Pros and Cons of Living in London
One of the world's most famous cities, London is also England's most populous metropolis, as well as its capital and home to the British royal family.
A cosmopolitan and generally friendly and safe place, the city also suffers from pollution and the weather tends to be overcast and damp.
The main benefits of living in London include access to a great public transport system, job opportunities, exceptional cultural and musical entertainment.
The main disadvantages of London include expensive housing, traveling in rush hour, pollution, and tourists.
More details can be found below, presented in the form of a pros and cons list.
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."— Samuel Johnson
Pros of Living in London
1. Excellent public transport system. The combination of London Underground trains (known locally as "the tube") and the buses will get you anywhere for a reasonable price. If you don't mind paying more, you can get a cab.
2. Lots of culture, whether it's museums, art galleries, theaters, and much of it is free.
3. Lots of companies are London-based so there are plenty of job opportunities, if you have the qualifications.
4. The music scene is pretty awesome too, whether you like to see big acts on world tours, or more alternative or breaking bands in intimate surroundings.
5. Travel to other parts of the UK is pretty straightforward too. If you don't want to drive there are multiple train stations. There are three major airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted) in the London area too.
6. As well as being cosmopolitan and welcoming, overall London is also generally a friendly and polite city.
7. London has lots of big leafy parks to stroll through, if you tire of the concrete and brick. Hyde Park, Green Park, Regent’s Park and Richmond Park are all easy to get to by tube.
8. Living in London means being able to access the UK's free health system. London has the largest emergency ambulance system in the world, which should reassure you.
9. Lots of restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, and nightclubs to enjoy, if you are feeling social.
10. London is relatively safe, with plenty of CCTV cameras and a professional police force.
11. London is a great place to start a business, ranking repeatedly as one of the top ten cities. Tax and legalities are generally favorable and there is plenty of scope for finding the right area.
12. Historical landmarks are everywhere. It's difficult to go anywhere in central London without passing multiple historical and famous buildings.
13. Despite being expensive generally, there are some great markets where you can buy affordable fruit, vegetables, clothes, and other things. Notable markets include Camden, Portobello Road and Borough Market.
14. London is home for Britain's royal family.
15. If you are an English speaker, then you will have very few problems communicating with the locals.
"London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained."— Arthur Conan Doyle
Cons of Living in London
1. The city is very expensive, particularly if you want to buy a house, or rent somewhere to live. The closer you are to the center, the more expensive it gets.
2. Traveling at peak times really is a drag. The trains and buses can be overcrowded. It can also be expensive traveling at rush hour.
3. 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, you can begin to feel depressed.
4. All the tourists will begin to irritate you after a while. When you are trying to get to work and there is 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. The best restaurants usually require you to book in advance, sometimes weeks ahead.
6. Parts of the city are very dirty and pollution is rife.
7. The cost of running a car is big in the UK generally, but huge in London, especially if you want to enter the city center. Compared to somewhere like the USA, gas/petrol prices are also significantly larger.
8. There are CCTV cameras everywhere. You are being spied on wherever you go.
9. Lack of personal space and queues/lines become your norm. Being crushed up against a stranger on the morning every morning is not fun.
10. You are often totally reliant on public transport which is fine when it's running smoothly, but terrible when there is work been done and services are stopped, or there's a tube strike.
11. There are some very nice parts of London, but also some very rough, run down, and crime-ridden areas. If you aren't wealthy, you may end up living in one of the less appealing areas.
12. Nobody talks to you on the tube. Even eye contact is generally taboo. It's very impersonal.
13. Driving in central London is hard work and should be avoided. It's also expensive since congestion charges were introduced.
- Around 8,673,713 people live in the Greater London area.
- It is the biggest city in the European Union.
- 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.
- In 2016 London was ranked as the 6th most expensive city in the world to live.
- It is the first city to host the Olympics three times (1908, 1948 and 2012).
- The musician Jimi Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street, which is now being converted into a museum.
- London is the world's most visited city. In 2014 it attracted 16 million international visitors.
- The river Thames flows through London.
- If Hitler had won WWII, his intention was to dismantle Nelson's Column and re-erect it in Berlin.
- "Big Ben" is not actually the name of the famous clock tower, but the bell inside it.
- London was founded by the Romans and they named it Londinium.
- London Bridge is often confused with Tower Bridge. London Bridge has no towers, but Tower Bridge does.
- Traffic in central London moves no faster today than it did a hundred years ago in the days of horses and carriages.
- In the 14th century a third of London's population were killed by the Black Death.
"I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining."— Groucho Marx
Would you like to live in London?
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.
© 2017 Paul Goodman