Monday, 24 November 2014

How to survive London

Many people come to London wanting a better life, to live out their dreams and experience the city of opportunities. From living in London my whole life and meeting many people who have moved to London from other parts of the UK and abroad, I feel confident in sharing with you my tips for living in London. This is particularly aimed at young people coming to London for the first time. Apologies that the first half of this is just about transport but London is such a big city that your life will revolve around transport!

1. Get an Oyster card
You may get a higher salary here, but the rent is astronomical, and then there's the travel. I pay £141 a month on train fares, however if I didn't do this on an Oyster card it would be much higher.

2. Don't waste money on a car...
...which leads me onto my next point!

3. Live near public transport
There is no excuse to be living further than a ten minute walk away from a train station or a bus stop. You don't need to be near a tube station. It is often cheaper to live away from tube stations.

Here are my tips on mainline trains: Southern trains are the worst, South West trains aren't much better, and South Eastern have their problems. Basically, if you have to get the mainline for work leave home well in advance.

4. Be tactical with public transport
Get to know the exits on the trains and tubes, either be the first person off the train or the last person. If you work out which carriage is best to get off at at your station then you should aim to get on that carriage on your way in, it'll be the emptiest carriage on the train!

Also, my top tip is if you need to get from Embankment to Charing Cross, it is actually quicker to walk between the two!

5. London can be a lonely city...
...because everything is so far away! If possible try to live near a station where it is easy for you to get home or near people you know. Travelling from one side of London to the other can take you an hour and a half.

6. Westminster has the cheapest council tax, Kingston upon Thames has the highest
Westminster is not a very practical place to live, Wandsworth is the second cheapest, also a very nice area to live in!

7. Don't go to Oxford Street near Christmas or at the weekend
You literally cannot move for people, it's awful. Late night shopping on a Thursday is much more bearable!

8. Be aware of your surroundings
Take the time to walk around London and get lost in it, this way you will get to know the city. Go to places that you are not familiar with in the daytime first and see if you'd be comfortable there in the evening.

Remember that you are in one of the most desirable cities in the world, so don't forget to check out the landmarks, most of which can be seen for free. Waterloo bridge is the best place to view the classic London landmarks like St Paul's and Big Ben.

9. Pick up a free Time Out magazine on a Tuesday*
Normally there are people giving lots of them out outside train stations – it tells you what's on in London that week. Here is a useful link detailing where else you can find it!

10. Make a conscious effort to go to the nearby countryside or Richmond Park
The nearest countryside depends on whether you live in North or South London. Near South London you can find Box Hill and the North Downs. There are also nice river walks too, such as Kingston to Hampton Court. Both easily accessible by train. Richmond Park is hands down my favourite park in London.
*Thanks to readers alerting me it is Tuesday not Thursday!
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6 comments

  1. Agree with these (although isn't Tuesday Time Out day?). I'd also add that you should abandon all hope of ever owning your own property unless you move out to Essex.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! Have now amended, not sure why I was convinced it was Thursday, but you are right, it is a Tuesday! Very true on the property front! I might look at Essex now you've said that.

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  2. Great post! I've been in London for 10 months now & am still learning :) I love living here.... but I don't love the Oxford Street crowds ha

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    1. Thank you! Yes it takes time, I'm still learning and I've been here 26 years lol!

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  3. London confuses me, or rather the tube does. I've love to be taken round by a local so I don't have to spend all my time looking at a map!

    Amy at Amy & More

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    1. I should take you around London! Walking round is definitely better than the tube! Thanks for reading :)

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