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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in London 2024
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7 Tips for Living in London

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Advice for people moving to London or thinking about moving there.

This is a must read if you're moving to London or thinking about moving there.

Living in London as an expat or digital nomad can be an exciting and enriching experience. The city is a vibrant mix of history, culture, and modernity, offering a plethora of opportunities for work and leisure. However, it can also be a bit overwhelming, especially if you're new to the city. Here are seven key tips to help you navigate life in London and make the most of your time in this dynamic city.

1. Understand the Cost of Living

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. From rent to groceries, transportation, and leisure activities, everything comes with a hefty price tag. It's essential to budget wisely and be prepared for the high cost of living. For instance, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around £15-£20, while a monthly travel card for zones 1-2 on the London Underground costs £138.70. However, there are ways to save money, such as shopping at budget supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi, and taking advantage of free attractions like the British Museum and Hyde Park.

2. Get to Know the Neighbourhoods

London is a city of neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. For instance, Shoreditch is known for its hipster vibe and vibrant street art, while Notting Hill is famous for its colourful houses and the annual Notting Hill Carnival. Meanwhile, Camden Town is a haven for music lovers and vintage shoppers, and Covent Garden is a popular spot for theatre-goers and foodies. Spend some time exploring different neighbourhoods to find one that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

3. Master the Public Transport System

London's public transport system is extensive and efficient, but it can be a bit confusing for newcomers. The city is served by the London Underground (also known as the Tube), buses, trams, and overground trains. An Oyster card or contactless payment card is the most cost-effective way to travel around the city. It's also worth downloading apps like Citymapper and TfL Go, which provide real-time travel information and route planning services.

4. Embrace the Local Food Scene

London's food scene is diverse and exciting, offering everything from traditional British fare to cuisines from around the world. For a taste of classic British food, try fish and chips at Poppie's, or Sunday roast at The Harwood Arms. If you're a fan of Indian cuisine, Dishoom is a must-visit. For those with a sweet tooth, don't miss the chance to indulge in afternoon tea at The Ritz or Fortnum & Mason. Remember, eating out in London can be expensive, so consider cooking at home or exploring street food markets for more affordable options.

5. Learn the Local Etiquette

Understanding local etiquette can go a long way in helping you fit in and avoid awkward situations. For instance, when using escalators in London, always stand on the right and walk on the left. Tipping is customary in restaurants, with 10-15% of the bill being the norm. And remember, while Londoners are generally polite and reserved, they appreciate good manners and respect for personal space.

6. Stay Healthy and Active

Staying healthy and active is crucial, especially when you're living in a busy city like London. The city offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, from jogging in Regent's Park to cycling along the Thames Path. There are also plenty of gyms and fitness centres around the city. Additionally, the National Health Service (NHS) provides healthcare services, but it's advisable to have private health insurance for more comprehensive coverage.

7. Get Involved in the Community

Getting involved in the local community is a great way to meet new people and feel more at home in London. There are numerous clubs, societies, and organisations that you can join, depending on your interests. Volunteering is another excellent way to give back to the community and make new connections. Do some research and find a group or cause that aligns with your values and interests.

Living in London can be a thrilling adventure. With its rich history, diverse culture, and endless opportunities for work and play, it's a city that truly has something for everyone. By following these tips, you can navigate life in London with ease and make the most of your expat or digital nomad experience.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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