London: a metropolitan world city and the capital of the United Kingdom. Whether you are looking to study abroad for the summer, or planning on studying here for your whole university degree, you will want to find the right student accommodation for you.
Luckily there are plenty of types of student housing to choose from, from student halls to shared student flats, and even luxurious and fully private studio apartments if your budget allows.
There’s also an increasing amount of stay lengths available now, which makes it easier for you to find somewhere to meet your timeframes. From short term student accommodation, to summer accommodation, and renting for the whole semester, you can rent somewhere from as little as two weeks right up to a whole year.
In this article we give some useful tips about finding the best possible accommodation for you. At the end of the article, we also list some great student accommodation options across the city.
The different zones
You may have heard of the different zones of London used by TfL (Transport for London). These zones determine the prices of public transport, but Londoners typically talk about the zones to indicate how far from the city centre a certain place is. If you live in zone 1, you’re right in the city centre. The good thing is, you’ll be close to a lot of exciting things to see and do, but the flip side naturally is that zone 1 is by far the most expensive area of London.
The zones go all the way up to zone 9. The further from the centre you go, the cheaper your accommodation will likely be, but it will also take you longer to get places. Think about what your budget is and how big and nice you want your home to be. Figure out what you can afford in the different zones, and based on this you can make a choice of where to look for accommodation.
Where is your university?
Another thing to think about when deciding where to live, is the location of your university. London is a huge city, so if you live far away from your campus, or in an area that doesn’t have good transport connections to the area where the university is, commuting can take several hours every day. This is obviously not ideal, so it’s definitely a good idea to look for accommodation in areas where you can get to your university in a reasonable amount of time. Be warned though: London is one of the largest cities in Europe, and having to spend up to an hour each way when travelling to places is actually quite typical.
Areas of London
As can be expected in such a large city, London has many different areas that have their own vibe, feel and reputation. We list some of them below and also give away one secret gem. Read on to find out what it is!
The fancy West End
Even though it’s still called the West End, because it’s west of the City of London area, after centuries of growth resulting in London becoming one of the largest cities in Europe, the West End is now very much in the city centre. These days almost synonymous with theatre and musicals, West End is one of the most important areas of live entertainment anywhere on Earth.
The drawback of this massive popularity is of course how expensive it is. There are basically no residential homes right in the heart of the West End, and it’s one of the most expensive areas in the world to rent commercial space. If you like to be in the middle of all the hustle and bustle you can find though, you might want to look for accommodation in areas that are well connected to the West End.
The trendy East End
While West End has always been fancy and high-class, the East End has traditionally been a working class area. The East End in the 19th century was among the most densely populated areas in world history. Back then it was an area full of poverty and crime, and for example the legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper committed his murders in the East End.
Today’s East End is totally different though. Nowadays it’s one of the most trendy areas of London, full of hipsters, trendy cafés and exciting restaurants serving every cuisine imaginable. If you love trendy hipster areas, keep an eye out for suitable student accommodation in London.
North or south of the river?
This is a never-ending discussion among Londoners. Which one is better, north or south of the River Thames? Historically London developed in the northern shore, and that history can still be seen today: most inhabitants and most of the main tourist attractions are in the north. There are many interesting areas in the south too though, such as Greenwich, Battersea, Brixton and the up-and-coming Peckham. Many areas south of the River Thames are also somewhat calmer and not quite so full of people (even though, this being London, there’s still a lot of people).
It could be argued that an area in the south is on average cheaper to live in than a similar area in the north. At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference: what do you prefer and what exactly are you looking for from the area you want to live in.
The secret gem: South East London
We promised you a secret gem and here it comes: South East London! South East London has some great neighbourhoods, but because the London Underground network is not so extensive there as in other areas, the prices of accommodation are typically a bit lower than in similar areas in other parts of the city.
This doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be good transport connections in the South East though: the DLR will get you quickly and easily to big Underground stations in Canary Wharf and Bank, and local trains run regularly to London Bridge. So despite the lack of Underground (or as Londoners call it, the Tube) in the area, the transport network is still good. So if you’re looking for an area that’s not too far from the city centre, has good transport connections, and is still affordable, check out South East London, especially places like Greenwich, Lewisham and Eltham.
So where should you live?
Hopefully this article has given you a better idea about the student accommodation in London. But there’s only so many tips and ideas that can be listed, we know you’ll want something concrete as well. What is student accommodation in London really like? To give you a better idea, we’ve listed a few of our most popular properties below. Check them out, but remember to do your homework before booking, and have a careful look at all the options for student accommodation in London that we list.
Located close to the River Thames, Hammersmith is an eclectic area of London, with a mix of the arts, shopping and entertainment. With plenty of shops and restaurants, you won’t be stuck for places to discover in this part of the city. At iQ Hammersmith you are lucky enough to live in the location of the old Hammersmith Palais which was a music venue, a part of music history with bands such as The Beatles gracing its stage. You can choose to live in a private bedroom with a shared bathroom, or in a fully self-contained studio apartment.
King’s Cross Residence – Londonist
King’s Cross is an area that is growing in popularity as a destination, due to its recent redevelopment. What was once a link to major industrial cities in the north of England is now a mecca for design and culture, thanks to the addition of Coal Drops Yard. The shopping complex has plenty of stores, but also some amazing places to eat for even the biggest foodie! Located in this bustling area, the King’s Cross Residence by Londonist is a stone’s throw from all the action of the central area, and also the beautiful canals that are great for a peaceful walk. Especially the higher floors have amazing view across London.
Located in what is perceived to be the ‘magic square’ of the city, Bloomsbury has Fitzrovia to the west, Covent Garden to the south, St. Pancras to the north, and Clerkenwell to the east. Perfect if you are looking for somewhere central to stay as endless restaurants, shops and galleries are all on your doorstep. What’s great about Scape Bloomsbury is that it provides summer stays, so it’s an ideal place if you are planning a summer in the city. Scape Bloomsbury offers premium student accommodation in central London, meaning you’ll be living in a fully self-contained studio apartment without having to share anything with roommates.