Thinking about heading to The Big Smoke after graduation? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to London to help you grapple the capital, master the tube, and become a savvy city dweller.


Why London?

Whether or not London is a good place to move to after graduation has been hotly contested debate over the years. Some argue that it’s beacon of career opportunities, with so many industries basing themselves in the capital, and that you would be a fool to miss out on the opportunities the city offers. Others argue that London is extortionately expensive, and the amount you pay on rent, transport and food outweighs the benefits of the jobs on offer.

There is no denying that London is unrivalled in the amount of jobs on offer

We’re not going to offer a definitive answer here, it really is up to you and what you think is best for both your personal situation and career. There is no denying that London is unrivalled in the amount of jobs on offer, but businesses are starting to invest more heavily in the regional cities and the cost of living is much less, so there’s no straight answer here. But if you do fancy heading to the bright lights of the big city, here’s what you should expect.


Employment opportunities

There’s a reason why so many people flock to London after graduation. There are a huge number of job opportunities in the capital, and thousands of businesses have set up shop there. If you’re keen for quick career advancement on a global stage, then London offers the opportunity to network with industry leaders and a range of global connections.

Along with New York, it is one of only two cities to be placed in the Alpha++ category, meaning it truly is a global city. It has also been ranked the best in the world for Mobility and Transportation – big up the Tube.

Pretty much every industry will have a base in London – think tech around Old Street and finance in the City. Plus, with four airports and the Eurostar, the opportunity for global expansion and investment are huge (despite Brexit). Since 2010, 79% of new private sector jobs have been based in the capital – the statistics speak for themselves.

Since 2010, 79% of new private sector jobs have been based in the capital


Top employers

It’s difficult to pick out the top London employers as so many companies have offices in the capital. In fact, more than 75% of the Fortune 500 companies have London offices; so whatever industry or company you’re looking to work for, London is a solid bet.

Just some of the companies based in London include EY, Arcadia, BT, E.ON, HSBC, Rolls-Royce, Shell, Siemens and Willis Towers Watson (and you’ll find roles for all them on the Debut app, so keep checking).

More than 75% of the Fortune 500 companies have London offices


Cost of living

There’s no denying that living in the capital comes with a pretty hefty price tag. And there is good reason for that. London is home to a wonderful world of culture, diversity, first-class entertainment, vast career opportunities and more avocado eateries than you can shake a stick at.

Contrary to popular opinion, London is not actually the most expensive place to live in the UK. That unfortunate title goes to Oxford, with London coming in 2nd place (still pretty depressing). But we can promise, £10 pints are not a thing and you won’t be paying £1,000 a month to live in a shoe box.

In fact, beers are on average £4-5 depending on where you are and how classy your beer tastes are. For an average size room in shared house you’ll be looking at £600-750 a month, again depending on location and how fancy you want this to be. Make sure to add on an extra £100ish a month for bills (including council tax). And don’t forget the commute.

So while London is of course a damn sight more expensive than other northern cities, people do tend to exaggerate just how expensive it is. You might not have as much disposable income as your friends based in other cities, but living in London in your 20s is an unforgettable experience.



The best thing about living in London? Being on the doorstep of a whole universe of world-class cultural entertainment, top tourist hot spots and some of the country’s best talent. If you’re going to live in London after you graduate, make sure you get out there and make the most of what the city has to offer.

    • We could write thousands of words on the city’s vast history and cultural significance, and the countless tourist spots you might want to visit during your time here. The British Museum, Science Museum, National History Museum and Victoria & Albert museum are some of the best in the country – heck, the world. The city is of course also home to the National Gallery and the Tate Modern, the most visited modern art museum in the world.

      Don’t forget the classic tourist sites either – Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey are all worth a look.

    • London has a truly amazing music scene, and you’re guaranteed to make all your non-London friends jealous with the access you’ll have to top gigs and upcoming artists. You’ll find a whole host of iconic venues from the Roundhouse, Bush Hall, The Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Apollo, Jazz Cafe, Alexandra Palace and various other O2 academies dotted around the city.

      If you’re looking for gigs on the larger side don’t forget the O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium – and there’ll be a whole host of shows in Hyde Park over the summer, a music venue like no other.

    • There is an absolutely ridiculous amount of delicious food places in the capital. Every single cuisine on the planet is represented here, and you’ll be spoiled for choice every time you decide to eat out.

      Wherever you are, you’re never that far from a street full of eateries but if you’re looking for some specific areas, here are some tips:

      • For the best curry in the city (and boozy mini golf), head to Brick Lane in East London
      • Like a bit of street food? There’s countless street food markets scattered across the city, including at Broadway, Camden, Borough and Whitecross
      • Looking for some quirky restaurants? The wonderful world of Soho has you covered
    • London might not be known as the party capital of the country – extensive pre-drinking is required if you don’t want to break the bank, although the night tube has significantly reduced taxi costs. But whatever you fancy doing on night out, whether it’s epic electro club nights, classy cocktail bars, comedy nights or gigs, the city is spread out there wait for you.

      Think Corsica Studios, Electric Brixton and Fabric; some of the best clubs in the UK are based in London. Shoreditch is full of quirky bars – Ballie Ballerson is a bar with a giant ball pit, while you can play ping pong at Bounce – and Soho is the city’s main LGBT nightlife area. You’ll find pockets of great nightlife areas dotted all around the city though, so wherever you’re based, you won’t be far from bustling nightlife.

    • It is one the greatest but also one of the worst things about living in London; the vast range of fantastic shopping facilities around every corner. Of course you have Oxford Street, home to all the main chain stores and Selfridges, as well as the slightly more upmarket Regent Street where you’ll find Liberty and Hamleys. If you want to go really upmarket, head to Bond Street for all the designer boutiques such as Burberry and Tiffany. Westfield Shopping Centre is home to hundreds of high street stores all under one roof.

      Carnaby Street has a whole host of independent boutiques, while Covent Garden market is the perfect place to pass by a lazy sunday afternoon. Camden Market and Portobello Road Market, although increasingly becoming tourist destinations, sell a whole host of quirky items you won’t find anywhere else. But (saving the best for last), London’s ultimate shopping destination is Harrods, a gorgeous luxury department store which is truly a sight to behold.

    • If you’re a sports fan, you couldn’t be in a much better position than in London. From football to tennis to athletics, you’ll be right on the doorstep of a host of world class sporting entertainment. Sports in the capital saw a revival with the 2012 London Olympics, which led to massive redevelopment in the East End of London where you’ll now find Queen Elizabeth Olympic park and the Olympic stadium.

      Football-wise, two of the ‘Big Four’ are based in London. You’ll find Arsenal and Chelsea playing in the city, as well as Tottenham, Crystal Palace and West Ham United. You’ll also be able to watch games at the country’s national football stadium at Wembley.

      Other sports such as cricket and rugby also have a big base in London, and you’ll be able to watch the tennis at Wimbledon in South London every summer. From the Oxford and Cambridge boat race on the River Thames to the annual London Marathon, you’ll never be without an exciting sporting event to attend.


What’s nearby?

It’s easy to forget about things to do outside of London – there’s enough to do in the city to last you a lifetime. But it’s good to take some time out of the big smoke every once in a while to enjoy some fresh country air. From the city you can easily reach places like Windsor with its famous castle, the cobbled streets of Colchester, England’s original capital Winchester, the stunning Blenheim Palace, Cambridge and its pretty colleges, the beaches of Brighton and the history of Stonehenge.

Also don’t forget how close to Europe you are when based in the capital. Hop on the Eurostar and you could be in Paris or Brussels in a couple of hours. While the city itself is great, don’t forget there is so much more to see, and London is the perfect base for travelling.

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