Living in London is a magical experience many wouldn’t trade for the world (okay, maybe not the world, but you get the point). But no city is perfect and even London comes with plenty of cons that put people off living in this city forever. Here are the 10 things no one tells you about living in London and the things I wish I was told before I first moved here.
No matter where you live, your commute will always take 40+ minutes.
Unless your work is extremely close to your apartment, you’ll be in for the #commutelife like the rest of us. It’s very rare that a commute will take as little as 20-30 minutes, unless you’re very lucky. The average commute for a Londoner is actually 74 minutes, which is considerably longer and way more stressful than any other city commute. You’d think all these transportation links would make the whole thing easier!
Council tax fee varies per borough and can significantly reduce or increase your bills.
Unless you’re a student, you have to pay council tax. The tax bill funds local services in the area, but each borough has its own fees, available here. The bill is paid annually and its price can vary anywhere from £400 to £2500 per year. You can choose to pay your council tax bill in full or in installments. Either way, it’s another bill you have to take into consideration as everyone is required to pay council tax.
70% of your salary will be spent on rent.
Earning £30,000 per year? Sounds awesome at first, but you’ll most likely spend more than 50% of your salary on rent. No matter how much you earn, just make sure you know a good amount of your salary will be spent on rent, unless you’re looking to live in a shared accommodation with a ton of flatmates.
You’ll never visit tourist attractions after you settle in.
There are quite a few Londoners out there that have never been on the London Eye or Madame Tussauds. At some point, you just stop going where the crowds are and chill in the slightly more off-the-beaten-path places.
You’ll get black boogers.
As soon as you start commuting every day, you might notice your boogers change colour. Yup, your snot will go black. This is because about 90% of all dust on the tube is actually iron.
Fast walking is an important London life skill.
When you don’t live in London, you should always be considerate to where you’re walking so Londoners can move past you. We walk extremely fast and it’s one of the things you’ll have to get used to. You won’t even realise it’s weird until you walk with non-Londoners!
You’ll get various spam text about claiming back money for your “accident.”
What accident, right? It doesn't matter whether you had it or not. London is the mecca for having your data out in the open. These texts are sent via computers - if you respond to the texts, your number is sold to UK call centre companies for £5 as your number is now marked as active and ready for more lead generation. After they determine your number is active, it’s referred to the actual lawyers. Ignore these calls.
TV licence people are very persuasive.
Here’s the thing - you have to pay if you want to watch live TV in London. As soon as you move in somewhere, you’ll start receiving letters from TV licence. And they really know how to make you feel scared with their threatening letters.
The bus is way better than the tube.
Often faster and more convenient (and cheaper), the bus seems to be a preferred method of transportation for many. You can easily plan your routes using various transportation apps (Citymapper is our favourite) and check the surprisingly accurate arrival times. Being able to sit down at all times doesn’t hurt either.
Avoid rush hour. At all cost.
It might seem like an obvious point to make in any city, but if you can, avoid rush hour. That’s when the Tube breaks down, the traffic gets blocked, and you’ll be running late for work. It’s always best to leave home early, so you can plan to make your next few trains in case you miss your first one because of a delay. And everyone will give you the side eye if you think about carrying a suitcase with you during the rush hour.
That's it for our 10 things no one tells you about living in London! Have you experienced any of them? Let us know in the comments!
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- 5 Secret Gardens to Explore in London
- 10 Reasons Why You'll Fall in Love with London - 4 Months Together Campaign
- 10 Alternative Ways to Stay Fit in London
- 7 Fancy Things to do in London on a Student’s Budget