So, you’ve decided to bid a fond farewell to the Yankee Stadium and the Statue of Liberty and say hello to Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, and Westminster Abbey for good!
You’ve just made an exciting decision, probably the most challenging one you’ve ever done. If you’ve lived in New York City all your life, moving to London isn’t easy. But here you are, mapping out how to make a smoother transition. That said, read on to find more of what to expect.
Finding the perfect neighborhood to live
Once you have your visa approved, it gets more overwhelming from there. You have several decisions to make, including picking the perfect London neighborhood where you can settle. You also need to allot time packing your belongings and getting in touch with reliable Bronx movers who can transport your things securely. Long-distance moves are tricky, and it’s crucial you find the right moving services company that’s insured and licensed so that your items will be covered no matter what happens.
Whether you’re moving alone or with family, it’s worth noting that London has several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own sense of community, charm, and character. A letting agent can help if you’re looking to find somewhere to rent.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly district, consider Earls Court, Chiswick, Richmond, Hampstead, or Kensington. For a hip and trendy vibe, Clapham boasts of a busy cultural scene brimming with open green spaces and eclectic shops.
Life in London: The biggest differences
Being United Kingdom’s capital, the city offers everything from well-organized public transport to cozy housing. London is also consistently on the list of most innovative cities worldwide because of its thriving tech and talent sector.
It’s easy to think there’s not much difference when comparing life in London and NY. After all, the two cities have countless similarities, including the language, transport system, and vast culture. If you’re only staying for a few days or weeks, you probably won’t experience any culture shock. However, if you’re moving permanently to London, there are several things a New Yorker like you will definitely find refreshing, including the following:
1. It rains a lot
In movies, England is often portrayed as a country that gets a lot of rain all year. In reality, that’s true. However, as a New Yorker, that’s not something you’re used to. New York is usually partly cloudy, but it never really rains that much. When you officially become a London resident, you’ll need to prepare for countless rainy days.
That’s why umbrellas are a must-have on this side of the world though the rain doesn’t usually last. So, if you’re worried about not getting your own fun under the sun, fret not. You can expect the morning sunshine to peek through, but the afternoons are usually cloudy and rainy.
2. Drinking alcohol anywhere is legal
In New York, there’s the public intoxication law, which means a person can be charged with a misdemeanor crime if they’re caught visibly drunk in public. Even if you weren’t drinking in a public place, you couldn’t be seen walking around under the influence of alcohol.
In London, you’ll find it refreshing to know you’re legally allowed to drink alcohol anywhere. Well, almost, because it’s not allowed to drink in public transit though some people still do it secretly. Another odd thing about the city’s laws on public drinking is that you can drink beer in football stadiums. Besides those places, don’t be surprised to find people drinking and having a great time drinking while on the streets or at public parks.
3. Public bathrooms are everywhere
Say goodbye to those days of having to enter a hotel or a restaurant just so you could use a restroom. London has public restrooms scattered around the city, which you only need to pay for around 50 pence (about 70 US cents.)
Tourists and residents don’t mind paying such a small charge in exchange for using a clean bathroom while out and about. While NY also has public restrooms, you’ll likely find them in transportation hubs and police department stations.
4. Reasonable housing prices
Remember when you used to pay thousands of dollars for a small flat in NY? Well, you can bid farewell to that because living in London means having the opportunity to find reasonable housing prices that aren’t as hefty as what you’d typically pay while living in the Big Apple. Properties in London aren’t cheap, but you can expect them to be more affordable than Manhattan or any other big city in the USA.
5. The city shuts down quite early
You know how New York is famous as the city that never sleeps? Moving to London will make you realize it’s not the same case for all the other big cities in the world. You’ll find it refreshing to know that London shuts down quite early because their people like early nights.
Going out for a drink at night (especially on a Sunday) might not be a great idea if you plan to stay until past midnight. Pubs and bars close at around 6 pm on Sundays too. Because the whole city shuts down, you can expect public transport to also retreat during the night. You can’t easily hail a taxi beyond 11 in the evening. What you can do is either book a taxi or find out the schedule for the night bus.
6. They speak English, but you need to learn new words
It’s England, people are supposed to speak English, right? They do speak English, but just oddly different from what you’ve learned in NY. Londoners seem to use new words for things that are already familiar. An excellent example is the word ‘chips,’ which in America means the chips you eat, usually potato chips. However, in London, chips are steak fries or French fries.
Londoners use the word ‘crisps’ for American chips. If you love zucchini, better not use that word anymore and get used to ‘courgettes’ instead. Also, you can’t mindlessly use the word ‘pants’ because it means underwear. Remember that so you won’t embarrass yourself should you need to pay the dry cleaner a visit.
It’s always a significant change when moving house. If you had to travel all the way to the other side of the world, imagine how much adjustment you need to make before you get settled. Moving from NYC to London isn’t a walk in the park, but with enough planning and research, you can get used to being a local sooner than later.