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Expats moving to London will discover the UK capital has a vibey, thriving social scene. Whether new arrivals want to see and be seen in one of the city's top nightclubs, savour a lager in a cosy pub, take in a stage production in the West End, shop up a storm in Oxford Street or bag a bargain in one of the city's bohemian markets, the London lifestyle has plenty to offer.
Shopping in London
London is undoubtedly one of the world's top shopping capitals. Whether shoppers are after the latest designer gear, high-street bargains or a unique vintage piece, London has a shopping solution to suit everyone's needs and budget. Oxford Street and Regent Street have every big high-street brand a person could wish for. When looking for the top designer names, head to Bond Street or High Street Kensington. For vintage bargains, try Camden Market or Portobello Road Market on a Saturday.
Foodies should make a pilgrimage to Borough Market, close to London Bridge, to experience an incredible range of organic treats and homemade produce.
Nightlife and entertainment in London
Nightlife in London is diverse and eclectic with something to suit every taste, from heaving dance floors to intimate music lounges and jazz bars. Expats will find that much of London’s evening entertainment is based in the West End, where there are an endless amount of pubs, clubs and restaurants. This is also the home of London’s theatre district where people can catch all the major West End productions, while Covent Garden is home to the Royal Opera House. Classical music lovers should head to the Royal Albert Hall. Other theatres include the world-renowned National Theatre, the Globe Theatre and the Old Vic.
Soho is one of the trendiest places to grab a drink after work and is home to London’s top gay bars and clubs. Notting Hill is also synonymous with a good night out. Fans of live music can head to Camden, Clapham or Brixton, while the bars and gastropubs of Shoreditch and Hoxton have become popular hangouts for London’s bohemian crowd.
Sports and outdoor activities in London
The Brits may love their brew, but expats will find that fitness in London is nonetheless a priority for city-dwellers. There's an abundance of runners and cyclists, and due to the ever-growing population and often-congested city streets, commuting and exercising go hand in hand here.
In addition to running and cycling, London offers a wealth of other fitness options and expats won't struggle to find some form of exercise that keeps the endorphins firing.
Gyms and fitness centres in London range from reasonably priced to exceedingly expensive. Many of the biggest health club chains, such as Virgin Active, PureGym and Fitness First, offer complimentary classes and free trial periods prior to joining. Some also provide discounts for students or companies.
Another popular alternative to the traditional gym workout is to join an extra-curricular sports team or league that plays recreationally on weekends. There is a wide range of options in this category, with teams created according to neighbourhood, age, sex or home country.
►For an overview of annual events in the city, read What's On in London
Are you an expat living in London?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to London. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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