Life in the big smoke

How to move to London

Updated April 2017

* So readers with an EU passport, brexit, let’s get this over with straight away. No one seems to know exactly what brexit will mean yet. The discussions in the UK have so far hinted at ending free movement, which means that if you’re an EU citizen you might need to apply for a visa in order to move to the UK. The country is planning on leaving the EU in 2019, not much will change before then.

If you’re moving to London in the coming years you might not automatically be eligible to stay after the UK has left. It’s complicated. For the best up to date advice about these issues I would recommend the brilliant Facebook group UK Citizenship European Nationals where you can find tons of advice about staying in the UK as an EU national.

* I wrote this guide after a family friend asked me for advice because her daughter was moving the London, that was over four years ago. I try to keep the guide as updated as possible, the last update was April 2017.

* I’ve written plenty of posts about living in and moving to London. They can be found here

Where to start?

Finding a good place to live in London can be a challenge. Although if you’re open-minded, flexible and able to give it a bit of time it’s not any more difficult than finding a place to live in any other city. I have plenty of friends who’ve moved over and found the perfect flat within weeks. It’s all possible.

My suggestion would be to find a place to stay while you’re flat-hunting. If you can’t stay with friends Airbnb is quite a good way to find affordable and temporary accommodation. When you have a good base you can get started. Spare Room and Gumtree are both good for finding a room in a shared flat. Zoopla or Rightmove are good if you’re looking to rent a flat yourself.

Sharing vs your own space

Sharing is great. Many young people share flats here in London. It can be a really good way of getting to know people, plus if you’re on your own it’s nice to have someone around in a big city like this. It can be a lot cheaper than renting your own flat and it’s probably the best option unless you’re earning good money and can prove to picky London landlords that you’re the right person for their flat.

Some house-shares include the bills in the rent, which can be good if you’re new to the country and don’t want to deal with all of the UK bureaucracy at once.


It’s the eternal question facing new Londoners (and people looking for accommodation anywhere in the world). What do you sacrifice? Will it be price (are you prepared to pay more per month than you initially thought for the right flat)? Will it be space or location? What I’m trying to say is, keep an open mind.

Most people who move to the city will have to make a compromise somewhere down the line. It’s common to share a flat in London, even for professionals in their thirties and sometimes their forties.

A few thoughts on where to live

– The closer you get to the city centre (or zone 1) the more expensive the rents will be. The longer you’ve lived in London the less interested you will be in the central areas you might have visited as a tourist. London is a series of villages, find a village that you like.

– Ex-council (local authority) flats will normally be cheaper to rent, but make sure to walk around the estate first. Ask yourself a couple of questions – will I feel safe walking home at night, what are my neighbours like, am I close to public transport.

– Being close to good public transport can push the rent up. If you are prepared to walk, cycle, take the bus, it might open up more centrally located options that aren’t near a tube station.

– Take your time to walk around the area you’re interested in. Can you see yourself living there? Do you like the shops and the people? Can you see yourself hanging out in the area?

– Don’t be afraid to look at places a bit further out or along the train lines. Rents are cheaper and you might be able to find a nice community and a village-y feel. Every area has its own centre, so it’s not necessary to always travel into central London.

– If you’re coming to London to work or study it will make life easier if you figure out how you want to commute and then look for places to live along that route. For more on transport in and around London, look up TFL transport for London.

Guide to London areas

I’ve written a quick guide to different London areas for more information about where to live in London.


Rents are more expensive in London than in many other cities, but food and alcohol is still fairly affordable compared to many Northern European cities.

Before renting a flat you need a deposit, which can be as much as two months rent. On top of your rent you’ll have to pay council tax (unless you’re a student), gas, water and electricity. It’s best to shop around for the cheapest deals, there are plenty of good price comparison websites that will help you to do this.

It’s also important to remember that all the different companies you deal with from phone companies to commercial landlords will want to take as much of your money as they possibly can. Stay street-smart. Double check if you really need to pay for say cleaning when you move out of or into a flat. Don’t start paying insurance for your phone unless you really need it. It’s all common sense really, but it’s still worth remembering.

Average monthly expenses

This is a quick calculation of the average monthly expenses for a single person in their twenties and early thirties with a modest budget.

Rent £500-£1200
Bills £100-£160
Phone £40
Food £320
Going out £200-£400
Travel £160
Total cost £1,320-£2,280


It’s easy to get around London. The tube can be horrible during rush hour, but is otherwise a pretty convenient way to travel around the city. The buses are great too and sometimes they can be as quick as the tube, other times they take forever and you end up wondering if it would have been quicker to gnaw off your own feet and then drag yourself to wherever you need to be. Anyway. I prefer buses (when they’re not super-slow) because you see more of the city.

The cheapest way to get around is to get an oyster-card or use your contactless bank card (unless you want to walk of course, that’s cheap). If you travel every day it might be worth getting a travel card and paying the same amount for travel every month.

Transport for London is the best place to find out more about routes and prices.

If you don’t want to or can’t use the maps on your phone consider buying an A-Z map of the city, then you’ll never ever get lost.


Finding work in London isn’t as easy as it used to be before the financial crisis, but there is still plenty of work to go around. They seem to be very picky about the way your CV is written in this country so if you’re looking for work in the UK it might be worth having someone from the UK look through your CV.

Knowing the right people is the key to finding employment here, get someone to recommend you, do an internship, go to networking events or just nag your way to a job. Sitting around waiting for your application to get noticed in a country with over a million unemployed young people isn’t going to be an option for most people.

The big sectors in London

Even though there are plenty of people looking for jobs in London, there are also plenty of jobs going around. Some of the big sectors in London are:

The service industry
Professional services (law firms, accountants, management consulting firms…)

How to find work

I’m not able to tell you how you will find a job in the British capital, but I have put together a page with 16 helpful hints on how to find a job in London.

How to meet people and make friends

London is a very friendly city. I came here without really knowing anyone and without having an organised structure to meet people in (such as a job or a university course), but through house-mates and just being active I found this to be the friendliest and most open city I’ve ever lived in. So, how do you make friends here?

The easiest way is to get along with your house-mates. A lot of people in London are in exactly the same situation as you, they’ve just arrived here and are looking to extend their social network, so they’re open to meet new people and they will introduce their new friends to their old friends. It’s easy.

Say yes. Go to parties. Have a look at sites like Find out what’s happening in the city through sites like Londonist, Timeout and Le Cool Magazine. Connect with people on Twitter. Soon you’ll have so many new friends in many different parts of the city that you’ll find it difficult to keep up with them all.

Also keep in mind that London is a very transient place. People will come and go. You will lose touch with someone just because they move west and you live in the east, or because they get a new job or a new flat. It will happen, but new people will come into your life just as quickly as old friends leave.

How to continue loving the city & staying sane

London can also be a hard place. It’s expensive. The travel starts getting to you after a while. Landlords are fickle and it’s common to have to move every other year. Just accept all of this. Accept that you are going to get ripped off, that someone will shout at you in the street, that a bus driver will drive off just as you made it to the bus stop in the rain. Accept that your mail will go missing, that stuff wont work and the water pressure in the showers is horrible and that the winters are damp.

Just take a deep breath and realise that you live in one of Europe’s largest cities, that you live in one of those rare places in the world that is truly international, that London is a world of its own and that it has its own rules.

Take time off. Go to the parks. Take a warm bath. Go for a massage. Go someplace else, travel and see the country. Or stay in doors, remember that you don’t have to do everything and see everything at once. Don’t drink as much alcohol as the British do. Try to sleep enough even though the city can be wild and noisy.

Allow yourself to love London even when it’s driving you mad.

Bonus: How I did it

*Written in 2013*

I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing when I moved here. But I had a lot of determination and faith that everything would turn out OK, and it did!

I decided that I wanted to move to London and work as a freelance journalist at the end of 2008. In January 2009 I moved into a room in a shared house I found on Gumtree. I hadn’t seen the flat beforehand and booked it over the internet, but I was only staying for a month to try things out so I decided it was worth the risk. I was lucky because the house was great and my house-mates were lovely.

After a month of freelancing I didn’t really have a choice about whether to stay or not anymore. I just knew I had to stay, I couldn’t go back to Helsinki after realising a life in London wasn’t just possible, but that it was sort of necessary. I was lucky because one of the girls in the house where I was living was moving out and I was able to take over her room. After a month of packing up, selling and giving away my stuff in Finland I was back.

I arrived with only a suitcase and a head full of dreams. My room was very cheap and the ceiling had a small hole in it. My house-mates were as great as I remembered them to be and through them I made a lot of friends. Through them I met Gerry and because of him it was even easier to stay in the city. The freelancing work took some time to build up, but after a few months I managed to make a living doing it. Before then I was living off money I had saved while working full-time as a reporter in Finland.

I’ve been here for four years now and I haven’t looked back once. During the first two years I even walked around with a sort of anxiety, pinching myself every now and then, thinking; this isn’t real, they’re going to send me back. I loved the city, I loved everything, I even loved the tube. That honeymoon phase has now passed and I sometimes find myself dreaming about living in other places. But in a way that makes me happy, it means that this is finally my home.

Image by Rob Bye.


Joana Jones says:

Thank you ever so much for your help !!
Returning to the London very soon after 16 years living abroad – happy but at the same time weary of starting a new chapter in my life.
Reading your tips and advices made me feel a bit more confident 🙂

lotta says:

Hi Joana! Good luck with your move back to London, it’s a great city. If you want to know anything else before the move, just ask! I might not be able to help, but I’ll try 🙂 x

Hanna Cho says:

Thank you so much!
I’m an aussie-korean and I’ve always dreamed of moving to London and travelling around Europe!
I’m planning to go in March 2014 and I’m saving as much as I can. Thanks for the article, very helpful and motivational 🙂

lotta says:

Hi Hanna! Really glad the post was helpful. Good luck with your travel plans!

Hej Lotta. Finlandssvenska här som är på väg nästa år. Tack, precis printat ut allt ovan och ska köpa boken. Just en sådan jag saknat 🙂 Lycka till, vi kanske ses i vimlet!!!

lotta says:

Hej Inge-Mo. Vad roligt! Ta gärna kontakt då du är i stan och lycka till med flytten.

Britta Tarvis says:

Thank you for this! After spending 5 years studying in the UK, London still baffles me. Your post came up on Google and I found it incredibly interesting, useful and, most importantly, reassuring. I shall be referring back to it as I plan my own move from Tallinn to London in the beginning of next year. 🙂

lotta says:

Hey Britta! London still confuses me as well, but writing about what I’ve learned so far helps me work things out :). I might be writing something a little bit longer and more comprehensive in a bit since so many people are finding this guide useful (which makes me super happy!). Really glad you’ve found the post helpful and good luck with moving back to this great city.

Sandy Winne says:

Hi, Lotta. I found this blog on Google today, and boy, am I glad I did! I’m moving to London in less than a month to study Journalism and Media, and this guide was definitely helpful. Thank you so much! Have a good day! 😀

Lotta says:

Hi Sandy! Really glad you found my post helpful. Good luck with your move to London and with your studies!

Linzi Stewar says:

So nice to hear from someone who’s ‘done it’. Me and my husband are trying to move to London, we have family there and need to get out of our ‘village life’ up here in Scotland. Here’s hoping we manage! X

Lotta says:

Hi Linzi. It’s always easier to move if you have some connections or family in the city. Although I have to say even though I love London, after five years in the city I now sometimes dream about life in a small Scottish village (my husband’s from Scotland). The grass is always greener… 😉

Samantha Pena says:

Thank you so much for this article! My friend and I are moving to London in February! Everyone keeps asking us what are you going to do there? & we don’t really know! We have some family so that’s good 🙂 But I do have a question for you! What do you recommend as far as getting a visa? We wont be working until we get there and I know you have to have a UK company sponsor your for a visa. Even with that though it doesn’t last long. We really hope to live there for a long time and don’t want to get kicked out! haha oh yes and were coming from California!

Thank you!

Lotta says:

Hey Samantha. It’s probably good to get in touch with the British embassy in your country to get advice. The UK border agency also has some good info on their website. I think as a US citizen you can come over on a tourist visa for six months, but that means you’re not allowed to work. I know the UK government is being tough on immigration at the moment and it’s becoming harder and harder to get a visa, even if you’ve studied in the UK and want to stay after graduation. Try to get as much information as possible before you come over. It’s always worth playing by the rules as it will be a lot harder for you otherwise. Hope that helps and good luck!

Victoria says:

Hi Samantha,
Wanted to say I’m an architect and can help you on the design and all. Would like to share my work with you and can be reached on victoria.dennis20

Alexis says:

Be prepared for weather shock! Buy rainwear and lots of woolley jumpers BEFORE you leave as the GBP makes your dollars not quite as valuable

Emily says:

Hi Samantha,

I was just wondering if you ever did end up making it over to live in London? I am also coming from California and am trying to move in April/May 2017 and it’s a bit daunting! If you did make it out there and tips from one Californian to another would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Anastasiya says:

Hi Charlotta,

Amazing thing you did by taking your time and writing this extremely helpful article. I am a freelance makeup artist and have been dreaming to move to London for as long as I can remember myself. Had not a single clue how to do it, but thanks to you getting a much better picture!
Thanks so much! Xx

Lotta says:

Hi Anastasiya. Really glad you found my guide helpful! Good luck with your move if you decide to come over to this fair city. x

Louise says:

Va härligt att läsa! Jag har precis blivit erbjuden ett jobb i London och är lite i valet och kvalet. Stort beslut liksom. Men tack så mycket för en bra guide. Jag har vänner i London men det är alltid tryggt att höra saker från en skandinav! 🙂

Lotta says:

Hej Louise. Vad roligt! Grattis till jobbet i London. Alltid lättare att flytta om du redan har vänner i staden 🙂

Jen says:

Hi Charlotta,

I’ve decided to leave the sleepiness of Ireland and head to London in the new year & found your wonderful site on Google this morning ! So lucky I did and thank you so very much. I’ll be downloading your ebook in two mind

Thanks again


Lotta says:

Hi Jen. Yay! I’m really glad you found the guide helpful. Hope you enjoy the ebook as well! Good luck with your move! x

Brandi Barker says:

Thank you for this article. I will be living in London next summer, May – August 2014, working for a large company as an intern. After coming back to the US to finish graduate school, I plan on returning to London and continuing work for the company. During the internship, my housing and airfare are paid by the company and I also will have a salary on top of that. However, when I return back as a full-time employee, the wonderful paid-for housing will not be included. Finding a flat and just affording life in London (while having to begin paying off student loans) are my biggest concerns. I loved your article. It is honest and open and assures me that it is possible not just to survive, but LIVE in London. Thanks for all the advice. The websites you referenced will be helpful in the next coming years.


Lotta says:

Hi Brandi. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I’m sure you won’t have any problems finding a great flat and affording life in London, especially since you’re coming straight into a job. Good luck with the move and enjoy London life! x

Catlyn says:

Hi Lotta. I’m thinking about moving from Bournemouth to London. I have 18 months old son and things between his dad are really bad. I’ve been in Bournemouth for 3 years and it’s a nice little town but I need something bigger. Need to start fresh and secure my sons future. Your tips here are pretty good and I’m really considering it now 🙂
I’m from Estonia myself and my parents live in Finland so travelling from London to over there or them to come over to mine would be so much easier from London 🙂 thank you for this information 🙂

Lotta says:

Hei Catlyn. You’re very brave to set off and do the right thing for your son. Is there a specific reason you’ve decided to move to London? As it’s a big city there are more opportunities for work here, but there is also more competition and the cost of living will be higher. You might find that living in a smaller city closer to London will actually mean a higher living standard. It depends on what you’re looking for really, both in terms of work/accommodation and what kind of city you want to live in. If you go a bit north of London Stansted airport is close, which is good if your parents come to visit. The same goes for Brighton, for example, which is close to Gatwick airport. I’m sure you have a lot to think about already so I don’t want to confuse the issue any further. Good luck with making plans and moving to the right place for you and your son!

Helena says:

Hi Lotta,

Thank you so much for writing this guide, it’s so useful! I am a beauty/fashion blogger ( and currently live in Liverpool where I attend university. I am just about to go into my second year but have been receiving a lot of opportunities to attend events in London due to my blog. I have just come back from fashion week and have no money haha but feel like I am missing out on all of these events because I don’t live in London. I feel like I am stuck here until I finish university as I think it would be a bad move to quit and move to London. I am really torn and don’t want to miss all of these opportunities 🙁 I wish I was in my final year of Uni as I could be a lot more patient then.

Thanks again!


Lotta says:

Hi Helena. I know the feeling! I had two rounds of waiting to come to the UK, once when I was trying to sort out an Erasmus exchange (I went to Manchester) and the other time when I was saving up to move to London. Sometimes it’s better to wait and prepare than to move too quickly. If you can travel to London every now and then as you finish your studies you might be able to build a great network of contacts, friends, potential employers or clients in the city… which will make it so much easier when you decide to move. Be patient. If you really want to come to London then you’ll get here in the end! Good luck! xx

Helena says:

This is great advice Lotta, I really appreciate it, thank you! I think I sometimes lose patience which is not always so good haha! I will definitely take what you said and embed it in my brain 😉 Thanks again! All the best xxx

Lotta says:

Good luck! When you look back on it all the waiting won’t seem too bad 😉 x

Lauren says:

Hi Lotta. I have also dreamed of experiencing the London life so I am moving to London from Australia in May 2014. I’m nervous about going on my own not knowing anyone and finding nice people to live with and a job so thank you for all this good advice! I will have a British passport so hoping that will make things easier. Thanks again 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Lauren. That’s great. Good luck with your move!

Suzanne Cox says:

Hi Lotta,
Another accommodation option for people new to London whilst finding their feet is We are a new start up providing host family homestay accommodation in London. To help you settle in to London life, you can share a meal, learn customs, hear stories and enjoy traditions with your local London hosts.

Anthony Stoker says:

Hi Lotta,
I have to say that I’ve been confused lately about this moving business. I do have London in mind, but It’s where to start and you have really given some helpful tips here. I know know what steps to take. I say you must of saved up quite a lot of money though. Which I think is the first thing I need to do myself haha.
Thank you,

Lotta says:

Hey Anthony. It gets less confusing when you decide to actually do it. Good luck! And with hindsight I should maybe have saved a bit more than I did 😉

Kris says:

I live in America and really want to move to London but have heard that it is very difficult to become a permanent resident because they do not let just anyone move there. Is there any truth to this?

Lotta says:

Hi Kris, unless you have a passport from one of the countries belonging to the European Union it is a bit difficult to move to the UK, especially as the current government is cracking down on immigration. You can find out more about visas and if you need one on the website

Anna says:

I was wondering roughly how much you had saved up before you moved. Moving to London is a long term goal of mine. I want to give it a test run for six months to a year before deciding if I want to stay longer. I am currently saving money (or at least I am trying to), and was hoping you could clue me in as to the amount of money I will need to make it for a few months. Thanks! (Wonderful article, by the way…)

Lotta says:

Hi Anna. I had saved around 2000 euros and I started freelancing straight away when I arrived in London, earning around 1000 euros per month on average (I was selling stuff to media in Finland and was paid in euros). I was pretty skint during the first six months even though I was very lucky to have found a really cheap room (around 400 pounds in rent) in a shared house… I’m not sure if it’s possible to find such cheap rooms anymore.

Today I’m slightly more cautious than I was when I moved to London and I would recommend perhaps saving a little bit more than I had done. But it all depends on how quickly you’ll be able to earn money in London and how much you’ll be earning per month, and also how much rent you’ll be paying.

Hope that helps!

Good luck.

Lotta x

Courtney says:

Hi Lotta,

Do you have any recommendations from someone from the US? I am just recently visited, and I absolutely fell in love with London. I want to live here! What steps should I take? As well as getting a VISA and/or finding employment that could potentially sponsor a VISA. Honestly, if I could move here, I wouldn’t think twice about returning to the states!


Lotta says:

Hi Courtney. The British government has made it more difficult for people from countries outside the EU to move to the UK. The best way to get a visa is either to move to the UK to study or to find an employer who could sponsor you. If you have a grandparent from a European country you might be able to get a passport from that country, which would make it easier for you to move to the UK as you wont need a visa in that case. The British Embassy in the US might also be able to let you know exactly what you’d need to do to get a visa. Hope that helps. Good luck! It might not be easy, but if you really want to move it’s all possible 🙂

Kirsten says:

I’m in Edinburgh but planning on packing a suitcase and moving to London when I graduate. This article is so helpful and it is reassuring to hear other lone women making a success of starting a new life in London. This article is great!

Lotta says:

Hey Kirsten. That’s so nice to hear. I’m really glad you found the article helpful! Good luck with your move! x

Lorraine says:


I’ve just been reading your article which is very helpful.

I will be starting a new job in London in 2014 and plan to relocate there.

My job location will be near covent garden so ideally I would like to live as close to work as I can. I was considering getting a studio or 1 bedroom flat but after doing some research a house or flat share seems cheaper but I’m quite nervous as I’ve never lived with people before. I’m trying to workout what is the cheapest location for me that is reasonable and the area is not to rough. West London seems quite reasonable but I don’t want to be travelling for more than 20-25 minutes to work.

Is there a good location in west London or other parts of London you could suggest?

Thank you

Lotta says:

Hi Lorraine and happy new year! I’m glad you found my article helpful. The main problem when moving to London is trying to find somewhere not too expensive in the right location. If you find the right people to share with sharing can be a great experience. It’s also a good way of meeting new people in a new city. If you’re working in Covent Garden look at areas along the Picadilly or central lines, which will take you to work quickly. Good luck!

Lavater says:

Hi, Lotta!
I’m a nurse in the US planning to relocate to London this summer 2014. Luckily, I’ve found many employers willing to sponsor me and hopefully I’ll be starting my MSc in nursing this Fall at King’s College. Deciding to make such a huge move has been nerve-wrecking to say the least. But, you’ve provided so much valuable information and I’m definitely taking notes. Thanks so much, and wish me luck. 🙂

Lotta says:

Hey Lavater. That’s great! Having a sponsor and going straight into a degree will make things so much easier. Good luck with everything. I’m sure you’ll be fine! Seems like the UK is in need of good nurses 🙂

Elvis Aron says:

Hi Lotta! I am a Brazilian, I went to London at 12th January 2013 to study English in a School called Hampstead School of English. I loved that experience! I stayed there for just 2 weeks and It was enough for me to love that amazing city. My dream was just to know London before arriving there, but after what I lived there, I change my idea and now my dream is to move to London. I am so grateful! Your post came in the right time. You really encouraged me to save more money and study hard the English language to reach my dream.
I hope you undertood what I meant, because I make mistakes everytime with prepositions and verbs tenses.
Thank you again and I am looking forward to read your next post.
Elvis Aron.

Lotta says:

Hi Elvis Aron. Don’t worry about your English, it’s great. I’m glad you’ve decided London is the place for you! There are plenty of Brazilians here as well, if you happen to feel a bit homesick after you’ve moved. Personally I’m very happy that there are enough Nordic expats to support an import of Finnish rye bread and salty liquorice. After a few years in London you start appreciating those sort of things :). Good luck with it all!

olga Lopes says:

Thank, you for the great info. Do you have any idea of an affordable safe neighborhood to raise two teenage boys. I am supposed to start work in central london and i have. No idea on where to start looking.

Thank you

Lotta says:

Hi Olga. That’s a tough one, but I’m sure there are many good and affordable areas in and around London where it would be safe to raise teenage children. I think it’s probably worth looking a bit further out, which means a longer commute for you… but more affordable and family friendly areas. Perhaps start at looking at good schools. An Ofsted report might help. Are there any schools your children might like to go to? Also some Southern and Western suburbs tend to be seen as safe and family friendly. Perhaps look at places like Surbiton and Richmond. It also depends on where you’re going to work. What would be a convenient commute for you? If you work around Liverpool Street you might want to look at places north of the city, where the commuter trains stop, if you work around Paddington then look for areas in the West, same goes for Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge and the South. Hope that at least helps you to get started. As soon as you know which side of the city to focus on it’ll get easier. Good luck!

olga Lopes says:

Thank you. I will definitely have a good look at the schools and then research around that area. As commute goes, maybe 45 mns to 1 hour max. I will give you an update soon. Thanks again

Triin says:

Great guide Charlotta!
I’m sure it’s helpful for many London newbies! This wonderful city has so much to offer but preparation is a must when making the step to move.
I went through the same on my own when moving to London. It’s very helpful to have a guide and list of websites to get started. Especially when you are looking for a job and a place of living at the same time. When starting early and making preparations, you can save a lot of time and money. Also any additional information about scams would help people who are just about to discover London.
I’m helping internationals to enter London job market now by offering career coaching and help with resumes and cover letters. I’m happy to help anyone in need

[…] to stay in London is an intimidating prospect. Rent is particularly expensive, and according to, could range from 600 to 1000 pounds per month depending on where one […]

vanessa moreno says:

first of all thank you this was a big help
well I am planning on moving to London from California I am really excited
but I have a question do you think it is better to have a job for a while or go to a university first?
again thank you for making the

K says:

Wonderful post, it has helped a lot. I’m hoping to move to London summer ’15 once I have graduated. problem is I have no idea how where to start.

Lotta says:

Hi K. Glad you liked the post! Good luck with the move. x

vanessa moreno says:

love this post so much helped me alot i just had a quick question do you think i should get a job for awhile and settle in or get straight to university

Lotta says:

Hi Vanessa! Really glad you like the post. That’s a tough question. Do you already have a degree in mind? Do you know what kind of work you’d be looking for? In some ways the question doesn’t have so much to do with London, it’s more about what you feel like you want to do in your life at the moment. Do you want to work or study? Do you need to work for a while to save up some money? Or do you need to get a degree first? If you’re more of an intuitive person just think about what feels right in your gut. If you’re really logical write a list of pros and cons for each option. Both are good options when it comes to settling into London life. Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes. x

Malik says:


I’ve just been reading your article which is very helpful.

my name is Malik and i am from Pakistan, I will be starting a new job in London in April 2014 and plan to relocate there.

My job location will be near Wembley so ideally I would like to live as close to work as I can. I was considering getting a studio or 1 bedroom flat but after doing some research a house or flat share seems cheaper but I’m quite nervous as I’ve never been in London before. I’m trying to workout what is the cheapest location for me that is reasonable and the area is not to rough. West London seems quite reasonable but I don’t want to be travelling for more than 20-25 minutes to work.

Is there a good location in wembley London or other parts of London you could suggest?

Lotta says:

Hi Malik. Glad you found my post helpful. Congratulations on getting a job in London! You’re moving here at a good time of the year, hopefully we’ll get a nice summer! I don’t know what your budget will be like, but for most people sharing is a good option when moving to London. It means you’ll meet some new people and if you get on with your flatmates you have a bit of a support network from the start.

Make sure you don’t rush the process though. If you can, take your time and find a house and people you feel like you’ll like living with. is a good place to start.

If you’re going to be working in Wembley, start looking for flats in that area. I don’t know much about Wembley, but think it’s quite safe. Supposedly there is quite a large Indian/immigrant population there. Unfortunately I know very little about the northwest of London, although Harrow is supposedly also quite a good area. There is a really big and famous private school there (sort of like Eton).

If you want to be slightly more central have a look at places like Acton, which is quite suburban or Shepherd’s Bush or Kilburn. Another alternative is to look at what tube line or overground line you’ll use to travel into work and find places along that route. Anywhere around Notting Hill/Westbourne park is very safe but quite expensive. Also if you google the area names and ask if they’re safe you’ll find a few answers out there on the web, make sure you take some of it with a pinch of salt though. London is on the whole quite a safe place to be.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions and good luck with your move!

Malik says:

Thank you very much Lotta for your time you doing great job.

Mark says:

Very nice to read an honest guide. London can be fun to discover but can also be an incredibly lonely place as well, especially if you are an introvert and feel overwhelmed by it all. Never lived there (too expensive) but just visited from the North a few times.

Lotta says:

Thanks Mark. I think the only way to talk about how to move to London is to be honest. It can be both an expensive and lonely place, but then plenty of places can be isolating and lonely, it depends on the choices you make. I do feel overwhelmed by London as well every now and then and have to escape to the countryside :).

Leah says:

Hi Lotta. great guide. As someone who has never been to London it was very helpful to get a sense of the different areas. I am curious how old you were (if you don’t mind sharing) when you made the move. I’m in my 30’s so I didn’t know if house shares would be as common for people in my age group and if it would still be easy to meet people.

Lotta says:

Hi Leah. Really glad you found the guide helpful. I was 24 when I moved to London, but there are people in their 30s and 40s living in shared accommodation (my flatmates when I moved here where both 30+). Because it’s such an expensive city it’s quite common for single people to share. You will find bankers, lawyers and other professionals in shared flats. One annoying thing about the London rental market is that it’s a lot easier to find your own place with a partner. If you’re happy to share a studio flat you can expect to pay around £1200+ per month in rent. Not too bad between the two of you, but a lot more difficult if you’re single. That’s why singles in the city tend to share. It surprised me too when I moved here. Although I would say, the older you are and the longer you’ve lived on your own the more tiring sharing can be. If that’s the case it’s even more important to find a flat with people who have a similar lifestyle to yours. Hope that helps!

[…] get a lot of comments on my post about How to move to London. So far I’ve replied to them in the comment thread below the post, but I’ve been […]

Jordan osborne says:

Hey, I just want to know about your work as a freelance? I am an Aussie hoping to move to london soon and I’m an architect hoping to join a firm but for the start just doing freelance. Is it difficult to get work and how do you go about it in London?

Lotta says:

Hi Jordan. Thanks for your comment. I think it deserves quite a long answer. Would it be OK if I put together a blog post with your question in it? I’ll put it up at some point next week.

Hi Lotta!

I am Hungarian and I am moving to London this summer after 13 years in Mexico city. I’ve never lived in London and I don’t know how hard it’s going to be, because of the culture shock and all. I am a linguist but I don’t think I can find a linguist-job!!
I’d like to sell Mexican handicrafts but of course I don’t have money for a shop, only online. Any advice on that? Do you think it can work? Are there a lot of Mexican shops in London?
Thank you for any advice!

Lotta says:

Hi Veronika! Wow, it must have been really interesting living in a place like Mexico City. I’m sure you’ve learned a lot there which will make it easier for you to move to another big capital city.

I’m going to put together a blog post about culture shock in the next couple of weeks so I’m not going to go into that too much here. Also I’m not sure how easy/difficult it is to get a job as a linguist, but there is no harm in trying. Perhaps contact a few universities or people doing the same job here to get advice.

I think it sounds like a great idea to sell Mexican handicrafts. There are several things you can do with that. I know many people who run small businesses and have a market stall on one of the many markets here in London. You pay between £30 and £90 for a day’s trading. I’ve not seen any stalls selling Mexican handicrafts at any of the markets I normally go to (The UpMarket and Spitalfields market). Although there might be people selling similar products in Camden.

A market stall is normally a good way of testing a product and a concept. It doesn’t involve the same risk as setting up a shop and you can also use it as a way to spread the word about your product and website.

I know a few people who’ve imported bags from South America and done very well selling them on the markets. I think it might be an idea to find a niche product that is unique to you, something that might be difficult to find here in the UK. Mexican food is also very popular here right now, but that might be difficult to get into unless you have a background working in cafés or restaurants.

Hope that’s not too detailed :). Let me know if you have any more questions!

Hi Lotta!

Thank you very much for your detailed answer!! I haven’t thought of the marketplaces, it’s a great idea! I guess I’ll have to go and try! Living in Mexico has been the toughest and the most interesting experience so far. I did learn a lot! But I got disconnected from Europe so much…I am even afraid of going back a little.

I’ll do some research on Mexican crafts sold in London and see what I find. Mexican food is great, though Hungarian food is still #1 on my list!
Thank you again for your advice and remarks, it’s very helpful! Hope you’ll continue with this blog for a long time!

Sara M says:

Hi Lotta and thank you for all the information, I purchased your guide a few weeks ago. I am Swedish too and moving after 9 years in Dubai to London in June to live with my boyfriend, very excited:) I have a question re health insurance before getting a job, when I leave Dubai my health insurance will be cancelled and am assuming I might have to get something myself before I am a taxpaying citizen and eligible of the benefits if needed? Any Ideas how to do that?

Many thanks again:D


Lotta says:

Hi Sara. If you’re a European citizen all you’ll need to get access to healthcare (the NHS) in the UK is a European Health Insurance Card. You can probably get this from Sweden or even in the UK. Any European citizen has the right to free healthcare in Europe, as long as they have this card. Since you’re staying for a longer time and you’re going to work in the UK you also need to get a National Insurance number and start paying National Insurance in the UK, that will also allow you to get benefits in this country. Hope that helps! Good luck with the move.

Crystal Carney says:

Hi Lotta!!

I plan on moving in a few years, having to wait for my oldest daughter to graduate. I was hoping to find out what all I needed to move? Do I kust need a passport or do I need a work visa as well? I live in the US. Thank you for your help!! ☺️

Lotta says:

Hi Crystal. It all depends on what kind of passport you have. Do you have a European passport from an EU country? If so you can move to the UK, start working here and stay as long as you want. If you have a US passport you need a work visa. Contact the British Embassy in the US to find out more. Good luck!

Jen says:

Hi, Thanks so much for this wonderful guide! I was wondering if you could help me some more! I’m 21 and really want to move to London and work in events but my problem is that I don’t have a degree. Do you know if its possible to find an events assistant job without and degree and with limited experience? Also, I hope to move in September and will have 5,000 euro saved by then, is that enough to let me settle for a month or two and find a job? Thanks so much for reading this! P.S. I’m Irish so there are no issues with visas or anything? Thanks! 😀

Lotta says:

Hi Jen! Really glad you like the guide. And yay for wanting to move to London. I know a few people who work in events in the tech industry in London. From what I’ve heard it seems like they’ve moved here, found internships and then worked their way up. Experience in the industry and a little bit of drive will be more important than a university degree. Be brave, go out and network, ask for internship opportunities and take it from there. I think €5000 should be more than enough to settle for about two months. You might need to work for free for a little while though while you’re gaining experience and making contacts in your chosen industry, but even if that’s the case you can always find a temporary bar/cafe/temp job on the side. Good luck!

Penelope Henthorn says:

I have a question for y’all, its my son (9yrs old) and myself wanting to move over to England, we don’t know anyone over there. I’m looking for work, but no luck yet. How would you go about getting there. And being happy .

Lotta says:

Hi Penelope. It will be a bit of a challenge, but if you want to do it you can. If you live somewhere else in the UK/Ireland it’ll probably make things easier as you won’t need a visa and your CV will be full of work experience that an English employer will understand. Good luck! It’ll take a bit of planning and prepping, especially if you’re moving here with your son.

Nikki says:

Thank-you for such a wonderful and enticing way to view, familiarize, and live in London. I live in Arizona and I have a Master’s in Psychology. However I don’t have a clue about how to go about getting a job so that I can move over there.
Thank you again though. You’re an amazing writer.

Lotta says:

Hi Nikki, thank you so much for your comment, it’s put a big smile on my face. If you’re thinking about moving here a good way to start is to have a look at the jobs out there. The Newspaper The Guardian has quite a good jobs section on their website. I guess another option would be to try to find some kind of internship in the UK… although I’m not sure how that works if you want to work as a psychologist. Perhaps contact an organisation you might be interested in working for or someone working in your field and ask them for advice. Asking around never hurts. Good luck!

Daniel says:

I seriously wanna move to London but I don’t wanna do it alone, if anyone wanna make the move as we’ll contact me

Maja Mihic says:

Lotta great writing! I was in London last semester studiyng and need to move back, I currently live in Sweden. I have the same concerns as Nikki Abou fidning a job, I would like to have something lined up when I get there but I know it is better to look for opportunities when in Town.

Do you know anything about the property business? I have studied real estate in Sweden and looking for property administartion jobs. do you have any tips?

Thanks again! Enjoy!

Lotta says:

Hej Maja! Glad you like the guide. Unfortunately I don’t know much about the property business in London. Although a quick google came up with a few results for property administration jobs in London.

There’s no harm in applying from abroad, but I guess you’ll need to find out if you need to add some UK qualifications to your Swedish degree in order to work here.

Here’s some more info about the job in the UK

If anyone out there reading these comments has any advice, let us know!

Lycka till!

Maja says:

I will do some research about the qualifications. Thanks again for the advice!

Phil Tierney says:

Hi – for those looking for accommodation please see Make the process of relocation so much easier!

Jalishia Sanders says:

I’ve been wanting to move to London for 11 years now (I’m 22). My dad talks about it all the time. He says I’d love it. I’m just so happy that I can make my dream a reality once I finish my BA program nect year! This is the most helpful guide that I have found. Thank you for this!

Lotta says:

Thank you Jalishia, I’m really happy you like the guide. Good luck with your move, I’m sure you’ll love it here!

Taan says:

This is exactly what I needed to read right now. Cheers!

Lotta says:

Yay! Thank you Taan.

Rilwan says:

@lotta,like me I don’t have anybody there in london but london is my dream country…I got so much more love when I read ur post here.I wanna ask if london would welcome me with my secondary school certificate….and can I get a chance to work or school over there without no money then I’ll pay back immidiatetly I started work there in london????

Madison says:

Lotta! This guide was great and really helpful to getting an insight into what it takes to move to London. I’ve always had a dream to move to London, and I’ve been seriously thinking about it after I graduate college in the US. But it all sounds so daunting, the visa, the jobs, housing, and the fact that I want to go and do it by myself… makes me almost think its impossible! This guide kind of gave me a small place to start and attempt to figure it out. A couple questions though, is it super hard to find engineering jobs in the city? And, how difficult is the transition to London from the USA, are there a lot of hoops to jump through to comply with all the rules and such?

Lotta says:

Hi Madison! I’m really glad you like the guide. I don’t really know much about engineering jobs in London, although as it’s a big city I’m sure there will be engineering work here, or near London. You can get a feel for the jobs market by looking at sites like

Unfortunately it is a little bit tricky to move here from the US. I’m trying to put together a blog post about that, so watch this space. You will need a visa to work and that visa will have to be sponsored by your employer. In other words you’ll need to find the job first and then get the visa, which your employer can hopefully help you with. I think with a “hard skill” like engineering you might find it easier to find an employer to take you on compared to say someone with a degree in journalism (like me).

Also if you have a grandparent with a European passport you will be able to get a passport from their home country, which will make it easier to move to the UK.

Good luck! It’s definitely possible!

Exstatic says:

You guide is well written and do find it handy for a lot of my questions but I had one question that I didn’t expect toget answered in the guide and that is, im a foreign national with no degree making the move in august, would it be impossible for me to get even basic common jobs such as bar work or restaurant work?

Lotta says:

Hi there. That’s definitely possible, you don’t need a degree to find work in London. Although most places will want you to have some sort of work experience, so it’s good to have done some bar or restaurant work in the past if that’s the sort of jobs you’ll be looking for. Good luck!

Sally says:

Hello, I am 18 and moving to London in a couple of days to do an Internship at J.P. Morgan. I’m worried about feeling really lonely in the city and not knowing anyone. How easy it it to make friends? I’m also worried about not feeling safe and being vulnerable walking around by myself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Lotta says:

Hi Sally. Firstly congratulations on getting an internship at J.P. Morgan. I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant, challenging and very interesting. Wow, so much you think about though. You’re moving here for a new job and you’ll have a whole new city to get to know. Don’t worry, London is quite a safe place. A little common sense goes a long way. Don’t, say, wave money around in busy places or walk through a dark park on your own at night… You probably know these things already, I’m just trying to say that London isn’t too different from any other large city, so don’t worry. You’ll soon be waltzing around on busy London streets on your own, coffee in one hand, feeling confident and big-city-giddy. 🙂

One thing I would say though since you’re moving here when you’re still quite young – don’t let other people impress you too much. There will be people who seem like they know it all and have done it all. They might try to tell you there is a certain way of living in London. If you notice yourself being too impressed by someone or by their lifestyle take a step back and think about how you really want to live, what you really want to do. The banking industry is known for partying a lot. I’m not sure how much of this you will see, but there will probably be a lot of heavy drinking and some drug use. Some people are OK with this. I would say listen to yourself, go home early if you feel like it, don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Good luck! Just getting an internship like this means you’re tough and clever enough to cope with the city.

Finally about finding friends. You’ll probably be working long hours and meet people through work. Hopefully you’ll land in a nice shared flat and meet people through your flat mates. If none of these things are working for you all you need to do is to go out and socialise. If you find people with similar interests to you London can be a very friendly place.

Mina says:

Hi Lotta, loved your guide! I moved to London in april and live in Ealing. A nice place, always crowded and very expensive! The rent is 800 for a one-bedroom-flat. Nevertheless, it’s a clean and good place to live in.
I finished my Master’s Degree in Holland and trying to get a job as a psychologist. I recommend people who have finished their degree in Psychology to register themselves at HCPC. Send them an e-mail and ask what else you have to do before applying for a job. I’am myself in the searching stage…haven’t made any progress yet.

Lotta says:

Hi Mina. Thanks for adding this. That’s great advice! Good luck with job-hunting.

Juliana says:

I loved ur tips! I’m going to move to London next week and i’m very anxious! Tnks!

Lotta says:

Hi Juliana! Really glad you like the guide! Good luck with your move.

Assala says:

Thank you soo much for sjaring all this informations , i’m a 17 year old student from morocco and i’m planing to move out to london in 2 years to continue my studies,everyone seems having a rough time in there and that made me really really scared ,but living in london is worth the try so i’m going ahead and trying it ,finger crossed and thank you again for this

Lotta says:

Hi Assala! London is getting more expensive, but lots of people still manage to make the move. Sorry to hear your friends are having a rough time. Good luck with your plans!

dee says:

hello, i am a teenager. ( 15, to be exact.) I have always loved London and always dreamed of moving there! I have recently started watching “Sherlock” and it has made my love for London burn like a wildfire! I was wondering how much money I would need to save up for leaving, ( if you could help). I am an artist and plan on selling my art to get more money. I live in Oklahoma but plan on Leaving from the Tulsa airport. I would love to find a flat like the one is Sherlock but I am doubtful of that, I want to live in Central London, and I wouldn’t mind having a flatmate. But anywho, the reason I have come to you is because I need help on figuring out how much money I need to save. If you could help it would mean so much to me!
(My mother is doubtful of my leaving and you may be too, but I love London and I want, no I need to move there! Please help!)

Lotta says:

Hi Dee. Good to hear from you! I know what it’s like to fall in love with London in your teens. The good thing about knowing where you want to go is that you can now start planning and preparing for it. If you want to move to London and stay for a while it will take a lot of hard work and a lot of planning to make your dreams become reality. Since you’re American you will need a visa in order to move to the UK. If you’re able to get accepted to a university course in the UK then you’ll be eligible for a student visa. Otherwise you will need to find a UK employer who can sponsor a visa for you.

My recommendation to you would be to visit London first to see if you like the real city as much as the one you’ve fallen in love with from afar. Can you and your mother travel out for a week or two? It might be good for her as well to see the city you might want to make your home one day. If after having visited London you still feel as strongly about moving as before you’ll need to come up with a realistic plan of how to do it. Moving across the Atlantic to a new country is something you’ll need to do with your head, not just your heart. Look at your options, which are all a couple of years down the line. Can you move here to study after you finish school or can you find a line of employment that would make it possible for you to move here? Do you have a European grandparent and are you able to get a EU passport through them?

After you have really looked at these options and come up with a plan you can start thinking about the money you will need to save, but that all depends on exactly how you’re moving here.

I know this might not be what you wanted to hear, but if you’re really, really sure you want to move to London then you will also be able to wait a little bit in order to make it happen. Good luck!

Rx says:

I’ve visited London this weekend for the first time with a friend. We came, we saw and we (were) conquered. Now we are thinking about moving there. We’re living in Germany now and it seems like such a scary thing to do…give up your life and go….but I’m seriously considering it. I’m a bit scared just thinking about such a big step (I’ve done it before, four years ago, moving to Germany) and I’d like to know how hard it would be to find a job. Of course you can’t help me with the specifics of it…but I would just like to know what are the chances. And I would really like to know if my English is good enough for London? Can I get by at my level? It’s important to me, because I came to Germany not knowing a word of german and it was tough. Learning a language, or in this case improving it, takes time.
Thanks. Rx

Lotta says:

Hi Rx! Oh tell me about it, moving to a new place after you’ve already done it once… it is scary. But on the other hand you have done it once before, you kind of know what it will entail. One option is to start slowly and do a test run. Is there any way you could come to London for a month to find a cheap room somewhere and just get to know the city and the jobs market? It’s difficult for me to guess how easy or difficult it will be for you to find work here since I don’t know what you do. However if you really want to move you will find a way to make it work. London is an expensive city, but because of that (because people have and are spending money) there are also lots of jobs here. Just from reading your comment I think your English will be more than good enough. Good luck! You’ve done a big move and created a life for yourself in a new country once already and you can definitely do it again if you want to.

Alex M. Gir says:

Em how much money would i need in us dollars (from México) already employed

p singh says:

Dear Lotta
i found your article on Google, it is really informative and precise! i am married, living in India with my husband. For a couple of months we have been contemplating about moving to London. My husband owns a business while i am a housewife with an MBA degree in finance. My husband also hold a commercial pilot license and an MBA degree. We have few acquaintances in London but no relative as such. Could you please help me and guide me as to how to apply for jobs there? what are the jobs prospects there for both me and my husband?
i would really appreciate if you would help me.

Lotta says:

Hi there. It does sound like you have quite a lot of qualifications, but I’m not an expert on the fields of employment you’d be looking for. Perhaps contact a few potential employees to find out what you’d need in order to start applying for work. Since you have acquaintances in the city I would suggest asking them for advice as well. Are there any cultural organisations helping people who have moved to or are thinking about moving to the UK from India? If so asking them for help and advice would also be a good idea. Good luck!

klsrt88 says:

Hey, just wanted to say this blogpost was very helpful, including your answers to everyone’s questions! Thank you! I currently live in Northern Ireland. I’m 26, living with my dad. I’m at the stage where I’m house hunting (to buy), I have enough for a deposit for a house according to Northern Ireland house prices, I have enough for a deposit on a parking space in Central London lol! I’m ready and itching to buy and live on my own but I can’t commit myself to living here the rest of my life! London’s in my heart! Ever since last July 2013 I’ve visited 4 times with my mum, with another 2 trips planned this year.

My next trip in October I’m coming on my lonesome. Hoping to make some London friends, any tips for a “not-very-confident/outgoing-girl? Lol

Here’s where I need your advice. I don’t have a “career”. I’m a dr’s receptionist. But I would be happy in any full time general admin role. Would this be a sufficient job to live on in London?

Would you suggest applying for a job before moving over or the other way round, ditching my current job, moving over with the risk of ending up unemployed or struggling for work? ….I’m not a risk taker!

Sorry that was long, but hope you can help and thank you!


Lotta says:

Hi Kirsty! Really glad you found the post helpful. Wow… you’re house hunting! I sometimes dream about being able to do that here in London, but right now, unless something shakes up the housing market in this city, my house hunting plans will stay in my head. How are you finding it? It seems like you’re not sure of what to do. In some ways you’re trying to root yourself where you are by looking for a house to buy (major commitment), but you’re also dreaming about moving to London. Could this be, and I hope you don’t mind me saying this, that there is a tiny bit of resistance to “settling down”? Do you really want to move or is it a reaction to making a decision that would make you commit to where you are now? I’m asking you this because I sometimes, before or after I make a big life-changing decision, want to put on my running shoes and go somewhere completely different, start a new life somewhere where no one knows me and I can be however I want to be. This instinct is rarely the right one and as a (nearly) thirty-year-old I’m finally learning this.

Could you take a break and come out to London for a slightly longer period of time just to see what it would be like to live here? This might be a long shot, but is there some kind of exchange thing where you could work/study in London for say a month. You say you’re not a risk taker. You don’t have to decide at once and suddenly change your life around. See if you can stay a bit longer. Browse job sites and even try to apply for a couple of jobs, just to get a feel for the jobs market here. If you can take time off work and have the money see if you can find something you’re interested in and come over to study for a month. Doing something like that would also help you find friends in the city. Then ask yourself do you still like it, do you still want to move. If this advice doesn’t ring true and it makes you think, goddammit all I want to do is to just move to London, then perhaps you should use that trip in October to look at flats and go for job interviews.

Finally lots of people do admin-type work in London and manage fine, however most of them are flat-sharing and would struggle to buy in the city.

I hope that helps! Follow your gut, but listen to your head as well 🙂 Good luck!

Lauren says:

Hi Kirsty

I noticed you work in medical so I just wanted to offer some advice on work if you decide to move here. I moved to London from Australia in May this year and I had a few people tell me to sign up with the temporary workers bank at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) because they said it was a great place to work. So I did and am now working in an admin role in the head office and I love it! There is so much work available that once you are signed up you will likely never be out of work. I took a temp role until October but have already been told I’ll be kept on until at least December and I know other people that have been temping there for 5+ years! Of course you don’t have to keep temping though because you’ll have access to all the permanent jobs there too and can apply for them anytime. And the benefit is you can work at a number of hospitals around London, it’s not just University College Hospital. That’s why there’s so much work! It also pays really well!

The temporary workers bank is managed through Pulse so that’s who you sign up with. It took me around two months to get signed up though because they have to do a criminal background check and in order to do that you have to have two proofs of address in the UK which I didn’t have because I just moved here. And then they have to do reference checks and it just takes a while! This is their website anyway if you wanted to check it out: You can always look up all the hospitals websites too and check out their permanent jobs 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Lauren. That’s great advice! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

klsrt88 says:

Thanks, that helped a lot. I’ve well and truly decided I don’t want to commit to buying in Northern Ireland, the thought of living here the rest of my life is very depressing! So I’m thinking I might rent for a year here to see how I manage living a paying for things completely on my own. And try saving a bit as well. And that’ll give me time to gain a bit more experience in my job. Therefore when I decide to go to London I know I can survive on my own and have the confidence and skills to get a decent enough job!

I tend to listen to my head more than my heart, and things never end up happening haha! Thank you so much for your advice! I’m sure I’ll be in touch again soon!

Lotta says:

Hi again! Glad to hear you’ve made up your mind! Good luck with it all, let me know how it goes!

Chrisse says:

Hei Lotta! Thanks for a great post! I am a fenno-swedish too and have lived in London for almost a year now – it has been awesome so far! Need to move out of my flat in 2 weeks tho, and still haven’t managed to find a flat.. apua! Trying to find something in the east end so thanks for giving a brief overview on areas to check out – if you know anyone who is renting their flat, shout this way! … onneksi mulla on teltta, jos kämppää ei heti löydy 😀 All the best!! xx

Lotta says:

Hei Chrisse! Sorry for replying so late, I’ve been away on holiday for two weeks in the Finnish archipelago and tried my best not to look too much at my email :). Hope the flat-hunting is going well, unfortunately I don’t know of anyone who is looking for a flat mate at the moment. I’m sure you’re already trawling through all the relevant websites. Good luck, you’ll find something good in this big town of ours. x

Lisa says:


Thanks so much for posting this information. I am planning on moving to London next summer so I decided to get as much information as possible and as soon as possible.
I want to be prepared and have everything I need before moving to such as big city like London.

Lotta says:

Hi Lisa. Glad you like the guide, good luck with your move.

Paige says:

Hi Lotta! Found this blog just yesterday and learned so much just from the quick read. We are planning on moving to London from the US in a years time. I would definitely love to exchange emails and pick your brain a bit in that time! Thanks so much for the advice!


Lotta says:

Hi Paige! Glad you like the blog. You’ll find my email in the about section, feel free to send me a message, I’ll try to answer your questions if I can.

Martha says:

As a mature student I plan to move to London. I hope to get a part-time job and that my family will follow after me really soon. Thanks for all your advice

Lotta says:

Hi Martha! Good luck with your move!

Nura Rey says:

Hi Lotta!
Thank you so much for this! This has been an eye opener for my move at the end of this month. I can’t thank you enough. Just what I needed 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Nura! Glad you like it! Good luck with your move.

Keisha says:

Hello Lotta!
Your article here is so wonderful! I love that you gave lots of details with information and had a real conversation with us readers! London is such a great place and although I have only been there twice (so far!) it has stolen a piece of my heart 🙂 I’m glad your move worked out for you and keep writing!

Lotta says:

Thank Keisha, that makes me very happy to hear! It’s really great to read all of the comments, so many of us feeling drawn to this place and mulling over the same things. I think what most people want is clarity, what is it really like to take a step out into the unknown. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing, unless you do it!

Sierra Glover says:

Hi Lotta!

My friend and I are planning to go to London next year around July or so for a few months- 4 months if not more. We currently live in the U.S. and have no idea what to expect. She’s going to take a make up course at a university there called The Hampshire Street Studio and I’m going for the experience. Do you have any suggestions on how we could plan this trip? We would both need to find jobs as soon as possible in order to pay for rent and we’re also having a hard time finding a place we could stay at for the time we are there. Any Suggestions?

Lotta says:

Hi Sierra. I would suggest looking for work as soon as possible by starting to browse job listing websites before you arrive. Also make sure you save a bit of money so you can live comfortably during the first few weeks. Moving to a new place (even for a short period of time) is always a bit more expensive than you think! Look at or Airbnb for short term lets. Good luck!

Dari says:

Hi Sierra, I want to go to London as well but the job situation is whats keeping me from going, Do u have a work permit or work visa? Also if or when u do find a job could u kindly forward the info on how u got the job? Thanks

Ps if u guys want company ill be up for the trip, I hope I don’t sound creepy.

Ian says:

Hi Lotta,

This is a really great guide and has tons of great information. I moved here 4 years ago from Canada and also love it. In terms of employment I’ve been on both sides of table, looking for work and hiring people. I’d say one of the best ways to find work, if you don’t have a particular company, in mind is to Google recruiters in your industry and give them your CV. Overall, they have a bad reputation, but I think this is a little unfair as I’ve worked with some great ones (and a few very lazy ones). Not a guarantee for success, but I find a lot of companies use them here.

Also, I’d advise anyone moving to London to walk as much as possible. London is an amazing city and walking is much better than the Tube and can be faster than the bus at rush hour.


Pauline says:

Hey. A friend and I are gonna move in London. Not it the Centre but cities around. We come from France and are searching for a flat that costs less than 600£. We’re going to study there and do some part-time jobs. We don’t have much information about it yet but that’s what’s going on and we’re looking on it like everyday. That’s kinda a Dream we’re preparing since 1 year and actually, I just found some houses/flats for like 495£ in Purley/London…. My friend is 18 and I am 16. We’re going to move in August and get the chance to study, probably in Trinity College. We’re grateful and I wanted to say that planning to live a whole life-time in England is hard to plan and your advices helped a lot to get confidence about it and help to be careful on how to plan it. Alright, this is going well. This is going to be amazing! Also, thank you. Have a good day. x

Lotta says:

Hi Pauline. Wow, you’re brave to move countries at such a young age! I didn’t dare to take this step until I was 24! Good luck with it all. I’m really glad the guide was helpful. Hope you have an amazing journey and a good start to your life in the UK! x

Pauline says:

“Hi Sierra. I would suggest looking for work as soon as possible by starting to browse job listing websites before you arrive. Also make sure you save a bit of money so you can live comfortably during the first few weeks. Moving to a new place (even for a short period of time) is always a bit more expensive than you think! Look at or Airbnb for short term lets. Good luck!”
That’s exactly what I planned to do! But I planned it for the first 3 months so I can be sure I won’t be homeless so far.

jasmine says:

Hi My Name Is Jasmine I Thought That This Was Very Helpful. I Have Always Wanted To Move To London And I Still Do. I Just Never Know How Much To Save Up Before Going. I Never Really Sat Down And Made A Plan Because I Always Wanted To Just Get Up And Go. I Just Wish I Could Talk To Someone Over There That Could Help Me And Maybe Give Me An Estimate On How Much To Save.

Pauline says:

Maybe I could help if that helps. You can e-mail me at and we could see what you need.

Celine says:

I just had to leave a thank you comment. This’s great. It is my third week here in London and finally landed at a great opportunity. I’m very excited yet scared a bit. I need to socialize and get myself adjusted to the new city! Your words give me a full motivation! Truly appreciate it.

Lotta says:

Hi Celine! Really glad the guide was helpful! Good to hear you’re settling in and enjoying the city. Good luck with your future London adventures.

linda says:

My advice is not to bring too much luggage so that you can move around easily when searching for a place to live. But if you do have a lot of possessions with you, then it might be worth thinking about using self storage such as who are based in East London.

Lotta says:

Thanks Linda. That’s good advice. I appreciate you telling us about your company, but I’d like to let my readers know there are plenty of different self storage options in the city. Googling self storage is a good place to start. There is also a website which allows you to compare self storage options in your area called comparethestorage.

Melissa says:

Hey Lotta i’ve been to London and completely fell in love with the city. i’m just a bit scared of moving do to how i’ll miss my family and do not like to be by myself, these were very helpful tips thank you so muuuuuch (:

Tack for en superbra artikel ! Jag och min kille flyttar till London om tre veckor fran Paris dar jag bott de senaste 5 aren och jag har varit lite stressad och nervos eftersom det verkar vara sa mycket att fixa med. Blev lugnare av din artikel – tack for bra pepp !! Fanny x

Lotta says:

Hej Fanny! Lycka till! Hoppas ni börjar trivas i London x

Pauline says:

” Hi Pauline. Wow, you’re brave to move countries at such a young age! I didn’t dare to take this step until I was 24! Good luck with it all. I’m really glad the guide was helpful. Hope you have an amazing journey and a good start to your life in the UK! x ”

Yes, that’s true. Friends and family were not so glad about it yet but we dare to. If we don’t get the opportunity when it comes then we won’t be living what we wanna live! Life’d be boring! I got help on my sleeves so I’m not scared at all but leaving my family right there, in France, is the most hard thing to do. I’ve got friends in Central London and around Purley ! Have an amazing day, plans are going great! 🙂

(better contact me on my email if you wanna know something cause this website’s not working well)

[…] of you have expressed your worry about making friends after moving to London. Here are a couple of things that worked for […]

Angela says:

Hi there! 🙂 I was just wondering, do you know if Canary Wharf is a safe place to live? I am planning to move there soon. Do you know any other safe places that are almost close to Central London? I appreciate it heaps 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Angela. I don’t know Canary Wharf that well, but based on what I’ve heard about it I would say it’s pretty safe. A lot of people who work in the City (London’s finance district) live there and there are plenty of shiny and modern apartment blocks to house said City workers. Most of London is pretty safe now days, especially if you life close to the city centre. Hope that helps! Good luck with your move.

michelle says:

Hey, I’m planning on moving to Europe from the U.S. later this year and I wanted to stay for a year or so, just to travel around, and I’ll probably get a job to keep myself afloat…but visas only give 90days…how do I legally stay longer? Thanks 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Michelle, if you want to stay longer you will need a work or a study visa. I wrote a post about how to get one, but it will be quite a long and costly process for most people. If you want to move to the UK it would be better to sort the visa issue out before you come to the country. I’m not sure how things work if you have a visa for another European country, I think the 90 day rule for staying the UK still applies. It’s probably worth checking with the American Embassy in the UK to see what you need to do.

Ag says:

Hi Lotta, I can’t find the link to your ebook! Did you delete it? Is it still available for purchase? Thanks!!

Lotta says:

Hi Ag. I took it down because the EU has changed its tax laws when it comes to selling ebooks and digital products. I still haven’t figured out what to do with it as it would be quite complicated to keep selling it, I would have to pay VAT in the country where people buy the book… which means registering for VAT all over Europe! If you send me an email to charlottabuxton @ I can send you a copy.

[…] two years ago I wrote a post about how to move to London. I wrote it because a friend of my mother had a daughter who was moving to London and I thought […]

[…] here via Pinterest .pineoame { width: 180px; height: 50px; } @media(min-width: 500px) { .pineoame { […]

Hi Lotta!
I found your website through pinterest and I really love your writings! I always dreamed of living in London and planning to get my master degree there. Your posts are inspiring and helpful. Thank you so much!

Lotta says:

Hi Dane! Really glad you like the blog. Good luck with your London plans.

Julieta says:

Hi Lotta!
I am moving to London in March and I have this huge doubt about what they call “apprentices”. I was looking for the minimum wage London has, and they have age categories. When it comes to apprentices it says “This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.” I’m 23 and it will be my first time working there. Does that make me an apprentice???
Thank you in advance!

Lotta says:

Hi Julieta. Unfortunately I don’t know. You could ask the Citizens Advice Bureau, they’re normally very good when it comes to helping with questions like these. Good luck!

Simona Rosev says:

Hi Lotta,
I am looking into moving to London to live and work there. I recently graduated about six months ago and I have a few questions for you. My first one is I have been trying to find a job online before I even go there. I know it is difficult to find a job overseas. I do have a Masters and Bachelors degree in Business Administration, but I do not have the years of experience needed my employers because I am still a recent graduate. Would you recommend if I move there first and find a job ? I have been trying to consider which option would be better. My second question that I have is regarding my citizenship. I am an american citizen with a US passport but I also have my European Union ID card from Bulgaria because I have dual citizenship. I am originally from Bulgaria. When I move to London would it be better to just stick with my EU ID card so that I do not need to apply for a visa ?

Thanks for the help 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Simona. I’m not really sure what the best option would be, perhaps there are some other people out there reading this who’ve done something similar (if so please share your thoughts!). I’m sure both options could work. However it seems like it’s good to have some UK work experience when applying for jobs here. Depending on your previous work experience and where you studied you might need to do internships for a while before you actually get a job here. You might be able to find an internship placement in the UK online and move here to do that first, and as you’re doing that it should be easier to get contacts, experience and start looking for a job.

When it comes to visa issues it might be a good idea to contact the British embassy in the US. If you have a Bulgarian passport you should be able to settle in the UK without a visa, but you will need a passport, not an ID card to enter the UK as it’s not part of the EU schengen agreement. Do double-check these things as I’m no expert.

Good luck!

Maeve says:

Hi Lotta

I will study master course in UCL start from this September. This is my first time travel to London so I am very confuse for which area should I stay? Would you suggest any area in London which is safe and convenient? Thank you very much!

Lotta says:

Hi Maeve, there are plenty of good and safe areas to stay in, look at what’s available along the tube lines taking you to Euston, Euston square or Warren street, which are convenient for UCL. Looking at transport links is a good place to start.

javier says:

great job Lotta! your article is beautifully written and spot on. I lived in London for four years, until I decided to leave the city for a while. I’m moving back to London in a few days time, and really needed to read this article, to confirm moving back to London is the right decision. thank you for writing this 🙂

Lotta says:

Thank you Javier! Good luck with your move back to town!

Keidra says:

Thank you so much for your posting. It was quite helpful. My am moving to London from the the U.S. soon. I have a five year old daughter and would prefer not to have flat-mates. Are the website you suggested for housing still useful for people who want to live alone? The rents I saw online were close to 2500£.

Lotta says:

Hi Keidra, really glad you like the guide! Unfortunately the rents in London are quite high at the moment… it’s I guess very similar to New York in the US. In order to find something affordable for a “normal” budget you’ll need to look at areas further away from the city centre. Zoopla and Rightmove are good sites for finding flats. Good luck with the move!

Tarn says:

South London definitely getting the short end of the stick here! Best area of London!

Lotta says:

Hi Tarn. Unfortunately I don’t know south London very well at all. If you have any tips and ideas or favourite areas, please share them! Thanks.

Carolina says:

Heyyy!! This is so useful! I’m from argentina and i’m going to stay in london for 3 days. Can you recommend me please a cheap and nice hotel?? Thanks!!!! Carolina

Lotta says:

Hi Carolina, check for cheap deals. Otherwise sites like AirBnB are great if you want to rent a room in a flat. Enjoy town!

Ivonne says:

The problem for non EU-people is that is now nearly impossible to move to many countries within the EU, specially the UK 🙁 Doors were opened wide for some and pretty much shut closed for the rest of the world…

Anyway, I lived in the South West of London in Putney, right under Fulham for a few months and it was wonderful 🙂 Probably more expensive than the East as I rented a room in a well-to-do family’s house, but it’s a beautiful and super safe area (I had no worries walking home from the Tube around midnight on weekdays on my own). Just my two cents since you mention you don’t know much about the area 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Ivonne. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on South London! And I know what you mean, it’s not easy to move to an EU country without an EU passport. The same applies for EU citizens wanting to move outside the EU I guess. A US friend and I brainstormed that there should be some sort of exchange system, someone from the States wanting to move to the UK should be able to swap places with someone in the UK wanting to go to the States. Not sure how that would work in reality though 🙂

Rilwan says:

Am a nigerian,but I love LondoN so much,but my problem is that I don’t have anybody over there…so I wanna ask if london would accept me with my secondary school certificate…And can I study in london on loan immidiately I finish my education and started working I’ll pay back….please I need your help

Mike says:

Thanks for taking the time to give a brief insight on moving to London cheers and the best of luck in your furture

Pauline says:

If some people are looking forward a language table school, I have one that locates in Purley, this is Purley college and there you can study your english from 5 to 25 years old. I’ve e-mailed the agent marketing and the advisors, they were okay from receiving people who doesn’t have any diplomas. You can study your english for business and more or just the global english if you’re a debutant. If that can help then I’m glad. Maybe some people were looking the same as me. Just, you’re better to rent your own flat than getting a family working with the school or getting taxi transfer. It costs more expensive than doing it by yourself. The price of the table is already kinda expensive itself.

V.L. Brock says:

Thank you so much for this.
I live in South Wales, UK with my 6 years old son, and have recently separated from my husband. After spending a week in London (on two separate visits), we have decided that we want to move there.
It was the sensation of homesickness, which kicked in when I left the city to return to Wales, did I actually begin to understand what needs to be done.

I do have one question though:
When considering this change, what should you search for first, accommodation or employment? Obviously with a child I can’t jump in feet first, this move needs to be as organised as a woman’s hospital labour bag. 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi V.L. Good to hear from you. I do know the feeling you’re talking about, that strange homesickness as you leave the city. But like you mention moving to London with a young child is a very different thing to coming here on a whim in your early twenties and it needs to be planned carefully. Firstly, ask around for lots of advice (which you’ve already started doing). Do you have friends who’ve moved to London or is there anyone else in the city you can ask for advice? What do people think about your plan back home? Find out as much as possible about what it will be like moving here, get as many different opinions and as much input as you can and then make up your mind.

I would recommend finding a job first and making the move after you know you can make a living in the city. Hopefully all the other things will fall into place after that. But since it sounds like you’re in a bit of a transitional phase in your life, having recently separated, also dig deep and ask yourself if this really is a good time to move. Sometimes we just crave change just for the sake of it and sometimes we’re pushed by something inside ourselves to think bigger and reach for something new. Figure out where you want to take your life. Coming here is a big commitment, especially if you’re moving with a child. It takes hard work, it’s expensive and it will take you away from the friends and family you have. Good luck with your plans. If moving to London is the right decision for you then you’ll find a way to do it!

Audrey says:

I dream of moving there someday(from the US)! I am very intimidated by visas, mainly beause I have no idea where to start looking on that. Probably will be years before I move there. Thank you for your post. I found it on Pinterest and thought you had great information, thank you!

Lotta says:

Thank you Audrey. Glad you like the post. Good luck with your plans!

[…] How to move to London – Londonlotta » … – Hi Joana! Good luck with your move back to London, it’s a great city. If you want to know anything else before the move, just ask! I might not be able to help, but …… […]

Dom says:

Hey Lotta,

Great post!

I want to work in TV as an actor/presenter which has lead me to make my decision to leave my little seaside town and head for the big smoke!

Bow to be exact, found a smart two bed to bath flat with my mate and move down next week – cant wait!

Reading this has definitely backed up my decision to move and i cant wait to embrace what London has to offer!

Thank you

Lotta says:

Hi Dom! Glad you found the post helpful. Good luck with your move!

Pauline says:

Sorry for the iPhone mistakes. Well i could love in London next Year and ure post makes me hold on to the dream !!

Pauline says:

Hey, do you think going with 3400€ is alright ? I mean, I’ll check out for a part-time job before and I’ll still get 400€ pm. I wondered if it will be enough moving to London with this so far.

Lotta says:

Hi Pauline, it’s really difficult to give financial advice like this. It depends on the work you’re looking for, how much money you normally spend, where you’re going to live and so on. Do you mean 3400 euros in savings? I’m opening up this question to the floor, the more input and advice you can get the better.

Cecilia says:

Wow! thank you for the tips! Great description! I would hope you could do the same for moving to Finland!!! haha.. that seems hard.. and it´s not very talked or known about…. I am dying to go.. and i will definitely do it this summer! 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Cecilia. Glad you like the blog! Finland is lovely in the summer, that’s the best time of the year to go (unless you like the cold)! Interesting thought about writing about how to move to Finland, I’ve not lived there for six years… I would need to do a bit of research 🙂

Krista says:

Thank you so much, what a lifesaver. I am just wanting to do a 3 month stint, I imagine this will prove difficult to find a flat to rent. Is there an area that look for hires for the summer? Thank you for all your info!!

Lotta says:

Hi Krista. Really glad you found the guide helpful. There should be lots of short term flat lets available, especially in the summer. is a good site to check as well as Airbnb. I was also contacted by some people who run a short term letting agency in Notting Hill ( I don’t know anything about them, so make sure you do your research, but they might be something to check out as well, depending on your budget. Good luck.

Mark J says:

Hi Lotta,
I’ve have been reading your website and think your level of knowledge on your subject is fantastic, well done to you for giving advice to so many people 🙂 Have just read your more recent “Why Not to Move to London” post and so sorry that the honeymoon period is fading… I hope you will cheer up soon, even if it is in another city!

I am actually asking advice as a UK citizen – hope this is ok! I have been living in a small town called Leamington Spa for 3 years but have been feeling bored and unsettled since about this time last year.

I am thinking that moving to the city might be a good move for me as I am from the South (Bournemouth) originally Working my way down South might be nice in the long run but at the same time I will still get the excitement of the big smoke for a while before I hit 30. Does this sound like a good idea?

I work for a small company that manufactures tools and exports them all over the world. I enjoy this and would like to find work for another company where I can deal with international trade/logistics. I know there are a lot of freight forwarders in London, particularly around the area of Hounslow with it being so near to Heathrow Airport. However I have been applying for jobs on and off in London for the past year and heard very little back (I have mainly been using Reed)

Do you have any advice for standing out when applying for jobs, or do you know anyone who works in the export/manufacturing industry and know how they got to where they are today?

I hope to hear from you soon and thanks again for the cracking blog.


PS – Has rent really sky-rocketed to £2500 per month…!?

Lotta says:

Hi Mark. Good to hear from you! I’m glad you’ve found the blog helpful. Unfortunately I don’t know much about the export or manufacturing industry so I won’t be of much help to you there. Perhaps get in touch with a couple of the companies you’re interested in working for and ask them for advice. A lot of people are competing for jobs in London so being proactive and doing as much as you can to stand out might help in terms of getting a job.

Two major industries in London are tech and finance, not sure if the skills you have could be applied to anything within those sectors, but if that’s the case then it might open up even more possible jobs for you out there. Also is there anyone in your current company you can ask for advice? They might know more about what to do in terms of finding work in London.

Hope that helps. Like I said, unfortunately I don’t know much about this sector. If someone else out there does and reads this comment, then please chip in with your thoughts. Finally I’d like to add that even though competition is fierce London is probably still quite a good place to look for work, lots of companies, in lots of different sectors are hiring in this city.

And when it comes to rent you can still find rooms in shared flats for around £600/month. If you’re looking for your own flat it might be tricky to find something cheaper than £1200/month.

Mark J says:

Hi Lotta,

Thanks for your feedback and suggestions 🙂 I’m going to try and find out as much as I can about manufacturers in or around London (if there are any) There are a lot of freight jobs but they need quite specific skills which I’ve not yet learnt… But I will keep trying!

Take care of yourself and maybe one day I’ll even bump into you when I’m living in the city! 🙂


monica jain says:

Setteling down in London is a kid getting admission in pre school ..only advantage is.. my cousin brother n sister in law settled there n own a company… bt i really dont know if they wl help me…
i really need work visa frm UK n start frm scratch…
plz suggest

Jenny P says:

I would like to share some tips from my experience. There are times when you rent part of a house from another tenant but have not signed the lease. This is known as an informal living arrangement. You will still need to pay for your rent and for services like electricity and gas. However, there is no legal contract as you have not signed a lease.

In a situation like this, the tenant you are renting from will have signed a written tenancy agreement with the owner of the house or unit. This makes them the ‘head-tenant’.

If you are in this situation you should get a written agreement with the head-tenant that covers things like how much rent you will be paying and how shared household costs will be divided and paid. A written agreement can help set agreed rules and can be used to resolve disputes.

Be careful if you allow a housemate to live with you and they are not on the lease or you do not have a written agreement with them. If things don’t work out and they move out or stop paying rent, you could end up out of pocket without any way to get the money back

Lotta says:

Thanks Jenny. That’s a really good point, when it comes to sharing flats always make sure as much as possible is written down.

Connor says:

Hi Lotta, great blog post. I potentially have a job in London starting in a few months and I’m a recent graduate. My concern is that I do not have many connections or family in London… I barely know anyone there. Is it easy to get on your feet and meet new people? Obviously you have your housemates and work colleagues but just wondering your experience meeting people in the capital? Thanks.

Sam House says:

Hi there

If you are Swedish and are looking for a job in London, please feel free to get in touch with us. We are a language specialist recruitment agency and are currently looking for Swedish speakers for an ongoing project. Send your CV to, if you are curious as to what we do have a look on our website

We look forward to hearing from you!

Anne says:

any advice for moving back to the UK after years abroad so no credit history to rent a flat, but obviously need to rent one. I an expecting a deposit and at least 2 months rent so I have been saving.

Lotta says:

Hi Anne, sorry for the late reply, I’ve been away travelling for a few weeks. I think budgeting for a deposit and 2+ months rent sounds like a good plan. How much you’ll need depends a lot of where you want to live, some landlords in London and other popular cities seem to want 6 months up front. But these things are often negotiable. Good luck with moving back!

Ana says:

Hi Anne, my name is Ana and I help people who move to London daily. I help them to find flats and rooms in London for a cheap amount of money and also I pick them up from airports and help them around for the first few days or weeks if needs be. When would you be coming back to London and where would you like to find a flat. I look forward to hearing from you.



Amy says:

The only problem with Meetup is that it’s orientated around group meetings, For those similar to myself that are more reserved and would prefer taking the time getting to know somebody one to one, is a new social media website
The website aims at helping people make friends and meet new people in their local area. Whether you want to find somebody to go to a gallery with or simply someone to listen, Would Love to Go is the site for you!
I’m also a resident of London and member of Would love to go, and more than happy to hang out and make people feel at home!

puja says:

Hey Lotta! This is a great post! 🙂 I’m moving to London this September from India, but i’m really going on a student budget. Accommodation seems like such a fix at the moment. Any tips, sites, anything at all on finding housemates or getting in touch with people to move in together with?
Thanks lots for the help 🙂

Lotta says:

Hi Puja, glad you like the post. Spareroom is a good website for finding house shares. I’m also putting together a longer guide on how to move to London, it should be up online before the summer :). Good luck with the move!

Jimmy Levar says:

Loved this story. I want to live there! I’m perusing my music and I feel like London will be the first to get it !

Maggie A. says:

Hey that’s really an amazing guide you got there. I doubt there’s something more thorough than this out there. Meeting friends is probably the hardest thing for any newcomer to do in my opinion. Another thing that I’ve noticed, as a Londoner for a few years now, is that people are struggling with is the choosing where to live. If anything, the experience I have has taught me that one should start with where their workplace is, how much are they earning and how much are they willing to commute. Answering these three questions makes the whole choosing thing easier.

And if they don’t like their place of choosing they can always move, although it sounds easier said than done. I use this checklist here to move:

I hope it helps.


Thanks for sharing this Lotta, I’ll be moving to London next month and I’m very excited for the change, though I’ve been living abroad in Canada for quite some time now. Would love to connect if you are interested.



Sally says:

I have moved here from Nottingham as a supply teacher and staying with a couple so it can be pretty lonely. I have done a few meet up groups but will persevere. I’m finally moving into a share house soon and that will help with making friends.

Danny Burton says:

Really nice post, it also was really interesting to read the comments bellow. I Moved to London in 2010 with 200 pounds in my pocket and no plans. In my opinion the research was everything! Research and plan everything! Also if you’re moving from a warmer country, accept that there are + and – to living in a city like London. One of the “-” is that you’re never again leaving your house without an umbrella in your bag. One of the “+”? That it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone tells you.

Lotta says:

Hi Danny, glad you like the post! And good advice, research, research and research some more.

How did you get to freelance in a different country? Do you not have to have a work visa?


Lotta says:

Hi Sierra. Because I come from Finland, which belongs to the EU, I can work and live without a visa in other EU countries.

parveen kumar says:

it’s a nice info…. but i just wanna ask, that i am from india, and apart from my personal income i am getting a rent of around 50000 INR = around 50pounds per month,and some savings for around 30lacs= 30,000pounds which is pretty good as par indian economy…… but i seriously admire UK. so would that be enough or i would have to earn more for that cause……..or you can suggest me some other country, which is peaceful, and not very crowdy…….

Linda says:

Thank youu, this was really helpful for me. I’m 17, and I’m planning to move to London soon, it’s gonna be hard, but I won’t give up.

Lotta says:

Awesome! Glad you like the post!

A fantastic guide! Moving to London is no easy feat as I found out! I like your area breakdowns too, they’re extremely accurate!

Lotta says:

Thank you London Accountants Lady! 🙂

lauren says:

Hey Lotta!
Thanks so much for the awesome tips and advice! Loved reading about your moving experience! Do you have any advice for Americans attempting to move to London? It is SO difficult! Legally I can move there on a ‘visitors visa’ but it’s only valid for a 6 month period.

Lotta says:

Hi Lauren. Really glad you liked the post! A while ago I put together a guide on how to get a visa if you’re moving to the UK from the US. If you want to move here and stay longer than six months it will take time, money and dedication to sort it out. UK and EU citizens wanting to move to the US face the same challenges. A while ago a US friend and I came up with the idea of a country swap. It would be great if people who wanted to move could just swap places with each other! Although that probably wouldn’t work in reality (people would want to move back at different times etc – I have spent some time thinking about this!). I guess the current system is there for a reason.

Darryl says:

Hey if I’m coming from America to simply chase my dreams what type of visa do I need and where can I find it? Also how do I perfect my CV if I am living the U.S. currently? Im pretty much just taking a huge risk by leaving my retail job and moving to London and living off money i have saved from working.

Hey Lotta,

I wanted to add another comment to this thread. I just moved here from Canada and it’s been very very difficult to rent a place without having a permanent job especially if you are looking to rent an entire place through an agent not a private landlord. Most of the time agents ask for 6 months rent in advance and that’s really not affordable for anyone trying to re-establish themselves in a new country. I wonder if you have any tips on how to deal with that? I know a lot of people try and find flatmates when they first move to London so I was wondering what you thought.

Lotta says:

Hi Tugce!

Thanks for your comment. I agree with you, it’s not easy trying to rent an apartment in the UK after you’ve just moved to the country. Most letting agents will want to check your credit history, when you first move here you have none and that’s why they want several months rent up front. It’s the system, it’s difficult.

The good thing is it’s possible to get around that particular hassle if you don’t mind sharing a flat. If you look up flatshares on sites like you’ll be able to find places where all you need is a months deposit and sometimes not even that.

Good luck and sorry to hear it’s been difficult.

Thank you Lotta, fingers crossed, I’m sure something will come up soon.

Lotta says:

It’ll work out! Wishing you all the best for the search. I know it can be quite stressful so keep breathing. There will be an apartment/house/boat out there for you. x

Srinivasan says:

Hi Lotta. I am a Indian. My dream is to come London and work there. I tried so many jobs in internet. But still now no response. I am trying to come with tourist visa and then find a job. Is it possible. I am not a college graduate. I did 3 year diploma in civil engineering. I have 4 years experience. Is my dream achievable?

Lotta says:

Hi Srinivasan. My advice would be don’t move here without a visa, preferably get a working visa, as you won’t be able to work here with a tourist visa. Getting a work visa means finding a company that would sponsor your move. A lot of people are trying to move to London at the moment, coming here without a job is difficult. Do you have any friends or family who have moved to London? Can you ask them for advice? Good luck with your search!

Vic says:

Hi Lotta,

I am a Russian Finn, moving to London from Berlin next month. I have been applying for jobs from here, but haven’t received any offers, although I had ~2 interviews in the one month of job search. I am mostly interested in finance jobs, but I only have a year of work experience in the industry. So I realistically I am aiming at multilingual Customer Service / Data Entry jobs for the first 6-12 months. Do you happen to know if the competition for Finnish-language jobs is high? I assume, it is lower than the one for Russian Speaking jobs, but just want to hear your opinion on that as you’re a Finnish speaker too.

Thank you for you in advance!

Lotta says:

Hi Vic! It sounds like you have a good base to start from and realistic expectations. Unfortunately I don’t know much about the competition for Finnish language jobs in London. One way of finding out would be to contact the organisations you’re interested in working for and asking them. Good luck with your move!

esperanza says:

How much did you spend in order to move to London

Lotta says:

I was 24 when I moved and had saved around two thousand euros, which was barely enough to cover rent and living expenses during the months when I was setting up my freelance business in 2009. If I moved today I would probably have wanted to save more, just to have a safety net. The move itself wasn’t expensive, but there will always be a few wobbles, work might not be as easy as find as you might think, there might be sudden unexpected expenses when you’re looking for a place to live (such as deposits). Having some savings to fall back on is great in situations like that.

Melisa says:

Thanks for your advice! Just planning to move to London fron Buenos Aires as a freelance translator on January ’16!! Really excited but trying to collect as much info as possible. I’ll make sure to check out your guide!!

amy says:

Loved this blog, Really useful tips. I actually signed up at a website which you didn’t mention, which helped me find people to go out with, I attended their meet up events and met people that way, Highly recommend joining something like that to anyone new to London.”

Ruramai says:

I really really wish to go and stay in london i need a fresh start but i dont know where to start bcz i dont know anyone there im in south africa

Mike says:

Hey I love your page, its really insightful and beautifully written. Im thinking of setting up something similar or even offering online videos for people relocating to London with this kind of information. would any of your readers be interested in something like this? just looking for some feedback really. would anybody moving to London pay for an in-depth video course like this? and if so, how much? well done on your site..inspiring stuff

Lotta says:

Hi Mike. Thanks for your feedback! I’m sure there would be lots of people interested in your idea, I remember seeing a video on Youtube not so long ago about how to move to London and it had had quite a lot of hits. But good idea to open this up to the floor. What do you guys out there think?

Christina says:

hi there, i wonder if you know how to get a life insurance here if you are not british citizen.. i am swedish

Lotta says:

Hi Christina. I’m not sure. Perhaps check comparison websites like moneysupermarket to get a quote and then phone up one of the companies offering insurance, they will probably be able to answer your question.

Gio says:

Hi, thank you so much for this post! I visited London this may for the first time and felt completely in love with it!!! I want to move to London asap, but will have to save some money till then….
I wanted to ask you if you need some kind of residence permit to live in London as a European citizen (you are from Finland, right?) and a special permission to work? Thank you so much for your help!!

kisses Gio

Lotta says:

Hi Gio. As an EU citizen I could move to and work in the UK without any extra permits. But this freedom of movement might not be around forever. Many Brits aren’t exactly overjoyed with the amount of European migrants coming to work in the country and that’s why they’re going to have a referendum about their EU membership before 2017. If they vote to leave EU citizens might need to start applying for visas before being able to work in the UK.

Gio says:

Thank you so much for your response!!!! 🙂

Hello! How are you? Excuse me, if I found a job in some pastry shop or something similar Do you think I can pay a rent? I mean live with that money? (I´m a Bachelor of gastronomy, but I´ve been working just in pastry and chocolaterias) I would like to go to London because I want to learn english, mine is not perfect, I have a loooooot of mistakes indeed.

I´m afraid because I´ve been there for holidays and is just crazy expensive!! hahaha. I dont want to do an internship because I´m old. almost 30 years old. And in the last 2 years I did it. In spain and in my country (México) so I need money to live!! I have tickets to pay hahaha. Or I can do an internship but is also expensive, if I could fine an internship but where they pay me that could be great!

Well, thank you so much!!! I love your web.

See you!

I just wanna go for a year. At least no more than year and a half or 2. I have other things to do. Other places to go.

Jean says:

Hi Lotta! You have no idea how helpful your blog has been to me, it just answered most of my questions and concerns. I’ve been planning to move to London (from Costa Rica) for the last two months and I have decided not to move until April or May next year, in order to save up as much money as I possibly can, cause I really don’t want to have to struggle for money. I’m just an average 22yo guy full of dreams tbh. I have wanted to move overseas since I was a little kid, no idea why, guess I wasn’t bored to stuck in just one place, and now feels like the right time for me. I have a degree in Finance & Accounting and have been working as an Accountant for the last 4 years (Currently working as a Team Lead of Accounting) with the Western Union company (American Company). I am hoping to find a job in the same field if possible, if not, I am certainly up for any kind of work. I guess I could be a good Spanish teacher if it comes to that. I will be able to stay in the UK for up to 6 months without needing a VISA so I need to find a job quickly in order to get a Working VISA and stick around longer. My plan is to take USD10K (approx) with me to survive during the first two months in case i don’t get lucky finding a job, will that be enough for two/three months at least?.

Patricia Miranda says:

Hi. I’m a portuguese girl who really want move to UK.. My problem is how get a place to stay or a room if I don t have a job.. I’m not happy in Portugal and I’m always sad.. I

Lucy-Rose Leonard says:

Hi Lotta, So lovely to read your words. I’ve just returned from spending 6 weeks in London. Been back home in Melbourne, Aus for nearly three months and all I can think about is packing up and moving over there. Falling for someone there may have heightened my experience but I am 22 and think it’s time for a change. I’m also an actor here, so am bloody terrfied about leaving the world I am involved in here. Arghhhh.

Lotta says:

Hi Lucy-Rose. Exciting times! Good luck with it all, whatever it is you decide to do 🙂

bernard says:

Hi I live in Ireland and I’m lookin to relocate to London in January for the building game I was wondering what I needed like would I need a social security number to work

Jess says:

Hi Bernard,

It all depends on whether you’re already part of the UK if so, you should already have a National Insurance number and this is all you need. If you’re from Southern Ireland you will need to apply for one this way(very easy) –

If you need help finding a home to rent in London, the coolest company has just started who find you a home to rent called Homie. -

Hope this helps!

Clement says:

Hi everyone,

Just want to share a tip with you.
If you want to book a place before moving to London, or need help finding a room, there is a new website:
They basically look for flat for you, but they also view it ( and give a report ) before you book it.
That makes it so much easier and safer!
I was really happy with it.

Hope that can help some of you!

bernard says:

Thanks alot

Christina says:

I’m thinking of moving to London from U.S, what do I need to make this move? Do I need to apply for a visa so I can worl?

Hello! What a great discovery! As an American married to a Londoner, I can add that we’ve had success with RightMove when looking for flats. Also, the area of Highgate in North London is very nice, and many celebrities live there (Geogre Michael, Sting, etc). Blogging is a great way to meet people too. I’ve organised several meetups for American Expats living in London, as well as afternoon teas for London bloggers. Let me know if you’re interested in joining one! I blog at and have written quite a bit about the American expat experience too.

Alexis says:

Ola, Lambeth and South Lambeth are very Portuguese. You forgot Battersea/Clapham Junction! Battersea Park is brilliant. Still some affordable places for shares. Also Vauxhall very gay.

Shari Garrett says:

Hi Lotta! I moved to London last month and now I am looking for a job in interior design here. Thank you for the detailed article! It is such a helpful guide! London seems to be a really friendly and open city! I’m happy to be here and I’m sure that once I get to know the city better, I’ll find my place here. For now I am staying at a friend’s apartment in Chiswick and he gives me tips and hints for how to find my way here. I am very excited about being in London and I am searching information about the city every free minute! Today I stumbled upon this post and I find it very funny : . Thank you! All the best from me!

Lucia says:

Hi Lotta, great article. I was thinking of moving to London with a friend of mine after graduating from uni upcoming spring, propably in the early summer months. By then I’ll have a bachelor’s degree in German as a foreign language and Cultural Studies ( Philosophy) and 8 months work experience in private tuition and teaching literacy to adults and probably some months too as a student assistant at one faculty at my university in Germany. I heard there’s a high demand for German speakers in London but I don’t know how hard it’ll be to find a decent job that pays well. I’ll try to save up aprox. 5000 euros ( and the friend is saving up the same amount of money too) in advance but the whole thing becomes a bit daunting with the EU referendum that’s already planned for June- I think…Besides German, I also speak Portuguese on C1 level- do you think it’ll be ok to find something with these kind of qualifications ? For me, it musn’t be teaching, something where my language skills are appreciated would be great for me.By the way, I’ll be 22 when I hopefully make the move. Anyways, thanks for the great hints, Lucia

Lotta says:

Hi Lucia. Glad you like the article! I’m not sure how easy it would be to find work, but it sounds like you’re highly qualified and determined. I’m sure there are many different ways you can use your skills – teaching, translating, private tuition etc. It’s good to arrive with some savings as well, if you live frugally the 5000 euro will last you for a few months. Although I would recommend moving into a shared flat when you move to London as it’s cheaper and more flexible. If you and your friend want your own apartment those savings will be swallowed up by estate agents and the rent you might have to pay in advance as you don’t have a credit history in the UK.

A lot of people are worried about the EU referendum. At the moment it looks like it might go either way. It could be a yes or a no. No one seems to know exactly what would happen if the UK decided to leave the EU, although it doesn’t seem likely that they would kick out all the EU migrants. What might happen is that it will be more difficult for people from other EU countries to get access to benefits (which you probably won’t need anyway). I might do a post about this in the coming months. Although I don’t really know what to advice. We will all have to wait and see. If you’re thinking about moving in the early summer you’ll have more of an idea of where things are going in the UK then. Good luck with all your plans!

Lucia says:

Thanks for your quick response 😉 hopefully it’ll work out all right 🙂

Gabriele says:

I wanted to share with you the good idea to attend a cooking class in London. If you are a bit of a foodie then you’ll find it pretty cool. I booked a dim sum class at less than half price and it was great fun. I also went for pizza making course around 30 pounds and was really cook too. I booked here

Myles says:

If you are looking to relocate and buy a property in South west London, we provide a property search service that means we do all the legwork and viewings for you and short-list the best. This means you can view all of the best properties in one easy trip. Find our more at our website

David says:

This has helped me out alot. Im I’m the US right now and this would be my first time staying outside my country even though ive lived in many parts of the US. I will be attending the London Culinary school and thinking of staying after i graduate.

Hey Lotta! I’m not really old enough to move to London, and I’m still living with my parents But I dream of moving to London as soon as I can! What do you recommend I do to make this a reality for me? What steps do you think I should take? As of now I am planning to move alone and I know absolutely no one in London. Not only that, but I don’t even know that much about London. Any thoughts? Thank you for the help!

hey you!!
I’m thinking about moving to London next year and I’ve already started to plan a little bit. What do you think about buying a flat instead of renting one? I do not want to change flats every year as you wrote.

Wendy says:

Hi guys, if you’re moving to London but have no idea how to start organizing your move, you could consider using a relocation service provider.

Not only do they help you find a property but they can also have your utility bills set up before you even move in. They’ll go through the tenancy agreement with you so you know exactly what you’re signing. If you need additional help with setting up bank accounts, visas or even nanny search, they’ll be able to refer you to professionals.

It’s a very tailored serviced as they work closely with you on a 1 on 1 basis to make sure they know exactly what your requirements are. is currently offering £100.00 off if you sign up online using the promo code: april1002016

Hope this helps!

Jack Union says:

Hi guys,

I am currently an international student based in the UK, and I really liked living here when studying. However, my student visa is running out when I graduate in the summer. I am presently undertaking some tests in order for me to hopefully obtain British citizenship (and move to London).

There were so many websites out there, and I came across this site: This is far the best one I have seen, even though I am only getting 18 out of 24, ha ha.

Autumn Lidgett says:

Thank you so much! I found this guide really helpful and i can’t wait to move to my dream city! And thanks to you i will be ready. I love you!

Sarah says:

Hi Lotta, my daughter recently moved to London from Victoria ,Australia she is in year 13 but we need to find out her equivalent GCSE’s. I’m wondering if you can’t help find out where we would get this information from. Many thanks Sarah

anas guellaf says:

hi everybody, am Anas from morocco,
am very glad about your article, and really i found it very helpful , am preparing myself to move to london as soon as possible, but i need help a little bit because am an employer here in morocco, and also am a freelance programmer(software developer) and i think it could be an interesting trip moving working there in London?? so could i get some interesting suggestion about employment there?.. thank you a lot

John Moore says:

Great article. However, there is one obvious omission – logistics. Many of us reading aren’t within the EEA and getting the visas required to get there are incredibly difficult. I am married to a British citizen and still will have a very difficult time getting indefinite leave to remain unless she gets a job offer back in the UK. This is no doubt very difficult to do while living in the USA.

For those of us who aren’t from the EEA, do you have any tips, hints, links to resources that could assist with this massive hurdle?

Sarah says:

Im looking to move to London as i have been offered work there. I have a child. I don’t have any savings. Do you have any advice for me. Iv been looking for places to rent but there asking for alot upfront that i cant afford. I don’t mind sharing but is it suitable for a child etc. Im really desperate lol x

[…] A nice, easy-to-read round-up of the essentials for moving to and living in London. Read some of the many comments for interesting stories, questions & discussions! Read the post […]

Joao Portugal says:

We live in UK for a year now and we considering move to London area. Anyway to anyone who wishes to move to the UK I say stick to London area and surroundings above all else never move to Derbyshire is red neck trailer park trash racist paradise. Well UK is London and period.
This is a very good post about the city and very accurate. Continue like this.

I am a college student, living in the US but I want to live in London. It has always been a dream of mine to move there and live there for years. I recently started a Blog for friends and family. But as I attend my university, I realize that I have an itching to get out. I want to be on my own. So, I have been trying to come up with a year plan of where I am going to work and live in London so that I can show my parents the plan and hopefully they can support me in the beginning of my journey. I dont think University is right for me right now, maybe in a few years, but everyday I wake up and go to sleep thinking about living in London and traveling the world to gain more life experience and build character. Do you have any suggestions of cheap living or work that is offered in London, or nearby, for a 20 year old? Or any helpful tips you can think of?

J. Boyce says:

I also plan on moving to London for school soon! Maybe we can connect with one another up until that time.

John Snow says:

I find London too busy. I prefer other cities around London, which have a lot of social life and are close enough to London to go and spend the day. I also took my citizenship test using I guess after the Brexit decision you have to look at all the options.

Bjaya says:

I have live 6 years in UK, outer London and also my family members live in London, still am bit creepy to move to London. How wonderful my fingers type in google saying how to move to London, There we go, thanks for you, now am with my confident ready to do so. incredibly helpful.

Ashlyn Marthers says:

Hello my name is Ashlyn Marthers im moving to London next Fall im transfering from springfield IL and going for school. Is it easier to live in London when you live in a dorm?

J. Boyce says:

Thank you for this! I plan on moving to London January 2018 for school. I’ll be obtaining a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology. I’m excited for this new adventure of my life!

Rabelle says:

Hello, thanks for your blog, now I can see myself thriving in London when I finally get there. However, I was a bit confused with your monthly budget particularly the “bills”. What bills are incuded in here?

Greg says:

Hi Lotta – My partner and I are moving to London in a couple of monthes. We are late 30’s/early 40’s. We have friends we can stay with for a while when we arrive but what would your thoughts be as to longer term living arrangements?…is it common for couples our age to be flat sharing with others or is it just better to try and get our own place?..Thanks in advance for any advice

Judy says:

My husband and I are in our mid fifties. He may be taking a job in the banking finances. We would be moving from the United States. Help. I’m just sitting here wondering could this be real???

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