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The Pros and Cons of Living in London, UK

British born, Paul has lived in various parts of England, including London. He currently lives in Florida, USA.

Like any large metropolis, London has a lot going for it, but living there can come with a few drawbacks.

Like any large metropolis, London has a lot going for it, but living there can come with a few drawbacks.

London, one of the world's most famous cities, is also England's most populous metropolis as well as its capital and the home of the British royal family. London is an exceptionally diverse and cosmopolitan city, and it's considered by most to be a friendly and safe place. The city does, however, suffer from pollution, and the weather is often overcast and damp.

As is the case with most large cities, living in London has its ups and downs. Benefits include a great public transport system, plenty of job opportunities, diverse culture, and a plethora of entertainment. Some of the drawbacks include expensive housing, traffic, pollution, and tourists.

Below, you'll find in-depth lists of London's pros and cons followed by a list of interesting facts about the city. Useful and relevant videos are included throughout.

Contents

  • 15 Advantages of Living in London
  • Video: Moving to London
  • 13 Disadvantages of Living in London
  • Video: Differences Between Living in the US and the UK
  • 14 Fun and Interesting Facts About the City of London
  • Video: How can you afford to live in London? Money, Salaries, and Rent

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

— Samuel Johnson

15 Advantages of Living in London

In this section, we discuss the myriad advantages of living in London. As the UK's premier metropolis, the city has quite a lot to offer.

1. It's Cheap and Easy to Get Around

The city's excellent public transport system makes it incredibly easy to get around without a vehicle of your own. The combination of London Underground trains (known locally as "the tube") and the city's buses will get you anywhere for a reasonable price. If you don't mind paying more, you can always get a cab.

2. There's Plenty to See and Do Around Town

The city boasts an incredible amount of culture. It's home to countless museums, art galleries, and theaters, and many of them are free to visit.

3. It's a Great Place to Find a Job

Lots of companies are London-based, so there are plenty of job opportunities if you have the qualifications. The city is also a major hub for international commerce, so even if a company you're interested in isn't from London, there's a decent chance they at least have a branch or office there.

4. It has a Great Music Scene

The music scene is pretty awesome, too. Whether you like to see big acts on world tours or more alternative and local bands in intimate surroundings, the city's got you covered. There are large arenas and tiny pubs and clubs a plenty, so live music is never far from home.

5. It's a Hub for Travel (Both Within the UK and Internationally)

Travel to other parts of the UK from London is pretty straightforward. If you don't want to drive, there are multiple train stations. There are also three major airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted), so international travel is no problem.

In London, public transportation is a breeze, except when there's a strike or some other complication.

In London, public transportation is a breeze, except when there's a strike or some other complication.

6. There Is a Culture of Politeness

In addition to being cosmopolitan and generally welcoming, London is considered to be particularly friendly and polite. It shouldn't be too hard to find meet and befriend some like-minded people once you land in the city.

7. There Are Great Parks all Over the City

London has lots of big, leafy parks to stroll through any time you tire of all the concrete, stone, and brick. Hyde Park, Green Park, Regent’s Park, and Richmond Park—some of the city's most well-loved—are all easy to get to by tube.

8. Healthcare Is Free

Living in London means being able to access the UK's free healthcare system. London has the largest emergency ambulance network in the world, so whether you have a medical emergency or just need routine care, you'll be taken care of, and it won't bankrupt you.

9. There Are Plenty of Great Bars, Restaurants, and Cafés

If you are feeling social, the city is absolutely full of restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés, and nightclubs. The food and drink are good, and going out is a great way to meet people and socialize.

10. It Is a Relatively Safe Place to Live

London is relatively safe in most areas. There are CCTV cameras everywhere, and the city's professional police force is quite active.

11. It's a Good Place to Start a Business

London is a great place to start a business. In fact, it has ranked repeatedly as one of the top 10 cities in the world in which to do so. Tax policies and laws tend to be favorable, and there is plenty of scope for finding the right customers and the right area.

12. It Has Lots of Historical Significance

London's been around for over 2,000 years, so it's no surprise that there are historical landmarks everywhere. It's difficult to go anywhere in central London without passing multiple famous buildings. If you're into history, architecture, or both, living in central London would be a dream come true.

13. It's Home to Several Well-Known Local Markets

Despite being expensive generally, there are some great local markets where you can buy affordable fruit, vegetables, clothes, and other things. Notable markets include Camden, Portobello Road, and Borough Market.

14. Britain's Royal Family Lives There

London's Buckingham Palace is home to Britain's royal family, who partake in a number of ceremonies, parades, and other events in the city each year. If you like to keep up with the monarchy, there's no better place to do so.

15. It's a Great Place for English Speakers

If you are an English speaker, you will have very few problems communicating, getting a job, or making new acquaintances. For this reason, London is a popular place for Americans, Canadians, Australians, and other English speakers to relocate to.

"London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained."

— Arthur Conan Doyle

13 Disadvantages of Living in London

London may have a lot of perks, but there are two sides to every coin. In this section, we go over some of the less desirable facets of living in the UK's largest metropolis.

1. The Cost of Living Is High

Whether you want to buy a house or rent a room, the city is very expensive. The closer you are to the center, the more expensive it gets. The cost of living can also be high in other ways. Food, drinks, utilities, and internet service are just a few examples.

2. It Can Take a While to Get Around

Traveling during peak times really is a drag. The trains and buses can be overcrowded, and it can also be expensive to travel at rush hour. Even if you have a vehicle of your own, traffic makes commuting take forever.

3. The Weather Can Get Depressing

The infamous British weather can get you down after a while. A day or two of damp, dark weather is bearable, but when it goes on for two weeks or more, some people begin to feel depressed.

4. There Are Always Tourists Around

The city is constantly overrun with tourists, and they can begin to irritate you after a while. When you are trying to get to work, don't be surprised if you run into a crowd blocking your path while they study a map or a family wanting the world to stop while they take a photo on a bridge.

5. It Can Be Difficult to Dine Out Without a Reservation

The best restaurants usually require you to book in advance, and sometimes, you have to call weeks ahead because they are booked so far out.

6. It's Not the Cleanest Place in the World

Parts of the city are very dirty, and pollution is rife. This is the case with most large cities, but it can be particularly noticeable in certain parts of London.

Taking the tube is cheap and efficient, but the trains can get extremely crowded during peak commuting hours.

Taking the tube is cheap and efficient, but the trains can get extremely crowded during peak commuting hours.

7. It's an Expensive Place to Own a Car

The cost of operating a car is substantial in the UK generally, but it's huge in London, especially if you want to enter the city center. Compared to somewhere like the United States, gas/petrol prices are significantly larger.

8. Surveillance Is a Constant

There are CCTV cameras everywhere. While this makes some people feel safe, others view it as an invasion of privacy. Expect to be spied on wherever you go.

9. Most Areas Are Quite Crowded

Lack of personal space and queues/lines are the norm in London. Being crushed up against a stranger in the tube during your morning commute every day can get old.

10. Public Transportation Can Be Unreliable

In London, most folks are totally reliant on public transportation, which is fine when it's running smoothly but terrible when there is work being done and services are stopped or when there's a tube strike.

11. Certain Areas Are Rough

There are some very nice parts of London, but there are also some very rough, run-down, crime-ridden areas. If you aren't wealthy, you may end up living in one of the less-appealing areas.

12. The Culture Can Be a Bit Impersonal

While London is known for its polite culture, nobody talks to you on the tube. Even eye contact is generally taboo, so your day-to-day experiences can feel a bit impersonal.

13. Driving Is Difficult and Time-Consuming

Driving in central London is hard work and should be avoided. It's also become quite expensive since congestion charges were introduced. If you enjoy owning a car and driving it daily, London probably isn't the best place to relocate to.

"I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining."

— Groucho Marx

14 Fun and Interesting Facts About London

  1. Around 8,900,000 people live in the Greater London area.
  2. It is the largest city in the European Union.
  3. The Beatles performed their final concert on the roof of Apple Corps at 3 Saville Row in the West End of the city. The venue is now an Abercrombie & Fitch store.
  4. In 2016, it was ranked as the sixth most expensive city in the world to live.
  5. It was the first city to host the Olympics three times (1908, 1948, and 2012).
  6. The musician Jimi Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street, which has since been converted into a museum.
  7. It is the world's most visited city. In 2014, it attracted 16 million international visitors.
  8. The river Thames flows through the city's center.
  9. Hitler intended to dismantle Nelson's Column and re-erect it in Berlin if he won WWII.
  10. "Big Ben" is not actually the name of the famous clock tower. It is the name of the bell inside it.
  11. It was founded by the Romans who originally named it Londinium.
  12. London Bridge is often confused with Tower Bridge. London Bridge has no towers, but Tower Bridge does.
  13. Traffic in the city's center moves no faster today than it did a hundred years ago during the era of horses and carriages.
  14. In the 14th century, a third of the city's population was killed by the Black Death.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is London a cool place to live?

Answer: There is a multitude of really great things about living in London, for instance: there are plenty of job opportunities and things to do, amazing historic buildings everywhere, as well as plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs. The downsides include super-expensive housing, crowded public transport, dirt, and pollution, as well as high levels of crime and poverty in certain areas.

© 2017 Paul Goodman

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