Top Tips to Finding Accommodation in London

 

If you are looking to move into the city soon but don’t quite know where the best place for you is, this is a short guide to some things to consider when finding accommodation in London.

There are many different types of housing options to think about, from flat shares to renting rooms, buying properties or simply letting a room. There is also a lot of options you have in terms of who you choose to help you make your decision a little easier and less stressful. Estate agents such as Leo Newman specialised in letting out properties in central London and do most of the work for you.

Hampstead, London

The first and probably most important thing to consider when choosing where to live is the budget you have available to you. It’s no secret that generally, real estate prices in London are extortionate. According to your needs, the price will typically vary between £450 and £2000 per month and often fluctuate depending on the type of accommodation (rooms for rent, flat share, individual studio, etc). A big factor in price is also dependent on the area of your place of residence. If you’re familiar with the London Underground, you’ll understand that it works within zones. Housing located in zones 1 and 2 will usually be more expensive than those located in zones 3, 4, 5 and 6. This is because the higher the zone number, the further away from London you are moving out!

Here is quick guide of the different areas of London to help you to find the best area for you to live in:

Central London

Central London is the heart of everything London with so much to do and see! It is home to some of the most beautiful houses, flats, and apartments, but that also means some of the priciest.

North London

Some of the most popular areas to live in North London are Islington and Camden with them being residential friendly. Camden is a fun and unique area, famous for its market and bars, keeping its bohemian and hippie styles. Neighbourhoods such as Angel are also an increasingly popular area to reside.

South London

South London has the reputation for being the most popular neighbourhood. But you need to know that tube lines are poorly developed and the bus remains the preferred means of transport.

West London

West London is known to be the richest and plushest area of London. This is where the TV show ‘Made in Chelsea’ is filmed, and if you watch that you’ll know what kind of people you’ll find living here! The nicest but most expensive places to live in this region are the areas Chelsea, Kensington, and Notting Hill.

East London

Since the 2012 London Olympics in Stratford, East London has become more and more of an industrial neighbourhood and residential area. Due to the sporting event however, it has also meant that house and rent prices have gone through the roof! Some of East London’s best known places are Brick Lane and Whitechapel.

Hoxton, London

With the brief area guide, it is also important to note that when totaling everything up, often the prices do not include other essentials such as water and electricity bills.

It is also imperative that you visit the where you plan to move into before you commit, especially in regards to the roommates is you are sharing accommodation. The wrong roommate will have a huge impact on your living experience!

Once you have considered all of the above (it’s not as much as you think), you can enjoy the wonders that living in London has to offer!

Welcome to Limehouse

 

welcometolimehouse

Welcome to the neighbourhood everyone! Today I want to introduce you all to Limehouse, the little section of London I’ve called home for the past two and a half years.

Straddling the line between the glossy skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and The City of London, Limehouse is a cosy community wrapped around a small basin full of canal and leisure boats.

Limehouse Basin

Limehouse Basin with Canary Wharf in the background.

Canal in Limehouse

Canal in Limehouse looking towards Canary Wharf

We Limehousians (that’s what I’m calling us) get our own little DLR station that connects us to Canary Wharf to the east, Greenwich to the south, and Tower Bridge and Bank to the west. These transport connections make the neighbourhood especially popular with finance folk (my other half included), who enjoy an easy 10-minute commute to the offices in either Canary Wharf or The City.

Among Limehouse’s many charms is its maritime heritage. The architectural aesthetic in this part of London, which extends out to the Docklands, Greenwich, and Wapping, is decidedly different from the prim and proper Victorian and Georgian town homes of West London.

In contrast to the leafy residential streets that sprung up during the height of Britain’s imperial might, Limehouse was a gritty rough and tumble area where ships docked to offload goods from far away lands. Narrow Street, a pretty thoroughfare running parallel to the River Thames, keeps much of this hearty history alive through its well preserved facades.

Narrow Street

St. Dunstans Wharf, Narrow Street

Narrow Street

Sailmaker House, Narrow Street

Limehouse Wharf, Narrow Street

Limehouse Wharf, Narrow Street

While the stevedores, sailors and opium dens (this was the site of London’s original Chinatown) are long gone, Limehouse still boasts one pub that can trace its origins back over 500 years. The Grapes, a watering hole teetering on the banks of the River Thames, is one of the city’s oldest pubs and was even mentioned in a Dickens novel. It’s front door almost entirely obscured by overflowing flower pots in summer, I’ll admit to slipping in for a weekday lunch here and there.

Limehouse, of course, isn’t without its flaws. Some would probably argue that the hodgepodge of modern apartment buildings takes away from the charm of the area. Others point to the lack of amenities in the area. Aside from The Grapes, there are only one or two other pubs in the area and very few cafes. There is only one major supermarket here, one dry cleaner, and not much else on the shopping front.

As a neighbourhood to call home, Limehouse doesn’t fit the London stereotype. It’s not as chic as Kensington, not as trendy as Camden, and not as artsy as Shoreditch. With easy transport links, water views, and quiet residential streets, Limehouse is, however, just right for me 😉

The Narrow

Gordan Ramsay’s pub ‘The Narrow’ on Narrow Street

London Neighbourhood Guides: Chelsea

 

chelsea

Chelsea

This extremely affluent West London neighbourhood has some of the most expensive flats in the city. Consisting of beautifully preserved Victorian-era buildings filled with luxury flats, independently owned restaurants, and boutique shopping, Chelsea is a highly desirable and sought-after part of London.

Advantages – Beautiful historic neighbourhood with loads of restaurants, boutique shops.

Disadvantages –  Extremely costly, poor transportation links to the rest of London and London airports.

The Basics

Borough: Kensington and Chelsea
Postcode: SW10, SW3
Average price for a 1-bedroom flat: 465/wk
Best For: Working professionals, executives, couples and families

Transportation

Underground:
Chelsea is not particularly well-connected through the London Underground System, but it does border the following stations:
South Kensington (District and Circle, Piccadilly Lines)
Gloucester Road (District and Circle, Piccadilly Lines)
Earl’s Court (District and Circle, Piccadilly Lines)
West Brompton (District Line, Overground Line)
Sloane Square (District and Circle Line)
Overground:
West Brompton (Clapham Junction to Stratford)
Imperial Wharf (Clapham Junction to Stratford)
Rail:
Victoria – Service to Gatwick Airport, London Bridge, Sutton and more
Buses:
Several major bus lines run through Chelsea and connect it to Liverpool Street, Battersea, Hammersmith, Waterloo, and Clapham Junction.

Attractions/Things to do

Shopping:
King’s Road – Acts as Chelsea’s main road and is populated with boutique shops, cinemas, and restaurants. It is also just a short walk from Sloane Square Underground Station.
Sloane Square – Upmarket area filled with luxury shops, restaurants, and cafes. It is located outside Sloane Square Underground Station.
Markets:
Chelsea Farmers Market – Open daily, the market is within walking distance from South Kensington Underground Station. It is a good place to purchase organic and specialty goods.
Cinema:
Curzon Cinema Chelsea – Small boutique cinema close to Sloane Square Underground Station
Cineworld Chelsea – Major cinema chain showing all major box office films
Parks:
Burtons Court – Close to Sloane Square, there is space for dog walking, running, and casual sports as well as a few tennis courts.
Battersea Park – Located across the river from Chelsea in Battersea, the park features a boating lake, duck pond, sports pitches, children’s petting zoo, tennis courts, and much more.

Culture

Chelsea is teeming with cultural events. It hosts the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show each summer and is home to Chelsea FC, a premier league football club. The Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the V&A Museum are also very close by in neighbouring South Kensington.

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London Neighbourhood Guides: Ealing

 

ealing

Ealing

Ealing is a quiet, leafy suburban area consisting mainly of terraced homes, parks, and a shopping mall. It is popular with commuters and enjoys easy access to Heathrow Airport, as well as Central London.

Advantages – Close to Heathrow Airport, good (but lengthy) connections to Central London, very affordable neighbourhood.

Disadvantages – Lacks cosmopolitan feel, certain areas look a bit shabby, limited shopping opportunities.

The Basics

Borough: Ealing
Postcode: W5
Average price for a 1-bedroom flat: 275/wk
Best For: Families, Couples, Commuters working along the Central Line, or in The City of London

Transportation

Underground:
Ealing Broadway (Central and District Lines) – Commercial and shopping area close to the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.
Ealing Common (Piccadilly and District Lines) – Residential area close to Ealing Common Park.
North Ealing (Piccadilly Line) – Residential area.
South Ealing (Piccadilly Line) – Residential area close to Gunnersbury Park.
National Rail:
Ealing Broadway – Trains to Heathrow Airport, London Paddington, Reading, Oxford, and more.
Bus:
Numerous buses to White City, Golders Green, Willesden, and Uxbridge.

Attractions/Things to do

Shopping:
Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre – Indoor/outdoor shopping mall with several major high street brands, cafes (Starbucks, Costa Coffee), and supermarkets (Tesco). Surrounding the main shopping centre are several additional streets filled with restaurants, independent shops, and other businesses.
Cinema:
The closest cinemas to Ealing are the Cineworld in Hammersmith and the Vue Cinema in Shepherd’s Bush.
Parks:
Ealing Common – Short walk from Ealing Common Underground Station. This park is largely made up of an open lawn and is used for jogging, dog walking, and lawn sports.
Gunnersbury Park – Largest park in Ealing with woods, lakes, tennis courts, football and cricket pitches. Close to South Ealing and Ealing Common stations.
Culture:
Ealing is not known for its many cultural offerings, but there are a few decent farmer’s markets in the area, and the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre hosts seasonal events throughout the year.

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London Neighbourhood Guides: West Kensington

 

west_kensington

West Kensington

This shabbier end of Kensington actually belongs to the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Consisting mainly of Victorian-era flats, West Kensington is popular with those who work in The City of London and other parts of Central London. West Kensington residents enjoy lower rents than their neighbours in Kensington, but are still only a few minutes from all that Kensington has to offer.

Advantages – Good transportation links and proximity to Heathrow Airport, fairly affordable accommodation, distinctly ‘London’ neighbourhood.

Disadvantages – A bit shabby-looking in some places, older flats*, limited greenery and parks.

The Basics

Borough: Hammersmith and Fulham
Postcode: W14
Average price for a 1-bedroom flat: 370/wk
Best For: Working professionals, families, students

Transportation

Underground:
West Kensington (District Line) – Residential area close to Queen’s Club, several pubs, and a Tesco Superstore.
Barons Court (Piccadilly Line, District Line) – Residential area close to Queen’s Club.
Buses:
Numerous buses to Hammersmith, Wandsworth, Heathrow Airport, and King’s Cross.

Attractions/Things to do

Shopping:
High Street Kensington – Located in neighbouring Kensington, this top London high street is just a 30-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from West Kensington and has a multitude of major international brands, chic restaurants, and several grocery stores.
Tesco Superstore – Large, ‘American-style’ supermarket within a short walk from the West Kensington Underground Station.
King’s Mall and Kings Street – Located two tube stops in Hammersmith. Together, King’s Mall and Kings Street has numerous restaurants, cafes, high street brands, and discount shops. It is also home to the famous Lyric Theatre as well as a weekly Farmer’s Market held each Saturday.
Cinemas:
Cineworld Fulham – 10-minute bus ride from West Kensington Station. This is a large cinema that shows all the latest blockbuster films.
ODEON Kensington – In Kensington, the ODEON is a major cinema showing blockbuster and special interest films.
Parks:
West Kensington does not have any major parks, but is fairly close to Holland Park and Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park, both located in nearby Kensington.
Culture:
Two major exhibition spaces – the Olympia Exhibition Centre and the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre – are within the vicinity of West Kensington and host all kinds of events throughout the year. In addition, West Kensington is very near major museums, including the V&A Museum, Natural History Museum, and Kensington Palace

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*I used to live in West Kensington. Specifically, I lived in this *lovely* flat.

London Neighbourhood Guides: Richmond

 
Kew Gardens - Richmond

Kew Gardens – Richmond

Richmond

An affluent and leafy suburb, Richmond is located on the outskirts of London and is a popular community neighbourhoods thanks to its rail connection with Waterloo station.

Advantages – Family-friendly village feel, affluent area with plenty of green space

Disadvantages – Limited underground connections, costly neighbourhood

The Basics

Borough: Richmond upon Thames
Postcode: TW9, TW10
Average price for a 1-bedroom flat: 370/wk
Best for: Families, established professionals

Transportation

Underground:
Kew Gardens (District Line) – Residential area famous for its proximity to Kew Gardens.
Richmond (District Line) – Leafy village and residential area.
National Rail:
Richmond – Regular trains to Waterloo (London), Stratford (London), Reading, and Windsor.
Bus:
Numerous buses to Hammersmith, Clapham Junction, Heathrow Terminal 5, and Piccadilly Circus.

Attractions/Things to do

Shopping:
Kew Village – Close to Kew Gardens Underground Stations. Village area with high-end boutique shops.
Kew Retail Park – Walking distance from Kew Gardens Underground Station. This is a modern shopping area with stores like The Gap and TK Maxx.
Richmond Town – George Street near Richmond Underground Station is a high street full of shops, restaurants and cafes.
Cinemas:
ODEON Cinema – Short walk from Richmond Underground Station. Chain cinema showing major box office films.
Parks:
Richmond Park – 2,300 acre park with enormous open lawns, wild deer, playground, walking/biking trails, and much more.
Culture:
Richmond is home to numerous markets and events, as well as Kew Gardens and Richmond Park. The latter two are popular tourist destinations that host a multitude of events each year.

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London Neighbourhood Guides: Greenwich

 
Image Credit: Flickr User Graeme_Smith

Image Credit: Flickr User Graeme_Smith

Greenwich

The historic neighbourhood of Greenwich was once at the seat of London’s bustling maritime trade. Today is enjoys a laid-back village atmosphere, while still remaining relatively close to The City of London, and just a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf.

Advantages – Village-like atmosphere, plenty of green space, reasonable rental prices

Disadvantages – Far from Central London attractions, can attract heavy tourist crowds (especially on weekends)

Overview

Borough: Greenwich
Postcode: SE10
Average price for a 1-bedroom flat: 275/wk
Best For: Working professionals, couples, families

Transportation

Underground:
North Greenwich (Jubilee Line) – Mainly in place for the O2 Arena, which is London’s premier large concert and event venue. It is also includes a cinema and numerous restaurants.
Docklands Light Rail (DLR):
Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich – Short walk to most of Greenwich’s major attractions including the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Market and the Maritime Museum.
Greenwich – Quiet, residential area
Thames Clipper:
Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich
Clipper (boat) service to Canary Wharf, Tower Hill, Blackfriars, Westminster, and Embankment
Rail:
Greenwich
Serving trains from Deptford to Westcombe Park
Buses:
Numerous buses to Queen Mary’s Hospital and Euston Rail Station

Attractions/Things to do

Shopping:
Greenwich High Road – Short walk from Cutty Sark station. Filled with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants.
Greenwich Market – Traditional covered market offering crafts, jewellery, street food, and accessories. Short walk from Cutty Sark station.
Cinemas:
Cineworld at The O2 – Walking distance from North Greenwich Underground Station. 18-screen theatre showing box office films.
ODEON Cinema – Cinema showing box office films. Walking distance from North Greenwich Underground Station.
Parks:
Greenwich Park – 180+ acre park that includes the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Peter Harrison Planetarium, a lake, tennis courts, and wide open lawns.
Culture:
Greenwich is one of the most popular tourist neighbourhoods outside of Central London, thanks to its rich maritime history. In addition to the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory and Planetarium, and National Maritime Museum, Greenwich enjoys a thriving restaurant scene and cafe culture. Younger single people, however, might find the nightlife offerings a bit dull.

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