Moving To London
You’ve decided to move to London, and now you’re nervously excited about life’s new possibilities in the English capital.
Moving to a new country can be one of the most exciting experiences ever.
But, of course, before you move, you’ll want to know as much about your new home so that you can hit the ground running once you arrive.
In this guide, we’ll bridge that gap in knowledge and tell you everything you need to know about the city.
We’ll also explain how you can get all of your essential baggage to your front door safely and without breaking the bank.
So, whether you’re moving to London from Germany, America, Asia, or somewhere in between, here’s everything you need to know.
London, commonly referred to in unflattering terms as ‘The Big Smoke’ and in more positive terms as ‘The Swinging City’, is the capital of England and the United Kingdom.
With nearly nine million people, London is around four times bigger than the country’s other big cities.
Famous for being the home of the Royal family, Big Ben, Westminster and the London Eye, the city is culturally diverse, modern and welcoming.
London Quick Facts
Population: 8.9 million
Currency: British Pound Sterling (GBP)
Timezone: UTC (Greenwich Mean Time)
Date Format: dd/mm/yyyy
Dialing Code: 020
With a vast, impressive transport infrastructure, London is a city where taxi drivers have to dedicate years of study to pass one of the world’s most difficult tests, The Knowledge.
As the capital city of England and the UK, London is also one of the world’s most important financial centres.
The City of London is responsible for nearly 40% of the world’s foreign exchange transactions.
Things to do in London
Given its sheer size, you’ll not be surprised to hear that London is jam-packed with famous landmarks and exciting things to do.
No matter what gets your juices flowing, you’ll find it in London.
Fan of the royal family? Get your Union Jack hat on and visit Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Royal Mews, The Tower of London and many more incredible landmarks.
Football fan? Enjoy watching the strongest league in the world, with European superpowers such as Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal on your doorstep.
Fancy an Instagram selfie? Make your way to the London Eye for breath-taking, Insta-friendly views of the whole city.
History buff? Check out the Churchill War Rooms, where the UK Prime Minister directed World War 2 operations.
Art connoisseur? Enjoy a day out at the National Gallery, home to a collection of over 2,000 paintings from the mid-13th century to 1900.
House of Cards lover? Visit Westminster, home of both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About London
- Big Ben is not actually called Big Ben. Its official name is The Clock Tower.
- Only six people died in the Great Fire of London.
- Black cab drivers in London have to take a rigorous test called The Knowledge to become a taxi driver.
- The Queen lives in Buckingham Palace, and when she’s home, you can see her royal flag flying from the flagpole.
- It is illegal to feed pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
- London was home to many of the world’s most famous people, including Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale, and Jimi Hendrix.
- You can fit the Great Pyramid of Giza under the roof of the massive Millennium Dome, which is the most extensive structure of its kind in the world.
- Over one billion people use the London Underground every year.
- There are over 170 museums in London.
- London is technically a forest under the UN’s definition of a forest due to the density of trees per square mile.
- The Queen of England has to request permission from the Mayor to enter the City of London.
- The Palace of Westminster (where the UK Parliament resides) has eight bars, six restaurants, 11 courtyards, one thousand rooms, a rifle-shooting range and a hair salon.
- Odd London street names include Quaggy Walk, Cyclops Mews, and Ha Ha Road.
- Despite being called The London Underground, more than 50% of the network actually runs above ground.
- Karl Marx drafted the Communist Manifesto in a room above the Red Lion pub on Great Windmill Street.
- London’s GDP is larger than Belgium and Sweden.
- London has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai.
- The city has 80 billionaires, the most in the world.
- There are over 300 languages spoken in London, which is more than any other city in the world.
- There are over 20,000 live music performances a year in over 300 London venues.
Why Should I Consider Moving to London?
Alongside New York, Paris and Tokyo, London is one of the most iconic cities in the world.
As a welcoming, culturally diverse city, those who relocate to London enjoy access to a thriving economy, world-class entertainment, and famous landmarks.
Whether you love West End shows or fancy watching some of the best footballers on the planet, you’ll find that London has everything you could imagine.
Most popular relocation destinations for people moving to London
- Hackney Wick
Top 10 Reasons To Relocate To London
- London has a stable economy with plenty of career opportunities.
- Travelling around London is cheap and easy.
- You’ll have world-famous landmarks on your doorstep.
- London has over 3,000 public parks to enjoy during downtime.
- London has a friendly, welcoming local population and is a melting pot of different cultures and religions.
- Enjoy world-famous neighbourhoods like Notting Hill and Bethnal Green.
- A world-class music scene.
- A globally respected education system.
- The universal use of the English language.
- A bustling arts and culture scene.
How to move to London: Things You Need To Know Before Moving to London
Understanding everything about how to move to London can be exciting and daunting in equal measures.
Indeed, if you do your research, you can make the big move as hassle-free as possible.
Here are some of the main things you should know about London before you move.
It won’t get your pulse racing but sorting out your immigration as early as possible should be your number one priority in the months before moving to London.
In short, to enter England and to live and work permanently in London, you must have the correct visa.
Of course, the visa you need will depend on where your home country is.
And it’ll depend on what immigration agreements both countries have agreed upon.
The whole situation has been a little confusing in recent years due to Brexit.
So, the type of visa you need depends on the purpose and length of your stay in London.
The main types of visas are:
- Work visas
- Business visas
- Study visas
- Visitor visas
- Family visas
- Settlement visas
- Transit visas
For comprehensive UK visa information, visit the UK Government’s website.
Cost of living in London
The cost of living in London is extremely expensive.
It’s widely acknowledged as one of the most expensive cities to live in globally.
But, it’s best to think of London’s living costs in conjunction with salaries.
London’s living costs are relative to the higher wages offered in the city compared to similar roles in other UK cities.
So, while you’ll spend more on monthly bills, you’ll also receive a larger average salary.
Job Opportunities in London
Unsurprisingly, as the UK’s biggest city and one of the world’s most influential financial centres, there are many career opportunities in London.
The unemployment rate in London is hovering around 6%.
Firstly, there’s the thriving tech industry, which the city’s Mayor described as “The global tech capital of Europe.”
IT careers and opportunities are significant, with London’s tech firms attracting over seven billion in venture capital money last year.
Secondly, with a booming tourist industry that attracts over 30 million tourists every year, there’s a particular need for skilled and casual hospitality workers.
Currently, the main areas where the London economy has a skills shortage are:
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Business Services
Education in London
London has a global reputation for the quality of its education system.
Home to world-renowned universities such as UCL, Imperial College, and King’s College, London enjoys a top-class education system and a highly educated workforce.
For instance, over 100,000 international students are studying in London’s 45 universities every year.
A recent study found that London produces 130,000 skilled graduates every year, nearly 70% of who work in London.
UCL is ranked 8th best university in the world, while Imperial College is ranked 11th worldwide.
The National Health Service (NHS) is respected worldwide.
London has a well-established, efficient healthcare system that is free at the point of use.
With over 1,500 GP practices in the city and some of the most respected hospitals globally, people living in London enjoy easy access to high-quality healthcare.
Renting vs Buying a Home When You’re Moving to London
Whether you’re staying in London for a year or plan on moving to the city permanently, you’ll have a wide range of choices in rented and owned accommodation.
Your choice of renting or buying depends on how long you’re planning to stay.
London is the most expensive part of the UK to live in rented or owned housing.
Interestingly, a recent report found that renting a property in London is now cheaper than buying a home.
London is a cultural hotbed of music, arts, literature and sport.
Three of the top 10 best museums globally are located in the city, and London has four UNESCO world heritage sites.
Nearly 200 festivals occur in London every year, including Europe’s biggest street festival (the Notting Hill Carnival).
From James Bond movies to Harry Potter classics, the city is the world’s third busiest film production centre.
And avid readers aren’t forgotten about either; there are more than 800 bookshops and over 300 public libraries in London.
The most competitive and famous football league in the world is represented firmly in London too.
Giants of the beautiful game include Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United, who all have impressive stadiums in the city.
Like most European countries, London is heavily influenced by Western food preferences, so expect to see all the usual Burger Kings, Nandos, Costa etc.
But, with over 300 languages spoken in the city, you’ll enjoy food options from around the world.
With 66 London restaurants holding a Michelin Star, you will enjoy quality food that ticks all the boxes.
Languages of London
English is the most popular language used in London.
However, there are over 300 languages represented in the city.
10 Top Tips on How to Move to London
- Start planning for your big move to London as far in advance as possible.
- Make checklists to stay on top of what you need to do.
- Get started on getting your immigration sorted as early as possible. Make sure you are reading the most up to date immigration information as some rules have changed since Brexit.
- Set up a UK bank account as soon as you can.
- Bring a raincoat; England can be wet!
- Keep a record and stay on top of your finances – save, save, save!
- Sell/donate goods that you don’t need to free up space.
- Do plenty of research on your new area (social media or internet forums are both hugely helpful!)
- If you’re moving for a job, don’t be afraid to ask your employer for help.
- Compare different quotes and choose your movers wisely.
Moving to London from Ireland
Despite Brexit posing some significant immigration challenges, moving to London from Ireland is, thankfully, relatively straightforward.
If you’re an Irish citizen and thinking about moving to the UK, you do not need a visa or residency permit to live, study or work in London.
That’s because of the Common Travel Area (CTA), which allows Irish and UK citizens to work, travel between and live freely in each other’s countries.
For the most up to date information on moving to the UK, please click here.
Moving Your Possessions
Moving you and all of your possessions to a new city can be complicated.
Thankfully, however, there are several options to choose from to make the process as hassle-free and cost-effective as possible.
Understanding your options now will save you time and money later on as some options might be perfectly suited to your needs while others may not.
By sea, air and land, international removal services can transport your possessions to London.
It’s worth remembering that costs can quickly mount.
Still, it can be an ideal option if you’ve got large, bulky items like sofas and beds, or even your car, to move from one country to another.
In other words, if affordability is vital to you, container shipping is usually the most affordable international removals option.
However, a real disadvantage of container shipping is waiting time; you could be waiting for up to eight weeks for all of your possessions to arrive.
Typically though, sea freight – while slower – is cheaper than air freight.
Before booking either option, check if the company delivers your belongings right to your door.
That’s because some companies require you to set up transportation from ports, which of course can result in your spending more time and money.
Whether it’s London, Paris, New York, Milan, or another city, My Baggage offers a convenient and affordable international moving service.
And we can help you relocate to over 200 countries worldwide, across over 1,000 routes.
You’ll enjoy hassle-free door-to-door shipping, full online tracking and unrivalled customer support.
When it comes to your possessions, we know you can feel a little apprehensive about handing them over to a shipping company.
That’s why at My Baggage, we’re proud of being a company you can trust with your most essential items.
Why Use My Baggage?
When you move country, you want all of your possessions to arrive in your new location when you get there, not two months later.
Our fast, convenient, reliable, and low-cost door-to-door shipping service reunites you faster with your possessions.
Bonus tip: Consider selling your larger, bulkier items and buy replacements in your new country.
Low-Cost International Shipping
When you’re moving country, money is tight.
That’s why at My Baggage, we offer incredibly low rates on our international shipping services.
We’re so confident in our pricing that we also offer a price match tool if you happen to find a better price.
Value For Money
My Baggage isn’t just one of the most affordable options for international shipping.
Our straightforward, convenient service offers fantastic value for money.
We offer a massive 30kg/66lb weight allowance per item for as little as, for example, £109 per item from the US to London.
Furthermore, you have the option to send as many items as you like with us.
What Can I Send When I’m Moving to London?
My Baggage is ideal for suitcases and boxes of all of your most essential possessions you’d like to have with you in London.
You can also send oversized items – such as sports equipment and musical instruments – with My Baggage.
Full Online Tracking and Unrivalled Customer Support
From the moment you wave goodbye to your suitcases and boxes, you’ll be able to follow their journey.
If you opt-in for text and email notifications, we’ll provide you with regular updates on where your items are right now and when they’ll arrive to meet you in England.
In addition, we also provide full online tracking for every shipment, which you can access anytime in your My Baggage account.
Our Customer Support is legendary; check out all of our independent 5-star reviews.
And we’re just a phone call, email or live chat away from helping you with any problems.
Fast Overseas Movers
Nobody likes waiting around for their possessions.
As a result, we prioritise getting your items to your new English home as quickly and safely as possible.
Convenient and Reliable Removals
Don’t worry about arranging transportation from ports; My Bagage collects from your doorstep and delivers to your doorstep in your new home country.
How to Move to London: Shipping Oversized Items to the UK
My Baggage offers a new approach to transporting larger items such as bicycles, musical instruments, and sporting equipment to England.
Shipping your oversized items to London with My Baggage is the most cost-effective, hassle-free way to get your possessions from A – B without breaking the bank.
In addition, My Baggage can often be much more cost-effective than hiring an entire international removals company for just a few items.
Airline Baggage Alternative
Airline baggage can be expensive; there’s no doubt about it.
Indeed, we’ve all been caught out before with excessive charges.
Add in the demoralising journey of dragging around suitcases through airports and train stations on your way to England.
But what if you could enjoy a hassle-free, hands-free and stress-free journey to London?
Say hello to My Baggage.
We’ll move everything over, so all you have to focus on in the airport is whether you grab a bite to eat from Pret A Manger or YO! Sushi.
Not excited about that long wait at the carousel for your suitcase?
That’ll be a thing of the past if you choose to ship luggage to London with My Baggage.
Student Shipping to London
Are you coming to London to further your education?
If so, you’re in luck!
The My Baggage team comprises former students and recent graduates, so we understand that money is tight for you.
As a result, My Baggage is here to make your big move to The Big Smoke as straightforward as possible.
Our prices are student-budget friendly, and you can send as many items as you like with us; we offer a massive 30kg/66lbs weight allowance per box or suitcase.
With door-to-door collection and delivery to every campus in England, our fast transit times and Express services will reunite you quickly with all your belongings.
Find out what other students who use My Baggage think; they’re our greatest advocates.
UK Customs and Quarantine Information
When shipping to England, UK Customs must clear all goods.
Suppose you’re sending goods to the UK from a country outside of the EU, such as Canada or the USA.
In that case, you are then legally required to complete and send a customs invoice with your shipment.
If your shipment does not have a customs invoice attached, it will not make it past your local country border, and you may have to pay return charges to get it back.
My Baggage will automatically provide you with the appropriate customs documents for you to print, sign and attach to your shipment when you send luggage to the UK from outside of the EU.
Generally, My Baggage shipments clear customs promptly, free from duties and taxes, as most countries offer a generous duty-free allowance for personal effects.
However, customs processes and allowances are different worldwide.
Because My Baggage has no direct association with any customs authority, we do advise doing your research into UK customs regulations and quarantine before booking your shipment to the UK from outside of the EU.
Please make yourself aware of potential customs duties in the UK and follow any advice provided by customs.
When completing your customs documents, it is crucial to do so correctly and clearly.
To demonstrate that your shipment consists of personal effects, you will be required to describe each item included in the package accurately.
For example, you would declare: “4 x t-shirts, 2 x pairs of jeans, 3 x dresses” etc., as opposed to “10 x clothing”.
Suppose you need to cancel or change your booking for any reason.
In that case, we will offer you full credit on your My Baggage account or a full refund if you select our Super Flexi fare.
For information regarding the current Covid-19 outbreak, please click here.
Prohibited and Non-Compensation Items
My Baggage specialises in shipping personal effects all over the world.
However, for security and customs reasons, certain items are considered prohibited.
Therefore, as a general rule, you can be sure that the following items are prohibited:
- Animal Products
- Cash, Credit Cards, Debit Cards
- Passports or other confidential personal documentation
- Perishable Foods
- Dangerous Goods
- Hazardous Goods
We also recommend that you research what may be prohibited from entry into England before booking your shipment, as import allowances differ worldwide.
Certain items may be specifically restricted from entry into the UK by customs and/or quarantine.
For a comprehensive list of what you can and cannot bring into the UK, click here.
In addition, some items can be carried with My Baggage, but that may not be covered under our compensation cover.
Proceeding will be at your own risk.
If you decide to send any non-compensation items with My Baggage, please ensure they are packaged appropriately, with internal packaging for fragile items.
Find out more about My Baggage’s prohibited and non-compensation items.
What type of packaging can be used?
When shipping your belongings to London with My Baggage, we recommend using either suitcases or strong cardboard boxes.
Alternatively, you can use a mixture of both.
We advise against using fragile or expensive suitcases, as our compensation cover does not cover them.
We also recommend that you tape over any handles, etc., to protect them.
With boxes, it’s always best to invest in a new, sturdy, double-walled (or even triple-walled) cardboard box as they are most durable and suitable for transit.
How To Book With My Baggage
Shipping your belongings to London with My Baggage is effortless.
Our easy to use online booking system is available 24/7 and takes just a few short moments to complete.
Simply start by obtaining a quote straight from our website.
Once you’ve booked, we’ll send you some shipping labels to print and attach to your items.
After that, you can sit back and relax as we take care of everything else for you.
It really is that easy.
Reasons to use My Baggage
- Convenient door to door collection and delivery of your shipment.
- Full online tracking with text and email notifications.
- International shipping to over 200 countries across 1,000 routes worldwide.
- Fast transit times – express services available on many routes.
- Dedicated customer support via phone, email and live chat.
Are You A Business Or Personal User?
My Baggage offers convenient and affordable shipping services for absolutely everyone, whether you’re a business user, a holidaymaker, an ex-pat or, of course, relocating.
No matter your reason, absolutely anyone can take advantage of our competitive prices and excellent services.
Many savvy business users regularly avail of our low cost and convenient shipping services to relocate their employees worldwide.
So, what are you waiting for?
University Shipping (UK) / College Shipping(US)