Post # 1
Hi dear bees,
long story short, I “have” to move to London for 15 months with my D H. I need help because right now, I am terrified to go. I am a US bee, and have lived abroad before (and enjoyed it) but I don’t want to move to or live in London. From my outsiders perspective all I can see are the “negatives”: pollution, brexit (will we be harrassed on the street?), the frantic energy, how expensive it is, the miserable weather, how crazy it seems to find a flat. And yet I absolutely 100% know that that isn’t the whole story and that many people love it and make it work AND after all, it is only a very short time. So please, London bees, can you share any insights about your life and what makes you love London? I really don’t want to feel this negatively about a new adventure. TIA!
Post # 2
I’m not from London (unfortunately) but it’s probably my favourite city in the world. I took my mum there recently and she also loved it. It’s magical, the buildings are beautiful, the parks are amazing and so green! So many restaurants and cafes.. there’s always something to do. It’s buzzing! Not to mention all the road trips you can take on the weekend to Cotswolds, Oxford, Cambridge or a short flight to anywhere in Europe. You can catch a train to Paris!
I actually don’t know anyone who doesn’t like London. You will love it I promise!
Post # 3
Ha you’re kidding right. I’m not even from London, I’m from a commonwealth country but the UK is amazing. Young people here move to London for a couple of years as an overseas experience. None what to leave.
One downside is the weather but you have Europe on your doorstep.
They say if you’re bored with London, you’re bored with life.
I did hear recently that some Americans can experience slight culture shock in the UK. However that doesn’t surprise me, as this happens when we are in USA.
Post # 4
elliebee357 : Sone of these things are actually pretty uninformed generalisations, for one London actually voted to stay in the EU so I don’t think brexit will really make a tangible difference to your stay there.
In terms of pollution there is the congestion charge to prevent polluting cars driving through central London, this will be extended soon even all the way to zone 3/4 and will make a huge impact.
I actually don’t think the weather is really as miserable as the reputation. Having lived in many places up north I’ve found the weather in London to be fairly good, it’s pretty dry all through the year and it gets decent summers. We have always had a few weeks of 30 degrees plus the last 5 years. London is a drier city than Rome and New York.
Rent is expensive, but living costs aren’t significantly higher than anywhere else in the UK.
Post # 5
zzar45 : I didn’t mean any offense with my “uninformed generalisations” I thought I made it clear that it was my perspective on London as an outsider and hence very likely completely false. I have a friend (not US) who was recently told on a bus (in London) to “go back” after being on the phone with her mum and speaking a different language (and she was just a tourist!) so that definitely alarmed me and made me think that even Londoners were potentially unfriendly towards foreigners. As to the weather, I grew up in California so from my perspective (again my personal perspective) the weather seems miserable in comparison.
I have been to London as a tourist and for family visits, my SiL is Welsh and they live in London, and I enjoyed it tremendously. it’s just not a place that I ever wanted to live personally. I understand many people feel differently. That is also why I posted here – in my real life everyone just keeps saying how jealous they are etc but no one is understanding that I personally feel differently about it and surely that is allowable too. I enjoy visiting NYC but personally I was not happy living there. Might seem crazy to some folks but people are different. Anyway – Thanks to everyone for the things they pointed out that they enjoy about it, very nice to hear and be reminded of those things!
Post # 6
Have lived in London on/off and the only negative that I can think of is the rent! Cost of living is not low but it’s high everywhere in Europe.
I didn’t find the weather to be too bad and I did not find it too polluted.
Post # 7
- Wedding: February 2018 - UK
I’m not from London, but I am from the south of England, I can be in London in about 75 minutes. It’s an amazing place, I even had my honeymoon there!
You’re highly unlikely to be harassed in the street, especially not because of Brexit. As an American, people probably wouldn’t even mention Brexit in the same sentence as you, unless you specifically bring it up. People are pretty tired of the whole thing anyway…
The weather is generally better in the south than the rest of the country. The problem with our weather is really more that it’s unpredictable and inconsistent- don’t assume that a day in July will be hot it a day in January will be snowy. We very rarely get extremes of temperature either way. Yes it’s rainy, but so is much of Northern Europe, east Asia, etc.
London rent is notoriously expensive, but wages are way higher than the rest of the country. It’s very crowded in places, but if you’ve been to any major metropolitan city you’ll know what that’s like.
There’s so many amazing things to do in London though, there are incredible, world-renowned museums and galleries, fantastic restaurants, great places to shop, and if you’re interested in history you’ll never be bored. You’ll be less than two hours from Stonehenge, Salisbury, Southampton, Portsmouth, all great historic places to visit.
Hopefully you’ll love it here in the UK!
Post # 8
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
I lived in London for a while and absolutely loved it (I’m a Kiwi). Always something going on and so much to do and see. I lived in Canada Water which is south east of the city centre and it was a great place to be; I had a friend living on the Isle of Dogs and she really liked it there too. Being a little further out was no hardship in terms of transport as the Tube is so good and it was a bit cheaper too.
Post # 9
elliebee357 : UK bee. I don’t live in London but I’m close enough that I have commuted to London and we can go in for day trips. Last time I was in London was February doing some tourist things. Honestly, I found it very overwhelming but I live in a rural village now and that suits my life at the moment. I’ve had several friends who lived in London. They moved out after several years but some people are happy to stay in London indefinitely. As this is only 15 months, if you hate it, you have an end date.
Brexit – unfortunately there has been a rise is racist behaviour since the brexit vote. Most of the racism actually seems to be targeted to Eastern European immigrants. Whilst there is obviously racism to black and brown people, I don’t think that has increased to them as a result of Brexit. There doesn’t appear to be an issue with ex-pats from English speaking countries or commonwealth countries, even if they aren’t white. From what I understand, the racism is more shown in gestures and comments rather than out and out harassment on the street. Not that it makes racism ok obviously but I don’t think you’ll be a target like you think you will.
Pollution – I find my skin is much worse after I’ve been in London. But I find that with most cities. London is a short journey to the countryside if you feel you need some clean air – the Cotswolds or the coast. There are also a lot of parks in London.
Frantic energy – I find it too much now but when I was commuting you just get into the mindset. It’s only after you’ve leave that you notice it and will either want to go back immeadiately or know that time in your life has passed.
Expensive – it is expensive. I disagree with PP that living costs aren’t significantly higher than the rest of the UK. London jobs usually have a London weighting of £3-5k per year to ensure that people can afford to live in London. I grew up in the north of the UK, it is expensive compared to there. It is also expensive compared to my village an hour away – little things like a coffee costing £3 in my village but £4 in London. It might only be £1 but it all makes a difference when you compare that to your cost of living over a year. However, wages are higher to reflect this cost of living difference. Even most minimum wage jobs will now pay a London living wage. With day trips out of the city, you probably won’t notice the price difference too much. You’ll only notice it if you do a month living up north. My friends have always managed to find somewhere to live within their budget.
Weather – London is one of the driest places in the UK and the last two years have been particularly dry. We’re due a wet year. So you could arrive and it be a wet year but that’s just luck of the draw and what happens when you only live in a place for a year. In terms of gale force winds, fog – it’s pretty insultated in itself so doesn’t get too much of those weather events.
Post # 10
Living in London is a very different experience to visiting as a tourist. Unless you live in Zone 1, you will spend a lot of time in places that feel very different to the centre. Much less dense, more space, more greenery and lots of smaller high streets and “town centres”.
In terms of cost, it’s definitely more expensive than the rest of the UK. Rents in particular are ridiculous. But this might not matter so much depending on what you earn.
Post # 11
I live in south east London and love it. I moved here 11 years ago and wouldn’t leave now. Where I live is quite green and we have some amazing parks like Crystal Palace park. I recommend a visit here to see the dinosaurs.
yes the winter can be dark and grey, but at this time of year all the Christmas lights are up and it makes the dark evenings better.
that person on the bus is not representative of Londoners. London is such a cosmopolitan city that most of us have very few British born friends lol. I have friends from all over the world that have ended up here.
this means you can get food from anywhere here. We have great theatres and arts. You can never be bored if you don’t want to be. It’s expensive yes, but salaries reflect that.
will you be working when here?
i had a friend move here from LA and as much as she loved the city it was a culture shock for her. Didn’t help that she had a surprise baby while here. She was pleasantly surprised by the NHS for maternity.
Post # 12
Wanted to add, please PM me if you want more details or a tour guide. I love my city
Post # 13
elliebee357 : Ultimately if you don’t like cities then you might struggle with London. It is a large city so it will be busy and bustling, but it is an amazing city with so much to do so I’m sure you will enjoy it for the year or so.
The main thing is how you spend your time there? Will you be working? London can feel quite isolating at times, I have a few friends who worked from home when they first moved to London and the ended up hating it because they found it really hard to build a social life.
Have you looked into the cost and if it is only your husband working does he earn enough to cover the lifestyle for you both?
Post # 14
The thing is there are racists everywhere. I have had stuff said to me as a tourisr in the USA but I try notto judge the whole population by the actions of a few.
I lived in London for a few years and loved it. But as an Aussie it was much less of a culture shock. It was great to have so many free activities to do, like museums and galleries. And there are plenty of green spaces.
But I understand not liking a place as I feel the same way about NYC. It just doesn’t do it for me and I wouldn’t like to live there.
There is another option. You could not go. Doing long distance for 15months wouldn’t be that bad.
Post # 15
I lived in London less than a year, but it was incredible. I am 1000% a city rat though. Love hustle and bustle.
Honestly, you’re only there 15 months. In the grand scheme of your entire life, that’s not much. I’d just view it as an extended vacation. You don’t HAVE to love it. You don’t HAVE to want to call it home. It’s short term, so enjoy it for the city it is knowing it may well be the only time in your life to live there and explore.
And if you won’t be working while you’re there, that avoids another big adjustment and means that you can avoid peak commute times.