London is one of the most populous cities in the world, founded by the Romans in the 2nd century and has since then become the leading cosmopolitan in economics, social and cultural developments. London has 32 boroughs, named as the Greater London and as of now, it has over 22 million inhabitants with more than 280 languages spoken due to the diverse range of people and culture. London is a fast paced city and one of the most fascinating places with quirky cultures and tastes that will make you fall in love with its lifestyle.
Education - England is famed for having the best Universities and College Institutions educations with many international scholarship offers. It is known that London has the largest body of overseas students in the world. London is the leading educational centre for arts, financial and medical education. Imperial College and King’s College is reputed to be one of the best educational institutions in London, together with the Royal College of Music. Almost 93% students are in state-funded education. Due to a considerable amount of Japanese expats living in London, you can find Japanese international schools accommodating the Japanese community.
Food - England is known to be the nation of comfort food, with cuisines such as Fish and chips, Bangers and mash (sausages and mash potatoes drown in gravy), the Full English Breakfast, Steak and Kidney Pudding, Steak pies, Toad-In-A-Hole, Yorkshire pudding, Cornish pastry and much more. Generally, Londoners tend to have a sweet tooth; therefore, you will find many bakeries and pastry shops. Knickerbocker Glory, Crumble Pie, Christmas Pudding, Bread and Butter Pudding, Mince Pie, Trifle is but a few named sweets that you will find on every restaurant menus. Afternoon High Tea served with scones, clotted cream, and a variety of jams, biscuits and cream tea is the stereotype of British culture. And of course, tea is a very big thing in England.
As London is recognized to be a multicultural hub, it comes with no surprise there are numerous diversities of food. Expats, foreign students, international employees, and migrants integrating into the British lifestyle and culture, produces multicultural cuisines. International food products are readily available on supermarket shelves, Asian and Russian/Eastern European stores are conveniently located and a handful of African food shop are scattered around the city. Daily farmer’s market such as the fresh food Brixton Market, the staple Borough Market, the Billingsgate Fish Market, the Old Spitalfield Market, the Parliament Hill Market and the posh South Kensington Tuesday market can satisfy any cravings without much hassle.
Where to live - London is a comparatively large area and it’s mostly divided into North, East, South, and West. Be wary of scammers through the internet who poses as real estate agents or private landlords. Go through legitimate sites and registered real estate companies. And bear in mind that wherever you live, once you move into the rental place, the tenants will receive a Council Tax Bill and it costs between ￡80 to ￡100 per month. Most landlords will require a 6 weeks rent upfront as a deposit. Always place your deposit in a safe deposit scheme to avoid being scammed.
North - Camden is known for grunge appeal with loads of music and artistry character. Primrose Hill and Hampstead are wealthy areas with beautiful homes, stunning parks, clean streets, and organic filled cafes. In the Islington Area, called the Upper Street is popular for young professionals and politicians. The area’s main connection is the King Cross Station
East - In the East London, you will find a strange mixture of cool cafes and poor dilapidated buildings, questionable buildings running alongside with boutiques and restaurants. What was once the Huguenots immigrants’ Spitalfields district, now it is mostly dominated by Bengalis and the Somalis. Hackney is a special countryside farm with domestics animals and agricultural activities.
South - Famous for its daily farmer’s market area for local and fresh produces, South London is probably the cheapest and the safest area to live in. A mix of council houses with young renters and families, making it a multigenerational district. Clapham is known to be the Aussie corner, Southwark and Brixton are the latest growth spurts in artistry and music.
West - The western side of London are purposely designated for the residential area. It is probably the fewer nightlife activities with beautiful buildings and clean streets. Very traditional based, perhaps looking a little “stiff”. Here you can see the typical English town houses and it is the most convenient transport connections of all London.
The Cost of Living - While it is notoriously known to be an expensive city, you will learn that the price comes with quality. The utilities are a little higher than most countries due to the fact that it is an island but like with most city life, many set budgets for their expenditures. The average full-time earnings of a Londoner are nearly ￡42,000. Whether or not London is expensive to you, it really depends on your lifestyle. For students, shopping at the reduced price shelf in supermarkets will last you a long way.
Transport - London is one of those wonderful cities where you can travel from anywhere to everywhere. Although cars are the predominant vehicles on London’s streets, many opt to bike to and fro from work. Some dons-on their track shorts and backpacks running across town heading towards their workplace. Most take the public transportations, namely the red London buses, the Underground and Overground Tube.