Challenges of settling in London after moving from HK

Moving to a new city is always hard, especially when it is to a different continent. Adapting to life in London after relocating from Hong Kong can feel overwhelming at times. One of the first difficulties you may experience is finding suitable housing. London’s housing market is notoriously competitive.  Also, understanding local customs and practices in real estate can be a game-changer. Besides that, navigating London’s transport system, although efficient, can initially seem tiring. Social integration is another aspect to consider when settling in London after moving from HK. Lastly, planning your move effectively is very important. Removal company Hong Kong provides everything you will need for your move.

Lifestyle differences

Urban lifestyles in Hong Kong and London showcase huge contrasts, especially in social manners and language use. Hong Kong’s city life relies on efficient communication, often in Cantonese, creating a language barrier for non-speakers. This city brings respect and formality to interactions. For instance, business cards are exchanged with both hands, reflecting deep cultural reverence. On the other hand, London’s urban setting leans more towards English, making it broadly accessible. British social norms prioritize politeness, often seen in their frequent use of “please” and “thank you.”

In terms of social norms, Hong Kong and London differ markedly. In Hong Kong, being on time is very important, mirroring the rapid pace of life in the city. It’s common to see people rushing, yet maintaining order in public spaces. Conversely, London’s pace is more relaxed, valuing leisure and personal space. Londoners maintain a certain level of formality in public, but they’re more laid-back compared to Hong Kong’s strict loyalty to social order and respect protocols.

Weather and climate

Adjusting to London’s climate after moving from Hong Kong to London can be challenging. London is known for its unpredictable weather, often bringing mild, rainy days throughout the year. Unlike Hong Kong’s subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters, London experiences more consistent cloud cover and lower temperatures.

For those settling in London after moving from HK, it’s important to expect the need for a versatile wardrobe. In London, layers are your best friend, allowing you to adapt to sudden changes in weather. Whereas in Hong Kong, you might be used to packing an umbrella for summer downpours, in London, it’s a year-round essential.

Housing and accommodation

Navigating London’s housing market is an important step in moving to UK from Hong Kong. The city offers a lot of housing options, from modern apartments to historic townhouses. However, the rental market in London is highly competitive, with demand often outstripping supply. This competition can make finding the right place a challenging task, especially for those new to the city.

A key.
Navigate the competitive housing market wisely.

For those settling in London after moving from HK, it’s important to start the housing search early. You’ll find a variety of choices but be prepared for quick decisions. The London Living Rent scheme is a helpful option, offering middle-income earners more affordable housing choices. It’s designed to ease the financial burden of renting in the city.

Cost of living

When comparing the cost of living between London and Hong Kong, several key differences become apparent:

  • Restaurants and Dining:
    • Meal in an inexpensive restaurant: London – £18.00, Hong Kong – £6.99.
    • Meal for 2, mid-range restaurant, three-course: London – £75.00, Hong Kong – £50.62.
  • Groceries:
    • Milk (1 gallon): London – £4.98, Hong Kong – £9.27.
    • Eggs (regular, 12): London – £3.56, Hong Kong – £3.15.
  • Transportation:
    • One-way ticket (local transport): London – £2.90, Hong Kong – £1.21.
    • Taxi 1 mile (normal tariff): London – £3.05, Hong Kong – £1.63.
  • Rent:
    • Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre: London – £2,267.65, Hong Kong – £1,755.17.
    • Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of center: London – £2,628.57, Hong Kong – £2,374.61.

These figures indicate that while some items like dining out and certain groceries are more expensive in London, others like transportation and utilities can be costlier in Hong Kong.


London’s public transport system features the historic Underground (Tube), Overground, buses, trams, the Emirates Air Line cable car, Thames Clippers riverboats, and taxis. The Tube is a key element, offering extensive city coverage. Buses and trams are economical, while taxis provide more direct routes. Cycling is also encouraged.

Yellow and red buses parked.
Navigate with the iconic Tube, efficient buses, scenic riverboats, and more for an easy city adventure.

Hong Kong’s system is centered around the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) with its 12 lines. It includes a comprehensive bus network, iconic double-decker trams on Hong Kong Island, the Star Ferry for scenic harbor crossings, and color-coded taxis for different areas. Minibuses offer more localized services. The Octopus card simplifies payment across most modes.

Healthcare and education

In London, the National Health Service (NHS) provides comprehensive, free healthcare to all, funded by taxpayers. For expats, registering with a general practitioner (GP) is important for accessing services. The NHS covers GP consultations, A&E treatment, maternity services, and specialist referrals, but charges for prescriptions, dental, and eye care. Despite its comprehensive coverage, the NHS faces long waiting times and limited specialist choices.

When it comes to education, London offers a lot of different schools, including state, private, and international options. Finding the right school involves considering location, curriculum, and extracurricular activities. Many schools have strong academic reputations and provide diverse learning environments. if you are looking to move to London, international moving company Hong Kong provides everything you need for your move.

Work and employment

Navigating the London job market presents unique challenges, especially for those from Hong Kong. For short visits up to six months, Hongkongers enjoy visa-free entry to the UK. This policy covers tourism, business, and family visits. However, for longer stays involving work or study, a visa becomes necessary. Applying at a British embassy is the first step for Hongkongers seeking a work or study visa. The process is more complex than obtaining the UK ETA, a forthcoming electronic travel authorization. This new system simplifies short stays, requiring only an online application.

A man thinking about settling in London after moving from HK.
Explore the evolving job scene after settling in London after moving from HK.

The London job market itself is in flux. Recent analysis from KPMG and REC reveals significant shifts. The city saw the sharpest fall in permanent placements since 2020, a trend spanning 14 months. Economic uncertainties lead to hiring freezes, impacting job availability. Temp billings, although growing, remain modest. The supply of candidates for permanent positions is increasing, leading to more competition for available roles. Despite these trends, opportunities still exist, especially in temporary sectors.

Social integration

Building a social network in a new city can feel exhausting. Yet, it opens doors to new communities. Start by exploring local events and groups that align with your interests. This step helps you meet like-minded individuals. Joining clubs or attending community gatherings are excellent ways to connect. Online platforms also offer valuable resources for finding local activities and groups.

Accessing community support is equally important. Many cities have resource centers and online forums dedicated to newcomers. They provide information about local services, events, and volunteer opportunities. Engaging in these platforms broadens your social circle and also deepens your understanding of the community.

Settling in London after moving from HK

Settling in London after moving from HK is an adventure filled with discovery and adaptation. The city offers its history, culture, and modernity, making it an exciting place to call home. While the housing market and the job sector pose their challenges, the diverse community and extensive public transport system ease the move. Accepting London’s varied weather, understanding its cost of living, and exploring its healthcare and education systems are all part of the experience. Social integration plays a big role, opening up avenues for new friendships and cultural exchanges.

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I was hoping to avoid the struggles of having to relocate altogether, but with ReloSmart Movers by my side, I’m glad I didn’t. The team did an incredible job – they arrived on time and handled everything perfectly!

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