London and the South East is one of the most affluent areas in the UK and is consequently home to a broad range of cultures and communities.
Many people are attracted to area for the exciting employment opportunities available in areas such as the arts, entertainment, fashion, healthcare, media and research and development. Tourism is also one of the prime industries of the region.
The historic city of London is a leading global city, attracting businesses in every sector, including finance, technology and retail. The equally prosperous South East attracts many high-technology companies, including Microsoft, Logica and Vodafone.
In addition to the big businesses attracted to London and the South East, tourism attracts people from across the UK and around the world.
There are five international airports within the region, which along with the high-speed Eurostar rail link, connects over 300 international cities directly to London and the South East. So it’s easy to see why businesses are attracted to the area.
The City of London itself is also incredibly well-connected, with the London Underground ‘The Tube’, the famous red double-decker buses and river boat services enabling easy cross-city travel. The introduction of a cycle-hire system across the city in 2010 has made cycling an increasingly popular way to travel. The excellent rail and road links also easily bring people in and out of the region.
Vibrant and cultural
Outside of work, there is plenty to see and do. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries and other institutions, including the British Museum, Natural History Museum, British Library and West End theatres. The City also boasts four World Heritage Sites; the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, all of which welcome many visitors throughout the year.
Other famous landmarks which draw large crowds include the Queen's official residence, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. There really is no shortage of places to visit.
The great outdoors
Despite being a large and bustling city, London also provides plenty of open spaces for you to enjoy. Hyde Park is particularly popular for sports and often hosts open-air concerts and events. London Zoo is based in Regent's Park and Primrose Hill is a popular spot to view the city skyline.
For the more adventurous, Epping Forest on the Essex border, is a popular venue for various outdoor activities, including mountain biking, walking, horse riding, golf, angling, and orienteering.
Sport is very important across the whole region, with all types of sports represented. The home of the England football team, Wembley Stadium in North London, is the biggest stadium in the UK. Twickenham, in West London is home to the England rugby union team and is also the world's largest rugby union stadium. The World famous Wimbledon, also in West London hosts the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
London is also the only city to host the Summer Olympics three times. The most recent Olympics in 2012 lead to the construction of a new 200-hectare Olympic Park, in Stratford, East London which has now opened up many of the sporting venues to the public. In-line with the rest of the country football features in the region, with five high-profile clubs; Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United.
There are also two Test cricket grounds, Lord's, which has hosted four finals of the Cricket World Cup and the Oval. Other key sporting events include the London Marathon and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race on the River Thames.
Food and drink
After all this activity, you’d be forgiven for wanting to sit down and relax with a meal and good company. The British are often teased for what is seen as their lack of culinary expertise, but there are plenty of dishes that are enjoyed in London and the South East that are known across the country.
Nothing quite says ‘British Food’ like fish and chips. Known the world over, this delicious treat is definitely top of the list for visitors to the region. Another traditional food is cockles; a small type of clam, they were a cheap staple food in the East End for decades.
For those with a sweet tooth, Eton Mess, named after the prestigious boys school of the same name, is a classic treat of crushed meringue, cream and strawberries.
Afternoon Tea is a delicious mix of both sweet and savoury. Delicate finger sandwiches, pastries, scones with jam and cream, all washed down with a pot of tea are a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Education and professional development
If education and ongoing professional development is important to you or other members of your family, there are many prestigious universities across the region attracting students from around the world.
London alone has 43 universities which form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. The best known is the University of Oxford, famous for its ornate colleges.
Other prestigious universities include Canterbury Christ Church University, Oxford Brookes University and the London School of Economics. London is also home to many specialist arts education institutions, including RADA, the Royal College of Art and the Royal College of Music.
With job opportunities at many global businesses and so much to see and do outside of work, London and the South East provides a diverse place to live and work.