South West London and the bordering towns in Surrey, known as Greater London, are diverse and dynamic areas to live and work in. Recognised for their mix of vibrant communities, green spaces, and cultural attractions, offering a welcoming environment for those looking to relocate from overseas.
‘[As a live-in carer from South Africa], after a while, it was easy to fit in and start a life. People are really helpful and friendly. I was able to start working immediately, which meant I met new people and made friends through them.’
Community Atmosphere: Many neighbourhoods in these areas have a strong sense of community. Residents often participate in local events join community groups and associations, and there are lots of community spaces and activities that contribute to the area’s friendly and social atmosphere. This sense of community greatly helps our live-in carers to integrate into the residential communities surrounding their client’s home. It gives them the opportunity to share activities in the local community with their client, such as social clubs, day trips, exercise groups and community-based celebrations throughout the year.
‘My nan has lived in SW London her whole life. She’s 98 years old and has thrived in her local community in later life due to its inclusivity and the range of activities it has on offer for older people, from lunch clubs to bingo afternoons, coffee mornings and coach trips to the coast. The local communities tend to look out for their elderly here and there is always something on offer for her to take part in. Sometimes, she’s even busier than I am!’
Green Spaces: One of the notable aspects of both South West London and Surrey is the abundance of green spaces. Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park, Battersea Park, Kew Gardens and RHS Wisley, are just a few examples of the large and well-maintained green spaces and botanical gardens in the area, offering a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle. Surrey is also renowned for its stunning countryside, featuring rolling hills, woodlands, and charming villages. Areas like the Surrey Hills, an official ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, offer opportunities for outdoor activities, hiking, and enjoying nature.
‘I particularly love how much culture is in the area. We are so lucky to have beautiful theatres where you can watch West End plays, sporting establishments like Wimbledon Tennis, Twickenham Rugby Stadium and Epsom Downs Racecourse, within easy reach on public transport, alongside the beautiful Hampton Court Palace and Richmond Park, which both hold so much history! I don’t think there’s any other place like it in the UK.’
Cultural Attractions: Both areas have several cultural and historical attractions. Wimbledon, for instance, in SW London, is famous for the annual Wimbledon Tennis Championships and New Wimbledon Theatre, which has stood since 1910, and is famous for its touring West End shows and musical treats on offer daily. Richmond has the largest Royal Park in London, covering 2500 acres, particularly famous for its large population of red and fallow deer, which roam freely throughout the park. The neighbouring borough Kingston has a picturesque Thames riverside, home to sailing and rowing clubs. Clapham and Battersea also offer a vibrant nightlife scene and cultural events throughout the year.
The county of Surrey is rich in history, with numerous historic sites and landmarks. Hampton Court Palace, once home to Henry VIII, is a notable attraction, as well as Guildford Castle and Loseley Park.
‘I have always loved living in South West London and never take for granted how quickly you can get from a vibrant ‘city’ to a beautiful green space or a quiet walk along the river in no time at all. It really has the best of both worlds, and the transport links make living and working in the area so seamless.’
Transportation: South West London is well-connected by public transport, with both the London Underground’s District Line and Northern Lines serving many areas. There is also a great overground train service, frequent buses and a good cycling infrastructure. Surrey is also well-connected to Central London, with several train stations providing easy access to the city. The M25 motorway also passes through Surrey, offering convenient road connections. For our live-in carers, the transportation in the area is invaluable for helping them get around, making the most of their time off, whether it be a few hours in their local town centre or an afternoon up in Central London visiting a museum or attending an evening theatre show.
‘I love the safety and freedom of living here…I came over here for the safety of my children. If you are thinking about it with the same reasons which I had, definitely do it.’
Schools and Education: This region is home to some well-regarded schools and educational institutions, making them an attractive location for families wanting to relocate with their children to start a new life.
Shopping and Dining: There are plenty of shopping and dining opportunities in both areas, offering a diverse shopping experience. High streets in areas like Clapham, Kingston and Wimbledon have both department stores and a mix of more independent shops, including those that specialise in products from other countries, these greatly help people who have relocated to London get a taste of home; Polish, German and Italian Delis, Korean supermarkets, French patisseries, and South African shops, to name a few! There are also a variety of restaurants, cafes, and pubs with a wide range of cuisines from traditional British fare to international dishes, reflecting the county’s multicultural population.
‘Everything works here: reliable electricity and water. NHS is brilliant; the transport is reliable and easy to use. It’s a different feeling of comfort and safety living here.’
Community Care Services: Both areas place great emphasis on community-based care services. This includes home care, outpatient services, and community health clinics. There are also many professional networks and associations for healthcare professionals in this area, providing opportunities for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and staying informed about the industry. SW London in particular is known for its diverse population, and this diversity is reflected in the healthcare needs of the community. Working in the care profession in this area can provide exposure to a wide range of patient demographics and can truly enrich the professional working life of a live-in carer.
‘The first few months, I was very homesick, but I loved it after that. There is no cost to freedom here, which is nice. Knowing I can get on a bus to wherever and whenever.’
Whether you’re in the bustling streets of South West London or the tranquillity of Surrey’s countryside, both regions offer a high quality of life, with easy access to central London, cultural events, outdoor adventures, and their diverse and welcoming communities greatly help people from overseas integrate into their new life.