Here are the main things to bear in mind.
Guest post by Paul Davies
London is one of the most famous cities in the world. It has a history stretching back to Roman times when it was founded under the name Londinium. It has a population of nearly 9 million people, making it the biggest city in Europe. Here are a few more interesting facts to whet your appetite.
Key Facts About London
It is the most visited city in the world. In one year it attracts over 15 million visitors. It is the only city to have hosted the Olympics three times.
The Wimbledon venue is a famous location for the Tennis Grand Slam Tournament and is not far from London. The world-famous Wembley Football Stadium is also located in London.
The London Underground system connects vast areas of London and Greater London, with trains often running every few minutes on each line. It is home to Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen.
Parks and Geography
London has many green areas and parks that are free to walk around and mostly very safe. The people here are polite and friendly, though sometimes quite abrupt in their manner.
The River Thames flows through London, and the Thames barrier was erected in 1982 to protect London from flooding. It cost 534 million pounds to build.
The weather often has a bad reputation, and it will usually be cold, grey, and wet for a few months in winter. But, the summer months can bring great sunny weather. London offers excellent job opportunities, broad cultural diversity, and many entertainment options.
Housing is expensive, and transport is congested at rush hours. The constant presence of big groups of meandering tourists can be frustrating for busy people trying to get to and from work.
Working in London: The Bad
So, with all these facts in mind, we ask the question is London overrated? Its reputation tends to precede it, but when we get into the details, we see a more complicated picture. For those looking to work in London, here are the main things to bear in mind. We will start with the bad news.
The cost of living is very expensive. Travelling at peak times is a slow-moving, stressful experience. There is often overcrowding and extra expense of travel at these times. Travelling in your car is not to be recommended. It is slow going and expensive, both to run the vehicle and to find places to park.
The more glamorous areas of London you may know of are expensive, and you are more likely to be living somewhere more downtrodden. People, though polite, are not likely to engage you in much spontaneous, friendly conversation.
Working in London: The Good
Once you work your way around the transport system and allow for rush hour delays, it can be quite a convenient experience, particularly on the underground. Lots of museums you can visit for free.
Lots of companies are based here, providing plenty of job opportunities if you are well qualified. It is a great place to start a business. Work in the service sectors is particularly booming. For domestic staff, there are opportunities to provide many services.
The most significant recent increases in employees in the UK are concentrated in London. In the professional, scientific, and technical industry, this increase was by 4.7%. Accommodation and food services also experienced growth of 4.7%.
On the surface, London is a very desirable destination, both to visit and to live and work there. The deeper reality is a bit murkier. There are some good and some bad sides to its underbelly. But, with these in mind, and if you are prepared to brave the weather and transport congestion, I think you will find it remains a place of great opportunity.
The busy workdays can be balanced by whatever you like to do to wind down. Enjoy the colourful nightlife. Go to a movie or a night at the theatre, or take a stroll through the park. Everything is available at your fingertips.
The expensive cost of living, prohibiting for some, is balanced by the opportunity to find well-paid work for those qualified. So, do your research, don’t rush in headfirst. This way you will know what is in store for you.
Do not presume all smells of roses in London. This presumption is far from the case. Image and reality are always very different things. But, my experience is that the reality is still worth it. It may be for you; it may not. Either way, I hope this honest advice will be of some help to you.