Meet Nick, one of the many Kiwi expats in London.
Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?
Most of the time I have lived in South West London, with what feels like half of New Zealand
What took you to London?
Having an English father, a part of me always wanted to go and see the ‘old country’ and try living in a large city.
Although my Dad is from Newcastle, media roles are quite rare anywhere other than London, so it seemed like London was the easier option. After visiting and going out in Newcastle, part of me wishes I’d given it a try up there first.
How do you find living overseas on your own?
Not only was it my first time alone it was my first time flatting. I was quite lucky that for the first two months I was living in a mainly Kiwi flat, subletting a room from a friend while he was back home. When I moved from there I ended up in a flat with a really good friend from University and had already met the other flatmates on nights out. I never felt like I was really alone. One of the most contrasting thing about living overseas and home, is how quickly you make close friends. It doesn’t take long until your flat mates start to feel like your illegitimate family.
What do you miss most about home?
Family is a main one, especially my nana, but quite often it’s a little things like walking to the dairy in bare feet, drinking from the garden hose, eating a Jelly Tip ice cream and having a car. Although I miss the beach a lot, it’s not like anyone comes to England for the sandy beaches and peacock blue skies, so it doesn’t bother me as much as the other things.
OK, so tell me about London!
What are favourite spots in London?
One of my favourite spots has to be Southbank. Walking along the Thames, with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben all in one moment, it’s hard not to get overawed at the majesty of that spot, even after three years.
Windsor is also a very stunning spot. The Thames doesn’t look polluted, people even swim in it during the summer. Windsor Castle provides a striking backdrop to the area that can be seen from all angles and in many ways is more impressive than Buckingham Palace. The vibe of the place is very different to anywhere else in London, it seems like it’s far enough away from the city to create an almost ‘holiday’ feel, as people lounge of the banks of the river feeding the swans or enjoy a drink in the many pubs that line shoreline.
What’s the best thing about living in London?
Just knowing that no matter what day of the week it is there is always something happening. Whether it be a show, a gig or even just the local pub, you don’t have to wait until the weekend to be entertained.
And the worst thing about it?
On a hot sticky day getting squished into a train with your face against the glass and losing all your personal space does often make you question your life choices.
How would you recommend spending a weekend in London?
Friday night, go and soak up the atmosphere in a typical English pub. Great areas are Shoreditch and Camden, although most areas have a nice place to drink and all tend to have good food.
Saturday, take a walk along Southbank, where you can start at Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard at 11:15, then go past Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern and Tower of London in one swoop. Just behind Southbank center there are 30-40 food stalls that are decently priced. Great place to get some food to go and eat it on the river (if it’s sunny).
Saturday night, head to the West End for a show, whether it be a musical or a play, almost all of them are incredible.
Sunday morning either head to Camden or Borough Markets. There is food from all over the World, which will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, as well as hundreds of clothes stalls that have prices hard to beat.
Sunday afternoon head to The Natural History Museum and prepared to be amazed at the size and scale of this free Museum. Maybe one of the most spectacular buildings to look at, it also has a huge amount of interesting information as well as a robot Tyrannosaurus Rex.
For your final evening head to either China Town or brick lane for some delicious and cheap Indian curries.
What’s been your best experience there so far?
Hard to pinpoint one moment. A highlight was going to Lord’s Cricket Ground for the 2000th Test match.
Being able to walk down the road in Easter to watch the Oxford versus Cambridge boat race with over 200,000 others, was also quite surreal, especially when you take into account how much history is behind the race, which predates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
To read about some other Kiwi Expats in London, check out these stories: