Whether for work, study or simply just because, moving to London may seem like a big change. Don’t be fooled, it is. But once you get past the fast pace, the high rents and all the people everywhere, you will fit right in. Besides, we are here for you, with the best tips and advice, to make the transition as smooth as possible. After all, we’ve been there, done that and are now proud to call ourselves experts in London living.
You may think that more money equals a bigger room, but it is time to factor in the tube zones. The closest you are in the centre, the higher your rent goes for your fairly small room, and we are talking quite high. A good tip, however, is to check where your work is and add the monthly oyster charge to any rent, to actually check how much living there will really cost you. For example, if you live in zone 1 and you can walk to work, you might save more money than by living in zone 3, paying less rent and then spending that money on your oyster ticket. However, if you change jobs, you might want to consider moving.
Talking about moving, most Londoners move every one or two years, either because their rent is too high, they don’t get along with their flatmates or they just need a change. If you can live with friends, you will definitely have a better time at home, but keep in mind that pressing your friends for the rent or the bills might sometimes get a bit tricky. On the other hand, living with strangers can lead to making new friends and finding people you get along with really well. Or not. Accept that you will have some horror stories to tell eventually and try your best to meet the people you are going to live with in advance. Ask them what their favourite music or tv show is and what is there to do around the neighbourhood. If they know a lot about the local area they’re more likely to be outgoing and fun.
London is a big place and going from one place to the next may seem complicated at the start. Finding your way around the tube is fairly straightforward but there are still a few tricks to learn. Certain stations are much closer than you may think so getting off a stop early and walking might even be the quicker solution. You can check out this Geographically Correct Tube Map for more info. The bus network is slightly more complicated, but very useful to know. Start by finding out the routes of the busses that go to your flat, so you can always go back home at any time. Then, do the same for the locations you visit the most. Getting Citymapper is also a life saver, as it will show you every possible way to get from A to B, including tubes, busses, taxi, bicycle, walking and live information on TFL service problems or disruptions to your journey.
You know how to shop at Tesco and Sainsbury’s, but London has so much more to offer. From fresh produce in local markets to food from all over the world, you now have access to specialised shops with groceries and products from numerous other countries. Take advantage of the opportunity and let your tastebuds experience new flavours and ingredients you’ve never used before. Edgware Road is a great place to get Middle Eastern groceries, Golders Green has some great jewish treats and we particularly love Japan Centre at Piccadilly Circus for a selection of fresh Japanese food and groceries. Do try the octopus!
Going out in London may seem like a full time job on its own. Countless restaurants and bars, constant popups and special events, ever changing food trends to keep up with; you can go out to a couple of places every night and still never be done with seeing everything. It may seem like a lot of effort and you may not know where to start, but we can assure you you are going to love it. To keep up with the trends and find out what the best new things to do in London are every week, you should follow the Time Out blog. On facebook like Londonist’s page and keep an eye out for the videos and articles they post to add to your list. If you like special events and unusual experiences, check out these event organisers, who put on regular shows and parties in the city.
While London is full of people, a lot of them new in town just like you, it may seem hard to make new friends at times. Last week we gave you some tips for making new friends as an adult (we know it’s hard), so you should go and check that for more details. In general though, the more people you meet the better. Your new flatmates are potential friends and so are your new colleagues or classmates in university (also see our mature student guide). Taking up a new hobby or class with help with meeting new friends who share the same passions with you and joining your local gym will help keep fit and meet some new people who live or work in your area. Of course, more focused methods like specific websites to meet new friends, such as citysocializer, are a great way to go out with people who are actively looking for new friends and you have the added advantage of having plans to go out instantly. Being able to go online and find a group of people who are going out tonight and just join them, means that you will never need to stay at home and wait for someone to call you and suggest something.
If you are looking to find love, there are many options available for you too. While you have the opportunity to meet someone naturally in any of the above ways of meeting new people, a lot of Londoners just use dating sites to get matches tailored to them. Match.com is a great one for finding love (we usually secure special offers just for citysocializer members, which you can keep an eye out for), CityLifeDates.co.uk, which is specifically London based, will get you in touch with other Londoners looking to meet someone special and TasteBuds.fm will match you with potential partners who love the same music as you. So, as you can see, finding love in the big city doesn’t need to be complicated either.
Whatever you decide to do, moving to London is going to be an exciting adventure, with lots of new things to do and people to meet, so making the most of your experience is the way to go. Don’t forget to say yes to every going out opportunity, try new things and challenge yourself and your limits. You will grow to be a better person for it and will have a full life with amazing people around you.
To start making friends today and go out in London right away, just go on citysocializer and have a look at what socials are coming up.