How to Survive Moving to London, By Yourself
We’re fast approaching my 2 year anniversary of living in London and let me tell you, it has been a tumultuous ride. Moving to a new city as an adult is always tough but the sheer size of the city, high cost of living and its infamously frosty citizens make moving to London especially hard. In fact, I almost packed up and moved back home after my first six months.
However, I persevered through the moments of loneliness, broke-ness and sheer exhaustion and I can now say that I finally feel like I’m settling in. So as I come up to my 2 year London anniversary, I thought I’d take some time to share some words of wisdom on how to survive when moving to London.
Get a Sociable Hobby
We all know that having hobbies is key to becoming a well rounded individual. It will make you more interesting at dinner parties, broaden your horizons and prevent you from falling into a netflix hole after work and on weekends. A social hobby, however, is an absolutely vital step in moving to a new city.
Whether it’s as simple as signing up to a regular boxing class (link to boxing gym post), or joining a networking group (link to a PYT article), engaging in a hobby that allows you to interact with other people on a regular basis, can help alleviate some of those feelings of loneliness that are so common when moving to London. It will give you a chance to meet and engage with like-minded people and also offer something to look forward to each week.
It can also give you a chance to explore a new neighbourhood. As I’m sure you know, London has the highest cost of living in the UK, with everyday expenses costing 15% more than in Manchester and 23% more than Birmingham. Finding a social hobby that fits into your budget may mean travelling out of your local neighbourhood, giving you the opportunity to explore a new neighbourhood.
Accept the tube but maybe take the bus.
The London Tube is a major culture shock. You’re underground for what can be up to an hour per journey. It’s hot, it’s crowded, it’s smelly, it’s claustrophobic; it’s generally not the most pleasant experience, especially if you live on the central line. However, the tube really is just a fact of life in London, after all it is the fastest and easiest way to get around the capital. It’s just part and parcel of the London experience. If, like me, you really cannot get on board and endeavour to avoid the tube at all costs. Take the bus. It may be slower but at least you’re above ground and it’s a marginally cheaper way to get around.
Get out of the city often.
London can be extremely hectic. There’s something about the sheer size of the city, the constant hustle and bustle and the lack of greenery that always makes me feel a little bit on edge here. Personally, I’ve found that one way to deal with that is to get out of the city at least every couple of months. Visit family in other parts of the UK, take short weekend breaks to more tranquil parts of Europe (Barcelona and the South of France are always a good idea) or simply take yourself off to the more leafy suburbs of London for the day.
Understand that settling into London takes time
Moving to a new city is a big change that often comes with other monumental shifts such as a new job and a new place to live. I have upped and moved to 2 other cities all by myself but I can honestly say London took the most getting used to. With my other big moves, it took me about 8 months to fully settle but moving to London took me a good 18 months and it’s still a work in progress. There were several times where I thought about throwing in the towel and trying out a new city but understanding that change is always uncomfortable at first and throwing myself wholeheartedly into my new environment helped me to adjust. Give yourself enough time to truly acclimatise and find your place in the big smoke.
Don’t be fooled by people who tell you London is the greatest city in the UK, the city can be tough. Moving to London certainly isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of beautiful places to live in the UK (and beyond, if you’re adventurous). However, if you’re even slightly curious about London Life, experience is your best teacher. if you are planning on making the move, I hope these tips help you to acclimatise to the dizzying pace of the UK’s vibrant and varied capital.