My Life in London

Reading Time = 6 minutes

I first visited London in December 2016. I remember the moment when I first came out of a tube station to set foot on the streets of London. It was 17:00, but it was already dark. It was unusual for me to see the sun setting so early. The city was decorated with Christmas lights because it was December. I immediately fell in love with London.

I loved London so much, I eventually moved to London in January 2018. I moved out of London in August 2019 to start my GP training in the Midlands.

15726901_10154901291604468_2833976492590258346_n
Oxford Street in December 2016.

Finances

I was told that it is difficult to manage finances in London. But I have found that if you are good at managing your finances, you can easily live in London. Depending on your personal circumstances, you can save money as well. Living in London can be cheaper than living in other cities as you might not need to own a car if you live in London.

I have lived in London for eighteen months and I have easily saved the same amount of money as I was saving in Portsmouth. This is, of course, possible for me because both my wife and I work as doctors in the NHS. Also, living in the Midlands will be more expensive for us as both of us will need to own cars.

fullsizeoutput_260a.jpeg
British currency

Accommodation

Houses are small and costly in London. However, you can still find a place of your liking with a bit of online searching.

Our options were limited because we have two adorable cats and not all house owners allow cats. But we still found a beautiful place 15 minutes by bus from the hospital. We lived in a two-bedroom flat with an open kitchen and a living room. It also has a small backyard, which you can see in the picture below.

IMG_3600
The Backyard

Work

London has some of the best hospitals in the world where people come for treatment and to work from all over the globe. This makes it comparatively difficult to find training in London because of high competition ratios. This, in turn, results in a great work experience because you work with the best in the field. This is why some of the most important advancements in medicine have taken place in London.

I had the privilege of working at King’s College Hospital, London. It was easily the best working experience of my life. King’s is a very busy hospital, but I felt that it was very well staffed in most of the wards where I worked. I felt very well supported working at King’s and I enjoyed my time there. What I will miss the most about King’s are the friends that I made and the online system for documentation.

fullsizeoutput_3155.jpeg
King’s College Hospital on Christmas Eve 2018

Transport

It is very easy to find buses, tubes or trains for travelling in London. However, you might need to change two, three or even four buses or tubes to reach your destination. If you need to calculate the distance between any two points, you can easily do this by using Google Maps.

Transport cost me an average of £75 per month. I found this cheap compared to the cost of keeping a car. I also found it convenient to travel by tubes and buses as I did not have to worry about parking.

Northern Line at Charing Cross tube station

Driving

Driving in London is not convenient because of a lack of parking spots, expensive parking charges, traffic lights after every few steps, narrow roads, the presence of numerous cyclists and pedestrians.

I bought a car a few weeks before leaving London as I knew I would need the car after moving out. So far, I have found it comparatively more difficult and demanding to drive in London for the above-mentioned reasons.

fullsizeoutput_317a.jpeg
After driving out of London for the first time

Parks

London has many parks. Out of these, eight are Royal Parks. Royal Parks were originally owned by the Royal Family for hunting. The Royal Parks were later opened to the public after the Crown Lands Act 1851. If you want to guess what part of London is covered by green spaces, you can take the quiz below.

Take the quiz? .
Click here to find the answer .

I enjoyed exploring the parks in London. I loved boating and cycling at Regent’s Park and I was able to arrange career guidance meetings at Hyde Park.

fullsizeoutput_3151
Cycling with the family at Regent’s Park

Football

London is home to 13 professional football clubs, some of which are the best football clubs in the world. This is why some of the best footballers from all over the world come to play and live in London.

Thanks to a kind friend, I was able to see an FA Cup game at Stamford Bridge in January 2019.

Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on 05 January 2019

Cricket

Lord’s Cricket Ground, located in North West London, is considered to be the home of cricket.

I was fortunate enough to see Pakistan playing against England at Lord’s in May 2018.

iDsSjxtaSWCi3CFPYCQvDw.jpg
England vs Pakistan at Lord’s Cricket Ground on 26 May 2018

Concerts

One of the benefits of living in London is that you can attend concerts by some of the biggest artists in the world.

I have been a fan of Queen since 2005. I was lucky enough to experience a Queen concert in July 2018.

rg7SvOLHQ0yrqy0ah6qlLg.jpg
Queen + Adam Lambert after a concert at Wembley Arena on 01 July 2018

Live Performers

Life in London includes witnessing live performances when you’re trying to catch a train or a tube.

I always enjoy listening to musicians playing in London Underground. I saw this guitarist playing Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters at London’s Westminister station.

Escape Rooms

An escape room is a real-life team-based puzzle game, where you are locked in a room and have to solve puzzles together to get out.

London has some of the best escape rooms in the world. I have been to countless escape rooms in London. But the Secret Studio was my favorite.

The Zafars after a game of Escape Room at Secret Studio.

Lego

London has the world’s largest Lego store at Leicester Square. The store has a giant Loch Ness Monster, the Big Ben, a full-sized red telephone box, the skyline of London and a map of the London Underground. All of these are completely made of Lego bricks.

My favorite part of the store is the play area where we can build objects using the Lego bricks in the store. I have visited this store multiple times with different family members. Each time I visit, I enjoy it more than before.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 00.12.46.png
World’s largest Lego store at Leicester Square, London

Paintball

Paintball is a competitive team shooting sport in which players eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with paintballs that break upon impact.

This activity is not limited to life in London. However, I enjoyed this game with my family in London. Here is a picture with my brother.

fullsizeoutput_2617.jpeg
Posing after a game of paintball

Other Activities

London has a lot of art, history and culture which I have not captured in this article. Anything that is possible in this world is likely to be found in London. You can use Google to find lists of fun activities in London.

I saw a video of a virtual reality experience on Facebook. I found out that this was in London. I went there the very next day. I also went to Winter Wonderland for ice skating.

Pros of Life in London

  • You can work in some of the best and well-known hospitals in the world
  • You can find your favourite food in London
  • London has tubes, trains and buses for transport
  • No need to own a car
  • There are a lot of landmarks to visit and places to explore in London
  • You can find all the shopping brands in London
  • You have more options for online shopping in London
  • You can attend your favourite events
  • London’s airport has a large variety of flights from all over the world
  • London is a popular spot for tourists. So you will have a lot of opportunities to meet and greet people

Screen-Shot-2018-08-26-at-00.15.30.png

Cons of Life in London

  • Accommodation rent is expensive
  • Houses are small
  • London always feels crowded
  • Owning a car is not easy, as parking is always an issue
  • Driving in Central London will cost you congestion charges
  • The air is polluted

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 00.14.13

Conclusion

Living in London has its pros and cons. London is one of the best cities in the world. This is why it comes at a price. But this should not be a problem if you are good at managing your finances and if you do not have dependents. However, at the end of the day, living in London is a personal choice and may vary from person to person.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I live in London?

This is not a yes or no question as it may vary for every individual. You should read about the pros and cons of life in London. You should also check what London has to offer and what you would have to pay for it. If you feel it’s worth it, go for it.

2. What is the cost of accommodation in London?

This can vary a lot depending on the area and the property. But you can easily check this by going to RightMove. Look for the area and the type of property you would want. Then make an estimate of what it would cost you.

3. Is it expensive to live in London?

This depends on various factors, including the number of dependents, the area you choose to live in London, the kind of accommodation you choose, the kind of lifestyle and other personal circumstances. For me, it was cheaper to live in London as I did not need to own a car. Moving to the Midlands will be more expensive as both I and my wife will need to own cars.

17 thoughts on “My Life in London

  1. Considering an income of £3000/month. How much you could save if living in London with a spouse (who is earning the same as well)?

      1. Hi,

        This depends on numerous factors like the number of dependents (children and pets), the area you choose to live in London, the kind of accommodation you choose, the kind of lifestyle and other personal circumstances. If two people are earning £3000 each, that is a combined total of £6000 per month and it is a very healthy amount. 🙂

  2. Hi

    Would you give any suggestion to stay in London near Vincent Square for 10 days please? . I found accomodations quite expensive there. Please guide me . I have to visit for plab 1 in sep. Thanks

  3. Hello Naseer,

    I appreciate ur efforts in helping IMGs via this blog and on facebook. I am sorry i wont be meeting you at kings as i am resuming there on 4/09. I am having problems with deciding where to live. Can you tell me which area you lived that was 15 mins away and give me an idea of the rent for 2 bed flat. If possible the contacts of the agent too .
    Thanks .

    1. Hi Lily,

      I lived in SE24. And rent was £1,650. It was very expensive. But you can find something between £1,100 and £1,500 for a flat.

      For room share, you can find as cheap as £600.

      If you need any help with this or with working at King’s, feel free to send me an inbox message.

      And massive congratulations on making it to King’s! 😀

      All the best! 👍🏼

      Naseer.

  4. What are the options available to a doctor whose spouse is an engineer in their home country,can she/he work as an engineer as well in the UK or would there be need for some form of exams first

    1. I am very sorry but I am not sure about this. If you look for engineering communities or groups, that might be helpful. All the best! 🙂

  5. Hi Naseer I started my journey for London ..practicing IELTS shall be appearing Inshaallha in September can you please guide me for reading .
    Allhahafiz.

  6. Dear Dr. Naseer,
    What is the procedure to be followed for a young lady medical graduate entering UK for the first time without knowing anybody?

Leave a Reply