Living in London: a southerner’s view
Living in London feels like living at the centre of the universe. You’re surrounded by the best pubs, clubs, museums and things to do. The public transport is frequently faulted, but compared to t’countryside it’s unbelievably fast and efficient. There are downsides, of course, like extortionate rent costs and rush-hour people crushes, but learn to do it right and your time in London will be the time of your life.
Finding a flat
This is the part of London-living that bursts the bubble for most people. London is expensive, and there’s no getting around that fact. Accept that fact, but also realise that it’s worth the money, and set your expectations by looking around websites like Spareroom and Easyroommate to work out average rent costs. You can decide on a budget from there.
If you’re at the start of your career and on a graduate salary, you’ll probably be sharing with flatmates. Look at it as a good thing: living on your own is boring, and having flatmates is fun. If you already know people moving to London, see if they’re looking for flatmates. If not, there are plenty of flats and houses in London with one room to rent out – just remember to arrange a meeting with your potential roomies before signing a contract. Sites like Spare Room even offer ‘speed flatmating’ events – like speed dating but for people searching for flatmates.
Think about how long you’re prepared to spend on your daily commute, and work out which areas of London meet those requirements. See which tube stations are close to your office and then work your way along those tube lines. Although London is full of great areas that are well-known for their wealth of clubs, pubs and things to do, these places are often incredibly expensive. Pick an area that isn’t traditionally fashionable and I can almost guarantee you’ll pay much less money for much better accommodation.
Finding things to do
You’ll find yourself surrounded by so many weird and wacky things to do. It’s not quite as easy as freshers’ week, partly because everyone isn’t drunk all the time, but use this new start as an opportunity to try new hobbies. Websites like Meetup and Citysocializer are great if you don’t know anyone in London. Try anything from life drawing to a new sport or book club.
London is also full of quirky knooks and crannies in the shape of pubs, bars and restaurants. It’s home to every kind of global cuisine, and if you have dietary requirements it’s the only place to be! The Fitzrovia area of London is especially packed with amazing restaurants and bars, from Vietnamese to vegan buffets, luxury cocktails and English ales.
Come to London with an open mind, try new things and meet new people. It’s like fresher’s, but better: this time you have money and three years’ worth of social skills. Make the most of it!
What is it like living in London for you? Tell us below!
Photo: Davide d’Amico / Flickr