/ Culture 💙

So you decided to move to the Big Smoke

The hard part’s over. And to help you feel right at home, we put together ten pointers we wish we'd been told, when moving to the capital.

Commit to some sights you want to see, and see them
There are endless things to see and do in this glorious city, but once you’re settled, it’s easy to put these on the back burner. Make sure you write a list of things you want to do, and go out and do them. You'll be as smug as the person on the bus who got the last seat. Plus your friends back home will love hearing about it.

Find a spot where your friends can stay
Be it the floor, a sofa or a bed. Trust us; if they don’t live in London, they’re going to want to come and visit you. And you’ll be the popular one all over again. Friends flock in droves to get a taste of the big city and not having to shell out for a hotel is a huge bonus. So make a weekend of it and get your pals round. Most of them will be happy to sleep where they can. (As long as it involves the promise of a brunch at some point).

CityMapper will be your best friend
Those of us who have lived in London for years, still use this app to get around. From Peckham to Victoria, Hammersmith to Kilburn, Notting Hill to Hackney – it couldn’t be more useful, and will (most often) accurately direct you from A to B when you are completely lost.

You will never run out of things to do
Much like all the other great cities on this planet, London is jam-packed with endless options. One moment you could find yourself in an art gallery, the next you’re bouncing around with balls in a playpit. On a weekend you might decide to take a dip in Brockwell lido, and on a weeknight you could end up watching your favourite film at Prince Charles Cinema. The city really is your oyster.

No one talks to each other on public transport
But that’s alright. Picture this; you’ve had a glorious weekend hanging out with friends and seeing the sights. Now all you want to do is keep your head down, listen to a podcast and get to work. Someone strikes up a conversation with you but you’re tired and you have no more to give. You just want to be left in peace. And you will. Because there’s an unspoken bond between us Londoners; you respect our post-weekend-blues. We respect yours.

Don’t be ashamed of a night in
It’s tempting to feel bad about staying in on a Saturday night when you know there’s so much on your doorstep. But let go of that fear. It’s always important to stop, relax and refresh. Get cosy in your pad and, in these cold months, why not stick on the latest Netflix show. Sunday morning will thank you. And you’ll be raring to go for the next week.

You will lose at least five umbrellas
So stock them in bulk. The tube will lay claim to a couple, the pavement might get one and then there are some losses that you will never be able to explain. Don’t try to fight it.

You’ll never be short on a good place to eat
Whether it’s a slice of pizza like our New Yorker friends or a good old avocado brunch; dotted across the city, you’ll find a host of brilliant places to eat. From kooky cafes to al fresco dining, it’s all waiting for you. Day or night.

Take advantage of the entertainment
London is one of the best places in the world for the theatre, so you might want to give it some attention. The West End is packed full of musicals and so much more, but the prices can be overwhelming. If you dig a little deeper, you'll find theatres above pubs and entertainment in the most unsuspecting of places. Time Out magazine, distributed across the city every Tuesday, is a great reference on things to do. And it's free. Win win.

Make the most of some space
You might assume London is a concrete jungle but all is not as it seems, as the city has some amazing parks and pockets of greenery dotted about the place. If you decide to go for a wander, make sure you visit not only your local one but some of the big contenders like Richmond and Hyde Park. Grab a coffee, sit on a bench, and watch the world go by.