The London Starter Kit: Moving to London

Posted 20.11.18 by prhcareers

The London Starter Kit

So you’re looking for a job in publishing in London…

The thing is… it’s in an entirely new place and you’re going to have to up sticks, find accommodation, navigate how to get there, and *gulp* make new friends.

Moving to a new place for a job brings with it choices, and a little confusion and worry. And this can especially be the case if the place you’re moving to is London.

So this week, we’re sharing some tips on Twitter about what to think about when you’re moving to a new place. We’ve also put together a series of blogs (written by non-Londoners, for non-Londoners) on our tips for finding accommodation, travelling and meeting people – without hurting your bank account.

City-living may not be for everyone, but we hope these blogs will give you a starting point if you are considering a move. There are also a few tips coming up that will be helpful no matter where you are moving to. And if you come and join us – for work or work experience – at any of our 7 offices in Essex, Northamptonshire or London, there’s a few ways we might be able to help too.

Go ahead. Take that leap. Here’s where we suggest you start…

Where to start… finding a place to live?

Whether you’re relocating or here temporarily for work experience or an internship, it can be intimidating looking for accommodation if you aren’t familiar with London. We’ve put together some suggestions to help you get started.

Short-term stays

  • The Book Trade Charity has subsidised housing you can rent, or if the lodges are all booked up they can offer financial support for private accommodation too.*
  • Alternatively, you can try staying in a homestay or with a host family. These Londoners have spare rooms you can lodge in for short periods, and sometimes includes meals. Some websites to search are Homestay, London Homestays and HFS London.
  • We are sponsors of The Spare Room Project who can also help you find a volunteer host for a week – the best thing about The Spare Room Project is that your host will work in publishing so you’ve got the added bonus of doing some networking and making some invaluable connections.
  • During school holidays, university accommodation often rent empty rooms out, and there are self-catered or B&B options. Check UniversityRooms for availability.

*Penguin Random House also has a subsidised place with The Book Trade Charity for our work experience placements; you’ll receive details on how to ask for this if you are offered a placement. You can see Eleanor’s blog about staying in The Retreat here or have a look at the apartment in our room tour.


There are plenty of online sites for group and individual property searches. Find Properly can search by your ideal commute time and shows what the public transport links are which is useful if you’re new to the city.

If you want to rent a flat and don’t have a group you can rent together with, try Spare Room, MoveFlat or Room Buddies.

Book in as many viewings as you can, because room availability changes at the blink of an eye in London. Be sure to double check whether bills and council tax are included, and make sure you’re not “jointly and severally liable” or you may be asked to pay up if a flatmate doesn’t pay their rent.

How our benefits and partnerships can help

 We are the proud sponsor of The Spare Room Project. The Spare Room Project matches interns or anyone doing work experience from outside London with people working in the publishing industry who can offer them a spare room or a spare bed for free for one week making internships more financially viable.

One Penguin Random House employee shares their experience with the Spare Room Project: “I can’t thank James enough for the encouragement, support and opportunity to stay with a publishing professional, I will pay it back, and know that if it wasn’t for James, I wouldn’t be working for Penguin Books. It is so important to take away the barriers that restrict those who live outside of London […] knowing that this scheme existed has allowed me to feel confident and not have to worry about the financial costs of staying in London.”

If you’re hoping to make your move to London a bit more permanent we can help there too. Home Sweet Loan can take a bit of the pressure off and help make the dream a reality as part of our wider focus on becoming a more inclusive employer.  Eligible to all our employees, including new joiners, this benefit offers an interest-free loan to help employees pay their rental deposit when moving into a privately rented home.

Other Links

Locrating: this shows you some top-line information about all schools in an area instead of having to trawl through individual school websites

Numbeo: a handy tool that compares cost of living in London to cost of living in your home town

Keep an eye out for our next blog where we offer you some top tips on getting around the city.