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London is a city steeped in history. In addition to all the well-known tourist attractions that London has to offer, it boasts a variety of cultural opportunities such as theatres, art galleries and museums. There’s a whole underground network that can really capture the imagination and, contrary to public belief, London is Britain’s driest city. With an annual rainfall of around 23 inches, London only experiences half of the rainfall that New Yorkers have to deal with.
However, the single most surprising fact about London is that, with over 8 million trees, London was declared the world’s first National Park City in 2019. So, for all those wanting to benefit from the cultural scene and the hustle and bustle of the city, but not willing to give up their outdoor space, London offers the perfect compromise.
In London, you can choose whether to rent or to buy a property.
Renting a house or flat in London
Rental prices vary hugely in London, depending on where you want to be. If you want to check out the average rental for a specific part of London, London.gov is a great site where you enter an area name or postcode to find out the average rent.
Central London’s Kensington and Chelsea could set you back just short of £5,000 a month for a three-bed property, but that’s extreme. A short train ride out to Newham, near Stratford is likely to cost a much more manageable £1,750 for a three-bed property.
Downsizing to a studio could mean you could centre yourself in Bayswater, W2 (Westminster) for a much more manageable £1148 per month.
Buying a home in London
If you prefer to buy, you’re likely to need a deposit of between 5% and 20% of the total cost of the property. Of course, once you’ve found a property, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage which is likely to require you to have been in steady employment. For this reason, it can make sense to rent for a while before buying whilst you get to know the area and get settled in your new job.
To buy a property in London, you can expect to pay, on average £478,853 .[i]
If you’re a British national, you have an automatic right to work within the UK. If you’re from the EU or beyond, you will still be able to work in the UK if you obtain a work visa (prior to arrival) for all categories other than as a short-term visitor (both business or leisure).
You can read more about post-Brexit UK work visa process in our article UK Immigration Changes.
On top of any rent that you pay, you’ll need to budget around £97 a month for gas, electricity and water, and a further £24 for 8Mbps broadband connection[ii].
London is an expensive city to live in. A basic restaurant lunch menu will cost around £15. Bread will cost £1.10 compared to just 71p in Cambridge, whilst for a decent bottle of red wine you can expect to pay £10.
Typical salaries in London are around £34,537, whilst the average technology industry salary in London fares slightly better at £62,500. Tech workers in healthcare and finance get the best deal with average salaries of £64-67,500.
Getting around London is pretty easy but it’s a sprawling city, so before you commit to accommodation, check where you’ll be working. Although public transport is very good, it can still take a good hour or longer to get across London.
If you can walk, you’re guaranteed to see something new and interesting every day. However, if you’re more about speed and convenience, the London Underground is the best way to get around, with a tube train every few minutes from most key stations.
Boris Bikes are also a great way to get around if you’re feeling brave, but only for those confident cycling on busy roads.
Driving around London for most isn’t an option, with parking challenges and busy roads to contend with. There’s also the congestion charge too which makes driving around London more costly.
In the UK, schooling can be state, or private.
Unless home-schooled, all children between the ages of 4 and 18 are obliged to attend school but state schools are free of charge.
State schools in London tend to follow Primary School, for children from Reception to Year 6 (Age 11), Secondary School, for children from Year 7 to Year 11 (age 11-16), and Sixth Form for ages 16 to 18. At each of these levels, education follows the National Curriculum. Schools are assessed by Ofsted and the results of the assessments can be found on the Ofsted website.
State schools can be:
Grammar Schools – These are selective schools that are usually run by the local authority. Students are required to pass a test to gain entry to a grammar school. Grammar schools are usually non-fee paying and follow the National Curriculum.
Community schools – These are run by local authorities who get involved in everything from employing the staff, to owning the land and building, as well as determining admissions criteria.
Foundation schools and Trust Schools – Often these are owned by a charitable trust with a third party. These are run by their own governing body which employs staff and determines their own admissions criteria.
Voluntary aided schools – Often these are linked to a faith or religion and, like a Foundation school, have an independent governing body that determines admissions and employs their own staff.
Academies – Academies are independently managed schools that cater for students of all abilities. Academies are established with sponsorship from business, faith or voluntary groups in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE) and the local authority.
Free schools – Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council which means the school has more control over how they operate. They are ‘all-ability’ schools, so don’t use academic selection processes like grammar schools do.
As an alternative to the state school (or comprehensive school) system, Private schools are also available for students. These are fee-paying and can cost from £15,000 per year to £55,000 per year.
London continues to hold the top spot for financial and professional services in terms of overall offer when compared to other global destinations, including New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris and Frankfurt, according to research by the City of London Corporation. They added that the City “maintains a lead as an innovative ecosystem, its financial markets are boosted by international activity and its financial services regulatory regime remains the most favourable in the world.”
Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft UK, Google all have offices in London as well as Monzo, Revolut, AimBrain and literally hundreds more. Software companies HQ'd in central london range from V-Nova, Mindtech, Quell and NCAM to CronAI.
London is the financial capital of the UK with almost every imaginable institution having a presence in the city. Over the last few years, it’s also been heralded for its ability to produce £billion start-ups at a faster rate than China or any other European city.
There’s so much to see and do in London, and even just walking to work through the city can be breathtaking. From lunch in the Shard, to a boat trip down the Thames or a visit to the War Rooms, there’s literally something for everyone. You can take a guided tour around Parliament, or marvel at the State Rooms inside Buckingham Palace. View a William Blake at the Tate, or a Banksy in Mayfair. At the weekend you can ride the tube and imagine how the stations became a place of safety during the Blitz. The West End on a friday night is a must-do, and with a trip to Leicester Square ticket booths, you’ll be able to bag a bargain on some of the world’s best musicals. For anyone wanting to benefit from a cultural scene and the hustle and bustle of city life, but not wanting to give up their outdoor space, London offers the perfect compromise.
If you would like to discuss our current software opportunities in London or a potential career move, please contact me Mitch Wheaton – email@example.com
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