Moving to London for Business: Your Need-to-Know Guide

Relocating to the English capital and don’t know where to start? We’ve gathered all the top tips you need, so you don’t need to bother (you’re welcome)

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London: River Thames and Tower Bridge captured from the sky

London. It’s home to the Royal Family, a cultural legacy to rival the world’s capitals and plenty of good pubs, if that’s your thing. Moving to London for business can be stressful, lonely and a rather unglamorous affair. But, not to worry, we’ve taken care of all the logistics and compiled a need-to-know guide so you can get on with finding the best home, making sure your offspring or grandchildren are already on the reserve lists for the best schools around and busy yourself with sipping martinis at the top of the Shard. Or, somewhere more discreet if stainless steel and glass buildings shaped like icicles aren’t your thing - no judgement from us. Whether you want to be seen and papped leaving celebrity hotspots such as the likes of Chelsea’s Chiltern Firehouse, or want to get to know the best secret gems the city has to offer to impress your contacts while networking, when it comes to moving to London, we’ve got you covered.

View of the Shard in London's Central Business District

Housing

The London property market is something of a balloon. It inflates to extortionate levels, deflates (a little), bursts and then magically reinflates. If you’re looking to buy, now is a good time as the market is experiencing a dip. But beware that unless you’re paying all costs upfront (lucky you), banks are lending lower and lower mortgages at the moment. Meanwhile, if you’re renting, fully furnished flats in the capital are very common. The upside of this is that you don’t need to schlep all your belongings when you’re first moving to London. It does mean, however, that you’re stuck with someone else’s choice of furniture.

Location, Location, Location

Bear in mind, it’s not just your home which is important. When you’re moving to London, your postcode is just as crucial. The city is made up of 32 different boroughs, which may as well be completely different cities themselves. Whether you want a postcode in exclusive neighbourhoods such as Kensington and Chelsea (where prices average around £1.5million - bargain), or the slightly cheaper options of Camden and Westminster, you should probably do your research and suss out the right area for you before you commit to buying.

Work culture

They may not quite be at levels seen in Japan and China - where workers are literally falling asleep on pavements - but Londoners are famed for always being busy. They’re always in a rush, will sigh if they’re stopped to answer questions about directions from even the most earnest of tourists - and woe betide you if you dare stop suddenly in the middle of the pavement. Oh, and you will frequently be bashed out of the way just as you’re stepping onto the Tube. Forget the Mediterranean given that things will always run at least 15 minutes late, here in London, it’s go, go, go.

Schools

The one thing that all the Dulwich, Richmond, Hampstead, Wimbledon and Barnes yummy mummys will tell you when you’re moving to London, is that when it comes to nurseries and schools, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Whether you need to attend church services for a decade in order to make sure your offspring have secured a place on a coveted waiting list, or you just need to call up that old university friend who has well-placed contacts, make sure that you plan ahead when it comes to the best schools for your children. All schools in the UK are ranked via the watchdog, known as Ofsted. You can check their reports here and definitely should before choosing the right school for your kids.

Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London

Culture

Whatever you’re into, London’s got it. Party all night in Soho, capital of the gay scene and fashion revolution. Visit the world’s best galleries and museums, or discover the plethora or secret spots, you’ll never run out of things to do and new things to try. Upon moving to London, you will discover it is the ultimate melting pot of cultures and communities so make sure that you get out of your comfort zone when it comes to entertaining clients and contacts and dine and drink out in a variety of neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, if you fancy getting away from all the buzz of business meetings, you’re not far away from the Brighton seaside, and whether you fancy a stroll on Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill, Greenwich Park or any of the multitude of Royal Parks that the capital has to offer, you’ll never be stuck for choice regarding greenery.

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