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Renting in London   |   Apr 23, 2015

Things Northerners moving to London should know

Moving to London from the North

Much like Game of Thrones, Northerners such as myself look upon London like Kings Landing. A huge expansive city paved with gold that could fulfil your wildest dreams one minute, then chew you up and spit you out the next. Moving to London can be a big lifestyle change for people from all walks of life. Read more about our tips for Northerners!

I’ve admired the place from afar for quite a while now and make regular excursions to the capital either for a good ol’ knees up with friends and family, or for work, and my time spent there has taught me some things that every Northerner should really know before taking the plunge and heading down there. It’s just a little different from the rest of the UK.

So here’s guide to the misunderstandings, pitfalls and problems that every Northerner should know before trying to kick it down south.

‘Everyone is really unfriendly’

A busy tube station in London Photo credit by Tom Page

There is a common misconception about Londoners that they’re extremely unsociable people, and generally just not accustomed to friendly conversation with strangers. This I have never really found to be true. Sure, no one talks to each other on the tube. Of course they don’t! You’re trapped in a metal snake, sixty metres underground going from A to B at forty miles an hour. Everyone wants to get off as soon as possible. Difference is, a bus turns up every once in a blue moon up North, and we’ve got to pass the time somehow.

On my first solo trip to the capital I was left completely dumbstruck by the tube. Admittedly I’d had more than a few pints in Chelsea before hand, and had managed to lose my tube map along with the piece of paper upon which my cousin had lovingly written the way to get home on. This was a time before smart phones (imagine it) and I was left staring at a station map like a Neanderthal would look at a fruit machine.

Suddenly, a figure in white approached, and I mean all white. Shirt, chord pants and sandals, straight out of a Daz advert. He asked me where I was heading, ‘Clapham Common’ I managed to say, before kindly showed me the way home. So you see, Londoners are alright really.

Get organised and get around

Map of the tube in London Photo credit: Annie Mole

No one likes getting lost, but it’s even more bamboozling in London. Getting around and getting organised can be tough in the capital, which is why its important to make the most of your time and money when you’re down there. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can do all the thinking for us. One must-have for any non-native is Citymapper. Bus, tube and overground times and routes are all catered for as well as live directions to tell you where you are and where you’re going. The only issue with this app is that it’s so good you’ll miss half of London as you walk around staring constantly at your phone.

Once you finally find a place to live, you’re going to need to keep track of all your incomings and outgoings. You’re not going to want to hear this but rent prices are 212% higher in London than in Liverpool, 144% higher than Manchester and 154% higher than Birmingham, so every penny counts. Splittable can help you keep an eye on all your outgoings when it comes to rent, bills, council tax, groceries and more, and it can also help you split it evenly within your household without any arguments!

The price of a pint

Pint of beer on a counter Photo credit: quite peculiar

This may come as a surprise to you, but London is expensive, and there’s nothing that riles a Northerner up more than paying over the odds for a pint of beer. Sure, you can get a pint of real ale for £2.20 in the local at home, but the local at home hasn’t changed the fly paper on the wall for the past six months and all the footy is commentated in Turkish (I’ve had many a good night in the Dog n’ Gun but it’s not exactly the Ritz).

Going out in London isn’t cheap, but it’s also the best night out in the UK so you get what you pay for. No matter your taste or desire, you will find something to whet your appetite in London. The sheer amount of variety that London offers is what makes it so appealing. So suck it up and cough up the cash if you want to have a beer while you enjoy yourself.

Chip Shop Chips

Chip shop chips Photo Credit: Gideon

Once you move down south you can pretty much wave goodbye to proper chip shop chips; they just haven’t got the hang of it yet. And if you’re looking for a sausage dinner then you might as well get back on the train. The concept of mushy peas and gravy never really took off south of Birmingham, oh and get used to curry sauce as well (and cheesy chips…what?!). The Housing Hunt Space and time is at a premium in London, nothing happens slowly. The pace can take your breath away sometimes and this is no different with the housing market. You could be looking at a place one minute, only to call back 20 minutes later and find it’s off the market.

You need to be prepared to move fast when looking for a place to call your own. Have a budget and ideal location in mind and negotiate from there. If you find something you like then move on it quickly; more likely than not it’ll be gone tomorrow. Websites like Movebubble let you set up a renter profile to find property a bit like how you would on Airbnb apart from agents and private owners can contact you if your criteria matches their property. That way sometimes you can get property sent to you that’s not even on the market yet!

A Thick Skin

We’ve got thick skin up North, we have to due to the fact that it’s freezing. You’ll be tested though, with everyone around you pronouncing ‘bath’, ‘grass’, ‘scone’ and ‘troll’ the wrong way and commenting on your accent constantly. Stay away from using the word ‘barm’ when discussing any type of sandwich and just let them decide whether or not you’re going out for ‘dinner’ or ‘tea’ or ‘supper’. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle.

No Southerner you meet has ever been "up North"

Southerners are always surprised to hear that real Northerners don't consider anything underneath Nottingham (and definately not Nottingham) to be up North. And Northampton and Birmngham are pretty much considered south by anyone above Manchester.

All calculations have been made using www.numbeo.com

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