Top 12 things you need to know when moving to the UK

August 30, 2023
What You Need To Know Before Moving To London

Relocating to a new country can be both exciting and overwhelming. The UK, with its rich history, diverse culture, and bustling cities, offers a unique experience for newcomers. Whether you’re moving for work, study, or a fresh start, understanding the practicalities of daily life can ease your transition. Here are the top 12 essential tips to help you settle in smoothly and make the most of your new adventure in the UK.

  1. Get an Oyster Card
    • In London, it’s more common now to use contactless payment instead of the traditional Oyster card.
    • London is largely cashless on buses and at tube stations, so having a contactless card is more efficient than buying a card on the spot.
    • Ensure you tap in and out with the same card to get credit for your trips and benefit from daily caps.
    • If you’re bringing under 18s, register them to take advantage of discounts.
  2. Less Storage Space
    • Homes in the UK often have less storage space than you might be used to, meaning you may need to part with some of your trinkets and items.
    • Living spaces are a premium, and life is often lived outside the house more than inside.


  1. Extensive Transport Network
    • The UK’s transport options include the Subway/Underground, Overground trains, regional trains, buses, DLR, water taxis, black cabs, Ubers, Zip cars, and various walking, biking, and scooter options.
    • If you’re moving to central London or Zone 2, you likely won’t need a car. Rental options like Zipcar can be very convenient.
    • Check out my video on London Travel Guide for the best ways to get around the city [include card and link to video].
  2. Schools and Catchment Areas
    • Schools often base admissions on catchment areas, so check if your new location falls within the catchments of the schools you want your kids to attend.
    • For more information, check out our Top Schools video [include link to video].
  3. Opening a Bank Account
    • Opening a bank account from overseas can be tricky as you need a UK address to open one, but often need a bank account to secure housing.
    • Opening an online bank account before arrival can help mitigate this issue.
    • Be prepared to pay up to six months’ rent in advance if you cannot open a bank account immediately.
  4. Escalator Etiquette
    • Stand on the right, walk on the left when on escalators to avoid annoying busy commuters.


  1. Additional Bills
    • Beyond utilities, you will need to pay council tax and TV licensing. It’s essential to create a budget that includes these expenses.
  2. Furnished or Unfurnished
    • Some properties are offered as furnished, while others are not. Make sure to check this when searching for rental properties.
  3. Pet Restrictions
    • Many rental properties do not permit animals. Always check with the landlord first. For guidance, watch my video on moving to the UK with your pet [include link to video].
  4. Consider a Break Clause
    • A break clause allows either the landlord or the tenant to terminate the rental agreement early, which can provide flexibility for both parties. This can be particularly useful if you’re unsure how long you’ll stay in one place.


  1. An Offer is Not Legally Binding
    • The conveyancing process in the UK means that an offer on a property is not legally binding until contracts are exchanged.
  2. Leasehold vs. Freehold
    • Leasehold means you own the property but not the land it stands on, often resulting in restrictions on refurbishments, pets, and noise.
    • Freehold means you own both the property and the land, giving you more freedom within planning permissions.
    • Share of freehold means you share ownership of the land with other property owners.
  3. Additional Fees
    • When buying a property, remember to budget for additional fees such as Stamp Duty, service charges, ground rent, and sinking funds. These can significantly impact your overall budget.

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