Relocating to London? We’ve done it for you! Learn more about the team at London Relocation with our in depth feature interviews – You’ll also pick up some great tips about different neighborhoods in London, and where to find the best restaurants, services and little extras that help make settling in easier on you and your family.
Kenneth Walsh – Accredited Global Mobility Specialist (ERC) and Property Finding Guru – London Relocation
I come from the countryside about 50km Northwest of Dublin in County Meath, Ireland. Although one could describe my childhood as idyllic, growing up surrounded by lush green fields and healthy air, I wanted to get out and explore the world. My parents passed on their love of travelling through our frequent holidays abroad and pushed for me to learn a second language (German) to broaden my horizons.
Like a lot people who move to London, I have quite an interesting story behind me. I have always loved travelling and spent a lot of time in Germany as part of my undergraduate degree. One year after graduating business school in Dublin, I had itchy feet once again and decided to leave Ireland and take a “Gap Year” which involved stints of travelling in Asia and New Zealand before Settling In Australia for 10 months, 3 months in Brisbane and 7 months in Sydney. Though I adored the easy going, sunshine filled way of life, London was calling me!
On my way home from Australia I explored parts of South America and fell in love with Argentina. I moved to London in September 2008 to work as an Estate Agent in fabulous Notting Hill, right at the start of the property crash! It was a challenging time to work in property but I thrived on the tough market conditions and stayed and excelled in Real Estate for 3 years before making the leap to London Relocation.
What is the greatest challenge facing people relocating to London?
Generally speaking, I think the biggest challenge facing people moving to London is the British way of doing things! When it comes to dealing with banks, government departments etc Bureaucracy is a way of life and incredibly frustrating to deal with. Opening a bank account for me personally was a mission! I had to wait until I had my name on two utility bills before I could even open an account.
I found it somewhat difficult to settle in to London life at the start. For me, the size of the city was not really an issue but rather having “local knowledge” of where to go out and eat, the right place to shop, the right bar scene etc took much longer than expected to find! The British are quite reserved and it can be very difficult to break into their friendship group. I always joke with my clients saying trying to find a real Londoner is like a needle in a haystack! Thankfully London is a truly international city so people moving to London from other countries rarely feel “foreign” and integrate very quickly into the cosmopolitan, open vibe.
I lived in Battersea for 4 months upon my arrival in London. Though the area was cute, I quickly realised it was not for me and moved north of the river to a wonderful house in Chelsea. I fell in love with the neighbourhood immediately, I loved the shopping on the Fulham and Kings Roads, the trendy bars and restaurants as well as the beautiful architecture and community spirit (which I found surprisingly strong!).
A typical Saturday would involve walking down to the Duke of York Square (beside Sloane Square) most Saturdays to feast on the myriad of cuisines available at the International Food Market and popping into the Saatchi Gallery, with its regularly changing exhibitions and the fantastic Café Mess, perfect for afternoon tea. If I was in search of fresh produce on Saturdays, nothing beats the Farmers Market on Pimlico Road, everyone raves about it, including myself!
Early evening I would meet friends for drinks in nearby Parson Green at the “Sloaney Pony” aka “The Whitehorse Pub”, a West London Institution and then head on to one of the chic nightclubs in the Fulham/Chelsea area to party the night away! Sunday mornings would usually involve catching up with friends over amazing breakfasts to hear gossip from the night before at “The Chelsea Bun” (closed for refurbishment at the moment).
Eating out is a huge part of London Life and my own (a look inside my fridge reveals all!). My mood and the occasion will determine my restaurant choice. I love the Dean Street Townhouse in Soho for its clubby feel, low lighting, great food and atmosphere. Ceconni’s in Mayfair is fabulous for people watching and serves great Italian while breakfast at The Wolseley is an obvious choice when hosting guests in London, the interior certainly has the wow factor!
One of my favourite pubs in London is the The Windsor Castle on Campden Hill Road in Notting Hill. Great beer garden, charming Olde Worlde architecture and I love running into old clients and friends for a catch up while enjoying a pint of Guinness, I am Irish after all!
You Never Actually Leave London…
I initially planned on staying in London for 5 years, now that I have passed this mark, I have decided not to put a time limit on my London plans and will allow my career to dictate my next adventure!
While we’re all in the business of relocating to London, the team at London Relocation is unique in that we’re comprised entirely of expats – that means we’re not only experts in successfully moving other people to London, but we’ve all made the move ourselves!
Our expertise and attention to personal service is based on our own expat travels as well as business experience and we bring a personal perspective to every relocation and client.