London is a fascinating city, but some people might find it too chaotic and some how scary. I have heard a lot of people panicking about “where to start to find a house/job/friends” etc etc. I personally believe that here life can be extremely easy, there are tons of opportunity for everyone, in every sector and for every taste.
You only need a positive attitude, and probably a few starting tips (however I am sure that day by day you will find your way around this city, according to your tastes and needs).
I will keep to update this page every time I will find something which I consider worth and useful to share…so let’s start!
House: finding a house is a lot of people’s nightmare. When I was house hunting, I have visited a few flats thinking “how are people not ashamed of showing this flat?”…Flats’ conditions are not always the best: mould seems to be a quite common problem in this humid city, and sometimes you get to visit flats/rooms so incredibly small that you have to stand on your bed to be able to open the room’s door. If you see a “box room” advert, you should not even bother to see it, as it is more probably a small storage room with no windows, converted in a bedroom.
This said, you should certainly not loose your hope, because London is huge and it still offers a lot of choice! I think that one of the best website to find a flat or a room in a shared flat is Gumtree (this website is actually very good for a lot of things, as you can literally find anything in there!). I would suggest you to avoid estate agencies and try to only look at the ads published by the landlords as this will save you a lot of time and most of all money.
Normally contract rents are annual, but you should be able to get a 6 month clause, so that if for any emergency you need to leave the flat earlier than expected (e.g. you find a job on the other side of the city and don’t want to commute), you can do that without loosing your deposit.
Where to live: houses within zone 1-2 are of course more expensive, and the general rule “the further from the center the cheapest the flat” applies (with exceptions of course!). Unfortunately the further you will go from the center, the most expensive your travel card will be. So if you think you will need to commute every day to the center, you might want to think carefully about where to live, as what you save on the house will be spent for transport (plus you have the hassle of commuting!).
Transport: a few people complain about public transport in London…I reached the conclusion that people like to complain just for the sake of it! Here you can go almost everywhere at any time of the day and night. Trains and bused are reliable and generally on time and you have plenty of buses and train lines to go anywhere. Here you can find all the information about the urban public transport (time tables, lines, tickets etc).
Make sure you have an oyster card, it will save you a lot of money, especially if you pay as you go. You can order it online or get it at any tube or train station. It is also very easy to top it up as you can either link it to your bank account, or go to any station and in a lot of off licences as well.