Life & Work in London, United Kingdom


London has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb ), similar to all of southern England. Despite its reputation as being a rainy city, London receives less precipitation (601 mm, 24 in, in a year) than Rome, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Naples, Sydney and New York.Temperature extremes for all sites in the London area range from 38.1 °C (100.6 °F) at Kew during August 2003 down to −16.1 °C (3.0 °F) at Northolt during January 1962.

Summers are generally warm and sometimes hot. London’s average July high is 24 °C (75.2 °F). On average London will see 31 days above 25 °C (77.0 °F) each year, and 4.2 days above 30.0 °C (86.0 °F) every year. During the 2003 European heat wave there were 14 consecutive days above 30 °C (86.0 °F) and 2 consecutive days where temperatures reached 38 °C (100.4 °F), leading to hundreds of heat related deaths.

Winters are generally cool and damp with little temperature variation. Snowfall occurs occasionally and can cause travel disruption when this happens. Snowfall is more common in outer London. Spring and autumn are mixed seasons and can be pleasant. As a large city, London has a considerable urban heat island effect,making the centre of London at times 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than the suburbs and outskirts. The effect of this can be seen below when comparing London Heathrow, 15 miles west of London, with the London Weather Centre, in the city centre.


The 2011 census recorded that 2,998,264 people or 36.7% of London’s population are foreign-born making London the city with the second largest immigrant population, behind New York City, in terms of absolute numbers. The table to the right shows the most common countries of birth of London residents. Note that some of the German-born population, in 18th position, are British citizens from birth born to parents serving in the British Armed Forces in Germany. With increasing industrialisation, London’s population grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was for some time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the most populous city in the world. Its population peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939 immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War, but had declined to 7,192,091 at the 2001 Census. However, the population then grew by just over a million between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, to reach 8,173,941 in the latter enumeration.

However, London’s continuous urban area extends beyond the borders of Greater London and was home to 9,787,426 people in 2011, while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 12 and 14 million depending on the definition used. According to Eurostat, London is the most populous city and metropolitan area of the European Union and the second most populous in Europe. During the period 1991–2001 a net 726,000 immigrants arrived in London. View more


According to the 2011 Census, the largest religious groupings are Christians (48.4 per cent), followed by those of no religion (20.7 per cent), Muslims (12.4 per cent), no response (8.5 per cent), Hindus (5.0 per cent), Jews (1.8 per cent), Sikhs (1.5 per cent), Buddhists (1.0 per cent) and other (0.6 per cent).

London has traditionally been Christian, and has a large number of churches, particularly in the City of London. The well-known St Paul’s Cathedral in the City and Southwark Cathedral south of the river are Anglican administrative centres, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, principal bishop of the Church of England and worldwide Anglican Communion, has his main residence at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth.

St Paul’s Cathedral

Important national and royal ceremonies are shared between St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is not to be confused with nearby Westminster Cathedral, which is the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England and Wales. Despite the prevalence of Anglican churches, observance is very low within the Anglican denomination. Church attendance continues on a long, slow, steady decline, according to Church of England statistics.

London is also home to sizeable Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish communities. Notable mosques include the East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets, London Central Mosque on the edge of Regent’s Park and the Baitul Futuh Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. View more


London’s vast urban area is often described using a set of district names, such as Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Wembley and Whitechapel. These are either informal designations, reflect the names of villages that have been absorbed by sprawl, or are superseded administrative units such as parishes or former boroughs.

Such names have remained in use through tradition, each referring to a local area with its own distinctive character, but without official boundaries. Since 1965 Greater London has been divided into 32 London boroughs in addition to the ancient City of London. The City of London is the main financial district, and Canary Wharf has recently developed into a new financial and commercial hub in the Docklands to the east.

The West End is London’s main entertainment and shopping district, attracting tourists. West London includes expensive residential areas where properties can sell for tens of millions of pounds. The average price for properties in Kensington and Chelsea is over £2 million with a similarly high outlay in most of central London.

The East End is the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London. The surrounding East London area saw much of London’s early industrial development; now, brownfield sites throughout the area are being redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway including the London Riverside and Lower Lea Valley, which was developed into the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.


London generates about 20 per cent of the UK’s GDP (or $600 billion in 2014); while the economy of the London metropolitan area—the largest in Europe—generates about 30 per cent of the UK’s GDP (or an estimated $669 billion in 2005). London has five major business districts: the City, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark. One way to get an idea of their relative importance is to look at relative amounts of office space: Greater London had 27 million m2 of office space in 2001, and the City contains the most space, with 8 million m2 of office space. London has some of the highest real estate prices in the world. London is the world’s most expensive office market for the last three years according to world property journal (2015) report. As of 2015 the residential property in London is worth $2.2 trillion – same value as that of Brazil annual GDP. The city has the highest property prices of any European city according to the Office for National Statistics and the European Office of Statistics. On average the price per square metre in central London is €24,252 (April 2014). This is higher than the property prices in other G8 European capital cities; Berlin €3,306, Rome €6,188 and Paris €11,229.

The City of London

London finance industry is based in the City of London and Canary Wharf, the two major Central Business Districts in London. London is one of the pre-eminent financial centres of the world as the most important location for international finance. London took over as a major financial centre shortly after 1795 when the Dutch Republic collapsed before the Napoleonic armies. For many bankers established in Amsterdam (e.g. Hope, Baring), this was only time to move to London. The London financial elite was strengthened by a strong Jewish community from all over Europe capable of mastering the most sophisticated financial tools of the time. This unique concentration of talents accelerated the transition from the Commercial Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the 19th century, Britain was the wealthiest of all nations, and London a leading financial centre. Still, as of 2016 London tops the world rankings on both the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) and The Global Cities Index. View more

Living in London

One of London’s most famous venues for entertainment is The O2, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, a large entertainment centre on the Greenwich peninsula. The venue houses not only an indoor arena, but also a music club, Cineworld cinema, exhibition space, and numerous bars and restaurants. Visitors can also climb the structure through the fantastic Up at The O2 experience. Another excellent tourist attraction is The View from the Shard experience, where visitors can gain access to Level 69 and the open air Skydeck on Level 72, and are exposed to the elements and the sounds of the city below. Other notable tourist attractions include Madame Tussauds, the London Eye, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, and the London Dungeons.

London is a fantastic place for theatregoers, with top shows such as Les Miserables, The Lion King, Matilda, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, and Aladdin shown on a regular basis. There are over 50 theatres in the commercial West End area, and over 100 outside West End. If the London theatre scene is something that interests you, check out the London Theatre Guide for further information.

Other cultural locations in London are easy to find, thanks to the city’s vast supply of museums. If you’re into modern art, the Tate Modern is definitely worth a visit. There’s also the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, both of which offer free admission. Another highly interesting place is Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, a tourist attraction named after Robert Ripley, a famous explorer who travelled the globe in search of fascinating curiosities. The attraction is home to a collection of his unbelievable discoveries such as real shrunken heads from the Amazon.

If shopping is what you’re after, there’s no shortage of places in London. The most famous and notable place for shoppers is Oxford Street, the heart of London shopping, with over 300 stores. Regent Street is also worth checking out, being home to some of the city’s most famous shops including Hamleys and Liberty. Any shopping trip in London would be incomplete without a visit to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, home to 250 shops and 70 places to eat. In fact, it’s one of the largest shopping malls in Europe.

For those interested in a night out, there can be no better place than London. The city is home to a multitude of nightclubs, and there are some excellent bars as well.

Working in London

Key sectors

London’s most significant economic sector is the tertiary sector, including financial and other professional services such as insurance, broking, and banking. However, London has the fifth largest metropolitan economy in the world, so it has much more to offer in other industries, too. For example, Camden and Islington, both of which form one of London’s five major business districts, have a high concentration of businesses in the creative, design, fashion, and media industries, to name a few.

Notable companies

Over half the companies on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index are based in London. For example, some of the biggest names in banking are here, including HSBC, the Lloyds Banking Group, and Barclays. Some notable names in media here include ITV and Sky, and major companies in the fashion industry are also headquartered here, such as Burberry.

A growing and prominent part of London is East London Tech City, also known as Silicon Roundabout, a technology district in East London. The area was always more run down and therefore cheaper than the City, and the financial crash in 2008 and 2009 made the area even more accessible to technology start-ups by reducing rent. Highly influential technology firms have invested in the area, including Facebook, Google, Intel, and Cisco.;