For an increasingly large number of people, London is becoming the chosen destination for a career move, or simply a fresh start. It’s impossible to not be drawn to a place where you could line up enough daily activities for a lifetime and still not get to see everything, or get to eat almost every national cuisine in the world within just one city. However to many, the excitement and opportunity offered by the big smoke is often offset by the common worries that any solo move to a sprawling metropolis often brings. To the untrained eye, London can seem like a daunting prospect. The reputation of Londoners being unfriendly can quickly create doubt in even the most outgoing new London arrival. Making eye contact, let alone meeting new people in London seems like an impossible task.
How Easy Is It To Make Friends In London?
If you’ve recently arrived, or simply looking at ways to make some new friends in London, don’t believe for a second that it’s difficult, in fact it’s actually very easy. It may not be present in the average guide to London, but armed with a couple of ideas, you can make the city like your hometown in record time. As closed and lonely as the capital sometimes seems, a small scratch on the surface reveals that the city is teeming with many social possibilities. That’s not to say it’s as simple as sitting in a bar alone and waiting for people to come to you! London is certainly one of those cities where a bit of creativity goes a long way. Forget simply ‘meeting people’, you need to get out there and start discovering what’s going on around you. Keep an eye out for something different and quirky – this is where the best opportunities can be found.
Fortunately Londoners don’t really think anything of someone turning up to a social event on their own, so you’re free to explore the city without worrying about sympathetic or judgmental looks from others. Similarly, there’ll be plenty of other people who’ve done the same so there’s plenty of opportunity for striking up a conversation with other solo attendees.
Another wonderful thing to note is that there’s such incredible diversity in London you can guarantee that no interest is too niche. Have a little look on the Internet for your most specific interests in London and there will almost definitely be an event or meeting where you can meet people who love the same things as you. Here are a few examples of great ways to meet people that go above and beyond the everyday.
Beer Tasting With A Social Spin
Despite the earlier comments, it is possible to meet new friends in London pubs – however the social element of this regular meetup means you won’t be left crying into your beer at the end of the evening. The Craft Beer Social Club in Shoreditch runs a monthly beer tasting meeting, boasting 15 tastings for their set price (not pint measures, at risk of impairing your socialising ability!) As well as the liquid leisure, they also offer gourmet snacks, and a foosball and ping pong table. During the summer months, you can enjoy the evening in style on their enviable outdoor terrace.
Cost: £24 (includes 15 beer tastings)
Address: 116 Commercial Street, London, E1 6NF
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street
The Thinking Man’s Approach
For those who like a bit of a brain workout whilst making friends, Thinking Bob offers events to engage your mind and challenge your preconceptions. On offer are informal organised debates, as well as a the fabulous ‘Talk to Strangers’ night – geared solely towards getting people talking to people they’ve never met before across a table. Events are hosted across London, so if you’re up for something a little more intellectually challenging, a membership with these guys will set you in good stead. And you might learn something, too.
Address: All over London
The Personal Touch
If you’re looking for something more tailored when it comes to your London social experience, there’s Savvy Club, who offer an incredible personal concierge service for those looking for something specifically suited to them happening in London. Sign up and they’ll quiz you on your interests and requirements in a short informal interview. After that, you’ll only be contacted and offered the opportunity to attend events that their experts think you’ll like. No more mass emails and irrelevant invites, and they also organise in-house events for members.
Every Two Weeks
Completely free and very low maintenance, just add your email to their mailing list and (unsurprisingly) every two weeks you’ll hear about a meet-up event. Either attend or don’t, it’s up to you.
The site doesn’t request any contact details, age or gender so groups are pretty wide-reaching and mixed, but that’s all part of the fun.
Whilst not completely free, this is one of the better sites for meet-ups, as the amount of user-activity means there’s always plenty going on. The advantage is that there’s lots of niche events that you can search through, as well as the ability to create your own event with just a few clicks.
The crowd also seems to be made up mostly of young professionals, so it’s a lot more buzzing and social without the dating connotation that hinders so many similar sites. By attending a City Socialising event you’re definitely onto a great way to make new friends in London.
A great website with a simple premise, either join, or make your own meetup. There are some huge groups on the site made up of people with similar interests, so there’s an element of online socialising as well as offline, so you can make an informed decision before actually making the effort to attend an event.
You pay depending on the events you attend, rather than a straight membership, usually this is around £10 or so per event, which covers entry to the venue. If it’s more activity-based, it’ll cost more to cover materials and equipment.
If nothing you’ve seen so far is pushing your buttons, there are plenty of ways to create your own social opportunities. Sites geared around socialising in big cities will often allow you to create your own events and pages, and connect you to locals who will sign up if it takes their fancy. This requires more work than simply showing up at someone else’s event, but the advantage is that you can tailor everything to ensure that the crowd is made up of people you’d like to connect with. It’s also relatively easy to find somewhere for your meetings and events – try contacting local bars/pubs/cafes through their Twitter, Facebook or email – chances are if you can pull a small crowd, they’ll be happy to clear an area or room for your gathering.