London is a bustling, busy city that can also be quite lonely. Since moving to the UK, I have spent quite a bit of time in London and recently made it my home.
Here are my top ten tips for living in London:
- Carry hand sanitiser wherever you go. Public transport is the way to go in London. Keep your hands clean by using hand sanitiser after hopping off the bus, tube or train. It’s a great way to avoid getting sick.
- Get used to being in people’s personal space bubbles. Once again, public transport is the way to get around in London. Sure, there are heaps of cars and taxis on the road, but if you want to get round London hassle-free, than public transport is the most reliable! Everyone has the same bright idea – however, in rush hour that means that you are often stuck sniffing someone’s armpit (unwillingly of course).
- Find those quiet and peaceful parks. London is luckily blessed with a lot of green spaces. Hyde Park, Green Park, the list goes on. There are many places that you can go to to sit down and have a bit of a chill out session. Hyde Park is beautiful in all weather. I’m hoping it snows (just a bit to make everything beautiful) so I can see what it looks like in the snow. After being in the hustle and bustle of London, it is nice to take some time out by wandering in a park.
- Walk. It is so easy to catch public transport, however London is very walkable. I’ve got to know a lot about the city by walking. I know that if I’m at Piccadilly I can easily walk to Covent Garden. I know that if I’m in Notting Hill I can easily get to Kensington Palace. If you are new to the city walk everywhere.
- Join a club. Since London can be quite lonely if you have moved there by yourself, my suggestion is to join a club or a meetup group. There are ones that do Scrabble evenings and ones that do Treasure Hunts. I did a treasure hunt in Westminster once and it was so much fun. It’s a good way to meet people – not necessarily friends though. It’s just a nice thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. I really want to start a Jane Austen Book Club – I was very surprised that there was no such book club set up already!
- Go flatting. In order to save money on accommodation and living costs in London, it is very important that you go flatting. There are many different options – you can live with a landlord/lady or you can flat with friends/strangers (who will become friends). The best thing to do is to go an view a couple of flats and then make your decision – you don’t want to rush into anything (rent is usually paid on a monthly basis and you need to ensure you have enough money for a security deposit and the first months rent).
- Get ready to spend a lot. London isn’t cheap. I make just enough to have a small social life and pay my rent/food and transport costs. Obviously there isn’t much opportunity to save. However, I am here to experience everything the UK and Europe has to offer.
- Always take an umbrella. I carry an umbrella with me at all times. I prefer small ones that can fit in my purse.
- Always take a bottle of water with you. Every time I go out I take a bottle of water with me. Even in Winter. I like to stay hydrated and I think the petrol fumes make me thirstier…I don’t know. A lot of people I know always take water with them or buy some at Tesco (39p for a bottle).
- Get an Oyster card. I prefer using Oyster cards, however if you have a contactless credit/debit card you can use one of those as well. I like to use Oyster so I can keep track of how much I am spending on transport. Oyster can be used on Tube, Overground, DLR, Trains etc. If you aren’t a resident of the UK you can get a visitor’s Oyster Card.
- This is a bonus one. I think ‘Top Ten’ sounds better than ‘Top Eleven’. But, download the Citymapper app. It tells you which lines are closed or delayed etc. And gives you the quickest route to your destination – via walking, bike, uber or bus/tube etc.
I hope those ‘Top Ten Tips for Living in London” help you out! Whether you are just moving here or if you are coming here on holiday.