A Survival Guide to Living in London

Every year, many flock to big cities from small towns and villages to live; either this follows long-term planning or comes after falling in love spontaneously with that place or when circumstances require they must stay.

In cases like London and Manchester, they are hubs for entertainment, work and study. However, while those who work or/and live there already may see the hustle and bustle as just day-to-day life, those on the outside looking in, may be quite overwhelmed. Below are a few tips for those who have recently moved to the “big city” and struggling to get to grips with it. The following article has been produced by the good people at SightseeingToursLondon.co.uk to help people moving to London get a head start and ensure you don’t isolate yourself!

1) If you don’t know anyone when you move to a big city, there isn’t much point staying indoors and making it worse. The pizza-deliveryman has other people to deliver to and won’t stay to chat (unless you’re very, very lucky).

The worst thing for your social skills, is to stay in and isolate yourself, especially in busy cities where it can feel like everyone is in big groups of friends or doing something.

Some people who are very sociable at home, move to larger places and just don’t know where to start. So firstly, explore the area by foot. Driving around means you’re stuck to the road and are restricted.

In a place like Brighton, you’ll find many niche or alternative, or just lesser known brands tucked away which you would never know about without walking around. Walking or public transport is also less isolating than driving in your own vehicle.

2) Don’t take the first deal you can think of or the first estate agents you see. On every high street in large cities there are a lot of options to choose from, in addition to whether to buy or rent.

For example, there are estate agents in London on probably every main street, sometimes just next to each other, so looking up the road, the choice ahead of you can be daunting as to where to begin.

Additionally, it can be hard to make a choice as one might be worried that they’re missing out on a deal somewhere else. It can simply be very difficult to split yourself amongst several agents, with viewings to coordinate with each. Perhaps consider going with a company which consolidate lettings from a variety of agents instead to prevent such hassle.

3) Related to accommodation, you may need to take some time get to know what prices are like from living costs to groceries and parking. In densely-populated areas, parking can be a lot more expensive as can fines if you don’t in the correct place.

Finding a place to rent in London can be expensive too so you ought to consider a variety of options such as renting a room or house-share. With shopping, though you may find more choice than you would expect at home, prices can be generally a bit more.

On the bright side, make the most of living in location with more speciality shops and diversify your pallett. With larger cities and more diverse cultures inhabiting them like with London, you’re likely to find hidden away sections of the city, or just streets, where a particular ethnic minority congregate.

You may find certain deals or discounts as you go along so don’t worry if it takes you a while (a reason to explore on foot) but from thereon, budget yourself, by deducting rent and utilities from your monthly income and working backwards to non-essentials.

4) If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to socialising, look at the pin boards in supermarkets, community centres, libraries and any other communal places. If you’re interested in a particular sport, genre of music, subculture, search some forums and find out about local events.

Even the free newspaper would list upcoming events, big and small. When it comes to meeting new people, join groups online through Facebook or just internet forums.

People forget that a bigger city means that there are more options to follow up on interests even if sometimes they’re not in the open and you have to seek out a particular area at a particular time.

5) Be wary that you’re not in your hometown so there are likely new dangers or things to watch out for. This ranges from simple things like more traffic, or certain areas you shouldn’t walk through alone at night.

This can be unusual for those who live in small areas where everyone knows everyone, and you can leave your door unlocked. In the summer months this might not be a problem when it gets darker later, but in the winter you ought to be wary about staying out too late.

Take precautions like licensed cabs, not showing off valuables unnecessarily in public view, or staying in populated areas or routes whenever possible.