Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the iconic red bus, and the list goes on. Known to many, visited by a large portion and lived in by some, London is a city bustling with life at every street and corner, from shopping to musicals, food markets to fancy restaurants. Everyone and every thing, has a story to tell.
It is easy to dream about living a life in London but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it and acknowledging its relatively high cost of living, everything may still seem a little overwhelming. Thus, here are some noteworthy information that we have for you that could help in your move to London.
Finding a job and settling into a new work environment might seem a little daunting to many. Would you fit in with your new colleagues? Is this the job scope you are looking for?
The top sectors where expats are found to be hired include computer programming, consultancy, healthcare and the financial sectors, which might be an important consideration for you if you are not fixated on the country you are moving to yet.
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.
Finding the ideal house in London might be tricky. Do you want to live in the centre of London, but face having to pay an exorbitant rent? Or would you be alright living a little outside the city centre and spend time travelling into the centre daily? There are various factors to consider but here are some tips that might help you.
Firstly, decide if you want to live in a house or apartment. Houses can cost up to 30% more price wise, although it offers you more facilities such as your own personal driveway or garden. Look to see if you would require a furnished or unfurnished house as well; a house furnished with the basic necessities might be a more convenient option for you depending on how you plan your move.
School and education system
There are mainly two types of institutions in London, namely state (public) schools and independent (private) schools.
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.
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.
A third option that is popular among expats are international schools. 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.
At a higher education level, London is also home to several top universities such as King’s College London, Imperial College London, UCL, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), etc.
Driving licenses and its requirements
Driving in London is often labelled as a privilege by many. In efforts to reduce the congestion and carbon emissions in the city, a congestion charge was implemented from Mondays to Fridays, 0700 – 1800hrs, where drivers have to pay £11.50 daily to drive then. For those of you who love to drive around as your form of commute, this extra cost incurred might be something you want to consider before making the decision to purchase a car in London. In addition, parking costs in London are pretty steep as well, which could increase your overall spending on transport.
As a general rule of thumb, for licenses obtained in EU/EFTA countries, you would be able to use your license up until your 70th birthday. For licenses obtained outside EU/EFTA countries, residents would be able to continue using their current license for a year before they would need to apply for a provisional driver’s license and be asked to sit through a theoretical and practical driving test. For more information with regard to other licenses that you may hold or other special circumstances, click this link to find out more.
Getting around in London is often easy by foot or public transport. Divided into nine zones, zones 1 and 2 are considered central London. Taking the public transport is definitely more affordable as a form of commute as compared to taking the London cabs and driving.
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.
Although the Tube is the fastest way to get around London, it becomes extremely crowded during rush hours and can get stuffy during the summer. You may prefer to travel by bus, especially on days where you want to relax, as it takes a more scenic route and is relatively less packed.
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.
Food and culture
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 Waffles 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.
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! 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. You will never be bored in this city.
A city that never sleeps, London surely has plenty to offer for anyone out there. Are you ready to make London your home?