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Living in London

A Comprehensive Guide About Living Well in London

If you are thinking about relocating to the English capital, our guide to living in London tells you all you need to know about day-to-day life in the city. In the UK, London is known as the city of opportunity, where you can go from rags to riches. Some 13 start-up companies based in the capital earned revenue of more than 820 million GBP (1 billion USD) in 2018, showing almost anything is possible.

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Life in London can be whatever you make of it. Many people like you have followed their dreams to the city and made their fortune in one form or another.

London is a city for people who enjoy limitless options of things to do, places to go, and restaurants at which to eat. You have virtually everything on your doorstep, and one thing that might surprise you is the abundance of green space to enjoy. Greenspace Information for Greater London say 47% of Greater London is green space and nearly 6% of this is made up of parks and gardens. Keep reading for more information and tips for living in London.

Life as a Foreigner

What is it Like to Live in London?

With restrictively high rent prices, London is the most expensive city to live in the UK, but the comparatively high salaries help balance this. Greater London has the highest average rent price in the UK at approximately 1,615 GBP (2,030 USD), while the average salary is approximately 35,500 GBP (43,300 USD).

London is considered a very safe place to live, however, like in any city, bad things can happen. The most common crime in Greater London is theft, with nearly 260,000 cases between June 2018 and June 2019. In the same period, there were 235,460 cases of violence against a person, 87,604 burglaries, and 43,286 drug offenses, among others.

The borough of Westminster saw the most crimes during the same period with 80,416 in total. Some 43,913 of these crimes were recorded as theft, while 11,559 were “violence against the person,” and 5,064 were vehicle offenses. Also, during this time, there were only 14,032 crimes recorded by the Metropolitan Police in Richmond upon Thames, 3,272 of which were thefts.

Further, there was good news in July 2019 that the number of people killed on roads in London had fallen to a record low in 2018. In fact, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, aimed to eliminate road deaths in London by the year 2041 and planned to launch the Vision Zero scheme.

What are Living Standards Like in London?

Life can be expensive in London, however, you get value for your money in having virtually everything you could want at your doorstep. And the standard of living is generally very good.

Not many cities rival London in terms of its arts, culture, sports, food, and social scenes, and it is generally cheaper than other all-star hubs, such as New York City and Hong Kong. One-bedroom apartments in New York market for 2,440 GBP (2,980 USD) on average while they are 1,725 GBP (2,100 USD) in the center of Hong Kong. This is compared to 1,237 GBP (1,505 USD) for a one-bedroom apartment in London.

Lifestyle in London

New York is “The City That Never Sleeps,” but London has the energy to rival the Big Apple, during rush hour at least. The workers in the city, namely businesspeople, play a big part in creating the personality that London shows to the rest of the world. Londoners live fast-paced lives, and it has been that way for hundreds of years.

Pros of Living in London

Fashion

As well as its art and history, London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, with London Fashion Week, in February and September, drawing the attention of everyone who’s anyone in the industry.

It is one of the best cities to go clothes shopping, with Oxford Street offering many  affordable name-brand stores such as Selfridges, Primark, and Topshop. Then there is Bond Street and Mayfair where you can find high-end designer label outfits.

The Food

There are a stunning 68 Michelin-star restaurants across London, including ten with two stars, and three leading the way with the maximum three stars: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, The Araki, and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester.

Michelin also awards restaurants that create high-quality food at very good value for money with the Bib Gourmand awards, an alternative to the Michelin star. Michelin produces a “Good Little Restaurants” guide every year after their Michelin guide, with all the latest Bib Gourmands included. In London, restaurants awarded a Bib Gourmand include BAO and Brasserie Zedel in Soho, plus Barrica in Fitzrovia, and Clipstone Restaurant on Clipstone Street.

Parties

When you imagine London, you might think of people in smart suits, pencil skirts, ties, and blazers. But forget that for party time: the two-day Notting Hill Carnival will show you a different, warm, and vibrant side to London life. It features a parade, reggae, ska, and salsa music, and don’t miss the delicious Caribbean food available.

You will have a hard time finding a bigger party than the Notting Hill Carnival—it attracts around 2 million visitors every year and is Europe’s biggest street festival. It started as a celebration of the city’s Caribbean communities and now virtually everyone joins in the fun.

If you want to experience one of the capital’s biggest clubbing spots, try Fabric in Farringdon, which hosts the world’s top DJs and latest sounds. There is also Heaven near Charing Cross Station, which can hold 1,000 people and has three floors. Heaven has an LGBTQ night on Saturdays (called G-A-Y).

For a high-class and laid-back atmosphere, you could try Raffles in Chelsea. Raffles opened in 1967 and has a main room with velvet seating, centering around a raised stage, while there is a Red Room with seating stalls and an authentic Sixties aesthetic.

Festivals

There are some top-quality music events in London, like Hampton Court Palace Festival, where you can have a picnic in the East Front Gardens before the concert. Elton John and Andrea Bocelli have starred at the concert in the past.

There is also the BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park. It is the biggest outdoor classical music event in the British Isles, and as well as classical performers and choirs, you can enjoy watching rock and pop artists. Chrissie Hynde, Barry Manilow, Jack Savoretti, Lighthouse Family, and Gabrielle are just some of the artists who have played at the Proms in the Park.

Another huge event in the classical music calendar in London is simply The Proms, which is mainly held at the Royal Albert Hall. It is an eight-week festival of classical music concerts held in summer.

Cons of Living in London

The Weather

There is a reason Brits move abroad to countries, like Spain and Portugal. Although there are beautiful beaches and seaside resorts close to London, even in summer you are never guaranteed sunshine.

There are 106 days of rain in the “Big Smoke” each year, although the downpours are nothing compared to the wettest North American cities. London gets about 30 inches (762 mm) of rain each year. Orlando, Florida, gets about 53 inches (1,346 mm), while Memphis, Tennessee gets 53.7 inches (1364 mm), and New York gets about 45 inches (1,143 mm) of rain annually.

Despite the typical British weather, in July 2019 London saw temperatures of 38°C (100°F) in Heathrow and Kew Gardens, just below the UK’s all-time high of 39 °C (102°F) in Cambridge also in 2019.

London is not necessarily prepared for high temperatures and public transportation can be very uncomfortable on hot days as there is no air conditioning on the Tube. In 2006, temperatures as high as 47°C (116°F) were recorded in the Underground network.

Noise Pollution

If you are looking for peace and quiet, London might not be at the top of your list for places to live. It is a vibrant, lively city, where life moves fast, and noise is an unavoidable by-product of this activity.

Noise pollution is thought to have an adverse effect on physical and mental health. The medical journal, The Lancet, reported that noise pollution causes:

  • annoyance;
  • disturbed sleep;
  • daytime sleepiness;
  • poorer patient outcomes;
  • weaker hospital staff performance;
  • hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and
  • impaired cognitive performance in children.

Kensington and Chelsea received 13,790 noise complaints in 2016, the most in London. That is about 87 complaints per 1,000 residents. The two main causes of complaints were street music and basement extensions.

Westminster recorded the second-most complaints per 1,000 inhabitants, with 16,915 from a population of 242,300, or about 70 complaints per 1,000. Hammersmith and Fulham was the third noisiest borough, with 50 complaints per 1,000 people (data from Cirrus Research).

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Tips and Practical Information

You will need a National Insurance Number (social security number) to work or operate a business in London or anywhere in the UK. This proves that you pay towards National Insurance funds. However, this only applies if you earn above a certain amount.

You can learn how to obtain a National Insurance Number (NINO) in the working section of our UK Guide. The UK Government’s website also has a lot of useful information.

Where to Get a NINO

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP), you might already have a NINO (printed on the back).

If not, call the National Insurance number application line, from Monday to Friday, between 8:00 to 18:00:

  • Telephone: 0800 141 2075
  • Textphone: 0800 141 2438

After you apply, expect a letter inviting you to a National Insurance number interview at a Jobcentre Plus office. InterNations GO! can help you register for local services.

Phone and Internet Providers

These are the biggest cell phone networks in the UK:

  • EE
  • Vodafone
  • O2
  • Three
  • GiffGaff
  • Sky mobile
  • Tesco Mobile
  • BT Mobile
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Talk Talk
Top Internet Providers
  • BT
  • EE
  • Plusnet
  • TalkTalk
  • Virgin Media
Top Cable TV Providers
  • Sky
  • BT
  • Virgin Media
  • Now TV
  • TalkTalk

Places to Shop in London

Oxford Street

There are more than 500 brand-name shops in Oxford Street, the busiest street for shopping in Europe.

Bond Street

Here in the center of Mayfair, you can find brands, like Burberry, Dolce Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Cartier, and Chanel.

Knightsbridge

The street that is home to Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Harrods has 330 departments with every luxury item you can imagine, from designer clothing to wine. It even has an Egyptian Room and opulent Food Hall.

Harvey Nichols is a famous London department store that should be near the top of every shopping fans’ list. Again, you can find designer fashion and high-quality items, but it is more down-to-Earth than Harrods.

Carnaby Street

This is a dedicated shopping street with all the fashion you can fathom. You can also find health and beauty products, food and drink, and home and technology items.

Major Supermarkets in London

Wherever you are in London, there is likely to be a small Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local, Co-op, or newsagents nearby. At these shops you can pick up most necessities, like milk, eggs, drinks, and even painkillers. You are more likely to find these types of stores in built-up areas where there is not enough space for larger supermarkets.

However, larger supermarkets do exist in London. You can expect to find the following within the city limits:

  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Waitrose
  • Co-op
  • Lidl
  • Aldi

Housing

What to Expect When Looking for Accommodation in London

With its 32 boroughs, Greater London is so varied that your decision over where to live could depend on where you work, where your children go to school, and other considerations such as what activities you do in your spare time. You can use our services to find housing and schools in London.

Of course, your budget will influence your options, with some areas, like Chelsea and Westminster, being more expensive than others.

Where to Live in London

The Sunday Times newspaper recently picked Isle of Dogs as the best place to live in London. This is an interesting alternative to other desirable spots, and it could be its time to shine as the area breaks away from its industrial image. It is only a brief walk from Canary Wharf, has good transport links, an attractive riverside backdrop, and reasonable housing prices.

Battersea in Wandsworth comes second in The Sunday Times’ Top 10 list. It is an excellent place for families to live with its green spaces and top schools. Wandsworth was named the safest inner-city borough in London.

The Sunday Times’ Top 10 Places to Live in London list was as follows:
  1. Isle of Dogs
  2. Battersea
  3. Belgravia
  4. Bermondsey
  5. Blackheath
  6. Crystal Palace
  7. East Finchley
  8. Highbury
  9. Leyton
  10. Teddington

 

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in London

Kensington and Chelsea

Crime is low, schools are excellent, and medical care is at a very high standard in this area. But just because it is a relatively safe area to live, does not mean there is no excitement to have. The night life can be very enjoyable, with the critically acclaimed Restaurant Gordon Ramsay an option for a special occasion. Plus, the legendary Royal Albert Hall is located in South Kensington, and you can see a wide variety of pop and classical music, dance and ballet, and comedy shows there.

There are also spectacular art galleries and museums in the neighborhood, such as the V&A, and The Natural History Museum.

City of Westminster

This borough is famous around the world, and you will probably recognize sites, like the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. If you like the idea of being close to where the most important decisions in the UK happen, iconic Westminster could be for you.

It even encompasses a Unesco World Heritage Site, located around the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s church.

Due to its landmarks and central location, millions of visitors pass through Westminster every week.

The local council has launched the Westminster Community Cohesion Commission to help bring the community together. The Commission’s objectives include making sure decent and affordable housing is available, that people feel safe, and feel they have a stake in the area so they stay for a long time, and contribute to the personality of the area.

Camden

Camden is still one of the ‘hip’ places to be seen in London. There is much to do, such as seeing the latest pop and indie music acts at concert venue Koko. At the classy Jazz Cafe, you can experience something a bit more soulful.

Plus, there are excellent transportation links around the city. Charing Cross Tube on the Northern Line gives easy access to Charing Cross, which is home to Trafalgar Square and Bank, the heart of the financial district.

The Cheapest Neighborhoods in London

Croydon

Croydon has a reputation for looking rather bleak but the area is on the up, which can be seen in the stunning architecture at Saffron Square. The high-rise building and town square are integral to the Croydon Vision 2020 regeneration plan.

What’s more, Croydon is said to be a much friendlier place than Central London, so you might fit in well if you are looking to live somewhere that has a sense of community.

The 382,000 residents of Croydon also benefit from a light rail network, which takes passengers as far as Wimbledon, Beckenham Junction, and New Adlington.

Bexley

Bexley is both the second-cheapest place to buy a property in London as well as ranked one of the safest places to live in the capital in 2018. The average property price is 343,000 GBP (417,000 USD) and it is around 540 GBP (650 USD) a month to rent a room in the area.

In Bexley, there are over 100 parks where you can take a stroll with family, friends, or even a pet. All of the green space could help explain why the borough was ranked the second-happiest in London in 2016, based on “happy” and “sad” posts taken from social media. In fact, the study by data analysts Tekja showed that the outer boroughs of London were the happiest. This could be because they are only a few miles from busy Central London but enjoy a more peaceful way of life in general.

Barking and Dagenham

This borough has the cheapest property prices in London, which is not a huge surprise given that the crime figures for the area are relatively high. However, there are signs things will get better. The local council plans to building 50,000 new homes and create 20,000 new jobs in the east London borough in the next 20 years.

If you like the sound of living in Camden or Croydon, for example, they are included in our tables below of the most and least expensive places to buy a home in London. You might be surprised at the range in costs. And you can employ our team of experts to help you find the perfect home in London.

The Most Expensive Places to Buy a Home in London

 

Area Average property price GBP Average property price USD
Kensington and Chelsea 1.3 million 1.6 million
City of Westminster 991,000 1.2 million
Camden 825,000 1 million

 

The Cheapest Places to Buy a Home in London

 

Area Average property price GBP Average property price USD
Croydon 360,000 437,000
Bexley 343,000 417,000
Barking and Dagenham 300,000 365,000

 

Average Rents

A report by Rightmove showed that the average rent price in London reached a record high of 2,034 GBP (2,453 USD) in the last quarter of 2018. This was due in part to a shortage of available properties. An increase of 4% on top of the average rent price was predicted for 2019 as there were 22% fewer available rental properties than a year before.

However, reports in August 2019 said London housing prices had begun to drop, falling at around 70 GBP (84 USD) a day.

Costs of Different Property Types

Single Room

A room in Kensington and Chelsea usually costs more than 650 GBP (790 USD) a month whereas in Hounslow it is between 550 and 650 GBP (670 to 790 USD) a month.

Studio Apartment

A studio in Kensington and Chelsea will be usually cost more than 975 GBP (1,175 USD) per month. You can find studio apartments in Hounslow for less than 750 GBP (905 USD) but most are between 750 and 850 GBP (905 and 1,025 USD) per month.

One-Bedroom Properties

You will be lucky to find a one-bedroom property in Kensington and Chelsea for less than 1,300 GBP (1,550 USD) per month, while Hounslow has one-bedroom properties available for between 950 and 1,100 GBP (1,145 and 1,300 USD).

Two-Bedroom Properties

You can find two-bed properties in Hounslow for between 1,200 and 1,300 GBP (1,450 and 1,550 USD) while in Kensington and Chelsea, they cost more than 1,600 GBP (1,900 USD).

Three-Bedroom Properties

In Hounslow, a three-bedroom property will cost you between 1,500 and 1,700 GBP (1,800 and 2,050 USD) per month, while in Kensington and Chelsea, the same property will cost more than 2,150 GBP (2,600 USD).

For more prices around London, see the London Rents Map.

How to Find an Apartment in London

There are a few things you should know about how to find a flat or house in London. First of all, as is the case in other cities around the world, the closer to the center of London you go, the more expensive property is to rent or buy.

Secondly, it is very common in the UK to use a real estate agent to help you find somewhere to live or at least deal with your rental contract or purchase once you have chosen a property.

Nevertheless, it is feasible to find a house or apartment online and complete most of the process without meeting anyone face-to-face. It is not advisable to pay a deposit for a property until you have visited the property and met the landlord. However, some websites do not allow you to visit a home before you have made a financial commitment.

If you want to get a feel for a neighborhood before living there, it is a great idea to take a walk around the area. This way, you will notice things you would not see in pictures or even on quick visits to a property with a real estate agent. InterNations GO! offers a housing and real estate service, where we will help you find the perfect property and assist with any paperwork.

See the Housing section of our Moving to the UK guide to find out about rental contracts and everything you need to know about finding somewhere to live in London and the rest of the UK.

Things to Consider

How Long It Will Take to Find A Good Apartment

If you are looking for short-term accommodation in London, i.e. for a year or less, the process can be very fast. Once you find a place, you can move almost immediately, as long as you have the correct paperwork.

You need several important documents to sign a rental contract. These include:

  • photo ID, such as your passport or driving license
  • utility bill (with your name and address) or tax letter
  • copy of your UK visa

In most situations, you will need to prove that you are earning enough to pay the prospective rent. So, try to have the following available:

  • pay slips from the last three months
  • current work contract

If you are self-employed, you may need:

  • six months of bank statements showing your regular income
  • three years of tax returns
  • if you have regular clients, show the related contracts
  • minimum three months of savings, potentially in a savings account
  • references from previous landlords

Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for a Property in London

Avoid Scams
  • Some companies insist you pay a deposit before moving into your new home. This might be to prevent you from cutting them out of the process and simply making a deal with the landlord. While there are legitimate companies that follow this practice, we would suggest against going ahead with any payment without visiting the property first.
  • If a landlord asks you to pay by cash be wary. This is not a particularly common way to make important payments in the UK and it means there is little real proof that you paid. Also, beware if someone asks you to pay via money transfer services, such as PayPal or Western Union. It is best to keep things official and have it in writing when exchanging money for a new home in the UK.
  • Some rental properties are advertised under a landlord who lives abroad. Be careful if you get into this situation. It might be easier for them to avoid you if you have issues with the property.
Try to Live Close to Work

Getting from A to B in London can take more than an hour—some workers have to live far from the city center, or wherever their jobs are located, due to high housing prices. But if you are fortunate, and can secure a home within 30 minutes of where you work, or if you work from home, you can use that extra time for friends and family or hobbies.

Have Your Finances in Order

If you are buying a home, have 5 to 10% of the purchase price ready to secure the property. The vendor can pull out of a deal if you take too long to complete a transaction.

Real Estate Agents Look after Owners

Do not forget that it is in estate agents’ best interests to sell or let properties at the highest possible price. So, do not put all your hopes on one home, and have several options lined up in case you miss out the first time around.

Convenient Places to Live

  • Deptford: investment has been put in to improving the appearance of the area recently and it is within a short commute of the city. There are trains to London Cannon Street station, London Bridge, Woolwich, Abbey Wood, metros to Canary Wharf, Lewisham, the Overground to Canada Water, and more. You would be smart to avoid driving as the nearby A2 route can get very busy and slow.
  • Wembley is ideal if you work in Westminster. It could take you less than 30 minutes to get to work, starting at Wembley Park and arriving at Westminster around 25 minutes later. If you use the Metropolitan line, changing at Finchley Road, you can get to Westminster in less than 20 minutes.
  • Wood Green: if you are going to work in the King’s Cross area, you might find it is easy to get to work wherever in London you live, within reason. However, if you decide to settle in Wood Green, your commute will only be 15 minutes. Wood Green is on the Piccadilly Line and links to Moorgate and Old Street.
  • Poplar: if you work at Canary Wharf and you want to avoid the expense of living in one of the financial area’s plush housing developments, living 10 minutes away in Poplar might be the answer. You can find reasonable two-bedroom apartments for about 380,000 GBP (460,000 USD) in the Poplar area. In contrast, a simple two-bedroom flat in the nearby Isle of Dogs can cost around 475,000 GBP (574,000 USD) to buy and is around the same distance from Canary Wharf.

Local Furniture Recommendations

If you are moving into a new place, there is a good chance you will need to find at least one or two new items of furniture. Although most properties are furnished, there might be something missing, or a piece of furniture you want to replace.

Fortunately for you, this is London, and it is a consumer’s paradise. Here are some of the top furniture stores in the capital:

IKEA

Furniture and home accessories giant IKEA has four main stores in Greater London, including one in Croydon, Greenwich, Tottenham, and Wembley.

John Lewis

John Lewis sells a range of high-quality products, including home items, beds, tables, and desks.

Habitat

Habitat is a household name in the UK and its store in Tottenham Court Road, London, has recently been refurbished. They sell items for every room in the house.

Healthcare

Healthcare in London, as in the rest of the UK, is provided for free by the National Health Service (NHS). However, despite the good value, there are drawbacks to the system, such as long waiting times for non-urgent appointments.

You can ask friends to recommend a doctor or you can use the NHS England search engine for medical services in your vicinity. Similar tools exist for ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland. Plus, InterNations GO! offers settling-in services, like helping you register for healthcare in your area.

Head to the NHS website for information on finding a pharmacy, a dentist, a GP, your nearest accident and emergency, and other urgent care services.

Health Insurance

Health insurance could be well worth the money in the UK, where empty hospital beds are rare and waiting times for appointments and treatments can be extreme. With a health insurance package, you can get access to private doctors, specialists, and private hospitals quicker than with the NHS.

In London, you have access to some of the best hospitals and healthcare professionals in the UK, so you will likely get your money’s worth for any health insurance you decide to invest in. For example, The Portland Hospital in London is the only British private hospital dedicated to women and children.

The Top 10 Hospitals in London

  1. The Royal Free Hospital
  2. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals
  3. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  4. St Mary’s Hospital
  5. Moorfields Private Eye Hospital
  6. Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
  7. St George’s Hospital
  8. The Royal London Hospital
  9. Charing Cross Hospital
  10. Hammersmith Hospital

Transportation

Public transportation in London is one of the crowning glories of the city, something for Londoners and the country to be proud of. It is one of the biggest city transportation networks in the world. The city was recognized as a leader in transportation and mobility technology in 2019 by the IESE Cities in Motion Index (CIMI).

The Underground, buses, trains, trams, black taxis, and more, help over a billion passengers get around, in and out of the city, every year.

Getting Around in London

Underground

Also known as the Tube, London’s Underground has 11 lines which stretch 402km in total and transport to 270 stations. The Tube facilitates up to five million passenger journeys every day, while there are about 550 trains moving around the city at peak times.

Underground trains usually run from 5am until midnight, except for on Sundays when services are reduced. There is also a 24-hour service called the Night Tube on Fridays and Saturdays on the Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Northern, and Piccadilly lines. Plan your journey.

Trains

You can catch a train to virtually anywhere in London and there are excellent links around the UK and to the continent via Eurostar.

London Buses

There are approximately 9,300 buses managed by Transport for London and operated by private companies in the city, covering 675 different routes. There are 19,000 bus stops in London. Fares start at 1.50 GBP (1.80 USD) for a single trip on London buses and you can get a weekly pass for 21.20 (26 USD). A monthly pass costs 81.50 GBP (99 USD) and an annual pass is 848 GBP (1,034 USD).

Docklands Light Railway

The driverless DLR serves the Docklands area of East London, going east from Bank and Tower Gateway to Stratford, Beckton, Greenwich, Lewisham, London City Airport, and Woolwich Arsenal.

The DLR makes getting from the London City Airport around East London and connecting to the Underground network easy.

River Buses

Services are available from early morning until late in the evening. Plus, when there are special events at the O2 in North Greenwich, there is a River Bus Express before and after. There are services from major London piers every 20 minutes.

Also, there are bars on board these river buses and most have toilets. And there is access for wheelchairs.

You can buy tickets from the Thames Clippers website and from a pier ticket office or machine. A single adult ticket for the river bus costs up to 10.30 GBP (12.40 USD) and you save money if you pay by card.

Black Cabs

Transport for London’s black taxi drivers have to pass the rigorous Knowledge of London exam before they can head out on the streets with passengers. It is said to be the toughest taxi test in the world. Look for the illuminated ‘for hire’ sign to find an available taxi.

Black taxis can be booked in advance and allow card and contactless card payment. They are also wheelchair accessible.

Private Hire Taxis

Private hire taxis include minicabs, chauffeur and executive cars, and limousines. These have to be booked in advance and you will receive a booking confirmation before your journey starts.

Cycle Hire

Santander Cycles, also known as “Boris Bikes”, can be hired for just 2 GBP. You pay 2 GBP for every 30 minutes you use the bike and you must return it to a docking station, undamaged, within 24 hours or you could face a 300 GBP fine. There are 750 docking stations around London.

“Boris Bikes”

When Boris Johnson was mayor of London, he introduced “Boris Bikes” to the city as a scheme to help the environment, reduce traffic congestion, and get people active. In one year, the bikes allow around 10 million journeys. Despite a large cost to the taxpayer—more than 200 million GBP since the scheme started in July 2010—there are no plans to call an end to the convenient bike hire.

Trams

If you are in south London you can catch a tram between Wimbledon, Croydon, Beckenham, and New Addington. All trams are free and easy to access for wheelchair users. There are Tramlink tram services every ten minutes in the day from Monday to Saturday to Wimbledon, Elmers End, and Beckenham Junction, and every seven minutes to New Addington.

There is a flat fare of 1.50 GBP (1.80 USD) for a single trip on London trams—all prices are the same as with buses. You can get a weekly pass for 21.20 (26 USD) while a monthly pass costs 81.50 GBP (99 USD), and an annual pass is 848 GBP (1,034 USD).

The Congestion Charge

If you want to drive a vehicle in London’s Congestion Charge zone Monday through Friday between 07:00 and 18:00, you must pay 11.50 GBP each day. There is also an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge if your vehicle does not meet ULEZ standards. The ULEZ is in operation from midnight to midnight, every day of the year, and covers the same area of London as the Congestion Charge.

The Congestion Charge does not operate from 18:00 to 07:00, on public holidays, or any days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: October 17, 2019
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Moving to London

You are likely one of millions of people thinking about how to move to London. In 2014/15 alone, 220,000 expats moved to...

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Working

Working in London

If you are ambitious about your career, you may have considered working in London. It is seen by some as the world’s fin...

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