You’re moving to London where you don’t know anyone yet. You might be coming to the UK from overseas, relocating for a new job, moving in with your partner or setting off to university, but what about making friends in London?One of the toughest challenges for everyone moving to London is making new friends. But remember, there will be lots of others in the same boat as you. You just need to find them!
The internet has made meeting new people easier than ever. There are increasing numbers of affordable ways for new Londoners to build a social network.
In fact, the sheer number of opportunities means it’s hard to know where to start, but the best thing about that is you can take part in any activity you like.
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Making friends in London: How to build your social network in the capital city – seven superb suggestions and our forty essential links.
Make the most of your existing networks
It may seem obvious, but sometimes we forget to make the most of the resources we already have.
In this spirit, try reaching out to people who you already know living in London. This is one of the least intimidating options as you’ll already have a connection with these people, even if you only know them casually.
Ask if you can go along with them to meet their friends, so you can widen the circle of people you know.
You can also make friends in London through your workplace or university. Get involved with social activities from day one.
If you’re a student, popular forum The Student Room is a great way to connect with other students before you set off for university.
If you’re part of any professional groups, these are frequently used as ways to meet like-minded friends when you move to a new city.
Popular mobile app Snapchat is a good app for connecting with colleagues or students nearby as it shows contacts based on their location.
Participate in sports clubs
Team sports are a great way to meet people. They offer an opportunity to bond with new friends without the pressure to make lots of conversation.
You can join a running club, football league or netball team. If there’s none at your work, set one up or join a group online.
Cycling is very popular in London and there are many groups that meet up on a regular basis.
Groups like Rabble are more informal sports clubs where people get together in the park to play fitness games.
Join meet-ups online for special interest groups
Meet-ups are group activities organised with the specific aim of enabling you to socialise and make new friends. They’re a fantastic way to connect with new people who also share your interests.
The website meetup.com is by far the most popular platform for finding these events, and has something for everyone.
Meetups appeal to a wide age range, especially people in their thirties and forties. Some meetups will be more popular with different demographics, so spend some time working out which ones are the most relevant to you.
It’s helpful to join groups where you have something in common with the other members because this eases the social interaction.
You can also meet up with other expats if you’re moving to London from abroad, as these groups tend to be very popular.
- Meet people in your local community who share your interests
- NWR is a social organisation for women
- A smart way to meet your kind of people
- Reddit’s best London social clubs
- Classified ads for social events in London
- For people affected by depression to meet online and in their local area
- It’s like a restaurant, just better
- A great way to connect with other expats
Volunteer your services for a good cause
Getting involved in your local community boosts your wellbeing and is also a great way to meet people.
There are many types of volunteering activities in London you can take part in; lots of websites advertise placements with local charities and non-profits.
For example, you can tend a city garden, volunteer in a soup kitchen or work with disadvantaged children.
Take a course or class
If you’re not already studying at university, you can also enrol in an evening or weekend course. Taking a course will have the double benefit of providing you with useful new skills, and offering an opportunity to meet people.
Have you ever wanted to learn to code, take better photographs or cook Japanese food? Now’s the time to learn!
If you’d prefer something more active, you can join a fitness class or go to weekly yoga sessions where it is very socially acceptable to make friends. You’ll benefit your health too!
- Helping Londoners to find courses since 1936
- Adult education – Over 5,000 courses in Covent Garden
- Short Evening Courses for Adults in London at City of Westminster College
- Learning in the City – Adult courses
- Yoga and Pilates on a social level
- Yoga that’s for everybody in a welcoming community
- Sweat without a smile
- Interactive workshops – Learn to code in London
Find communal or shared accommodation
Most people can’t afford to live by themselves in London due to sky-high rents; but you can use this as an opportunity to choose communal living or a house share with people you’re likely to get along with.
Communal living developments are a big thing in London now due to the accommodation shortage. Some people think this may even be a solution to the growing housing problem for the capital.
There are lots of new developments; however, for accommodation with a comfortable and warm atmosphere in a central location, a great choice is Vincent House – a large residence in Notting Hill with a rich history of welcoming people from around the world so has a friendly multi-national environment.
Websites like Spareroom and Gumtree advertise spare rooms in existing flat-shares, so you can move in somewhere that already feels like a home; and Visit London has a comprehensive accommodation section.
Look for adverts that openly state they’re looking for someone who wants to make friends and with similar interests. If you like board games and reading, you might not want to live with people who love partying and sky diving!
Meet your neighbours
London’s a huge, sprawling city with characterful boroughs. Londoners are very proud of living in their corner such as Brixton, Hackney or Camden and this can be a great way to make new friends.
Make the most of events in your local area using an app such as City Socializer.
Reach out to your neighbours by having a party, holding a wine and cheese night, or joining a website like North London Cares, which connects younger people with their older neighbours.
If four-legged friends are more your thing, borrow a dog to walk through popular website Borrow My Doggy.
Pets are a fantastic way to get talking to people when you’re out, and guaranteed to relieve the typical London surliness. You pay a subscription fee, and then you can find matches in your area.
- Matching dog owners with local borrowers for walks, sitting and holiday care
- Do more of the things you like with people going out around you
- A community network offering one another social connection and human companionship
- Stay informed about what’s going on in your neighbourhood
- Have fun, make friends with your neighbours and share skills and stories
- Joining vibrant communities and cultural hubs
- Explore what’s cooking in your neighbourhood
- Want to make new friends in your neighbourhood? Meet your neighbours over brunch
Making friends in London doesn’t have to be daunting.
Start the process by moving into a household with other like-minded people, and making the most of the people you already know in London. It’s a popular city, and you’re bound to know at least one or two people who have already taken the plunge.
Then, join in with community activities and meetups, volunteer for a good cause, and reach out to colleagues at work or other students at your university.
Depending on your personality, you can also take a course to learn new skills, or join a sports club.
With the right attitude of open-mindedness and willingness to make friends, slowly but surely, you will build a new social circle.