London at a Glance
Living in LondoniStockphoto
The red phone booth has become a symbol of London.
Living in London has appealed to countless generations of British and foreign nationals alike. The city´s charms are manifold, and so are the reasons why so many people consider living in London.
People are attracted to living in London by its metropolitan flair and diverse cultural life, its spirit of adventure and entrepreneurialism, its numerous opportunities and different lifestyles, and maybe by its history. After all, for most of the 19thcentury, London was the largest city in the world and the head of a vast empire.
Life in London also has economic advantages. As an “international center of trade and innovation” (in the words of its mayor), this city offers a promising employment market to job seekers living in London, but also a pool of talent and skills for employers to pick from.
Living in London: A Multi-Cultural Society
The society is very diverse, consisting of people from different financial backgrounds and ethnic origins. More than 300 languages are spoken by the 7.5 million people currently living in London. Multiculturalism – though frequently challenged as social concept – is writ large all across London’s society.
While living in London, you will certainly meet people of different races and religious faiths in your everyday life. The prevailing atmosphere of life in London is one of coexistence and tolerance. Racially motivated offences or crimes are usually punished severely.
Life in London: Different Class
Despite its status as an international metropolis and the large influx of foreigners now living in London, the city’s society is still rather traditional and marked by a strong class consciousness, even among younger people.
Members of the upper, middle and working classes living in London don´t tend to mix much. They frequent different establishments (even within the same area) and differ in their appearance and way of speaking.
While living in London, you will, however, often find middle-class and working-class residential areas in close proximity to each other, particularly in inner city areas with their ongoing process of gentrification.
Living in London: The “Big Issues”
Depending on where you come from, you might be astonished by the huge gap between the rich and the poor living in London. True to its status as one of the world´s leading financial centers, the city has some very well-paid jobs to offer and attracts wealthy investors from all over the globe.
However, it also has problems with long-term unemployment, child poverty, and homelessness, which you will almost certainly come across when living in London. Crime rates may also be higher than what you are used to, but in general this shouldn’t give cause for concern: While there is a lot of violent crime among young people living in London, it is mostly related to gang wars and drug dealing. Unless you get involved in a fight, you are unlikely to become the victim of a major crime while living in London.
Life in London: The Tube
London has an extensive public transport network including buses, trams, light rail, underground train services, and even boats on the River Thames. While connections are good and services frequent, the size of the city could mean that you to spend several hours a day commuting to work while living in London.
People who live and work near a Tube (i.e. London Underground) station usually opt for this quickest means of public transport. It is, however, also the most expensive one. Moreover, using the tube is definitely not recommended during peak hours if you suffer from claustrophobic tendencies or simply don´t like being squeezed into a small and overheated train compartment 50 metres below street level with hundreds of other people.
The London Underground’s long history is partly responsible for this overcrowding and the relatively poor air ventilation. First taken into operation in 1863, the London Tube is the oldest underground railway system in the world. This also accounts for its limited accessibility for people with mobility aids or parents with pushchairs.