Your time at University has been and gone, Halls of residence are a thing of the past and it’s now time for you to step into the world of actually being an adult. After graduating, the next logical step is attempting to get yourself a job and then move into the City and what better City to move into than the City, London.
So here it is, a graduate’s guide to moving to London, with all the answers to your questions and extra tips to get you by as you make your move into the Big Smoke.
Where to Live:
London is generally split up between North, East, South and West, and the stereotypical belief is that West and North London are seen as more desirable than the East and the South. However, in reality, there are desirable and non-desirable places to live in all four. There is definitely up and coming areas in the East, the North is home to more of the suburban areas, the South defies any pattern by having some of the best and the worst parts of London and the West ranges from expensive townhouses in Notting Hill to up and coming professional houses in Ealing. The property market is changing so rapidly and new and up-coming areas to live are emerging all the time as well as previously unpopular and affordable places gradually becoming more popular and increasing in price – good places for graduates to look into.
Rent in London is notoriously expensive, but prices do range hugely depending on where you’re living, for example, a room in a flat share in Paddington (zone 1) could cost around £1100 per month. The high prices are simply due to London being such a sought-after place to live, which just goes to show how great London is.
Here are some rough guidelines to follow regarding where to live and costings:
1. Try not to have pre-set ideas about certain areas because a really run down area could be only one street across from an area with luxury townhouses – a short distance can make all the difference.
2. Prices to rent generally increase the closer to central London you get, making zone one almost exclusively the home of the extremely wealthy.
3. Living closer to a station usually comes at an additional price, with tube stations being the most sought after.
Non-UK or EU Citizens:
If you’re a non-UK or EU citizen, make sure get yourself a visa (tourist Visas don’t allow you to live or work in the UK so get this sorted before you even think about moving).
Sharing vs living on your own:
Sharing a flat is a great idea when moving to London. Everyone you meet will share a house with someone and it’s a great way to make friends and get to know different people. It’s obviously a lot cheaper than having your own place too, which will come in handy for a graduate who’s trying to settle into a new city and a new job.
Although it is definitely possible to go out for a meal in London for a hugely extravagant price, it is also definitely possible to do the opposite. There’s such a wide variety of places to eat out and if you’re going to the right place, you can eat out a few times a week without really hurting the bank balance, and with so many different places to go, you’ll never have the same meal twice! From foreign food markets to cosy cafes, London really does have it all. Pop-up restaurants and street food markets are also great places to go with friends and a perfect graduate alternative to a trashy night out at Uni, so here are some great ones to try this summer.
Pop-up restaurants: The Land of Bamboo (Canada Street), La Terraza (@ Number 90, Hackney Wick), Soho Food Feast (St. Anne’s Church), Rio Boteco (@ The Institute of Light, south Hackney) and C food (Camberwell)
Street Food Markets: Sunday Markets at Brick Lane, Street Feast Model Market (Lewisham), Dinerama (Shoreditch), Druid Street Market (Bermondsey) and Kerb Market (various locations)
London has so many different transport services that it is extremely easy to get around and there’s always multiple options. Trains run regularly and the Tube, although busy, is definitely one of the fastest and most efficient ways of getting around the City – but be sure to get yourself an Oyster card for cheap trips between stations. Black Cabs are everywhere and Uber’s can be called at the click of a button, the London bus system is efficient and a great way to see more of the city, Boris Bikes and bike racks are always around the corner and for the cheapest option of all, there’s always good old walking.
Building a social life:
Just like starting University, starting a new life in London means you need to once again form friendships and build yourself a social life. The first thing to do is to get to know the people that you’re living with. If you thought there was a lot of people to meet at Uni, just wait till you get to London… by introducing old friends to new friends, social circles expand hugely and you’ll be meeting new people every day. Being pro-active is so important, use different websites like timeout, meetup.com and the Londonist to keep up to date with what’s going on around you, join a gym or a class and most importantly say yes to everything, go to your work drinks, a friend’s party, or an opening of a new bar, meet new people and see how amazing your London social life can be.
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Some helpful last tips:
Find a park that’s close to you and make it a regular visiting spot, especially if you’re living and working in central London, or you’ll begin to forget what grass looks like.
When you go on the underground, look at the yellow lines – where the paint has faded is where the doors open.
Download the London Apps. Although Apps might not control the world where you come from, in London, Apps solve all problems so make sure you have access to all the necessary ones (namely: Uber, City mapper, Tube map)
While commuting on the tube during rush hour don’t be afraid to shout for others to move down the carriage in order for you to squeeze your other leg on, only walk on the left-hand side of a steep escalator if you’re not afraid of falling, and if you’re stuck in a crowd and late for work, put your head down and let your elbows do the talking.
Save money on food by shopping at Turkish supermarkets, they have good food and great prices.
Visit all the tourists sites as soon as you can because once you settle in, you’ll never get round to it.
Get stuck in. The only way to get to know London is to explore it, so go to new places, try new things and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.
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