London; one of the world’s leading capital cities has an exciting diverse culture that provides an abundance of social and working experiences. If you are relocating to the UK’s capital then read on to find out how to settle in to London without missing a beat.
First, find yourself a place to live
Why not invest in a serviced apartment; it’s the perfect temporary housing solution for those first few months in a new city. You’ll find an assortment of serviced apartments throughout from the hi-tech IT Shoreditch area to London’s West End theatre land. Should you be looking to rent an apartment it is worth noting that leased apartments usually require at least six month minimum rental period and utilities such as council tax, broadband, TV licence, gas and electric will be an additional cost, and additional work.
Secondly, think about the fundamentals
Keeping in touch is easy as most serviced apartments in London are equipped with WiFi and depending on how long you are staying in the UK you have the option of a contract or pay-as-you-go mobile phone. Both options are available from any mobile phone shop including the larger supermarkets and they can also give you advice on which network offers you the best deal.
Getting around London is no problem as there is a well organised and easy to use public transport system. Both the underground and bus network systems are connected to ‘Oyster’; a travel smartcard that can be used to pay for journeys on both tube trains and buses. For more information on their use and how to purchase a card visit www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster.
Don’t forget your finances, make sure you get some professional advice on your own personal situation. UK tax laws are complex; if you are relocating as an employee your employer will take care of paying your tax and national insurance here in the UK but if you are planning on working on a self-employed consultancy basis make sure you get the right advice.
Diving into a new social life
With its cultural diversity London’s social scene is a hive of activity. The magazine, Time Out, is a great source of information when researching the social offering of the UK’s capital or visit their website www.timeout.com/london for up to date information on London’s film, music, arts and culture scene as well as some of the best places to eat and drink in the capital.
Settling in the Family
Health and education are the fundamentals for settling your family. The easiest way to find your local doctor and dentist is by visiting the NHS website; www.nhs.uk, type in your postcode and it will provide you with a list of GP surgeries and dentists in your area.
There are various education options in London; independent, international and state. Independent schools can be found using the online directory www.indschools.co.uk and a quick search on Google will provide you with the locations and contact details of London’s international schools some of which offer the International Baccalaureate teaching programme, visit www.baccalaureate.eu.com for more information. Alternatively, you can enrol your children in a state school; visit www.gov.uk for information on schools in your area and how to enrol.
And the dog and cat are coming too!
The rules for travelling with your pets in and out of the UK have relaxed in recent years but to make sure you avoid a quarantine stay for your four legged friend(s) check out the government website www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad, which will give you all the details you need on what to do when bringing your pet into the UK.
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London has a huge amount to offer in all areas of life. There is a wealth of information that can be accessed on the internet that will assist you in establishing a network of friends and essential domestic services soon after you arrive and will have you feeling at home in no time. In the next part of our Relocation series we will be going across the ‘pond’ an taking a look at New York City.