We hope the guide below helps with this process so you don't come here feeling like a fish out of water.
Where to live...
It all depends, of course, why you are moving. If, like many, you’re coming to the Big Smoke for work, it’s always sensible not to live too far from the place you’ll likely be commuting to and from five days of the week. London’s tube network may be able to fit on a small A5 piece of paper, but it sure does cover a lot of (under)ground. For example, crossing from the far East to the far West will take you at least ninety minutes on the tube and won’t be the most cost or time effective arrangement.
Just because an area is not on the tube map, doesn’t mean it’s not within reach of the city. In fact, popular commuter areas, especially for families, tend to lie in the West and North West of London in more surburban areas where frequent fast trains journey into central London stations like Waterloo, Paddington, Kings Cross and Victoria in under thirty minutes, and which has the M4 main road within easy reach.
But wherever you decide to root yourselves, price will more often or not be an important factor to consider.
The general rule is that the most expensive to live is in Central London (the most expensive being Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge) and as you move further out, property buy and rent prices become cheaper. Of course, there are some outer London ‘desirable’ areas that defy this rule, such as most of the South West London region in towns like Richmond and Wimbledon, but it’s a general rule of thumb to bear in mind.
It’s all very well setting your sights on the most central locations on a London map, but many suburbs out of the city are an excellent base that actually provides a more beneficial balance between hectic London life and a more peaceful rural community. Thoroughly research the neighbourhoods or districts in and around London and identify what they are good for, always bearing in mind price and travel time/cost. Our Relocation page signposts the top London areas to relocate, while our location guides are a good place to explore for yourself.
What accommodation to live in...
Most people in London choose to live in an apartment as opposed to a house, as it’s generally cheaper and gives you the option to rent or house share with others. But if this is your first relocation to London, sorting out utility bills, agency fees, moving in dates, council tax and furniture takes a lot of pre-planning and can be an overwhelming hassle, especially if you’re moving from abroad or may only be staying for a few months. This is why a lot of people now choose to stay in Serviced Apartments for their relocation to London, whether its for professionals or whole families, for the whole of their stay or just for a few months to get their feet firmly on London turf.
You may already be aware, but Serviced Apartments eliminate this hassle by including these sorts of charges, like a hotel does, as well as providing you with a spacious environment and a homely experience. Fully equipped kitchens, living and dining areas, separate bedrooms and bathrooms- all fully furnished with amenities, furnishings and facilities- are just a few typical features that you’ll find in them. Maid service and wireless internet are commonly inclusive too, and there are no hidden charges. Simply turn up and instantly feel at home. What's more, help is always close by when you choose this accommodation option.
Click here to browse our wide range of serviced apartments in London, or follow our locations pages to browse our apartments in a specific area.
Knowing the area...
Chosen an area? Sorted out accommodation? Great. Whether it’s before you arrive or as soon as you get here, make sure to spend a day or so exploring the surrounding area of your new home. This doesn’t just mean pinpointing the nearest shops, pubs and bars for your evening tipples, but also locating and registering with a local dentist and doctor/GP. Health Care in the UK is rated the best in the world under the government-funded National Health Service, so UK residents only have to pay for prescriptions, dental care, some tests and some specialist treatment. Private healthcare is also available in London, and if you’re not staying in London for long, at least find out where the nearest walk-in or emergency services are.
Relocating often comes with not only the troubles of not knowing the area, but also of not knowing anyone. Joining a gym or becoming a regular at your local pub may be two ways of easily getting to know people. There are plenty of communities, clubs and social events all over London to meet people, whatever your hobbies or interests. Just to name a few, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of sport, film, book and religious social organisations around the city, and more information on these can be easily found online or at local community centres.
If there’s one thing you’ll be doing in London, it’s travelling. London is a big city and, whether you like it or not, is not somewhere you can simply walk from A to B all of the time. Thankfully, public transport is plentiful and there are tubes, trains, trams, buses and bike hire at your service.
We recommend that you:
1. Study the TFL website inside out for everything you need to know about travelling to, from and within London, and download some of their apps (if you can) in case you ever get stuck on the go.
2. Get an Oyster card online or from any station kiosk and save money on ever journey.
3. Don’t drive unless you are living well away from the busy London streets as you’ll be hit with bad traffic, congestion charges and hefty parking costs.
4. Walk the streets of London and it always seems like everyone has somewhere to be. Rushing around is a characteristic of London life, and if you dawdle or stand on the left hand side of a tube station elevator you’re likely to be tutted at – you have been warned.
You've arrived in London, the world is your oyster. Moving to London is exciting, so make the most of it by keeping up to date with what’s going on; there’s only so much time the generic London attractions can fill. Pick up the Time Out Magazine every Tuesday and sign up to a few London blogs to pick up tips, guides and ideas on what to do. Ours will be able to help you out.