After you’ve finished unpacking (or maybe before, if you’re really eager!), it’s time to start exploring! Living in London can be a bit of a shock for an American and you’ll quickly notice that almost everything is just a little bit different. Fortunately, with time you’ll get used to your new environment and you’ll start to fit in with the scene and enjoy living in London in no time.
Living in London
The biggest adjustment many Americans have to make when living in London is getting used to smaller accommodations. Some buildings in London have been around longer than the United States itself! In London, you’ll notice that many residents live in flats converted from old Victorian mansions. These houses had three or four floors and housed large families with quarters for servants – now they’ve all been divvied up into a number of apartments. While most of the English are used to these sorts of accommodations, there will be many things that many Americans will think are “missing.”
For one thing, elevators are rarely seen, if ever (remember, these are 19th century buildings we’re talking about!). Another thing you won’t see in most flats is a walk-in closet. More common are wardrobe closets, either fitted to the wall or free standing. You may find that this is actually nice because it allows you to arrange your room the way you want it. Bathrooms and kitchens are also much smaller than in the States. You won’t find huge refrigerators and freezers in many English kitchens, and you almost never see dishwashers.
Working in London
Expats from the US often have to make some huge adjustments when moving to London – namely, 20 to 30 PAID vacation days per year and paid days off for all public holidays. In addition, Londoners get paid monthly instead of biweekly. While this can be weird to get used to, it makes setting up bills and determining a budget much easier.
Transportation in London
One of the biggest differences between living in London and living in the US is the way people drive –many people in London drive manual cars, and they drive on the left side of the road! If the thought of that makes you uncomfortable, fear not – the city of London has a very extensive public transport system that makes getting around a breeze. In addition, many residents choose to walk to their destinations – even if the destination is 15 to 20 minutes away and it’s raining!
There are, of course, some advantages to driving. For one thing, shopping is much more convenient when you don’t have to lug your purchases onto the tube or walk them all the way home. This is especially true when you are grocery shopping, as Londoners tend to buy groceries in bulk to save money. Unfortunately, driving can be very expensive, especially when you consider car insurance, car tax and the infamous Congestion Charge required to drive in certain heavily polluted areas of the city.
Entertainment in London
One thing you’ll find while living in London is that the people in the city are extremely social. After work, drinks are common and you’ll almost never find an open bar that isn’t crammed full of people. London has a prominent drinking culture and almost everyone, male and female, has an impressive tolerance for alcohol. Drinks also tend to be stronger in London than in the States, so even if you think you can handle yourself in American bars, be very careful trying to keep up with the English!
Not into the drinking scene? Don’t forget – you’re living in London now, one of the most exciting cities in the world! London has amazing museums and monuments, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and many more. If you enjoy live plays (and even if you don’t), the London Theatre is one of the most famous theaters in the world!
Are you a sports fan? London has a huge variety of sporting arenas and some of the most passionate fans in the world! Football (soccer) is the favored sport, and diehard fans can be found in every bar for every game, so pick a team and join the excitement (just make sure you never mention Chelsea to a Liverpool fan!).
While living in London can be a big adjustment, Londoners are generally friendly and will treat you with the same courtesy you show them. If you are planning to move to London and want to hire an international moving company, call Platinum Moving today!