24 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Move To London


1. You won’t ever be able to go to the Natural History Museum. The queue (made up entirely of excited tourists who will bump into you constantly if you try and join said queue) will terrify you. Instead you’ll make the bold decision to mosey on down to the V&A, and, wait for it… be thoroughly disappointed. Don’t act so surprised, we were all secretly thinking it…

2. Drinking will seem perfectly acceptable at all times. School nights don’t exist and you’ll find yourself necking 2-4-1 martinis on a Monday night without a care in the world. You’ll only notice that things might not be quite so wonderful when your doctor asks how many units you get through in a week… Oh.

3. You’ll be glued to Buzzfeed and London Grumblr for 62% of the time. Because the only people who will ever understand you now are fellow Londoners.

4 .You’ll realise that travelling anywhere outside of the M25 is like travelling to Mordor. Sort of. It’ll require walking, buses, tubes, trains, hovercrafts and jet-packs. Have fun.

5. You will never have money, ever. How ever much you earn, your rent, cocktail intake and spontaneous holiday bookings will ensure you are entirely broke, always and forever.

6. You’ll constantly contemplate moving out to the country. Upon checking what your wage would be outside of London/ how early you’d have to set your alarm to commute in, you’ll pull a massive sulk and drink some wine to make up for the upsetting news.

7. Those outside London will imagine your life to revolve around cocktails on roof terraces, dinners at the latest pop up restaurants and a lot of time pounding Oxford Street and Harrods. In reality you’ll spend a lot of time under the duvet watching Breaking Bad. Although you’ll only post the former on social media, because, y’know, it’s fun to create an illusional persona isn’t it?

8. It’s ok to sit in McDonalds all alone and eat a large meal. Whether you’re hungover, drunk or just a bit peckish. No-one will judge and it’s not embarrassing. Phew.

9. You’ll become a pro at walking. In heels, whilst eating a sandwich, texting, Instagramming, holding an umbrella, going up stairs AND not touching anyone. Olympic skills right there.

10. Everytime someone sneezes on public transport you’ll have a mild panic over whether you should say bless you. And then, instead, you’ll look away and get your antibacterial gel out.

11. Children taking up seats on the tube/talking loudly/crying at rush hour will always make your blood boil so much you’ll swear you never have kids. That, or only ferry them around by car.

12. Even if you won’t admit it, you’ll always think you’re slightly cooler than non-Londoners. Although you’ll happily discuss it with fellow Londoners. Stuck up snob.

13. Every time you have to lug a weekly shop back from Tesco you’ll have a mild asthma attack, become a weight lifting pro and remember how much you miss your car. All that before swearing you’ll order it online next time.

14. Sometimes you just have to man up and walk home alone in the dark late at night and pray you don’t get mugged.

15. You’ll miss gardens. Proper gardens with kept grass and flowers and a table and chairs and a BBQ. Instead you’ll take lengthy trips to the park and be thoroughly cold.

16. Instead of visiting cool pop up restaurants, you’ll end up eating at Pizza Express on a Wednesday more than is socially acceptable.

17. You’ll think anyone who doesn’t walk with the pace of being chased deserves a firm kicking.

18. You’ll never visit Oxford Street or Marble Arch Primark stores. Ever. Unless you want to die. Or lose a leg in a pushchair ramming accident.

19. You live WHERE?! Brixton, Hackney, Peckham, Fulham are the only places you really understand that people live, after that you get lost.

20. You’ll be saddened by the fact that here are very few nice places to sit by the River Thames. Probably because it’s a bit grubby and polluted. Ewww.

21. You won’t read as much as you like. Because reading in your bed sheets that are way overdue a wash and are stained with drunkenly consumed pasta sauce just isn’t the same as reading on a sunny day in your parents’ well-kept sunny garden.

22. You will never have enough time for all of your plans. Working late, Netflix and lie-ins will take up more time than you care to admit, sob. Cue chipped toenails, an empty fridge and an unused gym membership.

23. You become incredibly good at not staring at people that are drawing attention to themselves. Oh, there’s a drunk middle aged man with no hair basically in my lap? I was reading Stylist, I had no idea… Lalala…

24. Walking across the Thames after a few too many work drinks will always make you feel emotional. I LIVE IN SUCH A BEAUTIFUL CITY, IM SO BLESSED.

Ain’t it grand?

  • John

    Number 24 is absolutely spot on.

    • You need to explore more mate, Clapham Junction, Clapham Common, Liverpool Street, Kingston and so on. There is so much to see in London. Long live the Londoners!!

      • Billy

        Kingston is in Surrey.

      • jesh

        I’m throwing up Liverpool str already, and it been just 12 months…

      • Bobby m

        Billy you twerp. Kingston is not Surrey, it’s greater London. Point is you can still visit it from London, regardless of where it technically is. Visiting easily commutable but non London places can be listed as a benefit of living here.

      • Samlizcaro

        Wtf you are recommending visiting Kingston, why??? Born and bred there but really? It’s just suburbia and a shopping centre. Kingston is a place to visit, it’s a place where people go to live when they have kids. It’s boring, nice but boring. Even Richmond Park has lost it’s charm, just a giant car park most weekends.
        Try Greenwich now that is a place a lots of people don’t visit when they live here and they are missing out.
        I love this list and I have lived in London my whole life ( Parts of Kingston do have a London postcode, I lived in SW15 but came under Kingston Council so you are all wrong) anyway # 24 is soooo true.

    • Carol


      • Dee

        I’m afraid Kingston isn’t classified as London dear, although very close, it’s a KT postcode. London are: W, WC, EC, E, N, NW, SE and SW. Just FYI.

        From a pedant Londoner.

      • Jimmy


        Kingston Upon Thames is in the London borough of Kingston, but it still has a Surrey postal address. Ironically Surrey County Council still has its headquarters in Kingston Upon Thames although its administrative area starts a few miles south of Kingston.

        Therefore, Kingston is now in London and I believe it has been since 1965. There are many examples of this in former Essex, Middlesex & Surrey towns as Greater London has expanded it’s boundaries.

        So, Dear, you are in fact wrong.

      • sandwich

        Jimmy is indeed correct! Many areas of London don’t have those post codes you mentioned Dee.

      • Er, there is no such thing as ‘the London Borough of Kingston’ it is a Royal Borough, like Kensington & Chelsea or Windsor. However the telephone code for London is 020 and Kingston uses that. Richmond, however is a London Borough and it is also in Surrey. It is also a lovely place to sit by the Thames. πŸ™‚

      • aitchy

        IF you have lived around london all of your life then you do not classify the areas of kingston, richmond (which is the same as kingston it is a london borough yet uses surrey as its postal address) middlesex as ‘LONDON’ yes they may have ‘london boroughs’ but I think to the majority if it does not have a LONDON postcode but has a Middlesex/Surrey postal address then that is what it is classed as exactly that, surrey or middx…I grew up in Middex and now live in Surrey for the past 18 years….no one says oh I live in london, unless you are over seas where by americans know london for ease πŸ˜‰ to me london starts down the A3 when you get to wimbledon/raynes park…where the london addresses start. No one around kingston and surbiton uses london as their postal address everyone says Surrey…had this argument the other day with someone who did not live in new malden yet claimed it was london and that everyone used london as their address…just not true!

      • Toby

        @aitchy I am afraid that is incorrect.

    • neil hoxby

      This is for people who drink from a half empty glass.
      I’ve lived all over the world; London has so much to offer, it’s up there with the best..
      And my glass is half full !

      I am a Londoner, born & bred.

    • Lorenzo


  • Are you really, definitely sure you live in London? )) ‘Cause its theatres and exhibitions somehow ceased to exist )

    • Jey

      Agreed. It reads as an intern spending most of their time hungover or drunk. There is in fact many a great thing to do in London, however most of them require leaving the house whilst vertical. It all seems a little pretentious.

  • *sobs* I… I… MOVED AWAY.
    ‘kin stupid thing to do, been regretting it just over 10 years (in other words, ever since).

    • Sylv

      Ditto!! *Sobs* Lets move back! *Sobs*

    • franc72

      Yeah, me too. I regret every time I think I lived in that fabulous town and I came back to my country…

  • So true!!! πŸ™‚

  • So true!! πŸ™‚

  • mishmash

    Don’t be so serious people! Haven’t you ever heard of tak’n the piss! Funny view of Looneydon dude! πŸ˜€

  • jack

    Some of these are okay, but the majority are terrible. Sigh.

  • Like this Hannah! I wrote something kind of similar myself – http://gradlifelondon.com/2013/11/11/10-things-that-happen-when-you-move-down-to-london/

  • top london lad

    number 12. lol 100% correct!

  • venatoir

    Number 25 – you realise that something just isn’t quite right with that header image and then you realise that it’s been flipped horizontally. The Eye can’t ever be seen in that perspective from the Shard!

  • claude

    Total nonsense, no 1: natural history museum is absolutely awesome, one of the best museums in the world, go there on a weekday, outside the holiday season, you will get in within no time. A lifetime experience, I promise!!!

    • Pierpaolo


    • Gotta love the Science Museum, as well.

    • Bobby m

      Agree. Been there loads.

      Plus the V&A is actually great. Know plenty of people who prefer it.

  • Most of it is actually true!! ha!

  • will

    London is nice from a distance, but when you get there you tend to find it is full of Londoners. Nice people when in a civilized situation, but too easily wound up when under a little bit of stress to be taken seriously.

  • brandon

    some people become slavers, you quickly realize how bad is the transport, how the transport for london lies people, it is bullshit all the signal failures and so on.. you also quickly realiza that the rich people and english bosses are racists!!!! happy i left!!!!

  • Reblogged this on Sebastian dGV Goodman.

  • Cool! =D

  • Nicola

    Great article Hannah!
    But sorry, you’re not technically a Londoner until you’ve lived here for a minimum of 7 years! πŸ˜‰

  • Great piece πŸ™‚

  • Ben

    1 Expected thing that shows you’re not a Londoner.

    1). You write lists about being a Londoner and other “”Londoners”” like it.

  • 21. Won’t read as much as you like?? I spend two hours a day on the tube, I get through far more books then I have room for on my shelves!

  • Blythe

    There’s nowhere nice to sit by the river? (20) Clearly you have never been south west!

    • Ben

      Or anywhere else along the entire river.

    • Alex

      I was born in London but moved when I was a toddler and although I’ve never lived far from it and often go there, it’s just not the same so I wouldn’t class myself as a Londoner at all but I thought the “no nice places to sit by the Thames” comment seemed like bollocks.. Am I missing something? Is southbank not considered nice? I personally really like sitting outside the bfi riverfront bar in the evening..

      • The quote was “very few nice places to sit by the River”. I assume the author counted southbank as one of the few, even if it does get packed.

      • Jsmatt

        What about Richmond, the riverside pubs in Twickenham and Ham or are those places not considered London okay how about Butlers wharf, Battersea park…wow was this price written after living in London for a few months??!!

  • CD

    Guess you’ve never been to Berlin

  • Siedler

    But..I liked V&A. I don’t live in London, though, so whom I to say! I really would like to visit the NHM though next time, are the queues during the week that bad as well?

    • Bobby m

      In the week the queues are nothing.
      They’re fine on weekends of you visit early.

      This article is utter tosh

  • Dan Bidewell

    One thing which happens to those of us born and brought up in London …. we get really tired of these trite little “I Moved To London / When You Become a Londoner” articles.

    • Tom

      You should write an article about that annoyance, Captain Satire.

      If you don’t like the articles then why do you read and then comment on them? Puzzler!

    • Ben

      I’m with you

  • Haha… This really make me laugh πŸ™‚

  • Bahaha 5, 7, 13, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24… It’s like you’re living my life… πŸ˜‰

  • KdAFCkd

    ‘You’ll think you’re cooler than non-Londoners. Although you’ll openly discuss it with other Londoners.’ Hate to break it to you, but people who move to London aren’t Londoners.

  • Reblogged this on Everything Else and commented:
    It’s not often I reblog something, however this is pure gold. Each of the 24 points has ‘been there’ written all over it, especially the last one and, maybe the twelfth one too.

    • Tom


    • Bobby m

      Seriously!? You’re not doing it right then.

      Think this article is lame. Read to double figures before one of them was close to applying to me.

  • Despite living near Angel, I’ll often walk down to the Thames at night just for the view – not even drunk and I’m not ashamed of it…


  • This is pretty lame. Cliched and unfunny.

  • Tom

    I thought that I would go to the theatre a lot more when I moved down here. But the tickets are so expensive that I can only go a couple of times a year. I have bought discount tickets before but they are always in the Gods.

    I happen to like the V&A but I related to most of your other points.

  • C.


  • Barry

    Strange regarding the wage point. I lived in London for a year, hated it but liked how efficient it all was. You’re bombarded with things to make you forget about time. It was a really fast year. I moved out to the country (Lake District, where I’m from) and my wage was considerably more than in London.

    Nice place to visit. Could never live there (again).

    My biggest hate for that city is how polluted it is. Black snot, horrible sticky feeling on the skin, hard water just makes your hair feel chalky. God knows what it’s like on our lungs. I’ve never had that in any other city and nobody else talks about it.

  • Val

    Had a good CHuckle with this… had to throw onto our blog…

  • Mr.Jingles

    25. You realise your crappy, small flat, miles from the city centre is nothing like you expected and where you live is nothing like made in chelsea. You try to put “London” in all your facebook status updates but soon realise none of your friends care as much as you thought they would. Occasionally you instagram pictures of yourself in London parks to pretend that you live a glam lifestyle but are not fooling anyone, and realise all your friends are happy outside of the M25.

    • Agi

      You are so right!!!

  • Beautifully written. Good job.You didn’t mention bakers street though.

    Do check out my blog http://www.aromasandflavours.com
    I am a novice at blogging. Encouragement from a pro really matters…

  • Whenever I see my partner in Liverpool, I always end up running into another Londoner and doing number 12! Very loudly and Edie Monsoon-esque.

  • Agreed.

  • nick

    whoever wrote this has jumped too early to assumptions. I suggest their experience is not common

  • jim

    If you ‘move to London’ you are not a Londoner.

    This is a simple fact and you’ll never be a Londoner unless you were born and raised there.


    • Emma


  • Erob666

    About three of these are genuine gripes! The river is accessible in hundreds of locations. Chiswick, Hammersmith, Barnes, Richmond, Kew in the West and Greenwich, Woolwich etc in the East, not to mention Westminster and the South Bank along to tower bridge and beyond. The V and A is wonderful (unless one is easily bored and a little un imaginative). I have never queued to get into the National History Museum. Buy a bicycle with plenty of luggage carrying capacity and you’ll solve your shopping problem. It’s quicker than driving and there’s no parking involved.

  • Erob666

    Oh, and the Thames isn’t polluted. It’s one of the world’s cleaner rivers!

  • Great list. I left London around eight years ago. I see things have not changed much, apart from the Netflix thing. For what it is worth, get out now while you still can. Cross other rivers and feel emotional about them, with or without the after work drinks.

  • John Beaton

    Londoners don’t live in london,foreigners do that’s why it’s so awesome.little Venice,primrose hill, Richmond park, hampstead Heath, green park , Hyde park, regents park,marlyebone high street , portobello road,Charlotte street,bourgh market,maida vale, parsons green,putney,wimbledon village ,queens park,shoreditch high street,hoxton square….. And on and on.
    London is different league to anywhere in the world.

  • Reblogged this on The Free Spirited Soul.. and commented:
    These are exactly my sentiments.. Oh London <3

  • Bobby m

    What a stupid article. At a push I can apply 4 to myself and they’re only character attributes / behaviours like 23, which apply even before I lived in London.

    And for those precious tits arguing about Kingston – it doesn’t matter if it’s London or not. It is still very accessible if you live in London, just like Richmond Park. You can count visiting nearby places as a benefit of living in London.

  • joe

    You can drive out side the M25. And if you need medical help its free from the NHS. I wonder if the person has. You could say the same things about any city in the world

  • Tomas

    A few points here are true. Majority is a matter of choice. I’ve lived in London for 6 years and not even once watched TV, went to McDonalds or felt bored. Always lot of fun (as well as hard work, obviously).

  • Gina Hearn

    London is beautiful at 7am on a Sunday morning. Any other time, it’s heaving with too many people and vehicles.

  • It’s a great place to move away from. It’s a great city … when you’re not there.

  • Pingback: 20 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Move To London. | TrendWatch TV()

  • Maria

    “Instead you’ll make the bold decision to mosey on down to the V&A, and, wait for it… be thoroughly disappointed. Don’t act so surprised, we were all secretly thinking it…”

    – What is the author talking about?! One of the best museums in the world with greatest exhibitions. The interiors are a blast as well. Amazing garden in the middle, enough of interactive materials, all sorts of cultures and countries are represented in the most exciting manner, on Fridays cocktail bar is opened till late and classical music is playing (where else in the world??).
    Visitors can clearly feel that the management acts with a lot of care to keep it to the best standards and interesting to children, vibrant youth and elderly. I personally feel the caring hand and appreciate it a lot.
    May be that breathtaking Cartons of Raphael people from all over the world come to see were not too bright for the author and “we are all secretly thinking” they are crap and not worth a look?

    I can’t take this article from a humorous point of view, it’s written by an ignorant person.
    I am Russian, so sorry for occasional spelling mistakes.

    • aaron mcgowan

      Do you work there?

  • Reblogged this on Sur Les Yeux Verts and commented:
    This is the truth right there!

  • JJ

    what a totally uncultured bar slut you are…

  • Arman

    Genius, I would say 90% of this is true.

    I am Russian too and im not sorry for occasional spelling mistakes.

  • john scott

    This was all (almost all) true way back when (1960’s)

  • Dennis

    This article is bollocks, written by someone who has never lived in London. Hannah Gale talks shit.

  • Dennis


  • J

    Obviously whoever wrote those 24 unexpected things did not like London but it is clearly 50% wrong and 50% the same as other big cities (I am not British)

  • Gustavo

    This is the shittest ive ever seen! Big nonsense! Feeew parts make sense, like 17.
    NHM is always acceptably full, I could aleays walk around freely and enjoy the beautiful indoors.

  • This just makes me miss London more.
    Why did I ever leave.
    Made me laugh alot too though.

  • Laura

    I live in central, eat out in pop ups all the time, visit all the amazing galleries and museums and never ever want to live in the country!

    • Bob bobbertson



  • Jsmatt

    This is a very shallow point of view of living in London. I disagree with most of it. If you’re really smart and want to get the most out of London you can, you just have to be smart, arrive early at the museums to avoid the crowds or go late, garden or no garden there are lots of fantastic parks and commons to picnic in, I’ve always walked at my own pace no one has ever shoved me and if you want to get ahead in your career so you can afford a house with a decent garden stop drinking all week.

  • Linda

    Hey Hannah, I thought it was funny, not taking life too seriously and No 17 was my favourite πŸ˜‰ Have a great day xxx

  • I like it! I think these 24 unexpected things are reasons of a very exciting life in London…

  • Natalie

    Was actually directed here through reddit (r/unitedkingdom), which was a nice surprise as i really enjoyed this piece! Along the same lines as similar pieces posted on Buzzfeed etc. but with much, much more personality.
    Really liked some of your previous posts too so hope to become a regular reader – keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

  • Having lived in 3 very different and vibrant cosmopolitan cities, I personally find London absolutely enchanting with a gorgeous mix of old world beauty-Baker st. , Camden in particular thrown in with coming of age developments such as the Shard and pretty much any building in Canary Wharf.
    I will definitely miss the weird and wonderful city when I leave!

  • what about the accent? :p

  • I am translating this and reblog it on my blog if you don’t mind πŸ™‚ very funny!
    And point 18.. that is SO true! Honestly, I have been contemplating the idea to avoid ANY Primark stores lately. I blame it on Westfields in Stratford!

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  • You are damn right dear! I ended up there thaks to Stefysan: she rulez! πŸ˜€

  • Thanks for finally writing about >24 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Move To London | Hannah Gale <Liked it!

  • americanlooks

    Great list. Makes London life look a bit sad though. I think London has much more to offer than drinking too much!

  • davetherave

    You are a complete idiot and a waste of space. This is the reason why Democracy doesn’t work.

    • franc72

      Hey! It’s her opinion, ok? You are the one who are not beeing democratic! I lived in London for some time and some of these things she said are right.

  • Belinda

    It was quite funny I could relate to some of it but most of it is from the point of view of someone who has moved to London not an actual Londoner born here.

  • that is so true!

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  • James

    This is quite a strange piece. As someone who’s lived in London for 30 years, very little of it rang true with me, and some of it was just plain wrong. Random example: why is it hard to travel outside the M25 (no. 4) when everyone knows there are half a dozen railway stations with trains leaving almost every other minute from at least one of them. It’s as if you live somewhere else and have just read a book about London and made a lot of it up.

  • Hahaha… number 9 is hilarious and absolutely true! Cheers! πŸ™‚ Great post!

  • Harry

    I lived in London, for a year, almost 5 years ago. I did and still do like London and it has a lot of interesting places to visit. But I noticed that people are really blind and can’t see properly … People just can’t see the low life standards they live in .. It was quite sad…… I am not rich and I don’t think people who are making comments here are rich people… At least the majorities aren’t… Most of the properties in London have very low standards… And very expensive… They really don’t worth the money… And the traveling was really time consuming… I don’t know … How can I work 7.30 hrs a day and add minimum 2 hours on top just go to/from home- office… I just couldn’t understand the concept… And I hardly could visit the places I wanted to visit… Never had time… You either have to be rich or in receipt of benefits to be able and have enough time to walk around London… I don’t think my income was low, and Still found it very difficult to manage… Not only financially… Just living normal life…. I think people just got used to the hassle …. I like London… But people need to see that they deserve better… I am glad i left and now I have enough time after work for my other hobbies…

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  • love this – it’s spot on ; i <3 London (especially walking over waterloo bridge on my commute)

  • Really great post! Thumbs up! I absolutely agree with you! I have to share this! Thanks for posting! Greetings, Man With Van Catford Ltd.

  • Amy

    This list is so true! and a good honest indicator for those moving to London.
    If you’re moving to London and are looking for friends join http://www.WouldLoveToGo.com where you can search through hundreds of like minded people in your local area for free.
    New members will be entered into a competition to win two tickets to New York!

  • I LOVE your blog SO much!

  • declan torrino

    this is so ludicrously inaccurate and reeks of desperation.

  • LOL you made my day. I am going to study in London. I am so glad that I found your article. I can`t wait to walk across the Thames after a few too many work drinks and feel emotional. It sounds like the best party ever. Greetings!

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  • This is great advice for anyone moving to London. Well done! Also I was wondering how come that http://www.imovingtolondon.com is not covering the same things you are? Quite unexpected, but never the less still relevant.

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