Seeking advice for migrating to the big smoke?
December 30, 2004 7:32 PM   Subscribe

In six months time, I'm going to move to London (from Wakefield, West Yorkshire). A few of friends of mine (housemate, old friend, college friend) plan to get a house/flat together. I graduated this Summer (BA (Hons) English & Creative Writing), and am working in a bar and doing freelance web design in the meantime. I want to know what I should be doing now to get ready; when and where should I start looking for a Real Job, and when and where should I look for places to live? Does anybody have any other advice for migrating to the big smoke?
posted by armoured-ant to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I asked a similar question recently (though my situation is a bit different from yours) and got lots of helpful replies. Good luck!
posted by eatcherry at 8:05 PM on December 30, 2004

First up I would suggest flat hunting in Loot. If you can avoid going through an agency then do. It'll be cheaper.

If you know anyone currently based in London, then it's probably worth heading down for a couple of days to check out areas to live and maybe to look at a couple of flats/houses. Having a base there would be really handy.

Start looking for a 'Real Job' as soon as you can, but make sure you can provide prospective employers with a definitive start date. If you're trying to coordinate a few people making the move together, this could be tricky, but I would say it's important. Unlike with the accommodation, agencies can - in my experience - be really useful when looking for employment. Get your CV registered on as many web sites as you can (LondonJobs,, Monster,, etc.) and get it out there.

Best of luck and if you need any more specific advice, feel free to email me.
posted by MrMustard at 11:16 PM on December 30, 2004

I just read over eatcherry's thread and was cackling nervously at the hilariously high rent in London. Out of sheer curiosity, do wages in London correspond to the outrageous rent prices, or do most denizens have to rob banks on a biweekly basis?

I don't mean to digress -- I realize you're looking for info on London rather than some foreigner gawking at its exorbitance, but I will nonetheless quietly point out that it is entirely possible to rent a studio apartment in montreal for under 500CDN (~200 pounds) and that it's, IMO, the best city in North America, and very accessible to English citizens.
posted by ori at 11:54 PM on December 30, 2004

Start getting used to living without eating. By the time you've paid for a flat you'll be broke. Seriously, London is horrendously expensive, so I would advise several trial visits to make sure you are doing the right thing.
posted by Cancergiggles at 1:54 AM on December 31, 2004

I never moved to London, I've always lived 'just' outside...and that maybe my tip here, don't underestimate how much less the rent can be if you live in the suburbs and a little way beyond, if you drive, or live near good transport'll find that access to London is very fast indeed.

I live between Slough and Maidenhead - and can be in the west end in 35 minutes by train (+ 10 minute to the station) and can drive to a nightclub in london in 40 minutes, albeit late at night.

Just saying that IN LONDON, is not everything - very near it can save a fortune.
posted by mattr at 2:48 AM on December 31, 2004

Start getting used to living without eating.

So that's where those fashionable Londeners get their trim figures! Kate Moss, I'm on to you!

Out of curiosity, whenever I see listings in GB the prices are listed per week. Do you get paid every week as well? Or is this just a ploy to make the number seem smaller than it really is (not that multiplication by two or four is really that difficult, but still...)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:03 AM on December 31, 2004

It's a ploy. And you don't multiply by four, you multiply by 52 and divide by 12. Cunning, huh.
posted by ascullion at 3:19 AM on December 31, 2004

They used to pay by the week but as far as I experience they now pay by the month and still quote by the week. Go figure.

Anyway, wages in London to correspond to the prices, to a degree. If you work in a public sector job, for example, you do get a "London allowance". But that does not mean that a nurse or a public sector official can afford to live anywhere near where they work and avoid commuting for hours unless they have a huge financial resources of their own.

But I do not mean to put you off, London is a great place with a huge variety of people, culture, architecture, anything really that you need. I would second the suggestions of looking for a place with a contact, and then looking at Loot, Craigslist or the Evening Standard. That's where I found my home 7 years ago.

You're not telling what kind of jobs you really fancy getting, but it might be an idea to try the agencies for temp things for the time that your searching/interviewing at least if money is an issue. There are loads, and I think web design should be quite popular. Also, look for magazines like TNT that are opposite every tube or rail station. They have loads of pages devoted to people looking for both jobs and accommodation.

But, in sum, get a base, hopefully for free - use all the resources outlined above to get place to stay in and a permanent job and have the best of luck. It can be a confusing place, but it can be loads of fund as well. In any case, it will be an experience.
posted by keijo at 4:23 AM on December 31, 2004

Bear in mind that as a recent graduate you will typically be welcome to get careers advice from just about any university careers advice dept for up to 2 years, and that most universities will have these. Get yourself an interview sorted with a service either near you in Yorkshire or when you get down to London (or both).

If you plan to get a Real Job at some time in the future, then you should always be on the lookout (a) by looking at job sources - newpapers, online and (b) by working out what you want to do with yourself, working out how to get in to a position you want and then acting to get there. One of the easiest things to do is to coast into a profession you have no interest in but which pays the bills then finding yourself stuck there.
posted by biffa at 8:43 AM on December 31, 2004

armoured-ant - ignore Cancergiggles. The streets here are paved with GOLD!

Look, London doesn't have to be "horrendously expensive" there's plenty of very cool places to eat, drink and be merry hang-out that don't break the bank.

accommodation can be *the* big stumbling block but you have an advantage in that there are going to be 4 of you looking for a place together which makes things a lot cheaper.
is the place to go to get flatshare's etc. Trying looking at places like Dalston, Hackney and Stoke Newington that are quite central but don't have tube stops as this makes them more affordable. Avoid Golders Green, Brixton and Camden.

If you're from Wakefield then start preparing yourself for some of the poorest excuse for curry you've ever tasted on Brick Lane, made all the more unpalatable by Londoners telling you how fantastic it is.

It's a great place so come down and enjoy yourself.
posted by john-paul at 9:04 AM on December 31, 2004

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