A city commuter will inevitably moan about travelling an hour to work.
Complaining about navigating the tube routes, London bikers or having to dare the sweaty buses in the summer heat.
And the ultimate two words you must never utter to a commuter are, “tube strike.”
But no city commuter is entitled to moan more than an out of city commuter, because they’re the ones that have it really bad.
Thousands of dedicated employees that live outside the city, will travel anywhere up to three hours daily, just to be at their desk for 9am and experience a better wage.
Ok, often I’m personally at my desk at 9.45am, but train delays can really set you back when you’re coming into the city – believe me.
Out of city living is usually done for the cheaper rent, escape from the hustle and accessible parking.
For some they would never want to live in the thick of it.
But are they really experiencing London to its full potential, when only living it 9-5, five days a week?
Well finally (after an eight year commuting slog,) I was ready to find out.
I had always thought that I’d move into London eventually.
Living on the outskirts of Essex had a huge magnetic pull: escapism, friends, cheaper living, saving money, open spaces and a beach!
But the sense of adventure and the three hour round commute, had indeed made me realise that I needed to sample the ‘real’ London life. At least for a little bit.
Earlier this year the Office of National Statistics revealed that Londoners work an average of 33 hours a week, two hours more than the rest of the U.K.
With this in mind, if working in London meant I was losing hours, I needed to make them up elsewhere.
So, nervously, I took a plunge.
But with hiked up rent, not as much square footage and in an age where fear is plaguing our beloved city, I needed to discover a few positives before I bedded down.
And boy have I uncovered some gems.
If you are considering moving closer in, take a leap of faith, because London living is a whole new pace of life.
The only comparison I can liken it to, is like when you first go to university, or go travelling. That buzz of the unknown, a permanent nervous smile plastered on your face and the hope that a random stranger will become your friend.
London living will be a rollercoaster, but then (as Ronan Keating once sang,) ‘we just need to ride it.’
And with this in mind, here are a few things to ease in that transition and give you that London sparkle.
- Coffee – City living is nothing without a daily coffee. Of course the streets are lined with Pret, Starbucks and Costa, but if you want a really decent and trendy coffee, then try Flat White in Soho, it has all the London allure you need: http://www.flatwhitesoho.co.uk/
- Transport – the tube is your obvious and convenient choice, unless you’re an Uber fan. But try the Thames Clipper, a fun alternative, especially in the summer. If you’re more of an active Brit, then purchase a Foldaway Bike – chances are you won’t have much space, so a Stowaway has you covered https://www.raleigh.co.uk/stowaway-7-stw720bk.
- Drink – there are too many bars, pubs and boozers to name, but a real gem is 31Dover.com – the UK’s leading online drinks retailer that delivers alcohol to your door within the hour. You’re welcome.
- Statement furniture – every new digs need an elegant piece that your friends will swoon over, be bold, different and spoilt for choice at The Wooden Furniture Store, https://www.wooden-furniture-store.co.uk/.
- Date – If you are single in the city, then hop on an app and suggest a fun date. GoBoat is the first and only self-driving boatingexperience in London. Based in Paddington, GoBoat allows customers to captain their own boat, pick their own crew and chart their own course across the London canals. A favoured route is to go through Little Venice, past London Zoo and to turn around at Camden Lock –https://goboat.co.uk/ .
- Lights – Put your name in lights and welcome your guests with personalised light letters from https://www.festive-lights.com/light-up-letters
- Art – Tate Modern London has a new exhibit every month, make sure you go along and soak it in, and then grab a glass of wine after.
- Open space – If you are missing open space, beaches and fields, then don’t despair, London has a few green spaces ready for you. Greenwich Park is pretty spectacular, or if you prefer something a little higher, try the incredible Sky Garden, but bring your wallet.
Take the leap.