There are good things and bad things about living in any country in the world. So let’s take a balanced look at what life in the UK capital is really like – and these are real pros and cons from those who actually live here…
1. You’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful parks in the world: These include Hyde Park, Green Park, Regent’s Park and Richmond Park. In fact, wherever you are in the city, there’s a green leafy space within walking distance (or at least within a couple of stops on The Tube).
2. There’s a great public transport system: This consists of the famous London Buses and the underground train system known as The Tube. Information about all of London’s transport options can be found on the Transport For London website.
3. It’s a really safe city: Thanks to excellent policing and a network of CCTV cameras.
5. The museums are free to visit: And there’s loads of them. The British Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A Museum… The list is endless. Not to mention the varying exhibitions that each houses on an ever-changing basis.
7. The ever-changing seasons: Means that you can relish some wonderfully sunny days in the summer, the delights of golden leaves in the autumn, snowfall in winter and a breath of fresh air in spring as all the plants jump back into life.
8. It’s a cultural melting pot: Meaning that you can get authentic food from pretty much any region of the world you choose.
9. The fact that everywhere is so close: So you can head to a whole different country for just the weekend. The Eurostar train takes less than 3 hours to whisk you to Paris, or hop on a plane and in a few hours you could be sunning on a Spanish beach.
10. The UK has an excellent selection of schools: Including both state and private schools with excellent facilities.
14. London is a friendly city: That constantly rates in the top 5 best cities to live in the world.
15. We have the Royal Family: And you honestly do have a chance to see The Queen for real, such as at annual events like the Trooping The Colour.
Okay – so now we’ve bigged up our city, let’s look at the cons – and you may be surprised that some of them seem to overlap….
1. The Weather: There’s a reason the Brits are so obsessed, and you’ll become the same. The weather can range from boiling hot to torrential rain, hail and wind – all in a matter of hours. And it ALWAYS seems to rain on a bank holiday…
2. Rush hour: Especially when using The Tube. The crowds have to be seen to be believed. But trust us, within a few weeks you’ll be braving peak times on the trains in the same resigned manner as the rest of us…
3. The price of petrol (gas): And for those coming from the US, or places where petrol is similarly priced, this really will be a shock to the system.
4. It’s expensive to live here: Rent, property prices, the cost of living… London is not a cheap place to live. However, millions of people manage it every year, even on the most basic of wages. Live in the suburbs where rents are cheaper, shop at discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl… Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
5. You have to book for the best restaurants: And sometimes weeks in advance…
6. The tourists: Will soon drive you to distraction. I mean, how dare someone stop on the pavement and happily look at their map. Don’t they know your lunch hour is precious…!
7. When you put your bin out at night: And wake before the bin men have arrived to find foxes have scattered your rubbish all over the pavement.
8. The air pollution: Means that you’ll be forever finding black bits under your fingernails (and we won’t even mention what comes out in your hanky…)
9. Queuing for a cash machine: On a Friday and Saturday night becomes normal.
10. In fact, queues in general: Become something you’ll have to get used to. Queues for clubs, queues for the escalator, queues to enter tourist attractions, art galleries and museums… You get the picture.
11. Having to take Vitamin D supplements: Because the days are short and you spend all the daylight hours in a florescent-lit office.
12. No-one talks on The Tube: Or indeed, makes eye contact! In fact, anyone who dares to try to interact is immediately labeled as weird… Very strange, considering during peak hours you’ll be crushed intimately by some stranger who you’ll never see in your life again.
13. It’s the most spied upon place on earth: With more CCTV cameras per square foot than any other place on the planet.
14. Rail works, and the inevitable bus rail replacements: Yep, they have to work on the train line, and instead of being delivered happily to your destination, you have to decamp, get on a bus, get stuck in traffic and perhaps even get back on a train before getting to where you want to be – usually a few hours behind schedule.
15. And on the subject of buses: The Night Bus may seem a splendid way to get home after a night out and The Tubes have stopped. Until, that is, you experience it. Used only by those who’re somewhat worse for wear, it’s not the nicest of experiences. Thankfully, Autumn 2015 will see The Tubes start to run 24/7 on certain lines over the weekend. Bring it on…!