London is a great city, that has a lot to offer. But, as we know, there are two sides to everything. While London can be a dream come true, heaven on earth (or whatever London Lovers like to declare the city to be), it can be hell on earth, the worst place *ever*. In my 4 years of living in this city, these the 4 things I hate most about London:
By “people” I don’t mean individual, because you’ll meet some of the most interesting personalities in this city. By “people”, I mean too many people everywhere, all the time. Of course, everyone that moves here is aware that London is a huge city and – duh – full of other humans, but what I didn’t realise was, how much the masses stress me out on public transport for example.
On weekends, no matter what fun activity you have planned and no matter where you go – you’re not the only one who had the same idea – expect there to be long queues and problems finding a space to sit.
Living with other people can be great when you arrive in a city, where you don’t know anyone. And don’t get me wrong, I have met some of the best people by living with them. It’s a lot of fun to organise flat “family” dinners, movie nights and going out together. In 2 of the 5 flats I’ve lived in, I did enjoy having people around and having someone to talk to after a long day at work.
However, living with people can be annoying, really annoying:
- People not sticking to cleaning rotas and being messy, dirty and disgusting
- Angry messages, complaints and arguments in the flat whatsapp group
- No one feeling responsible to buy toilet paper (except for 1 person)
- Flatmates bringing their loud, annoying friends over
- Mouldy food in fridge that doesn’t belong to anyone
- Hearing EVERYTHING through the paper-thin walls
While it is good that not everyone is on the same schedule when it comes to sharing the bathroom in the morning, it can get difficult when one person has to sleep when the other flatmate is just coming home from work. Things won’t get easier when half of the flatmates have Monday to Friday 9 to 5 office jobs and the other half works in bars and shops and everyone has different days off. I have had drunk friends of my flatmates coming into my room thinking it’s the toilet in the middle of a night when I had to get up for work 3 hours later.
Even worse was, when I lived with a flatmate who liked to “party” more than others. I don’t know all the drugs he was on, but he came back on a more or less regular basis – on weekends as well as weekdays – coming down from his high and getting super aggressive. He came back to the flat kicking against kitchen cabinets and even kicking in doors, damaging them so badly, that they had to be replaced completely. Read more about this horriffic experience here.
3 Southern Rail
I know, not a lot of people have to deal with this problem on a regular basis – in fact, I’m the only one of my non-work friends, but I thought I’d include this as a warning when you chose a place to live or work. I hate Southern Rail. I cannot even describe how much. It is the worst run rail line I have encountered in my life (in Europe). They are in a never-ending dispute with everyone (I have lost the overview), on strike more than any other London line and delays, delays, delays. Oh, and overcrowding when you travel to London Bridge/Victoria in the morning (thank god I never had to do that).
4 Costs of Living
Literally everyone knows that London is expensive, even people who have never visited. Living here drains your bank account like nothing else. “But salaries are higher here” is something I hear a lot from people not living here. No, not necessarily – not if you don’t work in finance or as a lawyer or something. I could earn a lot more back at home. And considering the prices in London, you have a lot less (or none) money left at the end of the month. Saving is very difficult, sometimes even impossible for me, and even for friends who earn quite a bit more than I do.
For a room in a shared flat or house, I pay more than I payed for a one bedroom flat in Vienna. What I spend on transport in London is about 6 times higher per year than in Vienna (transport in Vienna is very cheap to be fair). A pint of beer with a colleague after work? At least 4 Pounds, if you work in Central London, even more. And not to mention eating out. While there are some good value restaurants and markets, I have been to too many places where I was shocked about the value of money.
Doesn’t matter if you’ve visited for a day or lived here for a decade… What are the things you don’t like about London? Let me know in the comments!