Living in London: Expectations vs Reality

Thinking of moving to The Big Smoke? Or are you already an established grumpy Londoner? Though we moan, sulk and whinge about the sacrifices we make for London living - the reality is, we wouldn't change a thing... until we read another article about being able to rent a 5 bedroom mansion in Scotland...


There's *so* much to do in London, and everything's on your door step. You're going to spend every night after work at art exhibitions, quirky pop-ups and new restaurant openings!!! 

Reality: Every event is sold out quicker than you can take out your debit card and you're stuck in a crowd of 150 people at Oxford Circus tube for 45 minutes. They've temporarily closed the gates and by the time you get home (at 8:30pm), you've already ordered Deliveroo and slumped in bed with Netflix by 10pm. 


This is it. You're finally moving to London. Time to sort out your renting situation. Let's start with a maximum of... £600. Yeah, that's more than enough - you can get a 2 bedroom house with that back home. Must haves are... a living room, ensuite, a garden, bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe and it DEFINITELY has to be in Zone 1... *clicks search*

Reality: It's less Ab Fab and more Peep Show. Want to live in the city? Then you've gotta sacrifice one of these three things:

  • Great location - The dream is to be close to work, be near a ton of transport links and have alternative routes when an inevitable tube strike happens. The reality is that you're sporting somebody else's Eau de Body Odour as you're face-planted against the door of an overstuffed tube.

  •  Be affordable - Score! You've managed to avoid coughing up half of your salary for a box room and a single bed, but you've sacrificed late night drinks and your social life in return. Come to think of it, your new place doesn't even *have* a tube stop. You're constantly checking your phone to see how long you've got until your last train home... Oh wait, Southern's striking again.

  • Have space to breathe - You've got a double bed, an ensuite AND a garden for those glorious summer BBQs. However,  you're all the way out in Zone 6 and the cost of your monthly travel card means you're paying for a very pricey spot on the tube every morning...


Growing up, you heard the rumours and listened to the grimaces of visiting Londoners complaining about £8 pints and £10 burgers at Maccie D's. Gulp. 

Reality: OK, things can be pricey in the city but it depends on where you go and there are *always* deals going on. I mean, your favourite karaoke bar Lucky Voice always have the best offers on! If you forgo the craft beer pubs in Shoreditch or the swanky bars in Mayfair, then you'll definitely be in more budget-friendly territory. Also, Maccie D's are definitely not £10 (unless you order 3). 

4. Gym

Have you ever seen those runners (barely breaking a sweat) jogging along the Thames? Or those marathon trainers by the canal at Hammersmith? That looks easy enough! You've booked yourself in for hot yoga on Monday, reformer pilates on Tuesday, boxing on Wednesday, spinning class on Thursday and CrossFit on Fridays. An hour before work should be easy peasy!

Reality: Let's be honest, you're exhausted from even reading that list. You had good intentions but come Thursday, the only things you're lifting are pints...

Share this post:

Get in touch

Join the people who know.