Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash
Is London a good place to raise a family? Can you actually raise kids in the capital city? Of course you can!
In fact, in terms of pure numbers, London has more kids than anywhere else, so it can't be too hard to raise them here.
But where to raise your kids is always going to be an important decision. There are lots of factors that you should consider and in this article we have covered the most important.
The pros of raising kids in London are numerous:
There are a few cons of raising kids in London:
For most parents, making sure that their children have a good education is a high priority. Schooling in London is a real mixture, so you'll have to think carefully about where to live and how much to spend.
A key distinction is between private (fee-paying) and public education:
Safety is likely to be a consideration when you are thinking of family. If we go by reported crime statistics, the safest boroughs in London are Richmond-upon-Thames, Harrow and Bexley. You can find all the details of the other safest areas here.
One of the things that most kids really need is space to run around and places to get mucky and explore nature. Gardens in the London area are often small to non-existent, so it is a good job that London is blessed with a large number of wonderful parks, from the tiny garden squares (usually only for local residents) to the world famous Hyde Park (free to all) and Kew Gardens (not free, but well worth the entry cost).
Most of the larger parks allow for activities such as cycling and boating, for example Battersea Park and Dulwich Park. Battersea Park also has a great little zoo that is perfect for kids.
Culture for kids cuts two ways. They can observe/experience it and they can actually take part.
You can take them to listen to an orchestra AND they can play in it. They can go to the theatre AND they can strut your stuff on stage.
Of course this is also true for adults; there are plenty of adults who enjoy amateur orchestra or dance classes. But I guess it is more true for kids.
In London your kids will be amazing well provided for however they want to enjoy the arts.
Take classical music for example. For a very early age they can enjoy great classical music with Bach to Baby. You can take them to FUNharmonics at the Royal Festival Hall. Other world-renown venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the Wigmore Hall run similar programmes for children of various ages.
But if they also want to make music themselves the opportunities are almost endless. You can find anything from local teachers up to the junior programmes of the great music institutions like the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music (these latter options if your kids show Mozart tendencies lol).
Theatre is similar. You can open their minds with trips to the Unicorn Theatre to see wonderful, age-appropriate acting. If they want a go themselves, stage schools are on every street corner. And in London, you never know when a talent agent might be lurking around looking for the next Daniel Radcliffe!
For older children, having the opportunity to get work experience in a field they are interested in can be life changing. They can get a real feel for how different careers might suit them, which can drive their choices of A-levels and university courses they apply for. Meeting a mentor can open horizons that were invisible before and change a child's expectations of what they can achieve in life.
London is by far the biggest city in the UK, and has many of the biggest, most innovative businesses. Hence the opportunities for work experience in London are so much greater than anywhere else. When but London could you get work experience with giants of investment banking like JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley?
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