I moved from Madrid to London and wrote down everything.

Should you move to London?

Job opportunities

Life ain’t easy for unskilled workers, but computer engineers are in high demand. I’m writing this with the later in mind. London is the tech capital of Europe and provides the three things everyone wants:

  • Fair compensation. 43k£ average, 55k£ for startups, up to 80k£. 450£/day for contractors.
  • Meaningful work. Plenty of startups, some tech giants, and a bit of everything.
  • No overtime. It is unusual. Startups usually offer good conditions to retain workers.

It’s a personal decision whether this deserves a relocation, but consider the following:

  • Money means to freedom and quality of life.
  • Eight hours with smart colleagues will teach you more than sacrificing your free time to study.
  • An interesting job is more enjoyable, and it’s usually accompanied by better work conditions.

Cost of life

In London you earn more and spend more. To figure out your desired salary, you have to calculate your net salary and discount your bills.

As a single living alone, these were my real life fixed monthly expenses:

Gas 30 £
Electricity 30 £
Water 37 £
Mobile 12 £
Internet 32 £
Council 79 £
Transport 132 £
  352 £

I had some degree of control over my rent and food. However, I’m not much into cooking so…

Rent 1250 £
Food 359 £
  1609 £

Note that 1250£ was the cost for a split property with garden. You can decrease this cost by living in a shared apartment, which will also cut the amount you pay for council tax. And of course, life is almost twice as expensive when you are single.

So as a typical engineer, you earn 55k, which is 3269 net, - 352 - 1609 = 1308£ or 1502€.

There will be other unforeseen expenses so here is an important tip: when it comes to bills, you better err on the side of caution. As humans we don’t enjoy anticipating undesirable incidents so we tend not to. If there isn’t a healthy margin, you have to rent a room in a shared apartment. This can be the start of a friendship, or another episode of room mates from hell.

About watching TV

  • About the BBC. Watching BBC on your TV or computer requires a 140£ yearly payment. They may send you a letter asking if you require a TV license. If you say you don’t but you watch it on your computer, they may tie your IP to your home address and send an agent to investigate. This agent has no authority to enter your home, so you are on your right to refuse his visit.

  • About downloading movies. Some movie studios run torrent clients, and may send a complain to your provider if they catch your IP downloading one of their movies. Your provider will send you a warning letter without sharing your details. I don’t know if this leads to further action.

🇪🇸 Escaping the Spanish IT industry

En 2009, las once mayores empresas españolas de IT organizaron un cartel para repartirse el mercado, limitar los salarios, y promover la cesión ilegal de empleados. La CNMC desmanteló este cartel en 2018. ¿Suena delirante? podeis leerlo en ElPeriódico, y la propia CNMC.

Si a una máquina de hacer dinero le quitas la competencia y le aseguras sus contratos, carece de incentivo para entregar con calidad y a tiempo. Esto produce un sector mediocre, sin una cantera de profesionales que pueda competir globalmente. Por esto y otras cosas, en España abundan los proyectos mal pagados, sin calidad, y con presión para hacer horas extras. Las consecuencias son malas para el trabajador medio y catastróficas para el país.

Veamos un ejemplo. Los hoteles españoles alquilan 330 millones de noches al año, que es el mayor gasto de un turista en nuestro país. Estas habitaciones se alquilan a traves de comparadores, de los cuales el más usado es Booking.com. Booking se queda el 17-30% del beneficio de cada reserva, y apenas paga impuestos. Todo esto en un país donde el turismo es el 15% del PIB.

Otro ejemplo. Cesión ilegal es cuando una empresa te contrata y te cede a otra, que dirige tu actividad. Esto es ilegal en España y no en otros países, pero curiosamente es sobre todo en España donde se da. Por ejemplo, yo estuve cedido a 35,000€/año, con el cliente pagando 11,000€/mes por mí. 35k al año le costaban 64k a mi consultora, y obtenía de beneficio 57k.

Empresas como Carto, Igalia, Typeform no existirían hoy sin clientes extranjeros. Vender en el mercado USA, en especial, indica inequivocamente que su ventaja competitiva es la tecnología. Este es el tipo de empresas que cruza fronteras.

Garantizar la competencia y perseguir la cesión ilegal no costaría nada si el gobierno fuese honesto. Puesto que no lo es, estoy en Londres escribiendo esto.


Let’s assume your things are worth sending instead selling locally at a loss.

If you have a few boxes ship them with UPS. Measure and weight the box, go to UPS.com and it will tell you how much money it is. It arrives in a few days. For instance, a 25Kg package measuring 135 × 23 × 84 is £136 from London to Madrid. Same distance 68 × 24 × 57, 10Kg, is £54. If you box the items yourself you can buy online cardboard boxes in Spain or London. A UPS guy told me that is risky sending big TVs because it may end up flat on the floor of a lorry, with other boxes on top crushing the screen.

If you want to ship furniture it’s more complicated. Removal companies make shipments between major cities periodically, using trucks and containers. This means that your things will travel in one of these shipments whenever there is one along with things from other customers. This is usually twice per month, but it depends on the company. They also make deals between them to transport goods or to subcontract each other.

For instance, I googled “removal madrid london” and endup at mudanzas-al-extranjero. On this web you get quotes from a few companies. One of them was going to covertly subcontract the work to another agency, but I found out on Google reviews and called the contractors directly, who charged me half as much. They moved furniture from Madrid to London for £864 (990€). This price is influenced by the cubic meters you want to move. My advice: call a few companies, and read google reviews.

What if you want the shipment ASAP? Hiring an exclusive removal service means a couple of dudes drive a truck from origin to destination just for you. This may be 2500€ or so, very expensive. On this later case the cubic meters are not so important because you have the whole truck for you.

If you need a bed ASAP call transportmasters.co.uk, ask them to buy whaever Ikea items you need, and deliver them on a fixed date. They will charge the price of the times, plus 60£. These dudes do other things like waste removal, “man with a van”, sell second hand sofas, etc.

How much to pay

Rent shouldn’t exceed 35% of your net income. It’s your choice how much you pay exactly, but ALWAYS leave a safety margin, you will need it. Better to live in a dump that not have a cent in your pocket.

Things that influence the price:

  • Traveling costs time and money. A mere 20 minutes in the overground costs 130£ per month. Living closer to work is likely more expensive, but it saves on transport.
  • The smaller the apartment, the less you will pay to heat it during winter.
  • If you are working in UK and your salary is low, you may claim a Housing Benefit.

Where to look

I like the Rightmove web and their mobile app. Here are a few other links I found in the Consulate page.

Hostels and student residencies

Sharing an apartment

Renting an apartment

Searching for an apartment


You will do the bulk of the work from your browser.

  • Search for days until you exhaust the offer, and get a sense of the market.
  • After searching for a while you will have several apartments marked as favorites, and you’ll start discarding as you go because your favorites are better.

When you look at the ads:

  • Professional photographs are very bright and have a distorted geometry. The real apartment will be older and smaller. Look for the real size in the ad. Sizes usually appear in meters and feet.
  • Prices in London are per week (PW), or per calendar month (PCM).
  • Missing information hides bad news. Straight discard them.


  • Heating/air conditioner appliances, washing machine.
  • Double glazing and courtains mitigates noise, and keeps the heat. If you don’t have courtains in your bedroom, you may buy a drill, railway, and courtains in Ikea.
Life hack: if you like absolute darkness, and the courtain lets light in on the sides, duct tape it to the wall as a one night fix. Or better yet, go to sleep early so the sunlight doesn’t wake you up.

Check the area

  • Check the distance to shops and transportation.
  • If there is no washing machine you will need a laundry. Mine had it but I rather dry my clothes on a laundry, which costs usually 2£.

If air quality is a concern, input your postal code at londonair. Basically, you won’t get good air quality if you live in the center of London, or besides a road/railway.

Noise sources

Noise sources will interfere with your sleep, and your mental health. Discard anything next to a school, avenue with high traffic, semaphore with acoustic signals, railway, airport, commercial property, gas station, etc.

In UK people is less noisy than in, let’s say, Spain. That goes for restaurants and apartments. Also for regulations on trains and airplanes. I’d say the chance for antisocial neighbours is smaller.

Here are other sound sources to consider:

  • Your fridge. If the apartment doesn’t have a bedroom separate from the kitchen, you will have to sleep with the noise of the refrigerator as background. This will diminish the quality of your sleep and may be difficult to get used to.
  • Railways close are not a deal breaker because the trains slow down when passing near private homes. I wouldn’t live right next to it tho.
  • Flights are restricted from 23:30 to 7:00, specially from 23:30 to 4:30. See Night flying restrictions, Heathrow Night Flights, Night Flight Restrictions. However, never rent an apartment anywhere near an airport. For instance, discard the entire borough of Hounslow, Woolwich, etc. in Rightmove (see why). Go to flightradar24 if you want to see how many airplanes fly over a map spot.
  • Never rent a first floor above any kind of commercial property, or next to a road.
    • For instance, a supermarket operates day and night, and has music, acoustic signals, and noise from loading and unloading merchandise. A guy living on the first floor here told me he had to use earphones to sleep at night.
    • Another example, a friend lived on the top floor of a building, she couldn’t sleep because the noisy air conditioner machines would run at night.
  • Hospitals. If you live in an intersection close to a hospital you will hear sirens quite often. Google maps shows the hospitals in London.

Before renting a property I always try to talk to neighbour and straight ask him if that is a quiet area or there is any disturbance. I either knock at the door, or wander around the property until a neighbour appears. I may look like a crazy person, but it gives me peace of mind.

Even after making your best effort, it could happen that you end up next to a noisy neighbour. Maybe they buy a wall clock that goes Gong! every hour, or a loud air conditioner machine. Leaving an apartment before your contract expires makes you liable to pay the rent for the whole duration, but it’s rarely enforced. See the section Your rent contract.


Half of the crime in UK happens in London. It is due to inequality, drug trafficking, and fights between neighbourhoods. There is crime everywhere, but more so in south east London. The best self-defense technique is not walking lonely roads at night.

I lived in Walthamstow (north center). I didn’t feel unsafe but there was certainly gang activity, and a murder every other month.

You can see the crimes reported on a neighbourhood on this site from the Metropolitan police (aka Met). However it’s of limited value because it doesn‘t indicate the severity of crimes. Also, every commuter or tourist area will have the most crime because they have the highest flow of people. This doesn’t mean they are unsafe because the most people, the less likely you are of be the unlucky one who gets mugged.


A “viewing” is the act of visiting an apartment.

You will need to be physically in London. There are a lot of offers but the demand is greater than the offer. Meaning:

  • Move fast. Phone to arrange a visit, mail is too slow.
  • Old offers are rented or have hidden defects.
  • Distrust bargains. There is probably something wrong with the place.
  • Obviously do not send any money to anyone before signing a contract.

Mandatory documents to rent an apartment:

  • Passport
  • Work contract
  • Reference from your company. This letter is pretty standard, human resources knows how to write it. This is just to certify you work there.
  • Bank account with a positive balance enough to pay the first month, deposit, and fees.

Additionally they may ask you for the following:

  • Police certificate. If you don’t have it you can sign a permission for the renting agency to get it on your behalf.
  • Landlord reference. In case you were renting in London. If you came from Spain they will still ask you for references but quite probably they won’t check them.
  • Credit check. In the UK there are databases with your economic activities (usage of credit card, etc), and if you are not on file, your credit is very low.

If this is a shared room, meet your roommates and trust your gut. The more you talk to them, the better your instinct works. You will have to live with that people.


  • D/G: double glazed (insulating glass).
  • DSS stands for Department for Social Security. This department no longer exists, but the term is still used with the meaning “someone who is receiving housing benefits from the government”.
  • Flat / house share. This is a property rented out as whole by a group of sharers under a joint tenancy. Joint tenants are “jointly and severally liable”, which means that any one (or all tenants) can be held responsible for the rent payments and other obligations of the contract.
  • Gas C/H: Gas Central Heating
  • PW: Per week. Per week prices seem cheaper because they are more difficult to calculate. The yearly equivalent is calculated as pw*52/12 because there are 52 weeks in a year. For instance, £1pw x 4 is £4, but £1pw x 52 / 12 is £4.333pcm.
  • PCM: Per calendar month.
  • Let Agreed means that an offer has been accepted by the landlord on that particular property. Therefore the property is no longer on the market while the agent takes up appropriate references on the applicant/s.
  • Lodger (aka roomer) is a a renter of a room in another person’s house.
  • Residential address is the postal address of the person’s home.
  • Three piece bathroom: sink, toilet, bathroom (or shower)
  • Split property is a house divided in ground and upper floor. These floors are independent, and house different families.

After you move

Mandatory documents the landlord or agency must hand over after you move:

  • A copy of the Government’s rental guide
  • A gas safety certificate
  • The paperwork protecting your deposit
  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • Contact details of the agency or landlord

If your apartment is managed by a letting agency, it is common to receive visits every three months to check the state of the apartment. They can’t do this without warning you first. They will photograph the whole house, and ask you if anything is broken. You don’t have to be present since they have keys to the property.



Use Monzo. This is a virtual bank, meaning, it doesn’t have physical offices. You can send your salary there, and transfer money to any country with their integrated Transferwise service.

Other virtual banks are Monese and Revolut. I had an OK experience with Monese, but Monzo is better (sorry guys!). I have no sympathy for Revolut because they have a toxic culture: they expect free overtime from employees and fire people “underperforming” (not reaching arbitrary goals).

If you also want a physical bank use First Direct. They have great telephonic support, an adequate application, and let you open an account from your phone.

To open an account on a physical bank in 2018, you must present proof of address –disregard old Internet posts telling you otherwise. The proof of address is a bill from the council, or from a provider of gas, energy, or Internet, with your name and address on it. Once you have proof of address, some banks (e.g. Halifax) will open your account straight away, others will require you to schedule an interview (e.g. Santander), and others can open an account through the phone (e.g. First Direct). An exception to this is the case where your company has a deal with a nearby bank office. Ask your HR department about this.

Credit score

I don’t like credit cards, but owning one will increase your credit score (aka credit history). This is a number that reflects the likelihood of you paying your bills. It is influenced by your history paying bills, vote registration on your council, being employed, queries for your credit score, and other things. This information is usually stored by Equifax, a private company that collaborates with business in Canada, US, and UK to keep track of consumer credit scores.

Why do you want a credit score?

  • Some companies will refuse you as a customer if it is low or you are not on record.
  • It will help you to prove your identity. For instance, in the HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) web, which is the government department that deals with taxes).
  • You’ll be able to increase the credit limit of your card.

The quickest way to increase your credit score is to get a credit card (for which, you need to already have some score), and then use it often and pay on time.


Use GiffGaff. You can recharge your account or setup direct debit. Once you want to leave them just stop paying because there is no contract. They have the network of O2 which is fine. You can order a SIM from your home country and activate it in the UK from their website.

The only reasons to use other company are:

  • You are setting up Internet and your provider offers you a great deal.
  • You absolutely need a UK number ASAP. Get a SIM from Lycamobile. They sell it in many stores (airport, supermarkets, gas station, small shops). Some shops have SIMs and other only have top up cards. Keep visiting any shop with the Lycamobile sign until you find one that has SIMs.

More about Lycamobile

  • Upon registering you will receive an SMS that says something like Dear Customer, your permanent lycamobile number is 447404684582 and Your Customer Identification PIN is 8534. Thanks for using LycaMobile.
  • If you have to fill your number in any form, replace the prefix 44 with a zero. That is, 447404684589 becomes 07404684589. This is why english phones often appear with a +44(0) prefix, for instance: +44 (0) 7404684589.
  • With Lycamobile you can set up a data plan. I paid for my data plan with a Paypal subscription so I can cancel the plan from the Paypal web. Be aware that sometimes plans have an introductory price that change after a period of time.


Can’t give you much information on this. I did my searching back in the time and end up on Virgin Fiber Optic. I got 12 Megabytes/s out of a 100 Megabit connection, which is excellent. Three refused me initially as a costumer, then call me after I setup utilities on my home. I suspect my credit score improved and they somehow found out.


If your water supply is with Thames water, you can set up your account online.

Gas and electricity

The gas and electricity supply are not interrupted. The previous owner will call to say he is leaving the property, which will prompt the gas, electricity, and water company to send letters addressed to the property, for the next owner to send them a meter read and set up a debit account.

You should find these letters on the property by the time you move in. They contain instructions on how to setup the account. Basically, they tell you to read the meter and send them the number by mail, phone, or mobile app.


If your energy (gas, electricity) is with EDF, you have to call them. There will be a number for the automated service, and another to call “a member of our team”. Call the second one, or navigate the automated service until they pass you with a human.

EDF is going to ask you for the following: name, surname, email, address, date you moved into the property, phone number, do you want the gas and electricity to be charged separately or together, what day of the month you want to be charged?

During this call, EDF will put you on hold for ages while they contact your letting agency and previous owner. In the UK, everyone asks for references.

My experience: the guy was not a native english speaker and he was hard to understand. He tried to put me on a superexpensive tariff of £80 per month, I told him to use an estimated tariff instead –so I would be charged the same as the previous tenants. After 35 minutes, he got wrong my email account so I had to call again the next day.

This is the one bill that I couldn’t setup with Monzo. Their system apparantly doesn’t work With Monzo. However, if you set it up on a physical bank and then tranfer the bill to Monzo it works. (?) Support told me they would fix it, maybe they already did.

Council Tax

Each council has its own site, but it is going to be of the format https://portal.YOURCOUNCIL.gov.uk You need to notify you are moving in the property. You will need your bank account data to set up direct debit, and your tenancy agreement. They may ask you to upload the tenancy agreement in electronic form.


🇪🇸 Consulate

This is the part where you go to your consulate and you tell them that you are going to live in the UK. I wrote this in Spanish because I only know how to register on the Spanish consulate.

El “alta consular” consiste en registrarse como residente en el consulado. Esto te vale por ejemplo, para que no te llamen a una mesa electoral a España cuando haya elecciones.

A las 9:15 abren el consulado y sale un guardia civil con un par de carteles que dicen: con cita previa a la izquierda, sin cita previa a la derecha. Luego va llamando uno a uno para que pasen y no se forme una cola en las escaleras, que por cuestiones de seguridad tiene que estar despejada. Es decir, si llegas antes de que abran el consulado te pones en el lado que te toque.

En la ventanilla te darán un número que te vale para bajar las escaleras y hacer cola abajo. Si puedes, consigue cita a primera hora y te atenderán sin esperar. La cita te la dan según la época, para el mes siguiente, o para dentro de tres meses. A veces alguien cancela una cita, sobre todo en navidades, y te encuentras fechas cercanas. Por ejemplo, en navidades daban cita de un día para otro porque siempre había alguien que cancelaba la suya. Si tu cita es para dentro de tres meses, echa un vistazo de vez en cuando hasta que salga alguna cita más cercana.

Para realizar el alta consulta los requisitos aquí: Alta Consular.

  • Los formularios que te descargas en PDF puedes rellenarlos en el propio PDF antes de imprimirlos. Observa que dice imprimir el formulario a doble cara.
  • Para hacerte la foto busca en google “passport photo”, te vas a una tienda, te cobran 6 libras y te la dan al momento.
  • Si fotocopias el pasaporte o DNI necesitas también llevar el original.


To be able to go to a GP (general practitioner) you have to get your NIN, and register in a nearby health center. They usually request that you are a neighbour of the area, so you won’t be able to register on the fancy health center next to your work. To register just walk in and tell them you’d like to register as a patient. They will give you a form to fill.

My advice: register with a doctor ASAP. Toxic food poisoning, accidents, etc. can occur at any time, doesn’t matter how healthy you are. By the time you need healthcare, you’ll be grateful to know where to go.

If you go to the emergency room, you’ll find an area where patients are sorted out, which also works as a wait room. If a case is deemed urgent, you are asked to go to a second wait room. It is advisable to go as early in the day as possible so it is less crowded.

If you are spaniard, you will lose your right to receive healthcare in Spain after 90 days abroad. However, if you are EU citizen or a foreigner with a permit to live in the EU, and you can’t afford private healthcare, you are still entitled to free healthcare.

If you live in the UK, apply for your EHIC before travelling to other European Union Member States. A UK EHIC is usually valid for three to five years – but if you stop being a UK resident, you need to return your EHIC to the Department of Health immediately.


The NIN is the National Insurance Number. It will be your identifier in the healthcare system and the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). To get one you need to schedule an appointment calling the number that appears on this page: Apply for a National Insurance number. Whether you call from the UK or from outside UK, you must be calling from an english number. Here is a transcription of a call in english and spanish.

You need to carry passport, proof of address, reference number, and work contract. Read National Insurance for details.


At 1:00 GMT most workers buy takeaway food for around 5 pounds and have lunch at the office. In London you buy food from a market, or fast food brands like Eat, Pret, Pod, Abokado, etc.

If you work in a startup there is a 1/4 you work in Shoreditch and get lunch at Boxpark, Spitalfields, and Whitecross Market. In 2016 the EC1V postcode alone had 3000+ startups, but it’s likely they have moved away due to soaring rent prices. A hot desk costs 400£/m, a team office 60,000£/m.

In Spain, half the office workers have lunch in restaurants, where the menu has two dishes plus dessert and costs around 11€. This is likely less healthy than a small lunch. Another difference is that in London it is the most common thing to drink tap water at a restaurant. In Spain, they will be happy to serve you tap water if drinks were included in a fixed price menu, otherwise they may not like it (but you can still order it).

The weather

The weather is cloudy, and gloomy. Pretty much what you get in northwest Spain.

The rain is usually very light, the kind for which you don’t even need an umbrella. But if you do, big train stations sell terrible umbrellas that will oxidize in record time.

Those on the left are the averages, it goes below zero a few days. I caught a cold waiting for a delayed train and didn’t forget my buff ever since.

Leaving London

Your rent contract

The tenancy contract can be between six months and seven years, and you are responsible to pay rent for the whole duration of the contract you signed. If you want to leave early, you risk losing your deposit. In practice, the landlord or letting agency will arrange viewings for the next tenants and you will only pay rent while they find someone. Once you finish your contract, they may substract a certain amount to clean the apartment and remove any belongings you left around, but they will return your deposit.


If you are from the EU, the tax you paid will count towards the pension in your home country. This is what you need to prove you worked in UK:

  • P60 (tax paid on your salary in the tax year)
  • P45 (tax paid on your salary so far). Your employer will give you this when your contract is over.
  • State Pension Statement. This is a statement of your activity as employee (who you worked for and how long).
  • P85. Fill this to get a refund in case you paid more taxes than needed. This can be filled online and received via email.
  • U1. This is needed to apply for unemployment benefits. You can request this online.

Once you get the P85, send it with the parts 2 and 3 of the P45 to: HM Revenue & Customs Pay As You Earn BX9 1AS. If you ever return to UK, your NIN number will be the same.

About the Spanish pension. Spanish pension depends on the time and amount of taxes paid. Working and paying taxes in UK only counts towards time, not towards the amount. You have to take the U1 to the Sepe to sum the days you worked in UK to the days you worked in Spain.

About using the HMRC web. When they ask you for a passport valid in the UK they mean a passport issued by the UK, not the one you got in your country of origin. As I said when talking about banks, using a credit card will leave a financial trail that the HMRC will use to authenticate your identity.

Cancel your bills

Cancel your bills:

  • Energy and gas
  • Water
  • Internet
  • Council

Once you cancel a contract and you are not supposed to receive more bills, it’s a good idea to also cancel charges at the bank.


Go the consulate and tell them you are leaving London. The Spanish consulate lets you do this by mail from UK or Spain. Once you are in Spain sign up as a resident at your council.


If you are carrying more than 10,000£ you have to declare it.

How to

Change money

Don’t. Just use the credit card from your country of origin until you get another from a UK bank.

Other options:

  • In the airport. This is a ripoff, DO NOT change in the airport.
  • Travel with euros and change them to pounds in bureau de change shops with low commissions. Note that you can’t travel with more than 10,000 euros unless you declare them in customs.
  • Send yourself money using Western Union.
  • In the bank. Commissions may vary, but this is generally a good option.
  • ATM machine. Good option. Use only the ones that advertise as “Free cash no commission”, or something like that.
  • Move money between banks using Transferwise. This is cheaper than transferring between banks using banks.

The page Trucoslondres.com lists these Bureau de Change shops with low commission:

The one besides Victoria Station has closed and it is now a shop called Eurochange that is more expensive than a bank. For instance, if the rate is 1,3 it will give you 1,2270 instead, so 185€ would turn into 150£. Before you enter the shop, make sure it is the right one. Some of the right ones advertise as Bureau of Change No Commission. In any case, they are going to tell you “you give me x and I’ll give you y, is this OK for you?”. If this doesn’t ring OK, cancel the operation.

Use transport

In London there is underground, overground (trains in the surface), and buses. You can pay for all of them using a contactless card. Nearly all cards are accepted. In the metro you have to pay at the beginning and end of your journey. In the bus only at the beginning. You can also pay with paper tickets, and Oyster card (a rechargeable card). If you pay a whole year in advance you save 100£ or so, depending on the length or your journey. See a ride in the metro in youtube.

Make a phone call

To call

  • Spain → UK: call 0044 and the english number without the first zero
  • UK → Spain: 0034 and the spanish number

Example Spain → UK:

  • given the english number: 07123456789
  • from Spain you have to call 0044 7123456789

Example UK → Spain:

  • given the spanish number: 687605838
  • from UK you have to call 0034 687605838

🇪🇸 Buy coffee

  • To take away. Para llevar. Un sinónimo de esto es “to go”.
  • To have inside. Para tomar dentro de la tienda. También abreviado “to have in”. Si por ejemplo pides un cafe y no dices take away o to have in, te lo van a preguntar ellos.
  • Latte. Nuestro cafe con leche, pero aquí lo tienen en varios tamaños. Si pides por ejemplo un medium latte en Costa, te van a dar 450ml. A pesar del tamaño, solo lleva un shot de expresso, el resto es leche.
  • Skinny Latte. Cafe con leche desnatada.
  • hot or cold? ¿quieres hielo en el cafe? Esto solo me lo han dicho en Starbucks.

Brits are polite

  • Can I have a medium latte takeaway please? En España es corriente decir “un cafe con leche” a secas, pero en Inglaterra son más atentos. En el trabajo hacen lo mismo, antes de empezar a hablar, te preguntan siempre como estás. –How do you do? –Not bad thanks. Este dialogo ocurre aunque nos llame un desconocido por teléfono.
  • Excuse me, Sorry Si alguien te corta el paso, sea un niño de tres años o un tío con pinta de macarra, te va a decir esto. Otra cosa que en España no hacemos.

Como anecdota, un día le tire un cafe en el abrigo a una señora en el metro y me contesto con una sonrisa. Me sentí fatal y le ayude a limpiar su abrigo. Creo que la gente que había alrededor ni pestañeo, cada uno a lo suyo. Contraste total con Amsterdam donde todo el personal se te queda mirando fijamente y aunque les devuelvas la mirada no apartan la suya.


Eating out

For all things eating out in London: https://notsobasiclondon.com/

For icecream

Once you settle in an area look for brunch in Google maps and Foursquare to find this kind of place.

Places to see

Check Timeout London for ideas.

These four are the most popular museums I guess.

I had the unfortunate idea to visit the British Museum during Christmas holidays. There was a tight crowd of twenty people around the Rosetta Stone, many of them taking selfies (?). This is a common occurrence, it seems everyone wants a photo with famous objects and statues.

Google maps for it. There are small print and scan places everywhere in London. They often have computers with Internet.