Moving away for university can be one of the most daunting things for a newly crowned adult, which we now all unfortunately are. There’s so much to think about: where to go, what our classes will be like, and whether we’ll make any life-long friends along the way. Well, making the leap to move to London is no different, but choosing to live in the capital is one that you’ll never regret; even though it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what you’re looking for. Below we have compiled a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when deciding where to live in London, just to make that transition slightly easier – don’t say we don’t treat you well.
Location, location, location
The number one factor to take into account when moving to London is whereabouts in the capital you want to live; the closer to the centre you are, the more money you can expect to be paying per month. It is important to consider the travel distance from your accommodation to your university because one thing we don’t want to be doing is having to set off an hour in advance for a 9 am lecture on a Monday morning – worst-case scenario, but actually very common.
So, we would recommend finding somewhere close to a tube station. It minimises the amount of transport you have to use if it’s within walking distance, and it is the quickest way to get to your destination, whether that be to your lectures, work, or nights out, even if you have to change lines a couple of times. Something else to think about is whether you want to be in all of the action. Like we said, central London is extremely expensive, and although that’s where a lot of things do take place, there are also other boroughs that are heaving with shops, bars and clubs. Places like Shoreditch in Hackney, Camden, and Brixton have cheaper accommodation (by London standards, at least) and only take around 20 minutes to get to the centre.
Although receiving more maintenance loan when living in London can seem extremely attractive at the beginning, and very tempting to blow, you still have to think of it as a way of subsidising your living as though you were in any other part of the country. Now a lot of that will probably go towards rent, food, and travel costs, so it’s important to take into account your budget when deciding where to live in the capital. Some people decide to work to support themselves further, whether that be at the university itself or in hospitality roles because it can be quite difficult to afford the infamous ‘London life’ with such a limited budget.
Additionally, when deciding where to live in London, you need to take into account how much you would like to spend per month, whether it includes utility bills, and what it is you’re looking for. If you wish to prioritise indoor and outdoor space, then your budget will have to be compromised on other things; if you are more flexible with the amount of room available and people you want to live with, then you can spend more money elsewhere. It’s all about personal preference.
An important factor to take into account when deciding where to live in London is not only the location itself but who you want to live with. Splitting the costs with several other people will make rent a lot cheaper if you’re looking to locate close to the centre, and so it’s probably a good idea to find flatmates that share the same interests as you. Spareroom is a great website that allows you to do this and look for properties within the location and budget you have in mind. It is also your choice whether you want the stereotypical ‘university experience’ when living with people or whether you want to be more independent and live by yourself.
If choosing the latter option, we would recommend looking for secure apartments with features such as a concierge; they may be slightly pricier, but you will definitely feel a lot safer, especially if you’re moving to London for the first time. Most people would recommend living with other people in your first year of university, because it’s an easy way to get used to your surroundings with those that are going through the same new experiences as you, a great way to make new friends, and you can also decide whether or not you would like to live with them in future years.
University vs Private
It may seem like a simple question at the beginning, but the decision could make the biggest impact on how you spend your university life socially. Most people opt for the accommodation already provided for by the university; it’s easily accessible, cheaper than other options, and everyone is studying at the same place as you. This way, you can have the separation of your housemates and course-mates if needed, and you can easily make sure everyone comes back in one piece from nights out because you’re all staying in the same accommodation.
Now, although private accommodation can be slightly more luxurious, it is ultimately more expensive. However, this way works well if you’re looking for somewhere to live when applying for universities through clearing, and you can also meet people from different institutes. Unfortunately, every university has different schedules, so it might be a bit harder to find the right time to spend with one another.
Living in London is an experience like no other for most at university, so make sure to do it all justice; a lot of us only get one chance, and I can assure you this is one you won’t regret.