When you move to London, it can be a lonely place if you don’t know anyone. The city is boomingly large, everyone is in a rush, and god forbid if you ever make accidental eye contact with someone on the tube.
Londoners aren’t known for being friendly folk. It’s true that in other parts of the UK you might be on more familiar terms with your neighbours, people might start a conversation with you on the bus, and you may be on first name terms with the local corner shop owner. But there are friendly faces to be found in this city, you just have to find them.
Meeting people in London usually requires some effort on your behalf- if you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re unlikely to meet anyone new.
How To Make Friends In London
So without further ado, here are 10 ways that you could try out to meet people in London. Not all of them will be up your street, but hopefully you’ll come away with a couple of ideas which you can try out.
1. Move into a house share
When you are moving to London for the first time, it’s a great idea to move into a house share so that you can meet new people as soon as you arrive in the city. House shares and flat shares are always readily available in London- with people moving in and out of the city every single day.
Sites like Spareroom can be extremely useful for finding a flat share (and flat mates) that will suit you. You can filter the results by location and price, and you can also filter by flat mate characteristics. For example, you can filter by non-smoking, pet owner ship, age of current house mates, gender and more!
On Spareroom, the current housemates can also write a little description about the home, and about the people that currently live there. This means that you can get a taste of their personalities, interests, and the overall vibe of the house which can be very helpful to determine whether you will get along.
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2. Use Facebook groups
There are lots of Facebook groups which are specifically dedicated to bringing people together in London. If you’re coming to London from another country, these can be particularly helpful to find friends who are also feeling far away from home.
Kiwis In London
To chat with Kiwis and Aussies who are also living and working in London, head to the Kiwis In London Chat Facebook group. The group host regular events which are the perfect places for making new friends if you have newly moved to London from down under.
There is also the Kiwis In London page, (which has over 80k likes!) where you can find job listings and room listings if you haven’t made the move to London just yet.
Aussies In London
A group for aussies living in London! Aussies in London is a great group to join if you are an expat looking to make some new friends. Again, this group do organise events, and you may even find more specialist groups like Aussies in London theatre groups and other more niche collectives that you could join based on your interests.
The Non-Boring London Collective
The Non-Boring London Collective started as a group for couples, but has evolved into a welcoming group that hosts events for everyone! Their main demographic is people aged 25-35, and the collective welcomes people from all over the world to join them.
The group hosts regular meet ups all over London- from their monthly drinks meet up to a monthly dinner club. They are all about ‘doing fun things, with fun people!’
London New Girl
This group is for expat women, aptly named London New Girl. Use this group as a guide to moving to London, and as a place to connect and discuss the city with other London newbies.
3. Connect with old acquaintances
You know that person you went to school or uni with, you’d say hi to them if you saw them in the street but have never hung out with one on one? If you’re looking for ways to make new friends in London, it’s a great idea to reach out to people you already know, and see if they’d like to grab a coffee and catch up.
Building on existing acquaintances is a great way to build friendships in London because you already have some common ground and know a little about one another.
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4. Volunteer locally
Every neighbourhood in London has no shortage of opportunities to volunteer to help out the local community. Whether that’s through local food banks, youth groups or fundraising. Volunteering is a great way to meet people in London- pick a cause that’s close to your heart and you’ll soon meet other like-minded individuals.
5. Join clubs or groups that interest you
Just like when you were at university, London has societies, clubs and groups of just about any description. In most local areas there will be lots of social groups like book clubs, climbing clubs, craft clubs- you name it, there will be a club for it.
Think about your key interests and then seek out a dedicated social club- you’re bound to meet lots of new friends who share a similar interest to you.
Many of these groups are free (or cost very little) to join, so they are a great choice if you are looking to save money in London.
6. Take up a new hobby
Trying out something new will challenge you, and you might also pick up a new skill too! Always fancied salsa dancing? Life drawing? Pottery classes?
See what opportunities are in your local area and put your name down for a class or two. You never know, your new hobby might well become your biggest passion! And if you make some new friends, it’s a bonus.
A great place to start looking (and saving some money in the process) is LivingSocial. There are tons of London-based offers for courses, classes, and more.
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7. Join a fitness class or sports team
People bond over sports- it’s a fact! If you’re already a seasoned badminton player, netball player or cricket player you won’t have to look hard to find sports teams that you can join in your local borough. These sports are all very popular with people of all ages.
If you’re not so into team sports, you could join a local running club, or even sign up to do a free outdoor fitness class (check to see if your local park holds these!). Another brilliant way to make friends and exercise at the same time is to use your local outdoor gym- many regular outdoor gym goers say that there is a community spirit that you don’t usually find in indoor gyms.
8. Use friendship apps
Sure you’ve probably heard of the likes of Bumble, Tinder and Happen for dating- but did you know that there are friendship apps too? These apps can be a great way to make new friends in London.
Bumble BFF is similar to the Bumble dating app, but for platonic friendships only. All you need to do is create a profile, answer a few questions about yourself, and upload a couple of photos. You can then swipe right on people that you’d like to connect with.
Unlike the dating app, either person can make the first move and initiate a conversation.
Huggle is aimed at finding friends in places you already visit frequently. So that might be someone you can go to the gym with, someone to visit the latest bar with, or maybe someone who just fancies a chat over a coffee and a cake.
The Peanut app is aimed at new mums, to connect them with other mothers in their local area. Use the app to organise meet ups, play dates and to exchange helpful support and advice on all things babies. Early motherhood can be a lonely time, so this app could be perfect for meeting other mums who are also up in the middle of the night!
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9. Go solo
If you’re holding back from going to events that you are interested in because you don’t want to go on your own- be brave! Go solo to events and who knows who you might meet. If the event is in a specific niche or interest, you’re likely to meet a ton of people who all have the same niche interest that you do.
Don’t be afraid to show up by yourself- it’s a strong move, and there will be tons of other people who are also in the same boat who have attended by themselves.
10. Start your own group!
If you can’t find a group or club that you’d like to join locally, why not start one of your own? Whether it’s a running club, a book club, or a knitting club, you can bet that there will be other people in your area who would be interested in joining.
David Gradon did just that, and founded The Great London Friendship Project in 2021. They host 3-4 fun community weekly events across London designed to help young Londoners in their 20s and 30s meet new people, form friendships and make great memories in the process. They offer a range of different events on offer, from board games afternoons, social walks, pub quizzes, to silent discos. It’s completely free to join and through their partnerships with venues across London, all their events are either free or extremely low-cost.
Get the word out on Facebook, Instagram or on a blog, and create a friendship collective of your own. Maybe you’ll even be teaching other people how to make friends in London themselves?!
Remember, if you join a group or team and it doesn’t work out, that’s ok! Just try again with something new. Not everyone you meet will have the same interests and values as yourself, and it is all part of the process of trying new things and meeting new people. Dust yourself off, and start again! Great friendships can take time and patience- but London is a big city with many people, so you’re bound to find your new bestie some way or another.