Every year, thousands of people move to London from countries around the world to study, further their careers and start families. And it’s no wonder why - it’s a fantastic place to live. Moving to London, whether you’re doing so alone or with a family, can be one of the best decisions you ever make.
As one of the leading providers of quality build-to-rent accommodation in the city - that’s housing built purposely to rent to people like you - we meet people who are relocating to London every day. We think of ourselves as relocation experts, and we’re happy to share a few tips for moving to London to make your start in the city as exciting and stress-free as possible.
The pros and cons of moving to London
Moving to a large city you don’t know in a country you may have never even visited before can feel overwhelming - but from speaking to our residents and other transplants, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
In terms of the benefits, the city’s multiculturalism is a great place to start. London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities on earth, with more than a third of Londoners born abroad and over 250 languages spoken in the capital. That helps to make the city inclusive, tolerant and diverse.
The social scene is difficult to beat, too, with thousands of great pubs and restaurants (including 69 with Michelin stars) as well as comedy clubs, theatres and plenty of other eclectic attractions to go to. The city is also full of some of the world’s best museums and art galleries, like the Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum, many of which are completely free to visit. And, perhaps most importantly, there are lots of like-minded people to enjoy them with!
Add to that the well-paid career opportunities in a wide range of industries, the many different neighbourhoods and villages you can choose to live in and the affordable and reliable public transport and you have everything you could possibly want from the progressive, global city that is London.
Let’s be honest, the weather could be slightly better - but it’s definitely not a dealbreaker. You can expect some wind and rain in the winter, but London is also one of the mildest places in the UK, with summer temperatures that top 30oC. Depending on where you’re moving from, the cost of living can also be a bit expensive, although it doesn’t make the list of the world’s most expensive cities to live in. That being said, you can expect to earn more in London, and with so many different areas to live in, you can always find something that fits your budget - like our affordable homes!
Like most cities, the traffic in London is not exactly free-flowing, which is why 46% of households don’t own a car. It’s much easier and quicker to travel across the city using public transport, which is why living somewhere with easy access to tubes and buses (like Quintain Living) is a must.
Moving to London: Tips for every situation
Whatever situation you find yourself in, there’s a little corner of London for you. Here are a few tips to help you feel at home.
1. Moving to London alone
The first step is to find somewhere to live. Renting can be expensive in London, so lots of people choose to share a house with friends or even friends of friends. This can reduce the cost of rent and utilities, give you access to a higher standard of living space and help you meet new people. Quintain Living’s studio, one-bed and two-bed apartments are perfect for solo Londoners and young professional sharers. They give you access to plenty of communal spaces and events on-site where you can make new friends, and the cost of WiFi and utilities are included in your rent.
When it comes to making friends, there are all sorts of sports clubs, evening classes and interest groups you can join to meet like-minded people, and sites like Meetup can make the process a lot easier.
Another tip if you’re moving to London alone is to make sure you’re near a tube station. The tube is the fastest way to travel around the city, and if you’re going to be commuting to work and socialising in the evenings, proximity to a tube station will make life a lot easier. Quintain Living is well suited for this, with multiple stations within walking distance.
2. Moving to London in your 30s
If you’re moving to London in your 30s, perhaps as part of a couple, then one of the benefits is that you’re likely to have more professional experience and be further up the career ladder. That can make it easier to find a well-paid job so you have more money to enjoy the city’s many attractions. You’ll also be able to afford better quality accommodation.
Most 30-somethings tend to live outside Zone 1 or Zone 2, where rents are at their highest, but still within an easily commutable distance to Central London for work and socialising. West London is very popular as you can get more for your money but still enjoy the thriving nightlife and amenities of areas like Wembley Park.
3. Moving to London with family
If you’re moving to London with young children then your priorities switch around a bit. One of your main considerations is to find a safe area with access to good nurseries, schools and green spaces. You should also think about when you’re going to apply for nurseries and schools, as nurseries in particular can be booked up for months in advance. This is something you may need to do before you arrive in London.
When looking for a home, areas in West London are very popular among families. They have good schools and nurseries and excellent transport links to Central London for work but are far enough away to provide the extra bedrooms and space families need without breaking the budget. They’re also within easy reach of the countryside outside of London.
4. Tips for moving to London from the US
We also have tips for those moving to London from the US, which is a tried and tested migration route. You will need a visa to live and work in London, as you can only stay in the country for six months without one and can’t work at all. You can get a student visa if you’re studying, a skilled worker visa if you already have a job offer and a government-authorised exchange visa for temporary workers. A popular way to do this is through the BUNAC programme, which allows you to intern or work in the UK without needing a sponsor.
Salaries in the UK tend to be similar to those in the US but you do get more paid holiday entitlement - typically at least 25 days on top of the eight bank holidays. You also typically work fewer hours in the UK, although that does depend on the industry you work in.
Something else to think about is that flats in London tend to be smaller than they are in the US. And some apartments, like those at Quintain Living in Wembley Park, are available furnished, which can make your move much easier.
General tips when moving to London
- Rent before you buy - this will give you the chance to find an area you love before you settle down.
- Download the Citymapper app and get yourself an Oyster Card so you can navigate the city via public transport.
- Get a mobile phone or SIM card from a UK provider like Three, Vodafone or O2.
- Try to find accommodation that’s a short walk from a tube station.
- Don’t pay a hefty tenancy deposit if you can help it. At Quintain Living, there’s no deposit to pay (subject to a few checks and approvals) so you can spend more of your money on getting out and exploring the city.
- Tap into readymade social scenes! We put on regular resident events, from supper clubs and intimate gigs to group fitness classes, so you can make friends and settle in more quickly.
Find your London home
Whether you’re moving to London alone or with a family, we have spacious studio, one-, two-, three- and four-bed homes across a range of 10 different buildings. With communal workspaces, free WiFi, all your utilities ready to go, no deposits or fees (subject to approval) and the choice of furnished or unfurnished apartments, we can make your move to London a breeze. Find out why a home with Quintain Living is more than just an apartment and search for your perfect home today.