London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. Perhaps one of the most iconic cities in the world (both in reality and in popular culture), London boasts a rich history and culture, and is known to be one of the leading global cities – over the years – having been crowned as the most powerful, most desirable to live in, most influential and the list goes on.
Read more: Visit our Covid-19 Update – Going to the U.K. page for the latest news about moving or travelling there during the pandemic.
- Tower Bridge
- Palace of Westminster and Big Ben
- Borough Market
We’re Not Fans of
- Unpredictable weather
Average Rental (as of May 2021): £1,580 per month
Well-known to be one of the most expensive cities to live in, rents in London have decreased by 5.3 percent in 2021 compared to last year.
Median House Price (as of May 2020): £478,258
With the increase in rental rates across the U.K., owning a home is now a fifth cheaper than renting a house, and the gap is greatest in London, where homeowners save 18 percent (£3,727 annually) on average compared to renters.
The average deposit for first-time buyers was the most expensive in London, with a deposit of almost £109,000 (as of September 2020).
The average cost of living in London (excluding rent) is £854.07 a month (as of May 2021).
Perhaps something that is often overlooked, London is made up of many distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own unique style and charm. Property prices in the zone 1 district are bound to be more expensive, but if you are willing to travel a little, here are some neighbourhoods you might want to consider: Shoreditch, Greenwich, Stratford.
Utilities + Services
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London saw the strongest growth and accounts for 1/3 of new jobs created in the U.K. over the past decade. In particular, employment has been growing strong across the U.K., hitting a joint-record high of 75.6 percent, while surpassing the average job growth in the UK at 2 percent (as of 2019).
Since 2010, the U.K. government has introduced a 5-tier visa system for those who wish to live and work in the U.K. Do read up the necessary information on the immigration website to understand which visa you are eligible for:
- Tier 1 visa: For ‘high-value migrants’ from outside the EEA (e.g. investors, entrepreneurs etc.)
- Tier 2 visa: For ‘skilled workers’ from outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK (e.g. general work, intra-company transfer etc.)
- Tier 4 visa: For students aged over 16 from outside the EEA who wish to study in the U.K.
- Tier 5 visa: Temporary work visa which allows individuals to work in the UK on working holidays (e.g. charity worker, creative and sporting, religious workers, youth mobility etc.)
Average Salary (as of May 2021): £38,000
Top Industries: IT Services, Consultancy, Healthcare, Financial Services
When getting ready, you would need to make sure that your CV is prepared in the format that the London employers are looking for. If you are not sure what the format is and require some professional help, here are some websites you might want to consider – The CV Centre and The CV Store.
There are various ways where you can start your job hunt. This includes job search websites like Indeed, Monster and Total Jobs, company websites, newspapers, individual advertisements, word of mouth and social media.
The best way to get around London would be through its public transport system. It is the fastest and most efficient mode of transportation around London, and you do not need to worry about extra charges such as Congestion Charge for vehicles driving into central London, and other emission charges.
However, should you choose to purchase a vehicle, ensure that you have a valid driving license and insurance in the UK. A non-UK driving license is valid in Britain for up to 12 months from the time of your arrival into the country.
Average Public Transportation Cost (as of May 2019): £141
Getting around in London is often easy by foot or public transport. Divided into nine zones, zones 1 and 2 are considered central London. Ranging from trains, or more commonly known as The Underground/The Tube among Londoners, to buses and trams, London’s extensive transport network makes almost any place accessible.
Public transport in London operates on the Oyster Card system. We recommend for you to purchase an oyster card which allows you to load daily, weekly, monthly and annual or pay-as-you-go credit on it. This provides for the cheapest fares as compared to single-trip tickets and is the most convenient as it works across most forms of public transport. For more information, you may visit the Transport for London website.
Being a resident in London entitles you to be a part of the National Health Service (NHS), which is the United Kingdom’s public healthcare system. The NHS is extensive and provides every aspect of healthcare, from a General Practitioner (GP) to operations and mental health treatments. However, the NHS is more often than not, “oversubscribed”, which results in long queues, waiting times and delayed appointments, especially for non-urgent cases.
Thus, to avoid these issues and ensure that you have access to medical services almost instantaneously as and when the need arises, you may want to consider purchasing private health insurance. Sites like Medibroker are of great use in helping you find a plan that is tailored to your needs and in the event that you are unsure how it all works, hotlines and advisors are available online to help you make the right decisions.
U.K.’s education system is divided into 4 main parts, namely: primary, secondary, further education and higher (or tertiary) education. It is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16 to attend both primary and secondary education. You may choose to admit your child to a public, private or international school.
Private school system
Private schools are as the name suggests, more expensive, but typically offer a higher standard of education, along with better facilities for extra-curricular activities. These schools are sometimes guided by religion such as Christianity.
Prior to moving on to higher education and degree programmes, students in the U.K. would have to complete the A-levels or any of the required further education qualifications.
At a higher education level, London is home to several top universities ranked in the top 50 such as Imperial College London (8), UCL (10), King’s College London (31), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (49), etc.
Public school system
Public schools are operated by the government and follow a fixed curriculum, with students residing in the area being awarded priority. Researching on public schools beforehand is key before you choose the area to reside in as it plays a large part in determining the public school your children might be going to. Expat children aged between 5 and 16 are entitled to the same education rights as British children, where primary and secondary school education is free of charge.
International School Systems
These schools allow for students to study in a curriculum that is similar to that of their home country, which might make the transition from your home country to London smoother for your children. Nonetheless, do note that these schools charge very high fees.
Food + Culture
London is not just your typical city – home to some of the world’s most renowned musicals and plays, sporting events, museums, bars and pubs, there is an endless list of activities for you to immerse yourself in. Once you have settled in comfortably, you might want to check out Time Out London, Secret London and Evening Standard and dive into the culture and everyday life of a Londoner.
London is also a city rich in culture, with various museums such as the British Museum, Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum all around the city. The best part about this? It’s free! Take a stroll down the iconic Millennium Bridge across the River Thames, which links Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral. If you are into architecture, be sure to check out these attractions too!
London is also home to many great plays and musicals such as the Book of Mormon, Matilda, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the list goes on. Who knows, you might even be able to catch some of your favourite actors on West End, with occasional theatre appearances by stars such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Hiddleston and more. For news and updates, check out West End Theatre for a full list of ongoing and upcoming shows.
Food and Grocery
Average cost of meal at an inexpensive restaurant (as of May 2021): £15
London’s supermarkets offer some of the best selection of fresh produce and groceries at affordable prices. Some of our personal favourites include Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. For a quick grab and go meal, Marks & Spencer has a wide selection of salads, wraps and sandwiches just for you. If you are looking for specialty and organic produce, do drop by Whole Foods Market!
London is definitely a place for you if you are a foodie! From cafes to restaurants, international cuisine to something very British like your Fish and Chips, there is something for everyone.
Food markets are undoubtedly a must visit. Borough market, Camden market and Portobello market are some of our favourites; with a wide array of food from your grilled cheese sandwiches to desserts catered to those with a sweet tooth. Coupled with vintage shops, you never know what you might find on a random Sunday morning.
For a romantic night out after a long week at work, Duck and Waffle is the place you want to be at. Situated 40 floors above ground, this is the perfect place for you to unwind as you gaze over London’s skyline, watching the sunset or night lights depending on the timing that you are there. Don’t forget to make a reservation a few days in advance before you head over! For other food ideas, check out this link. Some of our favourites that are relatively affordable include Dishoom, Patty & Bun and Flat Iron.
Other Popular Cities in the U.K.
Where the Harry Potter series was written. Rich culture and history. A more serene, peaceful version of London.
Home of famed football club Manchester United plus more than a few music stars. Known for its charm and charisma.
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