’re looking for underground club nights, regular gallery openings from brand new artists and a gritty, urban feel that Dalston could well become your spiritual home. If you prefer high-end shopping, people spotting and luxury cars then Sloan Square might well be a better match for you.
Don’t just stay in one corner of the city though, even if it is the corner where you feel most comfortable. To do so would be to deprive yourself of the full spectrum of fun that London has to offer, and you also won’t meet a wide range of different people and activities.
If you’re moving to London alone then one of the first things you’re going to want to do is make some friends and build a social group. Luckily, there are 8 million people living in the city, so at least one or two of them are likely to share your interests and passions!
One of the best ways to meet people in the city is through work: post-work drinks with your colleagues are likely to form the basis of your social life. Your workmates will understand the pressures and frustrations of your job, and you don’t have to commute across the city to meet them for drinks. It’s the perfect social construct for the lazy! Another great way to meet people is through a hobby: there isn’t a hobby or interest that doesn’t have a London-based social group (whether you like playing the Ukulele or watching Dr Who) meaning that you’ll immediately have a shared interest, and a great basis to form new friendships.
London Life is Frantic
The pace of life in London is nonstop: London living is frantic. Working hours are long (and generally so are the post-work commutes), weekends are jam-packed with fun activities and catching up with friends, whilst you’ll probably spend all of the hours in between checking out the latest pop-ups, installations, and new happenings.
The problem is that, because there is always so much to do in London, you will feel guilty if you take time out to just stay in your apartment and relax; you will feel like you’re wasting your time in the city if you spend the weekend eating pizza or watching movies on your own. But actually, these weekends are important. If you’re spending a whole year in the city then you occasionally need to take downtime for yourself, or you will burn out.
Explore the History
It doesn’t matter whether you arrive in London as a history buff: most people leave the city knowing a lot more about its rich cultural heritage than they did when they arrived. London was founded in 43 AD, so you’ll find areas of architectural interest from every era situated in the most unlikely of places as you travel around the city.
Architecture from the Roman, Tudor, Stuart, Victorian periods are all still standing in the city, and London is home to four UNESCO sites, meaning that even if you don’t seek out the history of the city, it will find you. Embrace it: enjoy living in such a culturally rich and diverse city, and make its history a part of your everyday reality.
Like anywhere, living in London for a year is likely to have its ups and downs. But it’s important to remember that you’re moving to one of the best cities in the world! Enjoy yourself! Get out there, try new things, seek out new experiences that you might not be able to try anywhere else, and make the most of your time living in London.
When you spend a year living here, it’s likely that the city will hold a special place in your heart forever. In fact, many visitors find they like the city so much that they never leave!