London is divided into boroughs, each made up of several smaller areas called “wards”, which are often grouped together and labeled after the nearest rail or tube line. From an accommodation perspective, Central London is quite expensive and as a result, many students and expats on a budget will find accommodation between zones 2-4. Generally speaking, the rent prices to the south of the River
Thames and where the over ground rail and buses are used as the main source of transportation, will be lower.
Areas In London
When moving to London, one of the first things you will realize is that the city is separated into a lot of different areas called boroughs. These boroughs are then divided into even smaller areas known as wards. Depending on which borough you live in, your life and experience with the city can be vastly different ranging from different subcultures and lifestyles to varying price ranges for rrentals, rooms, and house shares.
Generally speaking, though, London can be broken into 4 different areas: North, South, East, and West London based on where these regions are compared to the River Thames. Typically areas north of the Thames are more expensive so if you are moving to study in London you may find flat sharing to be cheaper in Southern London. Here’s a quick guide to the different areas in London:
When Westerners think of London, West London is typically what comes to mind. This is where Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park are located (and where tourists go to catch a glimpse of the Welsh Guards). West London is a very expensive area that includes areas like Notting Hill, Kensington, and Chelsea. If you are moving to London on a budget this is most likely not the area you want to look at. There are slightly more affordable areas in West London, though, including Fulham, Hammersmith, and Shepherd’s Bush.
North London can also be expensive but is generally cheaper than West London. Home to some of the classic neighbourhoods, North London is a great area to live in if you are moving with family. Areas like Camden and Highgate are beautiful, safe, and within range of great schools if you have children that will study in London. For a more affordable area in North London you can try Hackney or the iconic Finsbury Park area.
If you’re a budding artist, hipster, or simply fancy the alternative lifestyle while living in London, in the eastern regions is where you will want to find a room in London. Certain areas in East London can get quite expensive, especially around places like Shoreditch, but as the hipster subculture continues to grow in East London new places continue to pop up which provide affordable alternatives. If the artistic side of London is what you want, check out areas in Bethnal Green, Dalston, and Wapping.
If you are moving to London on a budget, especially for those looking to study in London, South London may be where you want to spend your time looking for a room to share. The neighbourhoods in South London are newer than the iconic regions in Western London and typically come with a lower rental rate. Clapham, Battersea, and Wandsworth are all great places in South London to look into.
Regardless of which area you decide to stay in, with RoomMatesUK.com you can find rooms for rent in flatshares across London, which will help you reduce what you’re paying for rent and utilities, and even more importantly – meet new flatmates to buddy up and share a flat with, providing a smoother transition for your move to London.
City of London:
known as “The Square Mile”, it’s the smallest borough in London and covers the business and financial district. As the central business area, most of the community in this borough is combined of local and expatriate professionals. Rich in history and cultural monuments and one of London’s oldest Boroughs, the city of London offers many tourists locations such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Barbican centre. Accommodation in this Borough is very expensive and limited.
· City of London local council website: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
· Main stations in City of London: Liverpool Street, Blackfriars, Bank, Barbican, Cannon Street, Moorgate, St Paul’s, Fenchurch Street, Aldgate.
Covering a substantial portion of Central London, the Borough of Westminster offers a busy atmosphere of mixed shopping, socializing and residential areas. With its many bars, restaurants, clubs, museums and Royal parks (Such as Hyde park and Regents park), this Borough represents the hectic, yet cosmopolitan, ambiance of London. appealing to students and professionals, the rents in Westminster are very high, although if offers lower rents within its borders in areas such as Westbourne Park,
Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale and St Johns Wood and Paddington.
· Westminster local council website: www.westminster.gov.uk
· Main stations in Westminster: Victoria, Paddington, Charing Cross, Barker Street, Covent Garden, Embankment, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Regent Street, St Johns Wood, Maida Vale, Hyde Park Corner.
A busy Borough with many central roads, vivid nightlife, shopping areas and markets, Camden offers a more bohemian feeling. Camden offers various accommodation possibilities, from areas rich in green spaces and village-like ambiance to the more “snobbish” locations. The rent costs soar or drop according to the specific location within Camden.
· Camden local council website: www.camden.gov.uk
· Main stations in Camden: King’s Cross, Euston, Camden, Tottenham Court Road, Warren Street, Kentish Town, Holborn, Swiss Cottage, Belsize Park, Finchley Road, Hampstead, West Hampstead.
Popular for living, socializing and shopping, Islington offers many coffee shops, restaurants and bars along its Upper Street. The Borough also offers to the community the Farmers market, designer boutiques and the Angel shopping centre and cinema. Though the areas around Angel and Highbury are quite expensive to rent, many other parts of the Borough offer reasonable rent prices and good links to public transportation.
· Islington local council website: www.islington.gov.uk
· Main stations in Islington: Angel, Highbury & Islington, Archway, Arsenal, Holloway Road, Tufnell Park, Caledonian Road.
Covering the east of London from the first bend in the River Thames to the boarders of Hackney, the Borough’s main attraction of social activity surrounds Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Canary Wharf, Stepney and Wapping. This area hosts a mixture of cultures, mainly situated in the neighborhood of Bethnal Green, and offers many markets, museums, parks and festivals as well as the monumental Tower of London and the Tower Bridge. Tower Hamlets provides good accommodation around Regent Campus as well as housing complexes overlooking the river.
· Tower Hamlets local council website: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk
· Main stations in Tower Hamlet: Canary Wharf, Bethnal Green, Mile End, Tower Hill, White Chapel, Shadwell,Stepney Green, Bow Road.
This Borough is not easily accessible by the tube system, and most public transportation within it is made by buses and trains. It is mainly a residential area which, although less favorable than other central boroughs, offers many lively locations such as Hackney Empire, markets and many green parks and open spaces. There are many reasonably prices accommodation possibilities in Hackney, though it is recommended to first plan the route by public transportation from and to central London.
· Hackney local council website: www.hackney.gov.uk
· Main stations in Hackney: Finsbury Park, Manor House, Old Street, Hackney Central, Clapton, StokeNewington, Stamford Hill, Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Wick, London Fields.
Kensington and Chelsea:
This Borough is rich in historic and architectural monuments and offers many groomed parks and lovely streets. Many of London’s cultural sites are found in this Royal Borough including The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. Accommodation in Kensington and Chelsea are expensive due to the prestigious reputation of the area, however many house shares can be found within large Victorian houses.
· Kensington and Chelsea local council website: www.rbkc.gov.uk
· Main stations in Kensington and Chelsea: Knightsbridge, Notting Hill Gate, Westbourne Park, South Kensington, High street Kensington, West Kensington, Fulham Broadway, Hyde Park Corner, Bayswater.
Hammersmith and Fulham:
Located on the main public transportation routes into and out of the capital to the west, this borough offers an easy access to the West-End as well as an abundant of theaters, cinemas, shopping centers and clubs. The population of Fulham is mainly of Londoners by nature, while Hammersmith’s population is more divers and combined of different cultural groups. Some of the more popular areas for accommodation in Hammersmith and Fulham which are not so expensive are in Brook Green, Brackenbury and Ravenscourt park.
· Hammersmith and Fulham local council website: www.lbhf.gov.uk
· Main stations in Hammersmith and Fulham: Shepherds Bush, Parsons Green, Chiswick, Olympia, Fulham, Earls Court.
Lambeth is a popular, dynamic and divers borough which offers a mixture of commercial, residential, artistic and architectural locations. The bars and clubs in Brixton, the South Bank complex of galleries and theaters and the entertainment venues around the London eye provides a vivid atmosphere to this borough. Though some areas are considered to be wealthier, others suffer from poverty, so it is important to check first the safety of an area when searching for accommodation in Lambeth.
· Lambeth local council website: www.lambeth.gov.uk
· Main stations in Lambeth: Waterloo, Lambeth North, Vauxall, Oval, Stockwell, Brixton, Wandsworth Road, Clapham North/South/Common, Streatham Hill/Common, West Norwood, Tulse Hill.
Covering the area from the River Thames at London Bridge to the south, offering a pastoral ambiance across many “countryside” like areas. The main public transportation in Southwark is done by the over ground railway, which provide a short travel to London Bridge and Victoria. The renowned museums which reside in Southwark, including the Tate modern and the classical Dulwich Picture Gallery, makes it a favorable location for those with a passion to the arts. The accommodation in Southwark is generally cheaper than in many of the other central boroughs.
· Southwark local council website: www.southwark.gov.uk
· Main stations in Southwark: London Bridge, Elephant & Castle, Southwark, Borough, Bermondsey, Canada Water, Rotherhithe, South Bermondsey, East/North/West Dulwich, Queen’s Road Peckham.
Though mainly serviced by the over ground railway, it is easily accessible to the City using the Docklands Light Railway. A less hectic borough than others, Lewisham offers many parks, markets and a more natural feeling. The accommodation in Lewisham is considerably cheaper than other boroughs, though the public transportation venues are not considered as the best for an easy access to the city center.
· Lewisham local council website: www.lewisham.gov.uk
· Main stations in Lewisham: Lewisham, New Cross, New Cross Gate, Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Blackheath, Deptford, Beckenham Hill, Catford, Ravensbourne.
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