If you’re a Canadian moving to London, then you’re in good company. According to the 2001 census, there were 72,518 Canadian-born people living in the UK at the time, with London being cited as the largest settlement of expats.
Many of you will be moving to London for work, others for education or even to join a loved one. We’re sure that you will gather lots of advice, tips and information from your own social network as well as the Canadian embassy, but we have put together a few hints and tips of our own on this page, including where to drink Sleemans!
One thing we will heavily recommend, is that you take a look at the 1st Contact Kickstart package which includes setting up a UK bank account, getting a National Insurance number, CV and Job Assistance, Accommodation Assistance, a UK Mobile Sim card and free international money transfer.
Visa type for Canadians in the UK
You can find full details of visa types applicable for Canadians on our Visa Information page. You may be particularly interested in either an Ancestry visa or a UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, which you can apply for online now.
Finding a job in London
If you’re planning on working in London, then you’ll need to obtain a National Insurance number. It’s a good idea to spruce up your C.V before you get here and upload it to some job databases such as Careers and Jobs UK or Monster. For more info on finding work in London, please visit our Working in London page.
Canadian pubs in London
The Maple Leaf pub is the hub of Canadian expat entertainment. It can be found on 41 Maiden Lane in Covent Garden (postcode WC2E 7LJ). Not only does it serve your favourite Canadian beers, such as Sleemans on draft, but it also serves up typical Canadian cuisine and you can watch your favourite sports there.
Another pub that you might be interested in is the Albion in Blackfriars (2-3 New Bridge Street) which shows North American sports.
Canadian shops in London
Again, on Maiden Lane in Covent Garden you can find the Canada Shop at number 27 (postcode WC2E 7JS). It has an incredibly large range of all the food that you’ll miss from back home, along with beers such as Moosehead, Molsens and Sleemans.
Canada Day 2013
Get yourself down to Trafalgar Square on July 1st, 2013 for a day of Canadian fun. Starting at 10.30am the timetable includes an Alberta Pancake breakfast, a yoga session, cooking demos, hockey tournament, ‘Meet the Mounties’ and an evening concert. This will be the 8th Canada Day in London and if the previous ones are anything to go by, it promises to be an excellent celebration. For more info visit canadadaylondon.com
Canadian Expat Meetups
Meetup.com/London-Canadian-Expat has 1200 registered Canadian expats on it’s books and holds regular meetups at the Maple Leaf pub in Covent Garden (details above), so they’d be a great group to get involved with if you want to mix with people from home. For the ladies, there is also a Canadian Women’s Club which was started in 1932 by 2 Canadian ladies who had been girlhood friends in Canada. For more info, please check out canadianwomenlondon.org
Since the expansion of the EU in 2004, there has been a huge influx of Polish people moving to the UK. It is estimated that over 515,000 Polish-born people currently live here and there is also an increase in the number of British-born Poles (children born in the UK to Polish immigrants).
Whilst Polish people can be found all over the UK and in many different parts of London, as with most large groups of immigrants, there are certain areas that they tend to favour, perhaps based upon the proximity to Polish shops, cultural centres or Polish language services – a significant number of local libraries now offer Polish language books.
The Zjednoczenie Polskie w Wielkiej Brytanii (Federation of Poles in Great Britain) has been set up to promote Polish history and culture within the UK and has already created around 70 Polish organisations here.
If you’re wondering where to live in London as a Polish person, then check out the list of areas below which might be of interest to you:
Largely due to the presence of the POSK (Polish Cultural Centre), Hammersmith is one of the main hubs of Polish activity in London. The POSK includes a nightclub, bar, restaurant, theatre and library. Alongside the centre, Hammersmith also contains some Polish treats including several restaurants (many on King Street), bookshops, Polish Specialities food shops, the Kosciol Sw. Andrzeja Boboli church and a selection of dance classes hosted by Tatry (.org.uk) To find out more about living in Hammersmith, please view our Living in Hammersmith area guide.
Ealing is another West London haunt which is popular with Polish people. Much of the action is concentrated around activities taking place at the Ealing Polish Church Hall. The church it is linked to is Kosciol NMP Matki Kosciola – regular social events include weekend retreats and student meetings and a student mass. Ealing also has a dance club called Zywiec who run Polish dance workshops (popular dances include Sadeckie, Goralskie and Rzeszowskie) and are heavily involved in Polish folklore events as well as being heavily involved with the Ealing community. To find out more about Living in Ealing, please consult our area guide.
Balham isn’t necessarily an area that you’d associate with Polish people, yet there is still a significant Polish community in the area. The Polish church, Kosciol Chrystusa Krola, is situated on Balham High Road. There is also the White Eagle Club which hosts Saturday night ‘zabawa’ (lots of vodka drinking and dancing to traditional Polish folk and pop tunes). Then everyone comes back the following day after mass at the opposite church for lunch and a bit more of a drink. A Polish Saturday school takes place on Nightingale Lane. To find out more about Living in Balham, please view our area guide.
These 3 areas are perhaps amongst the most renowned for attracting Polish people, but other areas which are a little less obvious but still contain the odd Polish shop, church or even have a decent amount of produce in the local supermarkets, include areas such as Streatham (at least 2 Polish shops and a restaurant), Willesden Green (Saturday school), Islington (church and a shop), South Kensington (2 restaurants/bar and a church) and Acton (Polish shops).
To find a flatshare in any of these areas, please consider using Easyroommate, which is a great flatmate or room finding service which is totally FREE!
With social networking sites such as Facebook making it more important than ever to define your relationship status, we thought we’d explore how your existing love life can affect your circumstances if you’re moving to London. People move to London whether they’re single, moving to London as a couple, or attempting the long distance thing.
Moving to London if you’re single
If you’re single when you move to London, you might be either looking for love or happy to stay single and enjoy having fun in your new city. If you fall into either of these categories then you’ve come to the right place. Those looking for love will find thousands of the opposite sex (or same sex) also looking to hook up. With the popularity of singles nights and dating sites, now is a great time to meet your new other half. For more tips please view our Dating in London section. If you’re very happy to be single for now, then that’s great too. You’ll be completely free to do whatever you like without needing to check in on anyone or consider their interests and schedules. Of course being single can sometimes be lonely too. But not if you keep busy. Use your time as a singleton to see the city, create a great social life and most of all have fun!
Moving to London with your other half
If you’re coming to London with your partner, then this will be a great adventure for the both of you and you get to experience everything that is new about London together. If you can afford it, then you can just move straight into a 1 bed flat (or larger if your budget allows), without having to worry about finding flatmates. If you need to move into a shared house as a couple, you can sometimes run into difficulties as sharers are concerned that they’ll find you having make-out sessions on the couch or flinging pots and pans at each other in a domestic rage. Sometimes it can be easier to share with other couples.
When it comes to creating a social life for yourselves, although it’s great that you have each other, try and create something separate from the relationship for yourself and encourage your partner to do the same. It’s healthy to have different sets of friends and interests as well as common ground too.
Following your partner in moving to London
If your partner is either from London or has already moved and is established in London, then you have someone to show you the ropes. If you’re moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, then you won’t have the headache of looking for accommodation or figuring out where to live in London. If you’re not moving in with them, then they can assist you with this and tell you which areas of London to avoid like the plague and which would suit you (although we like to think that if you read through our site, then we can be of assistance in this area too!). Be careful though to try and carve out a life for yourself in London too. It’s very easy to just slip into your partner’s existing life, but this can cause problems, so try and make your own friends too through work, classes, sports teams etc.
Moving to London in a long-distance relationship
Everyone knows that long distance relationships can be tricky but that doesn’t mean that they’re impossible. Thank goodness for technological creations such as Skype, email, phones with cheap call plans etc. Stay in touch as much as possible, but try not to leave half of yourself behind when you move to London. You should try and enjoy yourself (we don’t mean like that) as much as possible – get stuck into your dream job and create a great social life for yourself. You’ll be able to visit your partner from time to time and hopefully when he/she comes to visit, you’ll be having so much fun that he/she will decide to join you.
So even though your relationship status can affect certain aspects of your move to London, the advice for everyone is pretty much the same. Get stuck in, make the most of it and have a great time.
If you are a tradesman who is moving to London and will be looking for a job in construction over here, then the information on this page could be a great help to you. It is a requirement by the UK Construction Industry that all tradesmen working over here hold valid UK qualifications and certificates. In order to receive such certification, it is necessary to sit some official assessments once you arrive. Luckily 1st Contact has a great partner company who specialise in helping tradesmen from all around the globe prepare for and sit this assessment process. This particular partner company has been set up and run by Aussie Tradesmen who have first hand experience of the process and who now wish to help our fellow Tradies moving to London.
They would advise you as a Tradie to purchase the Tradies Kickstart Package before you leave home, but if you’re already over here and are looking for work then it could still be of huge benefit to you.
If you apply for the pack before you leave, then you can use the time before your departure to study for the assessment, ensuring that when you arrive you can quickly take the assessment and become registered and ready for work.
There are many reasons why you might be moving to London alone – perhaps you’ve recently accepted a job offer, maybe you’ve split up from your partner and are using your move to London as a fresh start, or there might be a hundred other reasons as to why you’re making the move alone. One thing is for sure though, moving to London by yourself can seem to some like a daunting prospect. Follow our advice on this page to make the move less frightening.
Living in London by yourself
You can either choose to move into a studio flat or to join a house with other flatmates – often known as ‘randoms’ if you haven’t previously known them before moving in together.
Studio apartments will allow you your own personal space and you won’t need to sift through the freaks in the Flatmate Wanted ads you’ve been replying to before finding a bunch of peeps that you’re happy with. But studio apartments can also be lonely and they’ll often be a more expensive option than renting a room in a shared house.
Consider what is right for you. If you’re going to go absolutely crazy with loneliness and just want to make friends, or at least feel safe knowing that there are other people sleeping under the same roof as you, then joining a shared house could be the right decision for you. We’d recommend doing so. Of course, if on the other hand you are 100% happy with your own company and have previously had bad experiences with flatmates that has made you swear off them for good, then a studio apartment (or even a 1 bed if your budget can handle it) might be the way to go.
Get a job
A bit of an obvious one, as we’re sure it’s on your To Do List but starting a new job can be a great way to meet people if you’re moving to London alone. Depending on the job and the atmosphere in the office (if it’s an office job) you could get to know people over lunches in the canteen, after work drinks, staff-room gossiping sessions or even cigarettes outside. If you’re the outgoing type and there doesn’t seem to be much in way of entertainment at work, then speak to your line manager and see if you’re allowed to start up an Entertainment Committee with you as the Chair of course.
There must be something that you’re interested in doing after hours. Whether it be language lessons, salsa dancing, cookery classes or even amateur dramatics, it stands to reason that if you join a class or club filled with likeminded people, then you’re bound to make friends whilst enjoying a common interest. Also keeping yourself busy after work or at the weekend will stop you feeling lonely. But classes are expensive right? Wrong! You can enjoy massive discounts on all sorts of classes by using a site such as Groupon or Tasterlab who offer free sample classes in a large variety of interests.
Hitting the gym is a great idea when you first move to London. Not only will you feel fit and energised but you also have a great chance of making friends, particularly if you join one of the gym’s exercise classes. Better than this though is Come Play Sport which we’ve previously mentioned. This is an incredibly sociable sports meetup, where the emphasis is on fun. Games include dodgeball, water polo, volleyball and uni hoc. Then everyone goes to the pub afterwards.
Attend some social meetups for people just like you
In your head you may feel like the first person who has ever embarked upon moving to London alone. However, the reality is that thousands of newcomers arrive in London each year by themselves and are in exactly the same boat as you. We’ve recently started some Moove2London Social Events – to register your interest in our next get-together, please click the button at the top of this page. These are a great informal opportunity to meet new people. If you’re from overseas, then you may also be interested in attending an expat meetup (see our EU Citizens page if you’re from the EU).
We’ve been doing a series of articles on ‘where to live in London’ on each of the tube lines. In this article, we feature 5 residential areas of London which happen to have stations on the Central line. The Central Line runs from West London through Central London and through to East London and even out to parts of Essex. It serves 49 stations. You might choose to live in these areas if you take the Central line to your workplace in somewhere like Liverpool Street, Bank, Holborn, Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Bond Street or Marble Arch.
Ealing is located in West London and is often thought of as a town in it’s own right. It is a large area made up of 3 suburbs – South/Little Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Ealing Common. Ealing is full of pubs, restaurants, shops and all other day-to-day facilities you could possibly need. Perhaps because it is situated far enough outside of Central London, it has a really ‘leafy’ feel to it, yet you can be in Zone 1 in superquick time thanks to the excellent transport facilities of many varieties that Ealing has to offer. For a comprehensive guide to Ealing, please check out our Ealing Area Guide.
Absolutely perfect for those who work in the City of London, as you can pretty much walk to work – you could even consider going home during your lunch break if you were so inclined! Bethnal Green is the heart of the East End of London and was home to the likes of the Kray brothers. It’s also located extremely near to Brick Lane for amazing curries and Shoreditch for jaw-droppingly trendy bars. Bethnal Green isn’t 100% glamorous, but it’s location on the edge of the City makes it well worth investigating. For more details on what Bethnal Green has to offer, please visit our Bethnal Green guide page.
Shepherd’s Bush is a perfect place to live if you’re into your shopping. You have the choice of the Shepherd’s Bush Market, which is a real locals market selling fresh produce, fabrics and household goods. But if you’re more shopping mall than market stall, you’ll be thrilled to learn that Westfield Shopping Centre is on your doorstep here. Shepherd’s Bush boasts good transport links and is popular with the Aussie and Kiwi communities which gives it a lively vibe.
Check out our Shepherd’s Bush area guide.
Stratford has changed beyond recognition in the past 10 years. No longer an unattractive East London suburb, it is now a major hub which at the moment is synonymous with the London 2012 Olympics. Stratford is well positioned for quick trips into the City, into the Docklands and Canary Wharf and for City Airport. Since September 2011, it has also been home to Westfield Stratford shopping centre. For more information on Stratford, please view our Stratford Area Guide.
South Woodford is one of the most far-reaching East London postcodes before you hit Essex. The area feels both safe and suburban and is popular with footballers and their WAGs. It is both near the countryside of Epping Forest whilst still being reasonably convenient for getting into London (a tube journey takes around 30 minutes). The high street contains the usual suspects as well as independent boutiques and gastropubs. The local cinema is also a big draw. For more information on South Woodford, please read our South Woodford Area guide.
If you’d like to experience living in London, but aren’t sure that you see yourself living here longterm, then why not move to London for a year and taste all the flavours that London has to offer?
Here are some reasons why moving to London even on a temporary basis is a great idea:
If you’re looking to rent, then you’ll often find that rental contracts require you to sign a commitment of a year, although there is sometimes a break after 6 months if you’re desperate to get out before your year’s up. But in terms of the rental price, if you sign for a year, it won’t go up until the year is through.
Working in London for a year
If you’re thinking about moving to London for only a year, then you could of course try and get a series of temporary jobs, or survival jobs to pay the bills for the year. Alternatively if you’re already on a promising career path and would like to keep it that way, then we would suggest that you try and secure a role for yourself in a London-based company before you move here. This way you won’t have to waste any of your year in London looking for a job, which let’s face it can take a while sometimes. Starting your new job from day 1 of your year in London, means that you won’t have to worry about how to pay the bills and there won’t be any weird gaps in your C.V. A year is also a respectable amount of time to spend in the same job and won’t make you look like a fickle employee.
Use London as a base
London is a great gateway to Europe, so if you’re from overseas you can use London as a great base to view some fantastic destinations. If you’re from outside of Europe, then you’ll probably want to pop over to somewhere like Paris or Bruges on the Eurostar, or take a cheap Easyjet flight to a beautiful European destination. Otherwise you could visit some scenic locations such as Bath, Brighton, York in the Cotswolds in the rest of the UK.
Much like our seasons, the landscape and mood of London changes dramatically over the course of a year, so stay for an entire 12 months and you could experience some of the following: the Olympics this summer, the Lord Mayor’s fireworks in the autumn, Christmas in London (the amazing street lights, Christmas markets and carol services, Winter Wonderland and open air iceskating), the January Sales, Valentines Day in London, rowing on the Serpentine in the spring and picnics in the Royal Parks.
Here are some of the reasons why we think you should move to London, even if it’s only for a year. We’re very happy to add any others to the list so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfortunately Westminster Council are reporting that large numbers of Romanians are moving to London in advance of the Olympic period, in order to carry out criminal activities such as pickpocketing and prostitution.
Reportedly being systematically organised from Romania, coach loads of Romanians are being transported into the London landmark of Marble Arch and armed with Google map printouts, are working pre-allocated pitches.
Some of these people are not getting much further than Marble Arch itself – authorities are regularly finding up to 60 people sleeping rough in make-shift shelters each night near Marble Arch.
Another hotspot for these people to be based in is the Hampden Gurney Primary School which is in Nutford Place in Westminster.
Other reports of a similar nature suggest that 50 women were shipped into the Sussex Gardens vicinity last week and that some of them who are working as high class prostitutes are targeting the Cumberland Hotel on Great Cumberland Street.
Not all of this group of people are sleeping rough in Central London though – it is thought that the majority live in either Ilford or Slough and commute into town to carry out their criminal activities.
Westminster Council is understandably concerned about this influx and is ‘implementing a strategy to ensure those who do return take a message that rough sleeping in London is not a soft option’. They are blaming the relaxed immigration checks that are carried out on coach transport into the London.
So with this information in mind, please do be vigilant and alert when travelling in or around the Westminster area – do not give money to beggars and don’t keep any valuables on show or loose in your pockets.
When many of us move to London for the first time, we don’t know many, or even any people that live here. London is a vast city and it’s possible to feel a bit lonely at first without that ‘local pub’ atmosphere or neighbourly welcome from two doors down. But there is no need to feel this way for long. There are many social activities that you can take part in, after work drinks you can go to and thanks to the 21st century, online social communities that you can join. With the latter, we’re talking about sites such as Badoo, which have been springing up over the last 5 years or so.
Badoo is a site which currently boasts over 141 million members in 180 countries. It is completely FREE and very quick to join. You simply need to enter your first name, email address, birthday, city, your gender and whether you’re looking for men, women or both (remember this is not just a dating site, it’s also for making friends). You can even check out who else uses Badoo before you register if you wish to do so.
Once signed up, you can start building your profile by adding photos, interests, information about your appearance, education, work, what languages you speak and most importantly who you are looking for whilst using Badoo. You might be looking for love, but you may also just be looking for new friends, or someone to accompany you to a social activity such as salsa dancing.
To give you a scale of the amount of people currently using Badoo for social purposes in London, if you select ‘I want to make new friends with a guy or a girl in London between the ages of 18 and 35′… there are currently over 275,500 people who match this criteria. You can change the criteria to be as broad or specific as you wish to be.
It’s free to sign-up, but this isn’t one of those sites where it’s free to sign-up and then you have to pay a fortune to actually interact with anyone. Free registration with Badoo entitles you to upload photos and videos, chat with other members and see and contact other members in your area. Not bad at all hey?
As it’s absolutely free and very quick to sign up, it really is worth giving it a go, so sign-up now at Badoo.
Moove2London is excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with the Big British Giveaway, Big Aussie Giveaway and Big American Giveaway and will be giving 12 lucky people the chance to win some free email consultations helping them with their move to London in 2012. Some prizes help with C.Vs and job-seeking, whereas others assist with accommodation and residential area selection. The fantastic services that we’re giving away for free in January are also now available to purchase. More details about this on our Relocation Services page.
The giveaways will take place on the following dates:
In Australia: Sydney – 4th January Melbourne – 4th January Brisbane – 4th January
In America: New York – 4th January Washington – 4th January Texas – 4th January
In the UK: Sheffield – 10th January Birmingham – 11th January Leicester – 11th January Leeds – 13th January Manchester – 13th January Liverpool – 14th January Bradford – 14th January Coventry – 16th January Bristol – 18th January