Just Graduated? Here’s what it’s like to Work in Central LondonBlogs
There is a certain kudos to saying “I work in the city”. For most Londoners, this conjures up images of chic office blocks, women in power suits, men in braces, long lunches, and expense accounts. This is quite a traditional view and certainly based on actuality than imagination but what is it really like to work in Central London?
Where is Central London?
The answer is that there is no specific area! No census defines a central area, no government body serves a central area, so in fact, Central London is open to interpretation. However, “Its characteristics are understood to include a high density-built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population, and a concentration of regionally, nationally and internationally significant organisations and facilities. ” Traditionally the central point of London is in Charing Cross, marked by the statue of King Charles I at the junction of the Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square. All road distances to and from “London” are measured from this point.
However undefined the area may be, Central London contains a number of diverse boroughs and their sub-divisions. In the west you have luxurious, elegant Mayfair with its high-class hotels and fully serviced offices, amid fine houses and high-end retail stores. Whereas in the East, you have Tower Hamlets, where you’ll find Canary Wharf.
Working in Central London
There are various features of working in Central London that makes it almost unique, and certainly very different to other UK cities.
Getting to work is a major factor of life in London. High on the list of considerations for people looking for somewhere to live is their commute to work. London is served by a vast public transport network – the underground (tube), over ground railway, the Docklands Light Railway, and a myriad of bus routes – but it still may mean a convoluted route to work, combining various tube lines and bus rides. If you live in Hammersmith for example, it takes more than half an hour to travel to Aldgate, and that is a direct route on the tube. The transport network does give London the advantage of attracting workers from all over. It is not unusual that many of the massive daily influx of out-of-town commuters travel 4-6 hours per day there and back from their home to their workplace in London.
There is a not only a huge diversity in the industries and organisations offering employment in London, but also the buildings they occupy. Architecture is hugely varied and workers can find themselves in anything from huge government buildings in Whitehall, big department stores in a modern built shopping centre in Bayswater, and town houses converted to offices in Holborn, to tiny boutiques on Whitechapel Road and market stalls in Leadenhall. If you’re lucky enough to work in one of the skyscraper offices (the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, and the Cheese Grater for example), the views of the city are incredible. The full range of British commerce has a presence somewhere in Central London. Or you might work in a building overlooking the river. Like elsewhere, certain industries grow to dominate certain areas. Beyond the obvious financial, insurance, and banking industries in the city, there are also areas like the Jewellery quarter around Hatton Garden and the tech and digital industries around Old Street.
Facilities and Amenities
As a worker in Central London, there is no reason to feel isolated or bored. Wherever you are based, you are not far from an entertainment venue, or a tourist attraction. It is easy to hop on a bus at lunchtime to take you away from your daily grind. There are museums and galleries to browse, parks, commons, and gardens for a relaxed picnic lunch, gyms to sweat it out, and of course, the fantastic array of shopping. Deciding where to eat for lunch is not easy with so many restaurants, cafes, sandwich bars, coffee shops, and street market stalls offering up tempting fare. Whether you’re popping in for a swift one before hopping on the train home, joining the girls for a happy hour cocktail or entertaining a client from overseas, nightlife is as accessible as anything else.
Central London has a unique vibe. As well as the general population having a huge ethnic diversity, the daily commuters bring their own cultural quirks to the mix. There’s a buzz about London that is only equalled by other major capital cities. The population of London (which includes Central and Greater London) is nearly 8.8 million, but it is estimated that increases to over 10 million on a weekday thanks to those commuting to the city for work. All of those people, yet still no one on the tube looks at or talks to each other!
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