Last Updated on 17 November, 2023
London may be a beautiful and magical city, but there are many pros and cons to living in London. It’s a city that inspires, full of history, culture, and amazing people and places to visit. With many advantages of living in London, it can also be overwhelming, challenging, but also mesmerising too.
So, if you are visiting and overly romanticise the city, as we sometimes do when we are visiting amazing destinations around the world. Sorry to have to burst that bubble, but if are considering moving to London or want to know what it’s like to live in London, or the reasons to move to London, cost of living and more then the below should highlight things to know about London before moving here.
At A Glance – Living in London: A Personal Perspective on the Pros and Cons
Living in London, the bustling heart of the United Kingdom is an experience that’s as diverse as the city itself. As someone who has called this dynamic metropolis home, I’d like to share my personal insights into the pros and cons of London living.
- Cultural Kaleidoscope: London is a melting pot of cultures, and you’ll never run out of things to explore. From world-class museums to diverse neighborhoods, the city offers a rich cultural tapestry.
- Job Opportunities: It’s a global business hub, offering a plethora of job opportunities across industries. If you’re ambitious and career-focused, London can be a great place to advance your professional journey.
- Public Transport: The public transport system is extensive and well-connected. The iconic red buses and the Underground make commuting relatively convenient, reducing the need for a car.
- Food Heaven: London is a foodie’s paradise, with cuisine from around the world available at your doorstep. From street food markets to Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s something for every palate.
- Historical Charm: The city is steeped in history, with historic landmarks like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace providing a sense of timelessness.
- Cost of Living: London’s cost of living is notoriously high. Housing, transportation, and everyday expenses can take a substantial chunk out of your budget.
- Weather Woes: The British weather can be unpredictable and gloomy, with frequent rain and limited sunshine. If you thrive on constant sunshine, London might not be your ideal destination.
- Crowded Commutes: While the public transport system is great, the daily commute can be crowded and hectic. Rush hour on the Tube is a reality that Londoners face.
- Housing Challenges: Finding affordable and suitable housing can be a daunting task. Rent prices are high, and competition for desirable properties is fierce.
- Noise and Pollution: Being a bustling city, London can be noisy, and pollution levels can be a concern. If you crave tranquility, you might struggle to find it in the heart of the city.
- Space Constraints: Living spaces in London tend to be compact. If you’re accustomed to wide-open spaces, adjusting to a smaller home might be challenging.
So, while living in London might a vibrant and enriching experience, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. It’s a city that offers endless opportunities for personal and professional growth, but you’ll need to navigate the high costs and occasional inconveniences.
As with any major decision, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons against your own priorities and lifestyle preferences. London’s allure is undeniable, but it’s crucial to make an informed choice that aligns with your aspirations and values.
Detailed Look At Pros and Cons For Living In Living
So, what are the pros and cons of living in London? I love to travel, and living in London sometimes living in such a hectic and busy city such as London can sometimes make you long for a simpler life somewhere but in otherways the modern-day comforts always draw you back. With that in my mind, let me introduce you to my pros and cons for living in London.
Pros For Living In London
All the things that I love about London and I am sure you will too…
- Cosmopolitan – One of the amazing things about London is that it’s just a melting pot for different groups of people. This rich mix of people from all walks of life, those coming from other parts of the UK, people coming in from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Carribean all adding to what makes London what it is. This rich mix in my view is what gives London its flavour, whether that is food or fashion. This is what makes London such an amazing city. It’s people! Just don’t stand on the left on the escalators!
- Transportation – Of all the cities that I have visited, London has one of the most extensive transportation networks that are also easy to use. Buses, underground, overground, coaches, flights, trams(just one line! Hello Croydon.) all run with a somewhat reliable service. Things have also been made easier in that if you are visiting London, you don’t have to have change for buses as we now have the Oyster Card. The tourist information have also made a good job to make this known to visitors. It will set you back £5 for an Oyster card but it comes with credit when you buy it from the underground machines. What I hope we can do in the future is make the whole transportation network in London run, 24 hours a day.
- Variety of accommodation options – In all the years I have been living in London, we have never had it this good in terms of the wide range of accommodation options on offer. The more money you get paid, the better the options but London now has amazing apartments being built so that means you can rent an apartment or a room in great areas of London fitting a wide range of budgets. I have shared tips on the best areas to stay in London which is also great if you are considering moving to London.
- Entertainment – London is full to the brim with entertainment options, whether you are looking for cool romantic things to do on Southbank that won’t break the bank, amazing dinner options with entertainment, concerts, theatre shows, cool places to hang out like Shoreditch, or even experiencing the best of London nightlife. There is something for everyone whatever your little heart desires, London delivers! Whether you want to dance the night away or listen to music in whatever genre, the options are limitless. Yes, you can even find line dancing if Country music is your thing.
- Job opportunities – An important element in all this is “no romance without finance. You gotta have a JOB if you want to be with me”. Yes, you find out very quickly that London is no cheap date. You need to have a job! The great thing is that London has many options for jobs, whether you are highly educated and well connected or if you are looking for low paid jobs that require no skills at all. There is everything and anything to help you pay those bills. From sweeping the London floors to Mr/Mrs overpaid CEO. If you are the creative type and can find a niche and plug a gap that is missing in the city then you are in for some £££! Many of the graduate jobs have a starting salary of £30,000. There are plenty of places to search for shops from sites like Indeed to Jooble.
- Safety – If you read the news or hear the news on a daily basis with all the stabbings in London, it can seem as if London is some sort of a war zone. Granted knife crime may have gone up but London is one of the safest cities in the world. I feel comfortable walking around at all hours of the days. So whether you are a woman considering solo travel in London, you have nothing to worry about. Come to London, live in London, you will be fine.
- Great lifestyle – Lifestyle in London is amazing! Again you are only limited by your on imagination. If you love working out London has groups for everything that you can think of, whether that is hot yoga, rock climbing(my favourite), water sports, creative things like painting, artsy stuff, there are is something for everything that might interest you.
- One of the amazing things about the lifestyle in London is that the variety has also brought prices down. Gyms are now mostly around £30 for a monthly membership whereas they mostly used to be close to £100 in recent years, things like Art Night will only set you back £35 for an evening of creative art with cool people.
- A 24 Hour City – London is fast being a city that never slips, we now have 24-hour restaurants, soon our underground will run 27/4, currently, it’s only a few lines on the weekend. London is just beautiful at night. I love that certain parts of the city like Leicester Square and Soho just never slide. Bar, casinos, cafes, restaurants, clubs are open until rediculous hours. Perfect if you are visiting during a layover in London. I have shared tips on things to do in London at night, many of which are available 24 hours in London.
- Education and Health System – I nearly forgot to add this. Touch wood! I am grateful that I hardly ever get sick but if and when I do, I know that our beloved NHS is always there. Also grateful that we don’t have a system like that of the USA where the health system is so expensive that you have people who have never seen a doctor in decades because they just can’t afford it. Shameful for a rich country. The system has now changed a little that medical tourism has been curbed and they now have checks in place to make sure foreign nationals either have to pay via their visa, actually even if you live in the UK and have a the new resident permits you now have to pay a fee towards the healthcare. Oh well if it means we get to have free healthcare, I am ok, paying taxes to secure the NHS.
Cons For Living In London
All the things that make my ears steam up and make me one to book a flight to Southeast Asia and live off my savings for decades to come…
- Bills Bills Bills! – London reads like a Destiny’s Child song, “Can you pay my bills. Can you pay my telephone bills
Can you pay my automo-bills? If you did then maybe we could chill”. If you locked yourself in the house you would still be mounting bills, from the moment you leave your house you are spending money. The bus, road tax, daily congestion charge, diesel car charge, tube, council tax, or whatever service charge your building charges. London aint cheap! Even living on the cheap in London is expensive!
- Rent is expensive – Whether you get paid a decent amount of money, and I mean anything above £30k, London still commands a good 25-40% of your monthly wages, so you can just imagine what that will do if the person is on minimum wages. This is why we still have a good number of adults back to living with parents, or grown adults sharing one room with 2 or 3 other stranger in a room share or flatshare in London. Private rent in say a one-bedroom flat will cost you about £1800 to £3000 depending on the area and amenities available. If you want to flatshare rent can still be in the region of £600+ for your own room but sharing the flat with other people.
- Expensive lifestyle – Majority of London’s lifestyle is centered around pubs, bars and restaurant outings. If you are doing this at least 3 nights a week, each night might set you back about £50-£100. If you do that 3 times a week you are looking at £200-400 a month in just entertainment before adding the expensive transport bills, food bills and council tax bills to your monthly expenses.
- Not the easiest place to make a friend – Londoners can be friendly but they also love to keep to themselves. This is something even their chatty European cousins find strange(hello chatterbox Italians and Spaniards). We can go months sometimes without seeing or talking to our neighbors. Even after work drinks or functions, its rear that work friends will invite each other outside of work activities. Not saying you cannot make friends with a Londoner, let’s just say it may be easier to make a friend out of a bear coming out of hibernation. I kid but you get the point. We love our space.
- Food Expenses – Since the likes of Tesco and Sainsburys started opening these smaller stores around the capital, people are shopping more and more in those for convenience but that also means we are paying more for our food and groceries than the going to the larger supermarkets, which are also closing at an alarming rate.
- While we still have the likes of Aldi and Lidle allowing you to have a good weekly or monthly food shopping for a fraction of what you would spend at ASDA, Tesco or Sainsburys. A weekly shop at Lidl can cost about £20 which will buy you everything from tissues, bread, vegetables, snack and whatever else you like to woof down when no one is looking. Lidl allows you to live in London on a budget but providing everything you need without going broke to get it. Budget between £20-100 a month depending on whether you are adding some alcohol and some luxury items to that list. We still have many cheap eats in London should you which to add food to the entertainment bill outside of your home food shopping.
- Pollution is bad – Even with all the daily congestion charges we have to pay to drive in London, plus the new daily £24 if you drive a diesel car, traffic in London can still be bad! Yes, they have improved cycle lanes(some are still dodgy if you ask me) people have still not let go of driving into London. That may be because transportation in London is not cheap, nor is it reliable when the weather is bad. Whether that is because of “too much rain” or a few flakes of snow on the track. Anything can halt the service. With all that at play and the many cars that are joining the roads, yes, pollution has gotten bad in London that we are now losing a good number of people in pollution-related deaths. Granted we are not at China or India level of pollution but we are working on it. Quite a sad affair really.
- Traffic in London – If you think New York traffic is bad, try London when a bridge is closed or there is road works on one of the main routes, or there is a protest or a tunnel closes, my goodness. It can make you want to shave your head in Britney Spear fashion to protest the madness.
- Having a car is expensive – I drive but living in central London now means that I only use the car when my husband and I are exploring other parts of the UK, whether that is driving down to the south of England, long drives to Cornwall, a weekend trip to explore national parks like Snowdonia. There are plenty of amazing places in the UK for weekend getaways or longer ones. It’s cheaper to drive there than to use the train. Having a car in London can still be expensive even when you are not using it.
- On-street parking if you are getting a residential permit will cost you about £20 a month or around £80-130 depending on where you live in London. Then there is the £12 daily congestion charge for using the car in central London. That can be £240 a month! That’s if you are using your car to get to work daily. If you have a diesel car that could be another £480 to your monthly bill, oh and that’s before you even put petrol in your car which is about £1.15 on average per litter. Let’s not forget your car tax, MOT and any other repairs you might need too. Yeah, I can hear that sigh from over here. Here’s a bus pass! Off you go.
- Train travel is stupidly expensive – With the city trying to get you out of driving your car, you would think London transport was cheap. No sir! That will be £7 for a daily travel card for zones 1 and 2 alone and £35 for a week. A month will cost you just over £100 for a travel card that covers buses, tube and overground.
- If you live in Zone 6 in London may the Good Lord have mercy because London transport will has none! That will be £246 for a month travel card that covers zones 1 to 6. On the plus side transport, links are better than other places around the world. It’s even worse if you are coming from outside London to work in London as many people do in London.
- A lot of people who work in the city of London with good-paying jobs have bought homes(more on that in a second) outside London because your money goes further there. That then means an expensive seasonal ticket that can cost about £5, 000 pounds which you have to pay for at once!! Most will stick it on a credit card but if you are paying interest then you will be paying more for your ticket too than others. This is something you have to consciously save for through the year, not to mention that the price goes up by 2-3% every year in February.
- Buying a house is near impossible – As we are now looking to buy a flat in London this is very much a popular point of discussion at home. Living in London is crazy expensive but if you can buy a home that means all that rental money you would be paying is going into something of value that you own. Property in London is stupidly expensive and with the banking crash of recent years, its become harder to get on the housing ladder for many in London, meaning that many are having to move back home just to save money or not being able to even dream of it. Getting a mortgage in London means having to come up with 5% deposit for a mortgage, that 5% might be anything between £20k-50k or even 100k+ if you happen to buy a property close to £1 million or more.
So You Want To Live In London? Average Costs Of Living In London
Man, it feels like this post starts off with smiles and ended in tears when reality settles in with the sad truths and cons of living in London. So, how much does it cost to live in London? Let’s just do the maths, say you are moving to London and going to be sharing a place and have a good-paying job and are on say a graduate starting salary of £30k which would be somewhere in the region on above £1800 after tax I think. You are living in say zone 3 of London. The cost of living in London is as follows:
- Rent + council tax – £500
- Monthly travelcard – £158.30
- Monthly food shopping – £80
- Monthly entertainment and fun(drinks, take out, movies) – £200
- Gym – £30
- Monthly TV Licence(forgot to mention this above) – £12
- Internet package at home(shared) – £10 (more if you live alone)
- Your mobile phone – £30
- Netflix or other streaming – £7
- Weekly lunches at work – on average at least £10 a day – £200
- Clothing budget??
- Credit card bill??
- International travel budget?
Total costs of living in London on average is £1027.30. So if you are getting £1800 a month that now leaves you just over £300 to save, cover any other expenses that I haven’t mentioned. Also, another thing to think of is that people will also have credit cards and this will eat right into that £300 if you a living beyond your means. with all that, you can see why London can be such an expensive city to live in. Even with that being the case London offers amazing opportunities for jobs, meeting people, starting a business and everything in between, so don’t let that stop you from coming to live in this hectic, crazy, beautiful big ‘ol metropolis!
The cost of living in London for a family be considerably more if you factor in other mouths to feed, clothing, entertainment for the family. You get the gist.
So Reasons To Move To London? – Advantages Of Living In London
There are many advantages to living and working in London many of which I have in the pros and cons of living in London above. Just to recap, reasons to move to London include:
- Job opportunities
- Variety of food to eat
- Easy transportation
- Great schools and eduation system
- Health system and education system cheaper and mostly free compared to the USA
- Many more perks of living in London I cannot think of right now.
There are many reasons to move to love or reasons live in London hopefully the above helps to you make that decision.
Why I live in London?
Is there a better city in the world than London? The answer is no! Sure there is New York, Paris, Hong Kong, but there is only one London. A city that has it all…
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
Samuel Johnson couldn’t have said it better. We have fashion we have food and a great place to put it all in. So is London a good place to live? Yes and yes again. Come here for a holiday and see how hard it is to go back home. I love living in London. The people in London are amazing, I love all that the city has to offer. Need I say more!
What’s living in London like? | What’s it like to live in London?
Living in London means getting used to the traffic, the noise, the pollution, but will all those pros of living in Londo being said, if I cant a career change, there are courses there are jobs, the switch is easy, if I want to live away from the central London, there are places in London that offer peace and quiet and still allow you to be in the center of the city within 30 minutes. The pros and cons of living and working in London mean you have to get the great and the not so great things about London together and these balance out.
The advantages of living in the inner city mean that I pay less than someone who lives in say Zone 5 but it also means I have to deal with higher rent, traffic and all that other perk and advantages of living in a megacity is that whatever you want and need is easily available and doesn’t require a crazy journey or huge sacrifice to get to. Yes, there are a lot of things I hate about London but there is an even longer list of things I love about living in London.
So do you live in London or want to live in London? Do you like living in London? Anything else you would like to know about London that I haven’t covered? Leave your comments below.