As a newcomer, it can be quite difficult to find accommodation in the British capital, but there are ways to simplify your research.
London covers an area of 1,572km² and has thirty districts, which means that thousands of homes are available for rent as well as for purchase.
It is good to start your research with a clear idea of the neighborhood in which you would like to live. Whether you are looking for green spaces, a vibrant nightlife, or just value for money, find out which neighborhoods have the most to offer. Consider the obligations you will have (for example, getting to work) to further refine your target neighborhoods.
Co-location is very common in London, as it allows people to live closer to the center and in a larger space for less rent. Single dwellings are rather expensive. You will find more studios and small apartments towards the center, where space is scarce, and more houses on the outskirts.
The outskirts of London are more affordable and spacious, but commuting to and from the center can be quite complicated. The culture is otherwise different. Consult the London Transport website and the Metro Plan to estimate your trip perspectives from certain areas.
The main areas of London
The main part of the city is divided into several districts, including Central London, North London, South London, East London and West London. Each neighborhood has its own identity and culture.
Generally more commercial than residential, accommodation in Central London is less frequent and more expensive. It is understandable to have to pay extra for housing in close proximity to Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square and Sherlock Holmes’ home on Baker Street. Bloomsbury, Fitzrovia, Marylebone and Mayfair offer wonderful living environments.
Connected to the city center by the North London Underground line, the quiet neighborhoods of North London are only 15 minutes from the heart of the urban whirlpool. North London is a perfect neighborhood for employees who need to get to work and for those living with their families. Lush green neighborhoods include Highgate, Hampstead, Tufnell Park and Finsbury Park.
Typical portrait of the inhabitants: all ages, employees, couples and families
Regularly designated as the area offering the best living environment in London, Clapham offers an excellent atmosphere, many activities and is relatively affordable. The neighborhood is home to Clapham Common, a large urban park and has excellent access to transportation networks (including the busiest train station in Europe, Clapham Junction), offering the best of both worlds. Other neighborhoods to consider are Brixton, Balham and Tooting Bec.
East London is perhaps the most dynamic, creative and diverse district in London. It is full of galleries, markets, trendy shops and cafes, offering a wide range of activities. Shoreditch, Dalston and Haggerston are sometimes criticized for being overly hipster and overpriced, but they continue to be a place to live and socialize.
Although still very mixed, West London has earned a reputation as a neighborhood housing affluent workers and families. Neighborhoods such as Holland Park, Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove are particularly beautiful and expensive examples of the gentrification process currently taking place in the capital.
Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith, though in the immediate vicinity of the neighborhoods mentioned above, are much more affordable and remain well connected to downtown and surrounding areas.
On the outskirts of London, places like Wimbledon, Barnes and Richmond offer greener and more spacious mansions.