Wish I had brought:
Wish I had left at home:
1) School books
2) Valuables (I was burglared in first week in London)
When you first move to London, you definitely want to live somewhere in the center, preferably the west end side of it, as this is where you will find the majority of other expats.
I live in a flat, which is typical for the vast majority of expats who live in central London. I have also juts purchased a house, however it is in Zone 3, maybe 7 miles south of central London, where house prices are still somewhat affordable. The majority of expats however live in central London, and only the hedge fund manager and investment bankers among them can afford to buy property in central London.
I have moved several times since first moving to London. I now live near Marble Arch, which is very central (right next to Hyde Park and to Oxford Street). I've used Loot several times. More recently, I've been using London Property Watch.
Housing costs are definitely higher here, significantly so. To rent a 2-bed apartment in a central location, you have to count with at least £400 per week. Here is a link to average rental prices in London by location.