Post # 1
My husband’s job is asking him to move to London for 3 months, and it looks like I can go with him. We live in the states, so it’s a schlep, but it sounds like a great opportunity! We have traveled a lot and have been all over the world, but I’ve never been to London!
So, I have a few questions for people who live there or know the city well.
1. Realistically, how much do you have to spend monthly to live in a decent apartment in the city? He would be working in Westminster, so we would want to be fairly close to there.
2. Any chance we could find an apartment that will let us have a 55 pound dog??
3. Is it runner-friendly? We are both runners, and I will likely train for a marathon this fall, so I’d like to be able to safely run alone (I don’t go in the dark or wear headphones) or ideally find a good running group.
4. Any tips to making friends? I work from home, so my social network is really important to me and I hang out with friends all the time. It could be kind of isolating not knowing anyone, and 3 months isn’t very long to make friends!
Post # 2
RunnerBride13: London is quite a pricey city (but quite awesome as well); will your husband’s company help with the flat hunt / help pay for it? <br />1, just to give you a rough idea, my teacher friend lived in London for the past 12 months and paid 800 pound/month for a room he sublet from a lady about an hour away from the center; my other friends is paying 900 pound/month for a room in a shared house… so since you’ll be probably wanting to stay on your own & maybe more central, that will be substantially more.
2, i guess the more “rural” you’re willing to live the easier it might be with a pet. (just another thing to think about: I’ve heard of customs quarantining pets for a certain time before they are allowed into another country; maybe check up on those regulations for bringing pets to the UK)
3, there are many people running through the streets (you know, next to traffic & tourists); i wouldn’t like running/exercising this way, but would chose a park to run in…(Hyde Park…)
4, you could check out facebook groups dedicated to activities in london / making friends in london…
Post # 3
Hi I live in the UK and go to london a lot in fact we got engaged on the balcony of our favourite hotel over looking the Thames and City lights. Lots of people run around that area lots and lots it’s in Rotherhide directly opposite Canary wharf and there’s lots of decent flats houses etc.. It’s a tiny bit out if London but Wesminster is acceptable by boat and tube from there. Good luck you’ll love it, digs should be no problem with right landlord
Post # 4
I used to live in London and used to run all the time. There are so many parks and it is actually a very runner friendly city as long as your route isn’t at peak pedestrian times.
This site has a useful link about bringing your pet but is it really worth the distress for your dog for 3 months? https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview and https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69502/pb13582-bringing-pets-to-uk-120229.pdf
As PP mentioned rents and costs of living are high in London. Some villages outside of London are an easy commute and would be great for a pet and for meeting people especially if you join in on some village groups and hang out at the pub!
Post # 5
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter's Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
Westminster is very easily accessible by the Tube – it’s very central so anything nearby will be expensive. I lived in London for eight months and loved every second of it! I was out in Canada Water, South of the river – not far from Rotherhithe which a PP mentioned. It’s an old dock area – we lived right on the water – and it was a great place to run, lots of canal paths and little green spaces. It was a few years ago now so I can’t give you a cost estimate, but it was pretty reasonable by London standards. As an area it would suit you because Canada Water tube station is on the Jubilee line which goes direct to Westminster and it’s under ten minutes, station to station. There are heaps of apartments in the area, so you would hopefully be able to find one which allowed dogs. Enjoy it, I love London and can’t wait to go back!
Post # 6
RunnerBride13: Sorry to start with negativity, but London is exceptionally expensive in terms of housing because there are very limited numbers of properties available and a lot of competition. Some places are let the same day they are advertised, and some don’t even get advertised as the estate agent has a waiting list.
Usual rules in the UK for private rental are no pets, no smokers, no kids. But some will allow animals by negotiation. I have no idea what the quarantine situation is though or how long that takes.
Most rental agreements are 6 month minimum, so you may end up paying for more than you need.
You may want to consider moving out/away from the centre for a more reasonable price, although you would then need to commute. There is the tube and buses, trains, docklands light rail, etc.
The Centre and North West of London are the most expensive parts.
Personally I like Greenwich as an area – Greenwich park is beautiful and people seem to run there. 2 bedroom flats start from about £1000 per month. Try http://www.Rightmove.co.uk
I lived in Greenwich for a short while caring for a relative, and it had a more laidback feel than some places. It also felt fairly safe and friendly to me.
Plenty of people run in/around London. Either through the streets, along the river or in the parks.
As for meeting people you could try Meetup.com, or facebook groups. There’s loads going on, so you’d easily be able to meet people with similar interests by joining a group – perhaps a running group.
All of that aside it sounds like an exciting opportunity – and if it were the other way round and I got the chance to live abroad for a while I’d be making it work! Very best of luck.
Post # 7
As far as meeting friends go, try Meetup groups and CouchSurfing.
Sounds like a great adventure. I love London. Best of luck finding the right situation there.
Post # 8
Housing wise – I live Zone 4 (about an hour’s commute to work) and my teeny 1 bed flat costs £950 (we went for quality, rather than size!). It all depends how fussy you are about the upkeep of your flat really. Westminster (and anywhere close to it) is extraordinarily expensive – you would need a good £2000 a month to rent somewhere decent. With a dog that size you would likely only be allowed to rent somewhere with a garden, pushing up the price even more. Sorry to be a doom monger, but it would be best to leave the dog at home I think! I’ve rented about 10 different places in London, and none have allowed pets.
The average commute in London is an hour, which speaks volumes for the cost of living in the centre of the city. I would look docklands definitely as they have a lot of more reasonably priced housing. It’s worth noting that a monthly Zone 1-4 Travelcard (which covers tube and bus) is £175 ish, so bear this in mind when choosing where you’re going to live, as transport isn’t cheap!
Running wise, London is great for that! You’ve got the parks (Hyde Park, St James Park, Green Park, greenwich etc) but also the canals and docklands where a lot of people go running too. In fact, if you decide to live slightly further out, a company has started doing led ‘commuter runs’ where they transport your bags on specific routes, so you could even run part of your commute each day! (http://homerunlondon.com/)
Making friends wise, I’m afraid London isn’t renowned for being a particularly friendly city when you first move there, but people are pretty open if you put yourself out there! I volunteer at sports events, and that’s how I met a lot of people here. You could come join in if you like and I can introduce you to people! Let me know if you need any more info and I’m happy to help.
Post # 9
Kellym84: Thanks for the info! I saw that Home Run thing, but I work from home haha! Can you explain the Zone system? I have heard of that, but don’t really know what it means.
MissLemon: Thanks! I think we may look into a corporate rental that is 30-90 days for that reason- I can’t imagine a private renter wanting to rent us a place for 3 month. But I assume that may mean we can’t take our dog!
j_jaye: That’s what I thought too, but it’s actually not that difficult to take a dog after the 2012 law reforms. You have to have a microchip, rabies vaccine (in that order), and 21 days later get a pet passport. If you follow those rules, no need for quarantine. Alternatively, we can find someone to stay at our house. Of course, we would try to choose the less distressing for our pup 🙂
Kili: I agree, running in a park > city streets!
I guess I should have mentioned that we are well prepapred to pay a @*$% ton for housing. My husband’s company is getting like $15,000 USD/month for him being there, so that should be plenty. We should know the details this week, so I may ask some more questions! Thanks ladies!
Post # 10
RunnerBride13: Definitely! So the zones are basically cost areas for travel with TfL (transport for London).
Zone 1 is very central London, going out to Zone 6 (and a few additional areas you can use TfL services in, but it gets a little confusing, and I would worry about further out than Zone 6 because that’s hardly even London!). If you look at a London Underground map online, the zones are nicely laid out. When you’re looking for a flat in London, the ‘nearest station’ info will be for Rail and Underground, so you can check which zone somewhere is in from that 🙂
Post # 11
My top tip would be don’t forget that the UK has a much more developed train network that the US. A flat anywhere near Westminster would be extremely expensive as it’s a very pricy area, but it is near to both Waterloo and Charing Cross stations which gives you lots of opportunity to commute from the country into the city (if you don’t want to be in Central London). My friend lives in Hampshire and his train to Waterloo takes 40 minutes.
For making friends, I would join classes / church / volunteer groups etc.
Post # 12
RunnerBride13: 1- your husband’s company should be providing an expat package, which would include housing
2- since it is only temporary I would seriously consider trying to find a family member or trusts friend to take care of your dog until you return. Being checked in the cargo hold of a plane can be both dangerous and terrifying for dogs. I wouldnt put my dog through that unless it was a permenant move.
Post # 13
I would plan on leaving the dog behind. If you can’t find a friend or family member to look after him, check with your local animal rescues, as you may be able to find a caregiver via their foster network. Many airlines will not ship a pet if there is a connecting flight, or on nonstop flights if the ground temperature is below or above a certain range, as it’s deadly to the animals to wait on the tarmac to be loaded into cargo. Depending on where you live and the date of your travel, you may end up at the last minute being denied the pet transport.
London itself is very pricey but the public transportation system is very efficient. You may want to look a bit further out, perhaps even towards the midlands, as an hour’s train journey can have you in an area where rentals are a quarter of London prices. A quick train ride and a hop across on the underground each commute could save you thousands.
Post # 14
RunnerBride13: I lived in london from canada for 7 years. It’s a great city. I’d look for a flat on a tube line that goes close to your husbands work and in zone 1 or 2; once you go past those you’re looking a longer commute (or train) not a deal breaker if you were living there for longer but for three months you might as well live close to the action. North of the river is generally a bit more expensive than south of the river, but i’ve lived in pretty much all corners of the city over the 7 years and each have their pros and cons. For Westminster, I’d look for flats in Fulham, St. John’s wood, Baker St, angel, South Kensington, or you could go south like clapham or oval.
Pretty much zone 1 is very walkable between tube stations. it might look far on a map, but realistically they are only a 10 min walk apart. The further out you go zone wise the further apart the stops get.
Nike London (at oxford circus) does group runs three nights a week, which might be a good way to meet people. Generally meeting people in london is done through work or sports…
As for the dog, I agree for three months I’d get someone to look after him. There’s so much to do in London, and the lifestyle is really one that goes from right after work 5/6-10/11, so walking a dog in the evening might be an added hurdle (althought working from home might help with this).
Check out timeout london, they can send you weekly emails of what’s on. There’s alway an event, free museum or gallery, tons of beautiful parks to take walks/bike rides, lots of pretty towns and villages outside london. Don’t forget to check out the newly reopened legacy olympic park in the east end.
it will be great!
Post # 15
banana330: this! Angel is awesome (it’s where I work) but can be expensive, but it is a fabulous place to be.
I live out East and go to the Olympic park loads – it’s got great running areas there too, as well as the pool, velodrome etc open for public use now 🙂