10 things I’ve learned from living in London

The months have flown by, and I’ve lived in London for almost eight months now. I’m definitely not the same graduate who packed her bags and headed for the big smoke back in August. Here is what I’ve learned from living here. Hopefully it could help you know what to expect if you’re thinking of moving to London in the future. If you are, I definitely recommend it.

1. Londoners think they are in the centre of the world, and that is because we are. The city is a completely different world from the rest of the UK. When I catch the train for a weekend away it feels like visiting a different country. And because it is so different here, it’s therefore better. Perfect sense, right?

2. The tube has an entirely different etiquette to anywhere else. There are unwritten rules on where you can stand, how you should move down inside the cars, and how you should signal that you’re about to get off the train. Subtly turning my kindle off and staring at the platform as it comes into view is basically the same as screaming ‘I’m getting off at this stop so you better get the hell out of my way’. Tube politics are definitely real.

3. Working hours differ very greatly. Like on TV shows like Suits, some people spend their whole lives in the office. The tube is packed even at 7.30 in the morning and it stays packed well after the evening rush hour. But, there are also people who live the 9 ‘til 5 life and get out of work dead on time.

front row (1)4. Drinking on a work night is definitely a thing. At uni, any night was a good night to go out, and that was mostly because it was so easy to skip the following day’s lectures. Working in the city, people are just as eager to go out on a Wednesday or Thursday night, and they will be just as hungover the next day, but somehow they still manage to get into work for 9am. I haven’t figured out how they are able to use this superhuman strength, but when my uni drinking exploits fade into a distant memory I’m sure I will join the ranks of these fearless drinkers.

5. Everything happens faster in London. From the walking pace to the time it takes to rent a flat (second views are a luxury only afforded to properties outside the capital, everything happens at a much faster pace here. I’m already one of those people who fumes when there is three minutes to wait for the next train. Londoners want everything, and they want is yesterday.

llama lisa6. It’s best not to think about rent too much. I could afford to rent a small terraced house in my hometown, yet in London the same amount of money affords me a decent sized room in a shared terraced house. My friends have all agreed that we’d rather not think about the ridiculous amounts of money we’re throwing down the drain in rent.

7. Personally, I’ve learned that I’m capable of living on my own. I don’t like the people I live with, so I don’t count them as housemates. My closest friends are at least a tube ride away, so I am very much on my own. But that’s okay. I’ve learned to plan social occasions in advance and not be too sad if they fall through. More importantly, I’ve learned how to spend a lot of time on my own and be okay with that.

8. Travelling is still the most important thing to me. Now that I’m no longer a broke student and I can start to think about saving more money, I still don’t want to spend it on boring things like a house deposit. Instead, all my spare cash is going into my travel savings pot once again. Some things never change.

9. I’m better equipped to face the world of work than I thought I was. Yes, the hours may be a lot more than at uni, but the work itself is fine. I know I can do it, and do it well. After being told that I’d never find a job when I left uni, it’s a pleasant surprise to find out that every employed person isn’t some kind of expert in everything. Plus, there are a lot more entry-level jobs around than I expected, so don’t give up if you’re job hunting. img_549110. I love it. The main reason I decided to move to London was because all the jobs I wanted to apply for were based in the city. The move wasn’t part of some master plan, and I had no idea what to expect from living in the capital city rather than visiting for the weekend. But I ended up falling in love with the business, the self-centred attitude of the city, the constant events and the feeling that London is something bigger than itself. I definitely made the right decision, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else in my early 20s.


Do you live in London? Are you a fan, or is it not for you? Would you ever consider moving here if you live elsewhere?

lisamae signoff


  1. April 5, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    London sounds like a fabulous place to live!
    I’d love to live there even if it’s just for a short time, it’s definitely not the same up in Manchester.
    Enjoy every moment 😀

    Screen Nine
    Working Girl Wanders

    • Lisa Mae
      April 5, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Rachel! I definitely will, though I am definitely starting to take the flagship shops and huge parks for granted.

  2. April 9, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    This is so unbelievably helpful!! I’m graduating soon and hopefully moving up to London (as soon as I get a job!) I’ve heard mixed reviews but I’ve always been pretty realistic. I know the rent is awful and I know it can be full of ultra busy, ultra miserable tube commutes. I can’t wait for the fast pace though and I’m so exciting about being in the hub of Britain. I might get bored of it after a while but I literally feel like I’m craving being where it’s all happening at the moment! so thanks for the advice 🙂

    Imogen // imogenscribbles.co.uk

    • Lisa Mae
      April 10, 2016 / 9:46 pm

      I’m so glad this was helpful for you Imogen! You’re definitely right to be realistic about London because it has major highs and lows. Overall it’s an amazing place to live, though. Good luck job hunting when you leave uni!

  3. April 14, 2016 / 4:50 pm

    I felt completely the same when I moved there for university. I now/did commute in and found it was more suited to me. But agree that London does feel a world away from everywhere else, its good that you’ve embraced it! Makes it so much easier to enjoy the city!

  4. April 16, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    We lived outside of Cambridge for two years. We went to London at least once a month. London reminds me a lot of NYC. We enjoyed spending time there. Moved back to the states and now live in Canada. My husband wasn’t a fan of the weeknight drinking, but he suffered through some nights because he didn’t want to offend his coworkers. Great post.

  5. April 22, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I lived in London for my Uni years, and I hated it. I would not advise being a student in London, worst idea ever!

    But I agree, it is such a bustling and magical place to live, and you really must not think about rent haha. I took a year out once graduating and am job searching and trying to prepare to move back there soon!

    http://www.melberryy.com xx

    • Lisa Mae
      April 23, 2016 / 6:13 pm

      I know of some people who were students in London, too, and I think people either love it or hate it. I’m personally very glad I went to uni up in Sheffield. I’m sure it’s quite different to work here than study, though, so hopefully you’ll prefer it next time!

  6. April 28, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    So much more optimistic than most of the post I read! I’m in my late twenties but moving to London in just 5 days (eep!) I’m pretty excited and I’ve got a few interviews lined up so I’m feeling positive. I’ve visited plenty of times and I know the hustle can get pretty tiring but there’s something about all the hubbub that really works for me, I can’t wait!

    • Lisa Mae
      April 28, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      How exciting! I hope everything goes well for you. London is a tough city, but there’s so much optimism here as well so I wanted to capture that. The possibilities feel endless. Good luck with your move!

  7. Holly
    April 30, 2016 / 9:40 am

    This is a lovely post, very inspiring!
    I am an aspiring costume warrior who has just a few days ago made the decision to move to London. I’ll be moving from Edinburgh after a collective 5 years of education in Costume and Set Design. I know that I will get more opportunities in London. I have a support network there, as does my boyfriend and he’s game for moving down. Scotland will always be there! We’ll miss it deeply but it isn’t forever. Ironically I was born in London so maybe in a way it’s a wee homecoming?
    Looking to move in the next 6 months.

  8. John LeMay
    March 7, 2017 / 9:36 pm

    I am about to finish grad school and really want to move to London or somewhere close to start my career.

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