Stay with friends
Firstly I would recommend staying in the city with some friends for about a month so that you can spend quality time searching for the right job, or if you live close by, you should still be prepared to take some time off for interviews and travelling etc.
What is your budget?
But let’s say that you have a job and now have to concentrate on finding a place to stay. London is huge and it’s difficult to know the best place to start looking for apartments. If you are loaded, you should of course check out Notting Hill, Mayfair, Chelsea and Hampstead. But be prepared to pay through the nose for a very small amount of space. What is lovely about these areas is that you get to stay in the more upmarket places, with nice cafes, shops and markets nearby. Still pricey but affordable and very cool are areas such as Camden and Shoreditch/Islington – not cheap but worth every penny on being in a great area, close to pubs, gigs, funky shops and more cafes! Check out www.findaproperty.com for some helpful ideas.
If your budget is smaller you will have to consider staying slightly further out (zones 1-6) – take time to look at the commute into work and ask around to see what these areas are like. I lived in Leyton for 2 years – in my opinion not the nicest area in the world, but I lived 5 mins from the Central Line, paid only £340 a month on rent (bills included), had a lovely huge room and it took only 35 minutes to get into work (Oxford Circus) . It really depends on what you want out of our time in London. At the end of the day however, you generally get what you pay for.
You will be expected to put down a deposit of between 4-8 weeks of rent in advance, depending on what agency you go through (or your landlord) – and on top of that you will have council tax, electricity and gas and water rates (as well as the usual – TV license, internet connection etc.).
Travelling in London
Travel in London is going to bite the wallet – using the underground system (aka the tube) isn’t cheap – it’s not particularly pleasant either, but most of the time it is the quickest way to get around. Get an oyster card (£3 deposit) first of all – you can either put monthly/weekly travel cards on this, or put money on as ‘pay as you go’ which is much cheaper than buying a ticket. Apart from this, I would recommend getting a bike – you will see cyclists all over London and it is a great way to get around. There are also ‘Boris bikes’ everywhere which you can hire –www.tfl.gov.uk/BarclaysCycleHire – they are a bit on the heavy side, but it costs only £3 to sign up to the scheme and you can use the bikes for free under 30minutes.
We wish you a pleasant and stress free move to London!