My Guide To Setting Up in London

Unless you know people who’ve done it before or are moving through an agency, there’s always so many questions you need to find about moving to London. This is not everything, and is entirely from my own experiences. But this is what I think you need to know about setting up in London:

1. Bank account

Most banks require an address, yet for an address you need a bank account. I signed up with Lloyd’s who needed a proof of address from me, but haven’t required it from others. Ask your nearest bank or use the below tip to make your first payment for rent.

2. Transferwise

This is the best way I’ve found to send different currencies and is also how I paid for my first month of rent. You need to be verified before you use it so get that out of the way before you need to transfer. You can also a code (Aussies in London Facebook page or equivalent) to make the small fee cheaper.

3. Finding accomodation

I do not suggest going near a lease until you’ve seen the place as some landlords will try to do the dodgy. Book short term accomodation through a hostel/hotel or airbnb for a month or so near where you want to live and then search through apps like SpareRoom or the various Facebook posts.

4.Finding a job

For teachers who ask me, I do not suggest accepting a job before you’ve moved over. I did that and regret my decision as I knew as soon as I started working that it wasn’t the right fit for me. If you have enough money saved, enjoy exploring while you job hunt.

5.Making friends

If you’re working through an agency there will be social events, which is where I’ve met some of my best friends. Also travelling prior and during your time in the UK & Europe, you are bound to meet others living in London. Other ways are through meet ups or organise your own dinner/gig/etc and post on a Facebook group such as Girlcrew. I’ve met some many fantastic people that way.

6.Getting around

With Uber’s license up for questioning in London, there are fewer drivers and longer waiting times. Don’t rely solely on uber or black taxis. The tube is mostly reliable, but a tad more expensive than buses. It may take a little longer but buses are only £1.50 for unlimited buses in an hour. Also you don’t need to tap off a bus in London, that’s a lesson I learnt quickly.

7.Cheap travel

Some companies that are big for those living in London, that are for the cheaper sort of trips are Travel Talk, Stoke Travel and Fanatics. There are more, but these three regularly have cheap promotions are very popular for expats in London.

8.The Slug

If you’re an Aussie or Kiwi it’s sort of a right of passage. Although saturdays are insanely packed and gross, other nights of the week are slightly less chaotic and you are compensated by cheap drinks. Thursday nights is Bogan Bingo. If you want some crude Aussie humour, so bad and loud that it makes you a little homesick, this is it.

9.Where to live

It all depends on what you want out of London. Most Aussies/ Kiwis are in SW/W London so you’ll see a lot of house posts (SpareRoom is by far the most popular website) about areas like Clapham, Putney, Shepherds Bush, Acton and Fulham. As I was spending most of my time in SW London anyway, I moved there after 6 months.

Each part of London has its own reputation but you can find all sorts of people in all parts of London if you look. Generally these are the stereotypes:

  • East– the typically tougher part of London which is slowly gentrifying. Popular places: Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Westfield, Cumberland rd Flower Market and most pop up stores.
  • South West: Aussies, Kiwis, lots of sharehouses. Popular places: Clapham Common, Brixton, Infernos & most expat social events.
  • West: Good reputation, decent public transport and houses. Popular places: Shepherds Bush, Westfield & Acton.
  • North: There’s not too much going on, although Camden is in NW London. Popular places: Alexandra Palace.
  • South: the only place I’ve heard of is Croydon, which is only because people were complaining about the lack of public transport there. Sorry, I have nothing.

10. How to find out about London life

There is so much going on in London, and once you’ve got a social group you won’t be stopping anytime soon. My favourite to find out about the latest pop ups and events were Timeout and Secret London, and eventually through friends.

If you’re thinking of moving to London and have more questions, get in touch!

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