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Living in London | Honest Opinions

I remember dreaming of living in London when I was younger. Now that my dream has become a reality, and after living in two London boroughs, I have decided to unleash my honest opinion on living in London, England.

By People! Just say Something!Published 3 years ago 9 min read

Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in another city? London is infamous around the world and desired to be inhabited by millions. Before living in London, I lived in Scarborough, a seaside town in North Yorkshire, a county in the north of England. I have now entered my second year of living in London and have begun to adapt to my new environment. Since moving to London, I have moved to a new house in an entirely new borough; worked various jobs in multiple boroughs, and experienced life in the city both in and out of the pandemic. Once you live in London, you begin to adapt to its energy and learn its secrets. Here is my honest opinion on living in London, England.

Cost of Living

The first factor that all UK residence will tell you about London is its cost of living. Cities are usually more expensive to live in, especially the country's capital cities, and London is no exception. It is by far the most expensive city to live in the UK and, according to CNBC, has risen from 10th to become the 6th most expensive city to live in the world in 2020. Rent prices vary from borough to borough; however, none fall lower than those outside the city.

When I first moved to London, I lived in a district called Norbury in the borough of Croydon with my partner and two close friends. Having roommates in London lowers living costs which as you can imagine, is a great help. Our rent for a three-bedroom house was £1700 (roughly $2322), or £425 ($580) each. The area, I must admit, was very sketchy. It was not an area that you would want to walk back from work at night. Luckily, we signed a one-year contract that allowed us to move to a better borough once we became accustomed to what suited us in London.

London boroughs are entities of their own. Each borough serves their residents differently, so discovering what borough best suits you is a matter of doing your research before the move. Thus, it is best to have a steppingstone into the city to live in first before finding the perfect place. It's a simple case of trial and error.

I have since moved to Wandsworth Town, a small district in the London borough of Wandsworth. The district is, in fact, a district inside a district. Wandsworth Town lays inside the district of Fairfield such as the district of Battersea. I prefer to call my area Wandsworth Town rather than Fairfield as it is my local station's name and the far more well-known title when talking about the area.

Wandsworth Town is similar to a small village surrounded by the city. It has lots of local shops, cafes and independent businesses that bring a wide variety of choice when shopping. The area is cleaner than my previous district and is a five-minute walk away from the river Themes which I love to visit whenever I can. To gain these district perks, I sacrificed living space and moved to an apartment rather than a house at a higher cost. Our three-bedroom apartment's rent is £1800 ($2450), or £450 ($610) each. Despite the higher rent, the Wandsworth council tax is significantly lower than Croydon's. Council Tax is a district tax you pay to your local council to pay for maintenance and district services, such as road repairs, bin collection etc. In Croydon, we would have to pay £149 per month while in Wandsworth, we pay £85. The council tax rates were a significant factor in finding our next home. Living in a borough with lower council tax rates than others does save a lot of money, and Wandsworth has one of the best council tax rates in the country.

When looking at Utilities, London has some bonuses that save me a couple of pennies. For example, our property uses Community Fibre, a company specifically ran for Londoners, as our internet provider. They provide fast broadband at a low price. It is the same for our gas and electric bill from London Power; a separate organisation ran by Octopus energy tailored to London's high living costs. Finding these deals can be tricky, but once you know where to look and what to look for, it slowly becomes a treasure hunt to find the best deals to save you as much money as possible.

We have now signed a three-year contract for our property in Wandsworth, and I cannot wait to explore what else it has to offer. I cannot venture out of my home in the current climate due to the new variant that has spread through the UK, so until then, I am stuck in my apartment missing the garden space in my previous property.

The City Life

The city life is like no other in the UK. London is a city that does not sleep and is in continuous development. You think you know the city well, then tomorrow comes and your whole perspective shifts. The constant hustle of the residents runs like clockwork. I knew that Londoners are miserable and awkward, but now it is more apparent than ever now that the tourists have vanished. It is strange to only see Londoners on the tube and around the city's touristy parts, its quieter. On the plus side, there is seating space on the underground!

There is an energy present in London not found anywhere else in the world. It fuels everyone that lives here to continue working no matter what and hustle wherever. The sheer number of ways to make money is incredible. It is no wonder why so many come here from all around the world. You have to have a powerful status to rival cities like Paris and New York. The sooner you get up, the more you will get done in London. With most shops opening early, it is not uncommon to welcome the morning before sunrise.

London is well known for its West End, countless Galleries and prestigious events that happen throughout the city daily. All you need is an app like Eventbrite and London presents to you the numerous things to do. There is something in London for anyone, and many events are free to attend! It is hard to be bored if you know where to look. It hurts to see the city life crippled by the pandemic. I cannot wait until I get the chance to explore the city again.

There are plenty of parks, or commons, around the city for people to enjoy. You will always find the joggers passing by, reminding you how lazy you have become since the new year. But no worries, there are plenty of dogs to pet around. In seriousness, the commons around the city are a great place to unwind and step outside the metal jungle. The city is safer than most cities around the world, and as guns are not a big issue here in the UK, the worst that can happen is you get startled by a local chav. However, I would not advise walking in the dark allies; you never know who, or what is there.


The most commonly used form of transport is the London Underground. I am not surprised. The efficiency of the tube is incredible for a city as big as London. The most I have waited for a tube to arrive was 15 minutes, and strangely that still feels like forever. On the other side, the usual waiting time between each tube in rush hour is 3 minutes. The London Underground is world-famous, and many have taken inspiration from its design. With its constant development since the 19th century, and now with the Elizabeth Line soon to be added, the London Underground serves its fellow Londoners every day of the year and is a national treasure. If you connect your Railcard, a discount card for train travel around the UK, you will get 33% off your tube fare on the underground, which comes out cheaper than the bus in off-peak hours!

The second most convenient mode of travel is the bus. I do warn of the midday rush hour traffic. If you are to ride through the city centre, expect to add another 30 minutes to your journey. It is bad enough without the tourists around. Also, you may find the local nutcase sat a seat behind you. You only pay £1.50 for unlimited use of any bus in London for 1 hour, which comes in handy if you travel across the city and need to change a couple of times.

Many people forget that London does have an overground service called, well, the overground. These trains run throughout the city, however, are most commonly found in the southern boroughs. I honestly do not know why the tube is so prominent in the north and the overground in the south, I would much prefer the underground spread throughout the city and the overground supporting travel in and out of London. It is the most significant factor in why I moved out of south London and more central. Remember, TFL does not run the overground services, so your journeys price may vary, and your oyster may stop past a specific zone or station, so do your research before heading far out of the city.

Since the pandemic struck the world, many people turned to bikes to travel around the city to avoid catching the virus on public transport. There are plenty of bikes throughout the city that can be used for very cheap, charged by the hour. Also, as of writing this, it is free for the first 20 minutes, so do give them a go! Recently, there has been a mode of transport that has gained some popularity in the city. There is an increasingly high number of electric scooters in London. As they are permitted to ride both on the road, bike paths and pavement, they are the safest mode of transport right now. I cannot wait as in a couple of days my electric scooter will arrive. This way, I will save cash on public transport as well as on charging it. I have a set monthly electric bill, so it does not affect me financially. It also self-charges when you press the break! So cool!

If you feel like not doing much walking and want to be driven around the city like a king, you do not have to look far, London has every transport app available. From Uber to Ola to catching a ride with your local Dominos delivery guy, there is always someone ready to give you a ride. The prices are not too bad either, with discount codes sent to customers weekly, so it is best to jump between apps if you are a frequent user of these modes of transport. However, be careful, since the pandemic began car transport services have become prime hotspots for the spread of Coronavirus, so make sure to protect yourself and sanitise whenever you can. Also, wear your masks!

That is my honest opinion on what it is like to live in London, England. I cannot wait to see what will happen in London once the pandemic is over, most likely a colossal city party, but we shall see. I see myself living in London for quite some time, with the plans of buying a house either in the greater London area or just outside the M25. I also wish to complete my Master's degree in London, so there is still much to do before moving on. Until then, expect more Honest Opinions in the future!


About the Creator

People! Just say Something!

Quirky Writing created by Artistic Creativity and the power of AI with the goal of learning something new every day!

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