It might have Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, double decker buses and Guards with funny hats, but London isn’t the magical, creative, amazing place that I thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an interesting city, but I just can’t quite understand why so many young expats rave about moving over to the UK, when there are many more exciting places they can spend their OE in.
These are my ten reasons not to move to London:
I love British people, they are entertaining, exceptionally funny and self depreciating in the best possible way. Most of my favourite comedians, tv personalities and many of my influencers come from the UK, but in London people also tend to be pretty down on life. There is a lot of moaning that goes on about things that aren’t really a big deal. I consider most of my days to be 10 out of 10, so hanging out with people whose days are more like 5 or 6 out of ten, it can become a bit of a drag. The irony of me moaning in this post, is not lost on me, but I suspect many Londoners would find more than 10 reasons not to move to London!
2. Grey Days
The weather in London is fairly mild. It’s not extremely cold or extremely warm, so if you’re the kind of person that can’t handle great weather changes you won’t mind it too much. On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who likes to see a blue sky now and then; you’re out of luck. Yes, there is the occasional day where you don’t feel suffocated by dark clouds, but not many. You missed summer – it was last week.
3. Lack of safety
After living in New York, and spending time in other parts of Europe, I was surprised to note how unsafe I felt in London. (Having now lived in super-safe Hong Kong, I can’t imagine living somewhere as unsafe as London ever again). I heard many horror stories about the city before I moved over, but I wasn’t expecting to feel unsafe in my own, supposedly trendy, neighbourhood in East London. After nearly getting attacked by a man with a metal baseball bat not far from my apartment, I didn’t feel any safer.
4. Long commutes
The sprawled out nature of London means that living in the city is very different to visiting the city. The reality of living there means that long commutes are just part and parcel of your life. Visiting friends is always a challenge, and an hour commute to work (one way) is not abnormal.
5. Construction on the Underground
No matter what line you live near, you will probably suffer from weekend construction on the Underground. This will wreck your weekend plans and make you wish that you stayed in bed. The Rail Replacement Bus will actually make you want to kill yourself.
6. The end of the Oyster
The Oyster card is great, but Oyster areas do come to an end and it’s not always obvious when they do. You can get on a train with your Oyster only to get off and realise that you actually can’t “tap out” because the Oyster is over. Now, how do you get back to your destination where you won’t be able to “tap in” because you haven’t “tapped out” … I don’t get it either.
7. The zones
Speaking of tapping in and out, the zone system of London really does frustrate me. I lived in zone 2 and worked in zone 2, but because the train that I went on briefly passed through zone 1 I had to pay for a zone 1 and 2 fare instead of just a zone 2 fare. Unlike other cities, you can’t just buy a monthly pass and transit through the city wherever you please, you have to continually plan your journey and which zones you will be entering to make sure you have extra money for extra zones, on top of your monthly payment … which by the way is not cheap. CityMapper’s fare calculation tool will become your best friend.
8. The cost
Which brings me to another reason not to move to London – the cost. London has now overtaken Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world, so you really should be asking yourself – is it the greatest city in the world? Unlike other expensive cities like New York and Hong Kong, where you can argue that although the rent is expensive; food and utilities are not so – in London your paying top pound for everything.*
*I should say, on a more positive note, that in London you can make a fair amount of money (at least I did). In which case, everything is relative.
9. Way too many tourists
Like New York and Paris, London has way too many tourists. It’s actually mind-blowing how crowded the city centre gets with droves of visitors slowly meandering their way to the highlights. If you want to do anything mildly exciting, expect to wait hours in line to do so. Once you live in London, you’ll avoid the tourists altogether. Then you’ll discover…
10. It’s kind of boring
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to do in London as a visitor, but once you get into the daily grind, things change. The chances of living somewhere gorgeous in London are slim. You probably won’t have a nice view, or live in a modern building, you won’t have a cute fire escape, or a house with a blue door (like in Notting Hill). You’ll live in a bricked home, with lines of other bricked homes. Everything will feel drab and grey.
Once you’ve seen all of the more magical destinations, you’ll realise that London is a place to visit, but not to live.
Still want to move to London anyway? Good for you, I never listen to negative bloggers either! Feel free to pop over to my other post on moving to London for tips that will, hopefully, be useful!
I also came up with a list of reasons to move to London… just to balance things out a bit!
Had a different experience in London? Feel free to post below…