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We spent last summer housesitting in London with TrustedHousesitters, which is the only housesitting and petsitting website we currently use. While some of our international
The reason we signed up for that particular housesitting website and the reason we’ve continued using it for the past few years is its variety of sits around the world.
Read first: Find out how house sitting works so you can get started with this lifestyle.
Finding back-to-back housesits in the London area for 10 weeks was actually fairly easy. We even had to turn down a few sits and we had several timeframes with multiple options from which to choose!
We thoroughly enjoyed spending the summer in London, especially since there was a massive heat wave so it felt like real summer!! It was a much needed blast of heat and sunshine for me. It was also ideal for all the dog walks we did in the mornings and evenings.
After our many experiences housesitting in Edinburgh earlier in the year, we left for London in June. This was our second big chunk of housesitting gigs in 2018, with the final leg taking place in beautiful Northern Spain.
Housesitting in London with TrustedHousesitters
There are countless listings for available housesits in and around London. TrustedHousesitters is based in the UK, so the bulk of their listings are in the country.
They – of course – have listings worldwide, and you could actually just keep traveling full-time as an international petsitter using THS. Many people do!
There are many retirees or fellow digital nomads like myself who just bounce from one sit to the next, exploring new areas or returning to favorites year after year. It’s an incredible way to meet new people, explore different areas, and to enjoy the comforts of home and companionship of pets along the way.
Read next: Bouncing around and house sitting in Edinburgh for a few months.
Housesitting in London was super easy for us after living and housesitting in Edinburgh for a while. We had also been to London several times each for various reasons, so we were much more flexible in our locations and types of sits.
That’s something you always need to consider:
If you intend to be a tourist in that location, make sure you first prioritize the needs of the pets and the home before you make any tourist plans!
Read next: 11 lessons I’ve learned through house sitting (so far!)
You cannot go out for full days every day of your housesit. Your first obligation is to the animals. Now, if you want to traipse around with your new doggy friend to accompany you, go for it! With the homeowner’s approval, of course.
We did a wonderful mixture of housesits in London last summer. Just take a look at all these adorable faces!
Aren’t we lucky?!
Rosa the Romanian Rescue in Leytonstone
We started our summer of housesitting in London with sweet Rosa, a rescue dog from Romania. Her humans were fabulous at welcoming us into their home and into their lives.
They picked us up from the Tube station to drive us to the house with our bags, which was such a kind gesture. They also cooked us a lovely welcome meal! We enjoyed having a full evening to get to know each other and to learn all about Rosa.
This sweet girl loves her new home so much! She doesn’t, however, love other dogs as much. While walking her in the park, we had to keep her on her lead and keep a firm grasp as well.
I will say, the owners built it up to the point that I was a little nervous about handling her on my own. But she was no trouble at all! Just look at that slack lead!
If you’re considering a dog sit and you’re not very comfortable with strong dogs or dogs who pull on the lead, then you need to take that into account before taking an assignment.
These folks had been seriously let down before when their housesitter quit in the middle of her assignment! She said she felt uncomfortable walking Rosa, despite the warnings of her strength on the lead. That, to me, is inexcusable.
You have to know your own limits and be honest with any homeowner or housesitter you’re communicating with before agreements are finalized. If you are weak or frail at all, then you should not accept any sit with warnings of a strong dog. It’s just not safe and you are responsible for knowing what you are capable of doing.
Luckily, we had the most wonderful time with sweet Rosa! We had no issues at all while walking her and enjoyed all the cuddles in the world when we were at home. We adored her!
Angus the Dapper Scottish Gent in Croydon
Angus, our beloved buddy!! Our good friend has the cutest Staffy whose face you might recognize if you follow me on Instagram. He has made regular appearances over the years, staying with us in Edinburgh for a few days and traipsing about Pitlochry and the beaches of St. Andrews as well.
Check out the beautiful Scottish town of Pitlochry and why I love it so much!
Our friend recently moved to London, obviously taking Gus with her. So when we decided we wanted to head that way for the summer, we let her know and hoped we could catch up! She travels quite a bit for work, so we were happily able to help out when she needed someone to look after Angus.
To be fair, we were the lucky ones who got to spend a few days with him!
This sit clearly wasn’t arranged through TrustedHousesitters and was more of just a happy, lucky reunion with this adorable ball of love!
Alex & Anna the Russian Blues in Kingston-Upon-Thames
For a change of pace, we accepted a longer sit farther out of the city center without any dogs. These two feline beauties live in a gorgeous area along the River Thames that we had never ventured out to before.
Wimbledon and Richmond are both nearby and are popular spots for tourists on an extended visit to London. But Kingston upon Thames was just as lovely! A thriving market town back in the day, the
We loved walking along the river and did so most days. We also took two boat trips along the river while we were there! And we were even able to hop onto the train to get into the city so easily.
We also grabbed a bus to Wimbledon during its famous tournament. Although we didn’t end up catching a game, we took in the atmosphere around the stadiums and watched the center court match on a big screen at a local pub.
The convenience of staying in Kingston was amazing, but these two cuties were the real highlight!
Alex is super talkative and both of them just loved getting attention. Cats are generally easy to care for, so I got loads of work done during this sit with lots of lap-cat time, and we still had tons of time to explore. It was ideal!
Mama Cass the Cuddler in Hackney
Mama Cass!! This sweetheart cuddles more than any dog I’d met before. She was obsessed with my husband. I definitely had to vie for attention during our two weeks with her!
She was another pup who doesn’t love other dogs, so we had to keep her on the lead all the time. But with London Fields just behind the flat, we had ample space to wander without any worries.
And she was such a gem when we took her to bars and restaurants with us! She, predictably, attracted much adoration and attention from all the staff and other guests, too.
It’s amazing how easily you can socialize when you’re with a dog. Other dog lovers are quick to offer a cuddle and to also chat with the human on the other end of the lead.
This makes it so easy to get to know the locals better, chatting away in parks and cafes and learning local lingo along the way. It’s also a great way to find out about local events that you might be able to check out while you’re there!
Zoff the Scruffy Lovebug in Bradford-on-Avon
We decided to take a sit well outside of London for a little mini-break, renting a car to do so for a bit more flexibility. While this definitely increased our costs for the month, it was worth it for the adventure!
Zoff lives in a rural area, so having a car was vital. There was a ruined castle around the corner and the Bath Rugby Association headquarters around the other corner. There were also countless farm animals making a ruckus in every direction!
We had spent so much time in London that a country break was lovely. Finally remembering how many stars were in the night sky was utterly refreshing. And we marveled at how clean air can fill your lungs to near-bursting!
Zoff was a great car companion, too. We did a day out in the Cotswolds together, stopping at Castle Combe to enjoy lunch in the midst of this adorable little village.
When we left this sit, we still had the car for another two days. So we took a little side-trip adventure to Dover to see the famous White Cliffs. It was such a lovely day out, and I was so grateful that we had this extra time to explore farther afield!
Pippin the Precious in Carshalton
To finish out our summer in London, we had the absolute pleasure of spending three weeks with this precious girl.
Pippin’s parents had posted for a short sit earlier in the summer. We applied, but they had just confirmed another sitter. Instead, they asked if we were interested in covering most of August. They were getting married and taking a honeymoon, which was enough stress for them without also worrying about Pip!
We happily accepted and were so glad we did!
Their home is a new build, so we were very comfortable and felt like we were living the high life for a few weeks! And their neighbors were so very welcoming and kind to us, helping us whenever we asked anything.
Darling Pippin had us rolling with laughter at her evening antics and absolutely smitten with her beauty.
She loved waking me up each morning in creative ways that usually involved her staring at me from some bizarre angle. And she even sat on my lap for a few minutes…a feat not seen before or since! But I took it as a small victory.
We truly pride ourselves on being animal people, which is vital to being a successful house and pet sitter. You must adore the animals that you’ve been entrusted to love. And you also have to cater to their needs and pander to their quirks.
Respecting their different routines and doting on them while their families are away is so important. They can be frightened and concerned, needing comfort and reassurance that all is well.
Sweet Pip was our beloved companion for three weeks and it broke our hearts to leave her once her family came home. But that’s the nature of these housesits: fall in love quickly, but leave them with the love of their own families in the end.
Recommendations for Housesitting in London
If you’re planning to do something like what we did, then I recommend you take a few considerations into account:
1. Know your schedule.
Decide how much time you want to be spending as a tourist versus at home with the pets. Since I work while we travel, I am home most often. If we’re in a new area that we want to explore, we plan accordingly. In London, we didn’t need to redo the tourist attractions we’ve both already done, so we enjoyed the experience of living like a local instead.
Generally, while housesitting, I try to be away only for a meal or a few hours of running errands. If we want to explore, we make sure to do so when we have cats. Otherwise, we take the dogs with us!
2. Plan carefully.
You can quite easily arrange back-to-back housesits in London like we did. We only had a 2-night gap in a 10-week span! But you have to be flexible.
You might need to take a sit in a different area than you are familiar with or from where you intended to stay. Or you might need to compromise on the style of accommodation or the length of the sit, etc. Be flexible and you can easily make it work.
3. Confirm arrival/departure expectations.
Since we did back-to-back sits, there were a few times when we had to rush from one to the next. With two of us, we could also split up. One of us could stay for a hand-off with an arriving homeowner while the other did the hand-off with a departing homeowner.
Since flights are fixed, those are the most challenging to accommodate. If the homeowner can be flexible, that makes it much easier for transitions. Confirming these crucial details in advance can save you a few headaches.
4. Explore the local neighborhood!
What we loved most about housesitting in London was the variety of homes and neighborhoods we got to enjoy. These were areas we otherwise never would have visited. We were farther north of
We relished the opportunity to become more familiar with London on a grander scale. Don’t be afraid to take a sit in a new area and check it out for yourself!
5. Mind the gap.
Not just the one between the platform and the Tube, but between your expectations and reality. Remember that we all have our own perceptions and interpretations of everything.
I can’t count the number of times in relevant Facebook groups when I’ve seen a housesitter or homeowner complain about the cleanliness or state of a home.
If you are a super neat-freak, then maybe housesitting isn’t for you. If you are incredibly picky about your routines or how you live your life, then housesitting – and especially petsitting – probably isn’t for you.
You must be adaptable, understanding, and flexible to enjoy this lifestyle. Don’t expect someone else’s home to look like yours and, homeowners, you can’t expect a housesitter to be your servant.
Daily life is messy for all of us. So just try to be understanding and appreciative of this wonderful exchange of time and shared
That’s it for our summer in London! Let me know if you have questions about housesitting with TrustedHousesitters. I’m always happy to help!
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