Things I wish I knew before moving to London

Like Samuel Johnson once said “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life” And this is one quote I always refer back to when I think of London and the 2 years I spent living there. There was never a dull moment or a quiet Friday night, even when I sadly moved on due to visa restrictions, I never felt I would find the same love for another city. I learnt a lot about not just London but myself and there are a few things I wish I had known before my time there was over.

 

  1. You’re here to have fun not make money

So you’ve arrived in London and eventually you will have a job and be paying your rent, and like the other 8.7 million people in the city you will be struggling to save for everything and anything, but its important not to forget why you are there. You chose to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world for the experience not the money. No ones getting rich on 7 pounds an hour, so screw the savings account and drink an over priced pint, cause at the end of it, you wont want to trade those memories for a 1000 pounds.

 

  1. Stop saying you’ll do it, and just get the bloody monthly Oyster Pass

I debated this for way too long. If you’re working a Monday- Friday job just get the monthly pass. I found myself choosing to walk for 30minutes, trying to save an extra couple pounds, and avoiding going out anywhere that wasn’t in my area. JUST GET THE BLOODY PASS. You’ll end up saving saving money and time, it’s just one less thing to stress over.

 

  1. You’ll always need an emergency jacket

This might seam like an obvious one but trust me the weather here can fool even the most skeptical. The weather can change in a matter of minutes, and it you ask me the weatherman is playing a sick joke on the city, and deliberately reporting the wrong forecasts. It might say sunshine all day, with a low chance of winds but you can bet your bottom dollar (or pound) there’s going to be a blizzard on the day you don’t bring a jacket.

 

  1. The British know how to drink

Being an Aussie we can hold our liquor pretty well, I have been witnessed holding down 5 tequilas, 2 vodkas and a handful or flaming Sambuca’s and still making it in on time for my shift the next day (Looking like the cat dragged me, but on time none the less). But from one binge drinker to another, do not challenge a Londoner they may not look tough but after many years of training and pure breeding they will bring fair game to the table.

 

  1. It will take you 40 minutes to get anywhere in the city

London is a huge city with millions of people buzzing and bustling to get to their next stop so plan your trip with extra time because a in many cases you will be stuck behind some dordeling tourists who will think that walking really slow and stopping right in front on the exit is okay…oh… and don’t get me started about people who stand on the left side of the escalator !! and this will probably take me to my next tip

 

  1. You’re going to become a rude person but, that’s okay

It maybe something in the London water, or maybe something in the air, but everyone seams to be in an insane rush and soon you will be too. You may actually have nowhere you need to be, but you’re going to get well pissed off if anyone gets in your way when you’re trying to get there. You will become invisible to waving elbows and shoulders, and soon enough you’ll be the owner of those jabbing elbows and shoving shoulders, and not long after that enough you will regret your decision to go to Oxford street at 5pm on a Friday because you know you may actually have to knock a few people over to get down into the Tube.

 

  1. Its expensive but not unaffordable

Yes you know it, I know it, we all know it! London is expensive. I’ve heard it a million times but really it’s not unaffordable. You don’t need to be a millionaire and majority of the city’s people aren’t. So yes, you’ll probably have to give up on paying for extra ‘Guac’ and opt for instant noodles or like most Londoners grab a 3-pound meal deal at Tesco’s for lunch. But 8.778million people are managing to live in the city so you can too.

 

  1. Take advantage of the free shit

There is so much free things you can do and see in London. A lot of people don’t realize it. And given you’ve just moved to the city, and probably don’t have a job or any sort of disposable income, I would definitely recommend you check some of it out:

 

There is really so much to do, here is a list:

 

National Gallery

Brittish Mueseum

Houses of Parliament

Greenwich Park

East London StreetArt

Free food events almost on every weekend

Borough Market

Museum of London

Kensington Gardens

Queens house

National Portrait Gallery

Sky Garden

Bank of England Museum

Museum of London Docklands

National Martitime Museum

The Anaesthesia Museum

Wimledon Common

Richmond Park

Changing the Guard

Abbey Road

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Portobello Market

Science Museum

Sir Johns Soane’s Museum

Temple Church

Wallace Collection

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  1. City mapper is your new Bible

I wish I had downloaded this when I first arrived. I found myself lost so often, that I refused to go for walks on my lunch break, as it would take me an extra hour to find my way back. I found this to be the easiest and most reliable way to get anywhere in the city. Google maps ain’t got shit in comparison. This amazing App is available in other cities too, so definitely check to see if your local city has it.

 

If you are interested in App’s that I recommend click here to see my must have travel apps

 

  1. The weather’s not that bad, so stop complaining!

I’m originally from Australia and have therefore had a lifetime of great weather, and still didn’t find the weather unbearable. Yes it got cold and I even saw a little snow while living there. And it did rain fairly often, but the weather there is really quite temperate compared to other cities. Dublin a close neighbor of London was by far worse with 80% rain. Toronto hits temperatures of -30, and Sydney gets golf ball size hail, and winds of over 170km per hour. So you’ll survive a little rain.

 

  1. It’s Worth it!

London is such an amazing city, with the potential to give you experiences unobtainable anywhere else. It may not be the easiest transition, but you wont regret it.

 

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I hope you liked my post, if there is anything you think I should add, let me know in the comments below

Happy Travels!!

20 Comments

  1. millyjayne17

    You nailed London !! It’s so weird being from London I don’t even think about these things as they are just a way of life to me now but you literally had me dying at everyone ! So true! And being in Australia now, I see how everyone is so nice on public transport.. it’s bizarre !! Hope you enjoyed my home town x

  2. Rachel

    Great post. I was in London for 4 months for a study abroad program. Even in 4 months I was unable to visit all the places you listed. London is my favorite city and my favorite places to visit were the Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the British Museum.

  3. Lydia

    London seems so exceptional and this is probably one of the best guides I’ve read for there. Plus, those tips are more than useful and I am definitely saving your post. How many days would you recommend staying in London to see all the highlights?

    1. Bootsandbag

      Hey Lydia, thank you so much for the feedback ! 🙂 there is honestly so much to see and do, I would say a week and a half will cover the sites and will give you some time to explore the streets yourself. Thanks again for the comment !!

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