It’s been 2 years since I ditched the 2 hour commute from my childhood home in rural Oxfordshire, in pursuit of the millennial dream of living in the capital.

Over the last two years there has certainly been a variety of experiences, some expected, others not so much. So I thought I would drop a piece that would help anyone who’s looking to move to London, on what to expect!

There are a few core things that stand out for me…

1. You will NEVER have enough money.

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, only just losing out to New York. Now I have had 3 jobs since I have lived here, earning a large chunk more at each one, and yet still I have no money.

There are a variety of reasons for this;

Firstly, for the amount of rent I pay a month, I could buy a brand new, expensive car on finance. This gets me one bedroom of a two bed flat in up and coming Brixton. The price goes down the more people you share with, which can be handy if you enjoy living with a few friends. However, the saving is not much, paying that extra £100 a month is worth it to live with one other person who I know very well.

Secondly, food and drink is almost double what it is in other parts of the country.

An alcoholic beverage (spirit and mixer), particularly in central London and in some places in Brixton, ranges from £7-£10, with doubles seriously pushing the price up. Food similarly is of the expensive nature, with a cheeky lunchtime burrito going for £8, most likely £10 when you add on a drink. This means that weekends can drain what’s left of your salary very quickly.

Lastly, there is just so much to do in London. Whether its crazy golf in a junkyard, go-karting by London Bridge, one of the hundreds of music/comedy gigs each weekend, the theatre, outdoor cinemas etc etc etc.

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There is something to do, every night without fail. Particularly in the summer, when the solar powered socialites come out to play, your phone will always be buzzing with friends looking to catch a beer by the Thames or in one of the many beautiful parks. One of the best things about London is that everywhere is close, which brings me on to my next point.

2. London is actually quite small.

Although on a map, London is huge, central London is actually quite small. There are amazing transport links across the city, particularly with one of the most extensive underground train systems in the world.

This means that I can travel 7 miles, form Brixton in South London, to Finsbury Park in North London in around 20 minutes. Everything between that is central London, which opens up a world of opportunity.

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This significantly contributes to point 1 as even when you just want to stay in and chill, your friends in North London know its minimal effort to get there.

However, every upside has a down, and in this instance its the commute. My morning and evening trips to work on the tube consist of a sweaty armpit to the face, some ones hand awkwardly pressed up against my crotch and another person intent on finishing chapter one of Game of Thrones, pushing a book under my chin.

London is small, but bursting with people. This means the public transport systems are hugely busy in the morning and evenings, so expect to get close with strangers.

However, business means energy and that’s exactly what you get in London, there is a huge diverse population, all with various cultures, so enjoy it and soak up the vibes.

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3. The swing of the seasons has a big impact

Although it may seem obvious, people have very animalistic tendencies. This is more obvious than ever in London, probably due to the huge amount of people in one place.

Something you can definitely expect when you come to London, is that when the sun comes out, so do the people and you’ll find yourself searching for any rooftop bars you can find, of which there are many!

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Along with some very scenic bars, there are huge grassy parks to relax in and a lot of people who work all day to ensure they can fund their summer evenings, you will find yourself outside with a beer in hand, as you see your bank balance rapidly deplete, it’s a vicious but highly enjoyable circle.

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So be prepared to collect your acorns like an Autumn squirrel because, come the summer, you’ll need them.

However, the winter is equally as charming with plenty to do. Many art galleries, museums and events keep you occupied year round. Winter sees a variety of German Christmas Markets pop up all around town, which keeps the revellers warm with Mulled Wine and German Sausages.

4. Prepare to be decisive.

Many people, including myself, are indecisive. Whether it’s what to eat or where to go, I struggle to make decisions. You simply cant be this way in the big smoke. Everywhere you go you are spoilt for choice. The best restaurants, events, culture, art and theatre you could imagine is all on your doorstep. So when your friends come to visit and ask to ‘go out for dinner’ make sure you have somewhere in mind, cause otherwise you could be walking around ‘hangry’ for ages. Its not pleasant, trust me, I’ve been there.

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So if you’re looking to move to London, save some money, bring some good shoes for walking, some shorts for the sun, make the decisions and most of all, bring an open mind because there is a huge amount of culture to embrace.

Published by Alexander Hobern