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Posted 20 Nov 2023

Living In London: 18 Things To Know Before You Move

buy / house / moving

Dreaming of living in London? This guide covers what you need to know to make the most of your time in the capital.

There’s plenty to know about living in London. It’s one of the most exciting things you can do, in my opinion, but at first glance it can seem a little overwhelming!

No need to worry though – in this comprehensive guide I’ll share all you need to know before moving to London.

One of the most diverse cities in the world, people from all walks of life call London their home. Here in the capital, there really is something for everyone.

Before we get started, if you’re buying somewhere to live in London, here are the questions to ask when viewing a house. For renters, here is all you need to know about the right to rent check and the other required processes.

Without further ado, here’s my advice on what to know before living in London!

#1 Transport

London boasts an extensive transportation network, catering to every travel or commuting need. It means that wherever you choose to live, there will always be several ways to reach another part of the city.

First of all the London Underground, commonly known as the Tube, connects the city with a comprehensive network of lines – including the brand new Elizabeth Line, opened in 2022.

The Overground provides suburban rail services, while the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) serves the Docklands area. The frequent (usually red) buses are a cheaper, street-level option.

Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber offer other alternatives, and cycling is also encouraged with dedicated lanes.

London’s well-connected train stations facilitate national travel and even some international journeys via the Eurostar. Airports include Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and more!

#2 Size

One thing that often amazes people living in London is just how big it is.

For example, it has nearly nine times as many people as Birmingham, the next largest city in the UK. In terms of square miles, London is double the size of New York!

It means that there’s always something new to see, no matter where you choose to live in the capital. For a cross-city journey, allow plenty of time as it’s not uncommon for it to take over an hour to get from one part of London to another.

#3 Jobs

With so much going on in London, it’s unsurprising that there are usually lots of opportunities to find work.

The main business district is The City – it hosts one of the world’s leading financial centres – while the biggest technology hub is at Tech City near Old Street.

Since the pandemic, many businesses now offer hybrid working, meaning that it’s no longer essential to live a short commute away from the office. That gives you much more freedom over where to live in London.

#4 Education

From historic institutions like Eton College to innovative art schools such as Central Saint Martins, there’s a broad spectrum of opportunities for you and your family to learn in London.

At the higher education level, London has renowned universities like Imperial College London, University College London (UCL) and the London School of Economics (LSE).

Internationally recognised for academic excellence, it combines tradition with modernity for students of all ages, creating an inspiring environment for students at all levels.

#5 Health

The NHS provides accessible medical care for everyone, with numerous hospitals and clinics across the city.

Additionally, private healthcare options, such as Bupa and HCA Healthcare, offer more personalised and paid-for services.

There are plenty of pharmacies too for over-the-counter or prescription medication.

#6 Pace

Visitors from abroad or elsewhere in the UK are often surprised by the fast pace of life in this city.

London’s pace of life is dynamic and fast, reflective of its status as a global metropolis. The city buzzes with energy, from the brisk pace of commuters to the lively street scenes.

But while the city is known for its hustle, London also provides pockets of tranquillity in its parks, creating a balance between the rapid urban rhythm and moments of serenity.

#7 History

London’s history spans the centuries, from its Roman roots to mediaeval times and beyond. London is adorned with iconic landmarks, each telling a story of the city’s rich history.

The majestic Tower of London, a mediaeval fortress, stands alongside the grandeur of Buckingham Palace. Buildings such as the historic Westminster Abbey and much more modern Shard contribute to the city’s architectural landscape in vastly different ways.

Meanwhile the London Eye, a giant observation wheel, offers breathtaking views of the Thames and central London. From there you can plan which historic part of the city to see next!

#8 Museums

Most of London’s museums are free to enter, making them one of the best ways to pass the time in the capital.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that they are among the most visited attractions after the Crown Estate, according to ALVA. Popular museums include:

  • Natural History Museum
  • The British Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • The National Gallery
  • V&A

There are well over a hundred museums in London.

#9 West End

Stretching across Covent Garden, Soho and Leicester Square, the West End is renowned for its vibrant theatres, musicals and other world-class shows.

It hosts a wide range of productions, from timeless classics to contemporary performances.

The longest-running musical is Les Misérables, running since 1985. Other famous shows include The Phantom of the Opera, Blood Brothers and Abba musical Mamma Mia! 

Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap is the longest-running production in the world, having played without pause since 1952 (except for approximately one year due to COVID-19).

There are nearly 40 commercial theatres hosting shows like these, plus many more hosting traditional plays – Shakespeare ones, for example. Then of course there’s the Royal Opera House and lots of theatres spread across the rest of London!

#10 Pubs

Whether you drink or not, pubs are a favourite British pastime and some of the most famous boozers are in London (and yes, they all serve non-alcoholic drinks too).

There’s the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street, dating back to 1667 and exuding mediaeval charm. Meanwhile the well-known Ten Bells near Spitalfields connects to Jack the Ripper lore. 

For literary fans there’s The Sherlock Holmes Pub on Northumberland Avenue, plus The Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden which is a former haunt of Charles Dickens.

And so many more – there are well over 3000 pubs in London!

#11 Eating out

Many of these pubs will serve food but if you’re looking for something else, it’s safe to say that London has you covered.

There are restaurants everywhere – close to 15,000 according to the World Cities Culture Forum. For a dinner experience to remember there’s the likes of The Ivy. 

But if street food markets are more your thing, head to Borough Market. And of course the city is also well covered by the food delivery apps such as Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats.

#12 Music and nightlife

Explore the vibrant music and nightlife scene in London for an unforgettable experience. The Southbank Centre offers classical concerts with a stunning city backdrop or you could venture to Soho for jazz at Ronnie Scott’s.

Shoreditch is known for its eclectic bars and live music venues such as XOYO. Dive into the iconic Camden Market, hosting diverse music spots and legendary clubs like KOKO.

If you’re ready to dance the night away then the likes of Fabric and the Ministry of Sound are renowned electronic music havens. 

#13 Shopping

Where else to start but Oxford Street, nearly one mile long of nothing but shops. Among many retailers and department stores it includes the Selfridges flagship store.

Other well-known shopping areas include Knightsbridge, home to Harrods and Regent Street, with the oldest toy store in the world Hamleys. There are two huge Westfield malls, one in the east and one in the west.

Want something off the beaten track? Try the market stalls in Camden, Hackney, Shoreditch, Bermondsey, Marylebone – the list goes on!

#14 Parks and open spaces

Don’t confuse London for a concrete jungle – there is a vast amount of greenery to explore.

These green escapes provide not only a breath of fresh air but also recreational havens for residents and tourists seeking tranquillity amid the bustling city life.

There are eight royal parks covering nearly 2,000 hectares:

  • Richmond Park
  • Bushy Park
  • Regent’s Park
  • Hyde Park
  • Kensington Gardens
  • Greenwich Park
  • St James’s Park
  • Green Park 

Then there are several huge council-owned open spaces including the likes of Victoria Park and Battersea Park.

Going for a long walk? I also recommend visiting Epping Forest in the east.

#15 Sport

These parks are a great place to get fit and every day you’ll see people running by or playing a game on the grass.

Away from the parks there are plenty of bookable pitches and courts, plus gyms to suit every budget.

Prefer to watch sport? There are several Premier League clubs based in London, Wembley hosts international football and you can catch other sports at stadia such as Twickenham or The O2.

#16 Events

All year round there are big events happening in London, with something for everyone. In terms of sport there’s the London Marathon, Wimbledon and The Boat Race on the Thames.

For culture, every August Bank Holiday weekend there’s the Caribbean-inspired Notting Hill Carnival, or prefer something quieter? Head to the Chelsea Flower Show – whatever your interests are, there’ll be an event for you in London.

And of course every year ends with a spectacular New Year’s fireworks display on and near the London Eye. You don’t need to queue up all day to see them either, they are visible from far and wide!

#17 Weather

British weather is unpredictable and London is no different – while there’s no getting around it, none of that really matters when you’re in a cosy home you can call your own!

Yet at the time of writing, Heathrow in London actually has the record for the fifth hottest day ever in the UK – 37.8 degrees on 31 July 2020. 

Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with occasional light snowfall in winter, when temperatures range from 2 to 8 degrees.

#18 Cost

As tends to be the case with capital cities, London is more expensive to live in than other parts of the country.

However, that means that the salaries on offer are often relatively higher too, while for many, hybrid working is bringing down the cost of commuting, lunches and so on.

Watch out for council tax, as the rate varies considerably depending on which borough you live in. Some are eligible for discounts – for more information check the government website.

Final thoughts: Living in London

I hope this article has helped you prepare for what to expect when moving to London. Now you just need to pick the right place to live!

Take a look at our latest portfolio if you’re ready to buy your new home in London. And if you’re looking to rent, here are all our homes to let.

Elsewhere on our blog we answer a wide range of questions about living in London.

If you’re dreaming of a life in London, we are here for you! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any queries.

GOOGLE REVIEWS

Simon has been great throughout all the process. He is extremely professional and reliable, I would definitely recommend him.

Luca Baldini

05/01/2024

I was really impressed by the service I received here, in particular from Jack. He was 'on it' from the start and took his time in understanding what kind of property we were after and our other requirements. He was knowledgeable, professional and gave us an all-round easy experience and personal service. To be honest, I'm still pinching myself that he managed to find us such a great place to rent. Would highly recommend.

India Semper-Hughes

02/15/2021

Simon is truly a special estate agent. He's knowledgable and cares about the relationship with customers going the extra miles to inform properly and not to rush in his viewing. He makes you feel extremely taken care of and guided alongside the process.

Davide Cavagnino

02/08/2024

Simon is one of the best estate agents I have ever worked with. He really cares about looking after his clients and properties and makes the whole process easy and stress free. Would highly recommend

Manal Shaker

02/15/2023

Simon is absolutely fantastic to work with. He is authentic, honest and trustworthy. As first time renters in London, Simon explained everything to us and remained accessible throughout the entire process. Definitely the best agent experience we have had.

Jackson Smith

09/15/2023

Easy, quick and smooth experience overall.

Ana Maa

02/15/2023

Simon was extremely professional and a pleasure to work with in securing a flat in London. Would certainly recommend to all

Tommy Griffin

04/25/2024

Simon was very accomodating and helpful throughout the rental application process

Brett Felsenthal

02/15/2023

The service received from Simon was excellent. From ensuring all maintenance jobs were attended to, all legal requirements were adhered to and actually finding the tenant. A very seamless process. Would highly recommend.

Jennifer Nursiah

02/15/2022

Very professional and offers excellent service. You will be well looked after. Impressed with the technology and quality of virtual viewings. Thank you Simon!

Arta Alfere

02/15/2021

Simon is great to work with, super friendly and responsive. I would highly recommend house hunting with him!

Kelly Lenihan

02/15/2023

I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot ch

05/13/2023

This is truly a unicorn of an organization! Simon is approachable, thoughtful, and extremely knowledgeable about his property. He made the entire process completely painless from the viewing through to signing the lease. He’s incredibly communicative and ensured that our rental was finished to the highest standard of cleanliness and repairs. We are now the proud tenants of the most wonderful home and are so grateful that we found Simon. 10/10 service, no notes!

Michaela Zamloot

10/15/2023

I recently had the pleasure of working with Simon, and I must say, he exceeded all expectations. Simon's professionalism was evident from the get-go, and his friendly demeanor made the leasing process an absolute breeze. What truly impressed me was his lightning-fast response time to all of my inquiries. No question was too small, and he always made me feel like a top priority. If you're in need of leasing assistance, look no further than Simon. He's the epitome of excellent customer service and professionalism.

Laura Giersdorf

03/06/2024

It's been a great experience renting a flat through Simon, he is always very kind and helpful

Tijana Markovic

02/15/2023

I engaged Simon and Fine Living for the legal work on letting my home, his knowledge of the lettings market and the legal aspects made me feel very comfortable using him. We’ve got a great tenant and Simon is available should I need him for any assistance.

Kirk Smith

02/15/2023

Simon was fantastic as both a lettings and sales agent. Very communicative and flexible in his approach.

Chloe Nankivell

02/15/2023

I had a very smooth collaboration with Simon who was reactive, a good adviser and kind. Thank you for the great service!

margot chollet

05/15/2023

5 stars at least! Moving abroad with a property in London and a busy life I wanted someone to deal with my property. Simon has been amazing as he is personally taking care of everything. He is quick, he explains what I do not know and he is very professional. He takes on the responsibility and take actions. 100% recommended

Erika Felici

02/08/2024

Simon is fully hands on and on top of everything. Has made my life so easy while being an overseas landlord.

Roxanne Cohen

12/15/2023

Renting our first London apartment through Simon was an incredible experience! Handling everything from abroad was made effortless by Simon's exceptional assistance. He accommodated our requests promptly, addressing all queries without delay. Our experience was flawless, and we're immensely grateful to Simon. We highly recommend his services to anyone seeking to rent in London, especially from overseas.

Zvika Weksler

12/15/2023

Simon has been an excellent professional. He was very helpful and trustworthy since the first time I visited the flat. He went out of his way to make sure my needs and the landlord's were met and the lease signed as quickly as possible. In the uncertain environment of the London property market, having Simon's help was invaluable.

Nicola Speranza

05/15/2023

Simon has been a great guide and support throughout our tenancy. He was always available, helpful and he managed the communication with our landlord perfectly.

Paul Biard

08/15/2023

The whole process was a breeze, and everything happened in a blur. I moved from a foreign country and Fine Living was able to get everything done within a week, from answering my first message to handing over the keys. I absolutely recommend!

Merwane Drai

02/15/2022

Positive experience working with Simon & team, from the start with the viewing, they were very responsive and timely in getting all the my questions answered and documents sent during the letting process. Would 100% recommend their services!

Joseph Chung

02/15/2022

Seriously knowledgeable, very reassuring and the friendliest chap you could hope to meet. Goes well beyond "just" an estate agent. More like a high end property consultant that can talk about investment decisions, interior design and everything in between. Highly recommended!

Dipta Malik

05/07/2024

Simon manages a rental flat for us and we very much enjoy working with him. His service is exceptional. He takes care of everything for us and we feel totally reassured that our property is in great hands. Any little issues our tenants might have, such as small repairs etc are dealt with right away in an efficient and professional manner. We recently had a change of tenants and Simon did a fantastic job of marketing the property and finding us excellent new tenants. He is proactive, communication is excellent and he is a lovely guy to work with too! Highly recommend.

Sarah Faulds

11/15/2023

Simon is professional, pragmatic and efficient. He gives us great confidence that our properties are being managed well.

Richard

04/11/2024

I've known Simon for quite a while now and his expertise and effort to attend to clients/tenants queries and problems are second to none. Simon is efficient, which comes from his years of experience and therefore things get sorted quickly. In a time where things are so fast paced, it's nice to know there is someone competent in charge dealing with the situation.

Pete-Sam

02/15/2023

We noticed a significant difference when our landlord change from our previous management company to Fine Living. We received information and response to our inquiries very quickly and when needed, we were able to communicate more effectively with the landlord. We felt that Simon cared not only about the landlord but also us, the tenants.

Alejandra Cordero

02/15/2023

Excellent service, would highly recommend.

Kirk Pereira

02/15/2022

Simon was a great agent. Understood what we were looking for, excellent communication and a very nice guy to work. Would highly recommend.

Luke Russo

02/15/2023

Can’t thank Simon enough for helping us secure our first flat here in London. He was super helpful during the whole process and was always available for any questions. We are really happy!

Abby Wilson

10/15/2023

An absolute pleasure to interact with Simon. A true professional with a mastery of the London property market. Very knowledgeable on all his properties, with high quality virtual viewings tailored to the current climate. Highly recommended.

Alfie Ashton

02/15/2021

I would highly recommend Simon and Fine Living to anyone looking for a professional, attentive and transparent real estate agent to work with. Simon went above and beyond what I expected in order to successfully complete the sale and always did so with a helpful and respectful manner.

Alan Casey

02/15/2023

Excellent service from Fine Living the second time around. Always kept updated & the process was thorough & seamless. Would highly recommend!

Jennifer Nursiah

02/15/2023

We've been working with Simon for a number of years now and he has always been efficient and pragmatic on each letting, doing his best for both the landlord and tenant. He has also overseen works for us and is thorough in his inspections. Overall, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with.

E M

04/11/2024

Jack and Simon done an incredible job working around the current restrictions with the pandemic and managed to secure a sale on our property within months. They took on all the strain and pressure of securing a sale within a tight timeframe and made us feel at ease. They took every precaution to ensure we were safe during viewings and ensured everyone followed strict rules to ensure our safety and the safety of others. Both were great at communicating and offered constructive advice throughout that helped secure our sale. Thank you both for everything

Amal Jaber

02/15/2021

Simon’s service was top notch. Professional, quick to respond and a great mediator between me and the landlord. Definitely a good experience overall. 🙌

Isauro López

09/15/2023

Simon is the most reliable trustworthy letting agent you can find! Paying attention to all details and doing fantastic job!I know him for 5 years, did few flats with him and all went smoothly. Try yourself and see.

Yael Epstein

02/15/2023

Really smooth move in process, Probably the best I’ve experienced so far living in the city! It’s been really nice having Simon/fine living as our estate agent - you can really tell they look after the tenants which can be quite unheard of nowadays.

Fleur

03/15/2023

I recently purchased a flat through Fine Living and I couldn't be happier with the service I received. From the very beginning, the communication was outstanding. They kept me informed every step of the way, promptly answered all my questions, and were always available to address any concerns I had. The entire process was smooth and stress-free. Simon and Steve were professional, efficient, and made buying a flat a positive experience. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to buy or sell a property.

K L

05/31/2024

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