Thursday June 14th, 2012
If you’ve never lived abroad, many Americans moving to London, England are somewhat nervous of what they’re going to find. On the one hand, you’ve got films like “Notting Hill” showing idyllic scenes of quaint private gardens and leafy suburbs right in the heart of the city, and on the other hand, you’ve got films showing graphic violence and the problems of housing estates in certain areas of the city. Americans moving to London, England can find that planning their relocation is confusing if you don’t know where to start looking for apartments and schools; doctors and dentists; banks and bakeries. You start right here!
Americans Moving To London England and Logistics
The first step for Americans moving to England starts in the USA. Visas, banking and paperwork are going to be your key concerns. When you work with a professional relocation agent in London they will be able to advise you of the paperwork that you’ll need when you arrive and may even be able to help you with setting up and opening a bank account before you arrive. If you’re moving for work then your employer will be sorting out your visa application and work permit, but you need to sort out visas for your accompanying spouse or partner and your children. Your partner is not eligible to work in the UK just because you are.
Americans Moving To London, England and Tax
This is a big issue that should be sorted out BEFORE you leave the US. Sit down with an accountant (CPA) who specialises in tax for US citizens living abroad. You will have to pay tax in the UK and tax in the US if you do not plan your taxes carefully. Double taxation will take a sizeable bite our of your salary and remember that the IRS does not forget about you just because you’re living in London.
Americans Moving To London, England and Apartments
This is going to be the issue that needs the most input from a professional relocation agent. Many Americans moving to England are not sure of the scale and size of the city. You’ll need to know where you are working to be able to find an apartment on a specific transport route. if you have a family, then the subject of schools and education will also have an impact on where you live. If you’re moving pets to London, you’ll want to find accommodation that is pet-friendly and close to one of the dog parks.
Logistics, planning and a lot of help from a professional agent that specialises in Americans moving to London, England will help make the move as smooth as possible, leaving you free to explore your new home town.
Friday February 24th, 2012
Most couples like to take one day out of the year (or two or three) to really splurge and show each other how important the other one truly is. After moving to England, couples are given a rare opportunity to pull out all the stops and create a simply remarkable date night experience like none other before. This spring couples after moving to London, England can show their love and learn more about their new town by reserving a private capsule on the London Eye.
There are several romantic packages available at the London Eye, the city’s giant ferris wheel soaring one hundred and thirty five meters in the sky. Most families moving to London, England can’t help but notice the giant wheel upon entering the city. It was built in 2000 and is London’s fourth tallest structure. It is so large that it takes thirty minutes for one entire revolution. Since opening an average of 3.5 billion British citizens and tourists from around the world ride the London Eye each year. That is no surprise considering once at the top one can see for twenty five miles in every direction.
The special package available this 2012 winter/early spring season is a private capsule for two with a personal host to detail the history of the London Eye as well as point out landmarks. A bottle of champagne will be served as well as chocolates. For those wanting to truly make it a night to remember dinner reservations at a nearby restaurant can be made or a London Eye river cruise with dinner can be added.
Moving to England, can be very stressful for couples between trying to arrange the move, find a home and begin new employment. Taking the time to spend a night together not worrying about the budget, the kids, or missing the States is absolutely necessary. There is perhaps no better time than early spring to take advantage of all the beautiful sites the city has to offer, the London Eye being just one, after moving to England.
Wednesday February 22nd, 2012
When moving to London, England those forced to downsize their accommodations quickly discover that space is quite a commodity. Rather than cram one’s flat with unnecessary and bulky furniture other options are available and affordable. There are many cultural differences in housing between the States and the UK and knowing about them before moving to London, England, will prevent a lot of problems and misunderstanding, and most likely, will save a good deal of money as well.
Moving to London, England – Size Matters
The biggest shock American expats have when viewing flats is the small size of them in comparison to US apartments. It is not uncommon for a single person in America to rent an affordable apartment with one thousand square feet including a living room with eating area, large kitchen, large bedroom with walk-in closet and bathroom, guest bedroom or office and another bathroom in the hall. While that might be the norm in the US it most definitely is not the norm in England! Understanding that it is quite normal and acceptable for a single person to live in a flat measuring around five hundred square feet will save lots of time and trouble after the move.
Moving to London, England – Where Are the Closets?
Most flats in London do not have closets. If they do it will be one, very small closet. This means, of course, that one must find creative ways to store items and clothing in their new flat. Most British use wardrobes in the bedroom as the closet but they can be large and if moving into a small apartment it may not be the best use of space. Many stores cater to British flats and have a large selection of space savers for every room and purpose. One famous store that offers many space utilization items is IKEA which is quite popular in London.
Moving to London, England – Beds
In a small flat where to put the bed becomes a big issue. In America it is common to use futons so that the bed can double as a couch. One can be relieved to know futons are also a popular choice for the small flat. Another option is a Murphy bed, or a Wall Bed as they say over there, which folds up neatly into the wall when not being used. Many Wall Beds offer storage inside the unit which makes them even more space saving. They are attractive and add a modern flare to any flat.
Tuesday January 10th, 2012
Families moving to London England from the United States often worry about their children’s education and rightfully so. There are many choices in education in England especially in London. Understanding the distinctions is the first step to making a decision before moving to England. Unlike in the States public schools (or schools paid for by the government and free to attend) are called state schools. If referring to a ‘public school’ in London one means a privately owned and operated school.
Overall the state school system in London does a good job preparing students for college and beyond. Over ninety percent of London children are educated in state schools. Families moving to England should give state schools a serious consideration when making educational decisions. Although the British state school system is similar to the United States public education system there are a few subtle differences that parents moving to London England need to understand before making decisions for their children.
- Primary Schools: These are the UK’s version of elementary school. Children ages five through eleven attend primary schools and the curriculum is very similar to a United States public elementary school and most moving to London England will be pleased with this option.
- Middle Schools: Not all children go to a middle school but there are a few scattered about the country. They are for children nine to eleven and would be similar to fourth and fifth grades in the States.
- Secondary Schools: Secondary schools are for children ages eleven to sixteen. Much like in the United States students are placed in levels based on their age, not their abilities.
- A-Level Education: This is where things get very different from the US. At the end of secondary school (which is the equivalent of tenth grade) students have the choice to go on to A-Level or join the work force. A-Level students must take an exam to enter (GCSE exam) and then focus on three or four subjects that they want to pursue at the university level. They stay there for two years before moving on to a university.
Special education is also available to children who qualify and are separate schools from regular state schools.
When moving to England with a family deciding on a school is perhaps one of the toughest decisions and should be thoroughly researched to avoid problems down the road. All families moving to England should consult with a relocation agent prior to the move to make sure they are aware of all education options.
Friday December 23rd, 2011
When moving to London, England many American families look for activities they enjoyed at home in the States. This could not be truer than during the Christmas season. With Christmas Eve just one day away many American families are thinking about attending religious services. This is a huge city with many churches. The Church of England is by far the largest denomination and holds many Christmas Eve and Christmas services in churches across the city.
Consider the Church of England When Moving to London, England
Parent to the American Episcopal Church the Church of England has been thriving in London for past several hundred years. For those not familiar with either the Church of England or the Episcopal Church services can be described as formal and akin to a Catholic Mass and familiar to many moving to London, England from America. Although the theology is quite different between Roman Catholic and the Church of En gland their services seem almost identical to the casual observer. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church all baptized Christians are welcome to participate in the Eucharist (communion) during a Church of England service.
St. Martin of the Fields
Many Americans moving to London, England have heard of the beauty of St. Martin of the Fields. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs attending a service at St. Martin of the Fields is truly an event to remember. For many moving to London, England Christmas services at St. Martin of the Fields is a bridge between Christmas’s in the States and new ones in London. This holiday season the Church will offer an early Christmas Eve family service, Carols service and Midnight Mass along with Christmas Day services.
Westminster Abbey is iconic to the Church of England for many moving to England. This historical church has been the backdrop to much of England’s history. During the upcoming weekend there are many services available including times appropriate for families and the traditional Christmas Mass beginning at 11:30pm Christmas Eve. After moving to London, England a serene service might be the perfect way to begin the Christmas holiday.
Integrating a Christmas service into one’s family’s holiday traditions is a great way to experience the best of British culture after moving to London, England. The Church of England is very open-minded, accepting and respectful of all visitors. There is no better time to experience the awe-inspiring beauty and magnificence of London’s churches after moving to England than during a Christmas service.
Friday December 9th, 2011
As an American moving to London I cringe when I hear mince pie mentioned because of the scary images filling my head as to what parts of which animals might be lurking inside the golden crust. With that said I was pleasantly surprised (quite shocked actually) to learn that modern day mince pie has no meat in it at all! Rather, it is a dessert pie filled with fruits and spices. Traditionally served during the Christmas season mince pie has been a British traditional holiday staple for centuries. The origin of the dish is Middle Eastern and was brought over by Crusaders returning home. The original pie was made with a combination of meats (usually lamb), fruits and spices. Traditionally the three spices, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, are used to represent the gifts of the three magi to the Christ-child in the classic Bible story as well as a dough star topping the pie. Today, mince pies are still a prevalent tradition in England and after moving to London one should not be surprised to come across several around the holidays.
They are now made as individual pies and available by the dozen at bakeries and supermarkets. Although some people still incorporate meat into the pie, the vast majority of mince pies are meatless. For adventurous Americans moving to London there are several easy mince pie recipes to experiment with. Almost all mince pie recipes include apples, raisons, candied fruit and spices. Some of the most popular mince pies available just about everywhere in London are Mark and Spencer and Greggs. Being new to the city it may be tempting to go to the market and buy one such pie, but I challenge all Americans planning their relocation to London to go out on a limb and try making a pie. If cooking is absolutely not your forte then inquire as to local, neighborhood bakeries famous for their pies. Relocation to London can be difficult especially during the holidays. While Americans do not have to completely abandon their own holiday practices incorporating traditional British ones are a good way to settle into town. Mince pies might have been samples while living in the states or they might be totally foreign as they were to me. Either way, Americans should enjoy this sweet holiday treat after relocation to London.
Thursday November 17th, 2011
Your professional London relocation services company will ask you a lot of questions when you contact them with regards to helping you with your relocation. Today’s blog entries are not about the trendiest or most fashionable areas that many Americans moving to London look for, but rather the facets of you as an individual that will help your relocation agents find the best area for you!
Relocation Jobs and the Importance of Your Commute
One of the most important aspects of relocation and choosing a new home will be the distance you are prepared to travel to get to and from work. Your relocation agents will ask you for the physical address of your offices so that they have a good idea of the closest public transport hubs and the amount of time it will take you to travel to work in rush hour.
Some lines are more crowded than others during ‘peak time’ and you’ll have to decide how long you’re prepared to travel each day. If you don’t mind a commute involving a couple of tube changes and bus ride or two then you can live pretty much anywhere in the city. If you’re looking for quick and convenient, your choices of neighborhood may be restricted. The average commute for a local is about an hour, unless you’re prepared to pay the exorbitant process of living in the heart of the city and being able to walk to work each day.
If you have a social network here or are planning your relocation with children this will be another factor in your choice of neighborhood. This is a huge city and if you have friends or family in a certain area you may want to tell your London relocation agents that you’d like to be close to your support structure as far as possible.
You don’t have to make up your mind over the internet, most relocation agents will organize a list of properties in different neighborhoods to show you within a day of arriving in the city.
Thursday November 17th, 2011
Many Americans moving to London don’t consider the issue of shops and shopping. It’s quite different when you are moving and you may not have a car when you arrive. If you don’t discuss your requirements with your London relocation agents before you arrive, you may end up having to take several forms of public transport to get to the shops each week.
London Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Shops
If you want to do your shopping in bulk, you may have to have a car to get out to the suburbs. The concept of a super store is not new to the UK, but for the most part they are not found in central London. There are however, some neighborhoods that have a range of shops that are within walking distance. You’ll have to factor in all of the aspects that suit your personal preference. Don’t be afraid to tell your relocation agents EXACTLY what you want, not matter how outlandish it sounds. This is a big city and there is a perfect home for you somewhere in the maze of cobbled streets and crowded highways.
Some of the most popular neighborhoods are also the busiest. If you don’t mind the noise from the high street going on until all hours of the morning then you can look at areas that have a buzzing night life. If you’re looking for a quiet village-like atmosphere then you can find suburbs in London that cater to your needs. There is no wrong or right neighborhood. There is only your personal preference.
You can also specify if you’d like to live in a modern home or a home that has a more traditional look and feel. Bear in mind that many homes here date back to the Victorian era and have been converted into apartments for the modern day city dweller. They are extremely small and often don’t have closets or the space for large appliances. You can though, after your relocation, find some of the modern urban development’s right in the heart of the city that are well appointed and have all of the mod-cons that you’re used to.
Saturday November 12th, 2011
Although the relocation blogs focus on an international relocation and the different aspects of moving. There are people that plan their relocation from within the UK or who are looking at relocation after they have arrived.
Each year thousands of university graduates make their way from across the British Isles and Europe to England to look for work and make their way in the bustling metropolis that is this city. It can be just as hard to find accommodation as a university graduate as it is for Americans moving here. Living here can be expensive and you may want to consider house sharing for a while or living further out of the city until you can afford to move into one of the more expensive areas.
Estate agents can cost quite a deal of money to set up a lease agreement and unless you know the city of London very well, you may be paying more than you should. You may have to get your parents to sign as guarantors for an apartment if you have not established credit with one of the banks. If you’re planning on moving to London after your graduation from university, and you haven’t lived in the city before, you’re in exactly the same boat as the thousands of expats moving to the UK each year. Consider getting professional help to make the adjustment easier and to get you firmly on the road to work and life in a new city.
For Americans moving to London you may not especially love the area you are living in when you arrive and may be looking for something after you arrival that is more suitable. This is where having a relocation services company is such a good idea. They know what it is like to be an expat in a foreign city and not know which are of city that you’ll love. If you need to move after your relocation, you should get a professional to guide you, if you don’t know the city very well.
Friday November 11th, 2011
When you are moving to London you may want to travel by taxi for the first few days while you get settled. You’ll have to get onto the tube at some stage, but taxis remain the most efficient way of getting anywhere in London in a hurry. The downside is that they are far more expensive than using tube, train or bus.
Night Time Travel
Unless you know exactly where you’re going after your relocation to London and are sure that you can get a safe tube or bus home, then I’d always suggest taking a cab when you’re out at night. London is considered a safe city, but it is a big city nonetheless. Taking a taxi ensures that you’ll arrive safely home at the end of your evening. If you share a cab with other people, it is not always more expensive than other types of public transport.
A licensed taxi, which is regulated by the local government, can be found at a taxi rank or can be hailed while on the road by raising your hand towards the driver. The taxi is not authorized to stop when carrying other passengers or in an unsafe position. They are also not allowed to stop on roads with red lines painted on the edge.
The other option is taking a minicab, which is a form of private hire car. It is a legitimate form of transport and must be licensed by local authorities. It looks from the outside like an ordinary unmarked car. Even though most minicab companies are reliable and safe, one can never be too careful. A minicab can be ordered by telephone, email or by visiting the minicab’s office, the primary requirement being an advanced booking. A minicab driver cannot make random stops; this will affect your personal risk and the vehicle insurance. Always ensure that you agree on a fee beforehand should a meter not be installed.
If you will be leaving the pub late, taking a long trip, attending a late night function or even travelling in the early hours of morning, it is advisable to book a minicab to ensure safe passage home. Your personal safety is important so do ensure that at all times you exhibit necessary caution. Getting from place to place after your relocation to London need not be a challenge if you use all of the options available to you.
Wednesday November 9th, 2011
Planning your relocation to London will seem simple when faced with the herculean task of deciding what to pack for your move. Deciding what comes with you on the airplane and what gets shipped can be difficult. How will you know what clothes to bring with you? Do you need an adapter for your PC or cell phone? Part of your relocation to London planning should include thinking about what to pack when you’re ready to move.
Getting professional help from one of the London relocation services that has experience in Americans moving to London is going to be the fastest, easiest and least stressful way of moving to London.
Winter Wardrobe: You don’t need to bring as many clothes as you think you do. Your entire wardrobe is too much to bring with you when you’re moving. People are not that concerned with what you’re wearing. Unless you already live in the great white north, you can buy a decent coat when you get here that will help you through the winter months. It’ll be far cheaper to purchase winter clothes after your relocation that it will be to bring them with you.
Appliance Science: Bring a few USA to UK plug adapters with you for any electronic items that you want to use. Computers and other electronic equipment are a lot more expensive in the UK than in the States so you may want to consider shipping your PC over. Appliances on the other hand, are quite cheap. Don’t bother shipping your appliances, they won’t fit into your new apartment at all. Your cute Victorian walk-up won’t take modern American appliances.
The best thing that you can do when you’re starting to plan your relocation is to make a list of your requirements, and hand it over to your relocation agents who will be able to tell you what to bring with you and what you can purchase once you get here.
Wednesday November 9th, 2011
If you’ve got your heart set on a quaint Victorian home on a cobbled street in the center of London after your relocation to London, you may want to update your reading list. Housing and accommodation run the gamut from ultra modern warehouse style apartments on the docks to small Victorian apartments that are the size of a closet and have no closets. Your relocation to London will only be complete once you have found a flat or apartment to rent for the duration of your stay. If you’re going to be moving to London for a few years then you should be planning your move with the help of a professional London relocation services company. It’s the only way to get it done efficiently, quickly and with the least amount of stress. Finding an apartment can be stressful in London and if you don’t know the city, and are a foreigner, you may find that your international relocation adventure will quickly turn into a nightmare. The rental industry in London is highly competitive, so if you are going it alone then you’re going to have to be prepared to move fast on any rentals that become available.
Many properties are owned by individuals and advertised privately or through an estate agent. It is important that you find a rental agent who is prepared to deal with foreigners and the intricacies of an international relocation before you start. Having rental agent on your side who is experienced in the process of relocation from your home country could be the difference between a smooth transition and a stormy sea. It might seem a bit more expensive to use relocation agents but when you are still looking for a suitable flat three months after your arrival, you might just wish that you’d a professional from the start. If you’re looking at prices of flats before you arrive, be aware that most flats are advertised with a weekly rate and not monthly. If you want to work out how much you’ll be paying per month you can multiply the weekly rent by 52 and divide it by 12 to get a final figure. Dealing with estate agents in a foreign country can be a challenge, even if you do speak the same language. It’s always wise to take advice from people who know what you want and where you are coming from when you are planning your relocation.
Tuesday November 8th, 2011
While you’re busy dealing with the administration of moving to London you’re also going to have to deal with the emotional aspects surrounding an international relocation to London. Don’t think that you won’t have to deal with culture shock: It’s a very different culture in the UK!
It may be slightly easier if you’re moving to London and you speak English as your native tongue, but there are many differences that you’ll have to accept, get over, or deal with, so be kind to yourself during the first few months and know that what you’re feeling is normal.
London is a multi-cultural which makes it easier to find people who are going through the same thing that you are. There are over 350 foreign languages spoken in London alone, so you’re bound to find someone from home to help ease you through the caverns of culture shock.
It’s important though, not to only make friends with other expats. You may just be missing out on the opportunity to make new friends and speed up your immersion into the culture and the excitement of living here. Try to make an effort to become a part of your community.
Get out and participate in activities and hobbies in your neighborhood. It might be daunting to walk into your local pub and make friends over a pint of bitter, but you can join your local gym or take a class at your community center that interest you. Get involved with work events and activities and show that you’ll willing to try new and different aspects of life. The British are friendly, welcoming and will go out of their way to make you feel at home if you have the right attitude.
It can be hard for an accompanying spouse to make new friends if they don’t have the advantage of a relocation jobs package. You need to make an effort to get out and meet people on a daily basis after your relocation to try to adjust to culture shock. Get out, go shopping, learn as much as you can about your community, and your neighborhood. Ask people for help about classes and groups. One of the best ways of getting out and into your community is to volunteer at a charity after your relocation to London.
Monday November 7th, 2011
The most exciting part of moving here is the fact that you’re actually living in one of the most exciting cities in the world and don’t have to stick to a tourist timetable. This is a city with a secret round every corner and if you get very lucky and ask your London relocation services company to help out you could be living right in the heart of the city around a square.
Living Round A Square If you ask anyone to name the most famous square here, they will probably say “Leicester Square” or even “Trafalgar Square” in a heartbeat, but this city being laid out the way that it is, you will find a number of beautiful open spaces and private gardens in the very center of the hustle and bustle of city life. One of the nicest tours that you can take after your relocation is a tour with the London Garden Trust who organizes tours and the chance to visit some of London’s private squares and gardens. The “Square” is a defining feature of life and although development and urban renewal mean that homes are not built around squares anymore, it is still an architectural feature of the city and plays an important part of the history.
Today squares are just as important in the fabric of life and are the center of the community as well as being a welcome oasis of calm and green amid the frantic pace of city life. The squares are protected by the London Squares Act of 1931 and have made sure that locals’s are able to enjoy over 400 squares and mini parks right in the heart of the city. Open Garden Squares Weekend allows the public to have a peek at some of the most exclusive and private squares in the best neighborhoods. The squares and private gardens are only open for ONE weekend of the year so I’m giving you fair warning for the 2012 weekend which will be held in June. It’s booked up months in advance so get your tickets early. If you are starting to explore your new city on foot then why not do a bit of research and find some squares to look round after your relocation.
Sunday November 6th, 2011
The most fabulous thing about your relocation to London is the fact that “brunch” is indeed an international phenomenon. If you were worried about what will happen to your tradition of Sunday Brunch after your international relocation, never fear, London is ready for you. Even though we are heading very firmly into the winter months, it’s still a superb way to spend a Sunday morning after your relocation to London. If you’re living a little way out of the city center, just hop on a tube: Sunday is a great time to practice your tube travel if you’re just arrived and are somewhat apprehensive about the whole ‘Tube’ thing. You can walk up a good appetite by taking a meander through one of the Royal Parks and then head off for some early season Christmas shopping and then a hearty brunch at one of the bistros and eateries that specialize in the brunch experience.
Traditional Elegance or Modern Trends – The Choice is Yours Dean Street Townhouse is a rather elegant boutique hotel that does a superb, if pricey, Sunday brunch menu. It’s up market and trendy, while retaining a certain timeless British splendor. You will have to book in advance; it’s terribly popular with the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, yet still buzzing, and a venue where you can enjoy a relaxed brunch, then head to Electric Brasserie on the Portobello road. Fabulously trendy with both indoor and outdoor seating, this restaurant is firmly established on the brunchy map. Again, it might be wise to book in advance to ensure a table, but a Sunday brunch and then a stroll through the famous Portobello Road Marketmake for a great way to spend your Sunday. Try as much as possible to spend time exploring the city after you’re relocation to London. Don’t be put off by the winter weather; Londoners are out enjoying everything that this fabulous city has to offer, every day of the year.