Whether you’re travelling to London on a holiday, or you’re thinking of making it a permanent home, there are bound to be some pros and cons to picking this city, as with every other choice. I lived in London for 2.5 years and, while I thoroughly loved it on the whole, there were definitely aspects of the city that I hated. It’s a big gritty city that can wear you down but there are so many positives to visiting or living there. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of living or visiting the UK’s capital.
London is fortunately located in an area in Europe that makes it a suitable departure point towards other European cities, such as Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Rome, and many others. London also has five different airports to choose from and all have good transport options whether you’re taking the tube to Heathrow, the DLR to City, driving and parking at Gatwick or taking a train out to Luton or Stansted. It’s so easy to hop on a cheap flight to the continent every other weekend.
It might sound cliché, but London weather truly is very grey and rainy. You will have trouble escaping the clouds and spotting the sun for most of the time. The bright side is that you won’t have to bother with the heat, especially if you easily get sick or dizzy from the sun. Luckily, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you going if it rains during your visit. If you’re in a museum or West End show you’ll forget the rain is even there!
There are both good and bad sides to this. First of all, the transport system is very fast and modern. However, if you compare it to other European cities, it might be a bit overpriced. The tube can also get very crowded, and doesn’t have air conditioning, which is definitely a big problem during the summer (think of all the sweaty locals and tourists). However, the tube is an incredibly fast way to get from one point to the other, especially since you don’t have to worry about traffic. The bus is also a nice way to get around if you’re not travelling during rush hour. You get a better sense of the city from above ground.
Eating out every night can be very expensive in London, especially if you’re going to some of the more popular restaurants. Often times, the places where you can find the best prices are further away from the crowded tourist areas. Take some time to explore the city and you will definitely find a small pub or restaurant that won’t make you go over budget. Lots of immigrants means a huge variety of cuisine, so if you’re feeling like eating Indian food, for example, you won’t have any troubles finding a restaurant, which can’t be said for some other European cities. Also, if you’re set on saving some money, you can easily go to the supermarket and buy some fresh produce. Supermarkets in the UK are actually a lot cheaper than in New Zealand or Australia.
The high costs for rents are a clear disadvantage, as prices in London are known to be the highest in the country (and among the highest in Europe). Make sure you save enough money if you plan on staying in London for a long time. The same goes for short term apartment lets and hotels. With careful research, you might be lucky to find something somewhat acceptable.
If you’re interested in history or art, London is the place to go to. Some museum fees might be a bit on the pricier side, with long queues to look forward to, but if you buy a city pass, you will easily avoid these problems. There are also a lot of famous museums with free entry, such as the Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can easily stroll through all of London’s famous parks without spending anything.
There are pros and cons to living or travelling to every city, and London is no exception. In order to see if this city is the right one for you, all you have to do is check your own requirements, and see if the destination of your choice might live up to your expectations or not. You might be surprised at what you discover!