Blogs > Life in the UK

A snapshot of... London

  • April 20, 2018

This blog series is going to provide you with a snapshot of all major UK locations, to help the decision on where to relocate that little bit easier! We will provide you with details on where to live, average living costs, BDI’s favourite spots in the city, and the drawbacks of each city.

London is the capital city of the UK, the largest city in the UK, and the largest city in Europe. It has a population of 8.788 million people and a population density of 1,510 inhabitants per square kilometre.

Where should I live?

Finding a good place to live in London can be a challenge so we advise, like with any other city when you first relocate, is to stay in temporary accommodation. Unlike other UK cities, it is unlikely that you will have the option to stay in hospital accommodation because most London hospitals have sold their land and do not have the facilities available. You will, therefore, have to stay with friends, family or a hotel until you find your own accommodation.

This way you can find the perfect accommodation without being pressured for time. Popular UK property sites are Rightmove, Zoopla, and Spare Room. For advice on searching for a property in the UK please see our article Preparing for your move – things to consider.

If you are relocating to London alone it would be a good idea to consider sharing a property with others. This is a popular decision for those who live in London as it is an excellent way to get to know people and a lot cheaper than renting your own property. In addition, some house-shares include bills which is an advantage when relocating as you will be unsure of how certain formalities work.


You should know that when you live in London it is like living in a small neighbourhood, made up of other small neighbourhoods rather than having the feeling of living in one big city. When choosing which London postcode to live in, it is important to remember that the closer you get to the centre (zone 1) the more expensive the rent will be. Being close to good public transport will also increase your rent, so if you are prepared to walk, cycle or take the bus it might open up more locations for you. Once you have found a location you should walk around the area you are interested in, look at the shops, the people and whether you feel comfortable and safe in the area. Do not be afraid to look at accommodation a bit further out from London, such as Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead, Woking, Guilford, Basingstoke, and Slough – all less than thirty minutes away from the city yet a considerable amount cheaper.

Average Monthly Expenses

Average Cost of Accommodation in:

Flat-Share Rental per month

One Bedroom Flat Rental per month

East London

£650-750 Single / £850-1200 Double


West London

£650-900 Single / £750-1000 Double


South London

£750-900 Single / £800/1100 Double


North London

£950/1100 Single / £1100-13000 Double


Food and Drink


Average weekly food shop (including food, laundry and toiletry items for two people)


Average pub meal


Average restaurant meal


Average pint of beer


Average bottle of wine


Average meal for two in mid-priced restaurant


500g of boneless chicken breast


1 Litre of whole fat milk


12 large eggs


1kg of potatoes




Weekly zones 1-6 Travelcard


Monthly Zone 1-3 Travelcard


Train to Edinburgh


Train to Brighton


Average size car rental for the weekend


Return flight to Spain


Eurostar return ticket to Paris




Film at the cinema


Theatre Show




Live music / Concerts









London has an underground rail network, which is also known as ‘The Tube’ and it is a great way to and from central London.

The underground has eleven tube lines, it is divided into nine zones and central London is covered by zone 1. The price of your fare will depend on how far you travel, the time of day and how you pay. Using an Oyster card or contactless payment is the cheapest way to pay for single fares.

The underground usually runs from 5am until midnight, with Night Tube services on some lines on Friday and Saturday nights.

For more detailed traveller information on which stations to use and for the best route to reach your destination use Transport for London’s Journey Planner.

BDI Resourcing’s Favourite Spots in London

Sebastian's favourite spot: Natural History Museum

A museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It offers a wide-ranging programme of temporary exhibitions and events all year round which inspires a love of the natural world and educates on the power of nature.

Entry to the Natural History Museum is free. There are admission charges for some of the special exhibitions and events.

Open daily 10.00 - 17.50. Last admission 17.30. Open late on the last Friday of each month. Closed 24th – 26th December.

Gabbie's favourite spot: Kensington Palace 

Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Eugenie.

The price to visit the palace is £14.40 for an adult and £17.20 for a child (under 16 years old). Please note the best way to purchase a ticket is online.

The palace is open Monday-Sunday 10am-6pm and the last admission is 5pm.

Elliott's favourite spot: Broadway Canal and Market

Broadway canal is a popular filming location. The canal runs under Broadway Market in Hackney, curving along Andrews road with industrial views of warehouses, rail bridges, and gasometers.

Broadway Market has been home to market traders since the 1890s and provides a unique kaleidoscope of tastes and cultures. Areas around the market you will find independent shops, pubs, restaurants, and cafes and of course stalls offering amazing fresh produce, authentic street food, the most original clothing, arts and crafts in London. All crammed into a little East End street between the Regent’s Canal and London Fields.

The market is open 9am – 5pm every Saturday, with shops, bars, and restaurants open throughout the week.

Nimrit's favourite spot: Lord's Cricket Ground

The Lord's Cricket Ground is a cricket venue in St. John's Wood. The ground is named after its founder, Thomas Lord, it is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board, and the European Cricket Council.

Lord's is widely referred to as the Home of Cricket and is home to the world's oldest sporting museum.

Daniel's favourite spot: Royal Observatory, Greenwich 

The Royal Observatory is an observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames. It played a major role in the history of astronomy, and navigation, and is best known as the location of the prime meridian, and thereby gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time.

You can explore how great scientists first mapped the seas and the stars, stand astride two hemispheres on the Prime Meridian Line, see pioneering inventions and the UK’s largest refracting telescope, touch a 4.5-billion-year-old asteroid, and travel the Universe at London's only planetarium.

Admission to the Royal Observatory’s historic Flamsteed House, Time Galleries, Meridian Line Courtyard and Meridian Building is £9.50 for adults (£7.50 concessions), £5.00 for children between 5 and 16 - entry for children under 5 is free.

Admission to the Royal Observatory’s Astronomy Centre which houses three state-of-the-art modern astronomy galleries is free.

Opening times are 10:00am – 1700pm and last admission thirty minutes before closing.

Ryan's favourite spot: London Fields

London Fields is a park and an area of historically common land adjoining the Hackney Central area of the London Borough of Hackney.

London Fields features a cricket pitch, a heated 50m lido and lido cafe, grass areas, designated barbecue area, a small BMX track, tennis courts, table tennis, toilet blocks and two children's play areas. In 2013 the Council turned a sandy, gritty area of London Fields into a pictorial meadow the size of a football pitch.

The park hosts a market each Saturday where a wide variety of producers from around the country sell hot foods, hand-made jewellery, gifts, childrenswear and vintage clothing. On Sundays, the local London Fields Primary School is the base for the London Fields Farmers' Market and there is a crafts market adjacent to the building next door.

Tom's favourite spot: South Bank

South Bank is London’s cultural district, home to national centres for film, arts, performance as well as home to the London Eye. South Bank is right next to the River Thames, in the very heart of the capital. Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden are all within a ten-minute walk from South Bank.

Isla's favourite spot: Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom . Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in Central London.

The Palace of Westminster is one of London’s most iconic buildings: tours of the Houses of Parliament offer a unique combination of 1,000 years of history, modern day politics and stunning art and architecture.

Pre-booked adult tickets cost £18.50 and £20.50 on the day. The Houses of Parliament offers audio and guided tours, including options available for children aged 7-12 years, take place on Saturdays throughout the year and on most weekdays during holiday periods including Easter, summer, and Christmas.


The UK is small

Although London is a great city it is important to remember that it is one of the world’s most expensive cities. After you have decided to relocate to the UK and you are deciding on a UK city remember that the UK is a very small country and London has excellent public transport links to other major cities. For example, London-Manchester takes two hours ten for a 296-km journey, London-Edinburgh is an hour flight, London-Cardiff is a two-hour train journey and London-Belfast is a one hour twenty flight time. Therefore, our advice on choosing your UK location remember that most cities are not far from London, and to have the advantage of living in cheaper accommodation and a quieter area may be a better option for you when starting your career in the NHS.

London has a saturated job market

London is one of the most desired cities to work in, for UK nationals, migrant’s, national doctors and international doctors. There are limited vacant jobs in the NHS and the jobs that are available are in the busiest hospitals in the country, with lengthy A&E waiting times and major trauma centres. Therefore, our advice for IMG’s coming to the UK is to choose a UK hospital outside of London for your first placement. If you work for a busy central London hospital there is less opportunity for training from seniors and peers, and less opportunity for career development.

If you are an IMG and want to relocate to the UK and work for the NHS then send your CV to [email protected] and one of our Specialist Advisers will be able to provide you with tailored specialist advice.

Alternatively, head over to our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor for an online support network of IMG’s who want to relocate to the UK.


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