21 Things You Only Learn Once You Move To London

There are some things that you couldn’t possibly prepare yourself for. Some of them will surprise you, most of them will not. These 21 things will either serve as a heads-up, or incite some sort of nostalgia for those first few weeks you spent in the city.

Things you learn when you move to London

1. Holborn is not pronounced the way you thought it was.

2. Nor is Marylebone. (Although it still might take you a few years to get that one right.)

3. ‘I hate people’ will become your most commonly-used phrase.


4. Eye contact is a myth. You will start to question how you ever managed it before you got here.

5. The phrase “You wait ages for a bus, and then three come along at once!” is not some idiomatic joke, it’s legitimately how things work around here.

6. 60% of your pay goes on rent. And that’s if you’re one of the lucky ones.

7. The remaining 40% goes on overpriced cocktails and boozy Tuesday work lunches, because life.


8. That driving licence was a total waste of time and money.

9. You can never rely on public transport to get you anywhere on time. Delays, red signals, people leaning on tube doors or “planned engineering works” can happen at any moment. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.

10. Eye rolls are a Londoners’ only form of confrontation.


11. There are some tube journeys that you’d be better off doing by foot. (If you still haven’t discovered these, this map should help you out.)

12. You’ll learn that London is full of bizarre food trends, and you’ll start hearing about things like these 12-foot noodles and not even bat an eyelid. (Here’s where to find London’s most weird and wonderful foods, if you’re interested.)

13. The buttons on the tube doors serve no purpose, and people will laugh if you as much as raise a hand towards them.


14. You might think that, now you’re a big city dweller with a proper adult job, you’ll be able to actually save some money. But you’ll soon learn that there is absolutely no chance of that, and you were actually better off without the adult job or the adult responsibilities or the adult BILLS TO PAY.

15. You’ll learn that, although it might seem as though Oxford Street is a good place to go shopping, it really is not.

16. There’s more to coffee than Starbucks and Pret. (Check out these lovely east London coffee shops.)

17. You’ll discover that no workout will make you sweat as much as the tube.


18. And people will not treat you kindly if you stand on the left of the escalator.

19. Brunch, although seemingly an amalgamation of the words “breakfast” and “lunch”, actually happens at about 3pm.

20. You’ll also learn that brunch is – more often than not – washed down with booze. (Check out these brilliant bottomless brunches.)

21. And finally, you’ll learn that London is the best city in the world, because duh.

Also published on Medium.