If you live in London you already know that you might have to move a few times in order to find the perfect flat and the best area that compliments your lifestyle.
London is a large beautiful city considered to be the “heart” of Europe. There are many opportunities here for people who are trying to build their career or grow within their profession. This city also gathers a great number of students from all around the world- London has some of the finest Universities in Europe. Regardless the reason you’ve decided to move to the “Big Smoke” one thing is for sure, you’ll need to think carefully about the area you choose to live in. Deciding where to live in London depends on a multitude of factors, such as cost, distance to work and more.
Making the wrong choice can result in spending money and time you don’t necessarily have. When flat-hunting try to keep in mind the fact that London has different neighbourhoods and regions, each with its own local culture and aesthetic.
In this post you will find some info on East, West, North and South London that might help you gain a clearer view on what suits you best, according to your lifestyle and budget.
East London is considered to be one of the most artistic areas of the city and a mix of old and new. It includes the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. It attracts a lot of musicians, designers, fashion lovers and a big number of students who would rather live here (due to the many Universities around the area). Nightlife in East London is amazing! People love to go out in Shoreditch, Hoxton, Dalston, Hackney and more. In the East side of the city, you can enjoy some of the best bars, restaurants, clubs, live gigs, markets, street art etc. In my opinion, one of the advantages here is that it attracts business people or “city” people as they tend to call them as well as party people. I would say that the East is the place that combines “business and pleasure” in the best way possible. Some parts of East may be considered unsafe in comparison to other parts.
Now let’s talk about rent and flats! Being so popular an area, one would automatically assume that rent is high or higher compared to North or South. That is partially true depending on which part of East you are after (that involves most parts of London actually). Rent could change dramatically from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. You will find higher rent on main streets such as Bethnal Green road (Bethnal Green) ,Shoreditch High Street (Shoreditch) or Kingsland Road (Dalston) than non-central streets. The more popular the street is the higher the rent will be.
West London includes the boroughs of Ealing, Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond. It is typically known as the posher side of the city, family friendly and “clean”. With no doubt, the most highly desirable places to live in West London are the areas of Notting Hill, Maida Vale and Kensington & Chelsea. Getting around in West London is not hard due to the seven (out of the twelve) London Underground lines. Apart from the areas thriving economy, it also has an equally dynamic environment in which to live and work. It contains a big number of pubs and fashion stores and hosts the Notting Hill Carnival every year (something you definitely MUST see whether you live West, East, South or North). Even though it has a lot to offer (entertainment wise) it is still considered to be more of a safe and family friendly choice than anything else.
Generally, one can say that rent in West London can be either expensive or super expensive depending on where you live. On the other hand, the further west you go, the cheaper the rent gets (plus, cheaper council tax). If you are not a millionaire, try to avoid areas such as Covent Garden, Mayfair, South Kensington and Parts of Notting Hill. If you are a millionaire… Hi, I am Maria, do you want to be my friend?!
North London for many is described as the intellectual side of London. North London is that little bit more affordable than certain other places in the city and its local population is varied. Students, families and workers all happily coexist in the same area. Some of the areas that are included in the North are Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Haringey, Camden, Highbury Islington (which is North-East). North London has a wealth of character, a multicultural environment and a cosmopolitan air that sets it apart from the rest of the capital. Why North? Well just like most parts of London, North London has a lot of parks and greenery, history and attractions. A disadvantage here is that one might feel some parts of the area are a bit “rough”. The quickest way to move around here is by tube, but there are also plenty of buses that you might find convenient.
Whether you are part of a family, a professional or a student, there there are living arrangements for everyone’s taste in North London.
South London is located South of the River Thames and includes 11 whole boroughs plus Richmond. South is known to have lower living costs because there are not as many tube lines that connect to the South side, compared to East, West and North. On the other hand, it contains an extensive overground network and a variety of buses that go South. Peckham, Brixton and Clapham are some of the most popular areas in South London as they combine a great nightlife and affordable fancy flats with a garden or a terrace. Everyone from professionals to families live in the area as well as students and the reason is that this place has more to offer than you would imagine. Culture, parks with beautiful views, events, markets, nightlife are some of the things that make this place special. South London is better for being greener and a more economical place to live. If we are keeping score about the opposing sides of the river, South London has a lower crime rate than North London nowadays. Many people think of South as the “roughest” part of London but that is not actually true.
Personally, I have always been fascinated by the idea of moving South sometime during my time in London. The energy down South is just amazing and you only feel it here. You can feel it in the air, in the streets and in the people. I really don’t know how to explain it.Plus you get the idea that you are not living in the city even though you are!
Note 1: Opinions on whether London is safe or not differ. In my opinion, London is one of the safest cities in Europe. Unless you walk through estates or dark alleys (at night), the chances that you are attacked/robbed are small.
Note 2 :Always think about council tax when you are looking into flats as that will be added to your monthly expenses (some areas have high council tax).
Choose your area considering the travel expenses as well as other things (like the time it takes you to get to work/uni etc.).
Look for more info on the neighbourhood you are interested in as well as the neighbourhoods around it (make sure you have all the facilities you may need near you).
Avoid main streets as rent can be much higher. Instead look into alleys and smaller streets.
Renting in London
If all this looks like a lot of work, stop stressing, it’s not that bad! At least you have us to help you out with a few tips!