Having reached 8.982 million people back in 2019, London is, without a doubt, one of the most populous cities in the world. But don't worry! It's also quite vast, covering 1,572 km² in total! Fortunately, most of these millions of people speak English, as London is the capital city of the UK, the country that essentially gave birth to the language. Notably, despite having been part of the EU before the controversial Brexit referendum happened, the British capital never really used Euros as an official currency. There were certain places that accepted them, but they were quite limited. The official currency in London, as well as the rest of the UK, is the Pound Sterling.
There are many words you can use to describe London's public transport: efficient, busy, and funnily enough, iconic! Even before you moved here, you've probably already seen the famous red-hued double-decker buses in the city. Though mostly used by tourists nowadays, it's still a common way to commute here. The black taxis of London are just as memorable as the yellow cabs of New York, providing quite a sophisticated look on the public vehicle. And if you want to hail one, you can easily use an app to book a ride. However, it's the underground metro system, commonly referred to as "the tube," that most people use to get around here. It's arguably the busiest system in all of London's public transport.
There are so many different districts in London that it's very hard to choose which one to call home. At least, it may seem like that at first. The process becomes much easier when you know what type of lifestyle you'll want to live when you get here. For instance, if you want an exciting bachelor/ette-type stay where you can go out as often as you can at night, then pick SoHo. Want to stay at an urban place where everything you'll ever need is just a hop and a skip away? That pretty much sounds like the Covent Garden neighborhood.
It's no secret that the living costs in London are practically through the roof. The British capital is one of the most expensive cities in the world after all. It'd be foolish of you to think that you can survive on just a couple of Pound Sterlings a day. What if you wanted to live in a luxurious long-term rental, for instance? Expect that you'll have to pay around £1,320.00 to £5,000.00, depending on which you choose and how many bedrooms your flat has. Buying a home in London is even more expensive, especially since the price per square meter ranges from a minimum of £5,000.00 and a maximum of £16,000.00!
If those living costs overwhelmed you a bit, don't worry! All you really need is a good job here and you'll be fine. In fact, you're probably only moving here because of work, aren't you? That is the most common way to get legal residence here. And with its stable job market—76.4% employment rate and 3.9% unemployment rate—you'll still have many opportunities to find one in the event that you'll need to. Luckily, the process of finding a job in London is easy and diverse enough. You can either get one off the internet, enlist the help of a recruitment agency, or rely on your network!
Needless to say, when it comes to education, London has quite a prestigious reputation. Not only is it home to the most respected universities in the country (and the world), but even your younger kids can go to prominent schools here as well. Whether you go to an international institution, an old-school boarding school, or a proper English-language school, rest assured that your kids will get a high-quality education. One that will open a lot of doors for them in the future. But don't expect any of them to be cheap! They're all in London, after all!
How about healthcare? What should you expect about healthcare in London? For one thing, the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) is what runs the system and keeps it intact for all of the UK. The Kingdom is divided into four different countries: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. And while each runs its own healthcare in fairly different ways, they all operate under one big system. Here in London, you're lucky! The city itself is home to many great hospitals. Particular stand-outs include St Mary’s Hospital (known for its maternity wards), the Royal Brompton Hospital (famous for its lung and heart treatments), and the Priory Hospital London (gives attention to mental health).
With a city as busy as London, don't expect it to be the safest place in the world. As of this writing, the British capital has a crime rate of 62.21%, which is already considered high. In the past few years, crime in London has been surging at a rate of 68.01%, causing massive concern among its citizens. But don't let this worry you! Not all of London is as dangerous as these rates imply. Though there are certain areas you're better off avoiding to stay safe. The West End area of Westminster is one of them. Knife-stabbing is quite common here so don't roam around this part, especially at night!
Before you ride your plane going to London, make sure you already know how the UK's tax system works. It might take up a huge chunk of your time trying to understand it when you're already here. The fact that you're legally moving to London means you'll automatically become a taxpayer of the UK. So you have to contribute your fair share else you want financial or even legal trouble. It's the taxes that help keep the healthcare and other national systems intact. It makes sense to ask you to pay for them if you're gonna benefit from them during your stay here.
As a major financial hub, know that setting up your own bank account here is a wise move. You'll not only get to manage your money better but rest assured the most respected banks in the city will take care of all your finances properly. At the same time, you should also join a local mobile network here. You can't rely on wifi spots in order to use your apps while you're in the city. A local SIM card will give you strong wifi data, especially if you're mobile plan is top-notch!
Source: Flickr.com/ Christian Scholz
Relocated to London and it's your first time living here? Don't worry! As long as you do what this guide tells you, you'll be fine. In fact, you might even realize that moving to the British capital isn't as intimidated as it seemed! It's as easy as pie when you know exactly what to do!