Where should you live in London?
Graduated and moving to the capital? The Tab and Find Properly will help you choose where to live
Like Wankelmut and Emma Louise’s head, London is a jungle. Don’t worry, we’ve been chucked out of every club, banned from every all-you-can-eat buffet, and elbowed in the ribs on every rush hour tube carriage. So if you’re moving to capital and want to know where to live, here is everything you need to know about the nine most popular places for graduates.
Once you’ve picked a few places, use Find Properly to choose your new home. Designed specifically for people moving to London, you can find a house based on the things you care about: price, transport connections and distance from key spots in the capital. Here’s our list:
Shoreditch, Dalston & Hackney
East London is the long-established home of the image-conscious. Shoreditch has good transport links with the rest of the capital, but has become a clichéd victim of its own success, and is now dominated by tourists and city bankers. If you’re looking for something more affordable and edgy, Dalston is at the perfect stage of gentrification for your typical graduate. The rest of Hackney is a hit with young creatives, and has much more of a village feel. In the summer, the area really comes into its own, with parks, markets and music festivals drawing all of London’s beautiful people.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £600pw
Crime rate: Above average
Transport links: Improving all the time with good buses and plenty of London Overground stations, but still very little on the tube
Council tax: £1100-£1300
Parks: Victoria Park is one of London’s best, and London Fields has good vibes written all over it
Once one of London’s most deprived and dangerous areas, Brixton has become a byword for gentrification and your only problem now is finding somewhere near the station for less than £175 a week. Right now, the ‘old’ Brixton of market traders and afro-Carribean communities (the area is home to many former Black Panthers) is in pretty perfect harmony with the young urban professionals (that’s you) who are arriving in their droves. All of which makes for a pretty great place to live. The clubs and bars are dotted around Brixton Road, where you’ll also find weekend markets too. Effra Social and Dogstar are two places you will inevitably find yourself going to a lot in the evenings, but don’t expect to live too near them. Transport is decent. There’s a Victoria line station, but – as with most places south of the river – it’s a bit of a shlep from the centre.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £500pw
Crime: Above average
Transport links: OK – you’re at the bottom of the Victoria line
Average council tax: around £1300 a year
Parks: There’s Brockwell Park, which has a lido (swimming pool)
Whitechapel to Bow
This stretch of east London is no one’s first choice, but you may decide the price and transport connections make it a worthy compromise. Something of a concrete jungle, the area often known as Tower Hamlets is home to a huge Bangladeshi community. Things are a bit more hip around Bethnal Green and Brick Lane (which are basically part of Shoreditch), but elsewhere it doesn’t have the young, party feel of other areas on this list. In Whitechapel you are likely to live in an ex-council house or, if you’re lucky/rich, an old Victorian townhouse. Head further east to Bow, and you can get good value. The downside is, you’ll probably live in a gated compound with little to no sense of community.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £550pw
Crime: Above average
Transport links: Good district line links and buses to the city, plus further south you can get on the DLR
Average council tax: £1100
Parks: Not much green space at all, but you are near the river
If you’re in a rugby, hockey or lacrosse club, welcome to Mecca. This is where posh Home Counties types who didn’t get the memo about gilets and flip flops going out of fashion go. Don’t let that put you off though, if you’re looking for a part of London that best recreates the university vibe, where you constantly bump into people you know, then you have found the right place. Even the clubs are like the ones at uni – big, cheesy, and not too serious. The massive Inferno’s is the best known, but there is plenty of clubbing on offer alongside endless pubs that draw hordes of Australian and Irish drinkers in fancy dress. If you want the best of both worlds, try Stockwell, which sits between Clapham and trendier Brixton.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £545pw for Clapham and £765 for Stockwell
Crime rate: Average
Transport links: Clapham Junction is one of the busiest train stations in the world, and there are loads of buses, plus Northern Line stations.
Council tax: Either £1200 or £800, depending on which borough you’re in
Parks: Clapham Common is nearby, massive and nice. You’re also near the river.
Tourists have slightly taken the shine off Camden, which ten years ago was like Brixton is today. The market, once famous for hippies selling magic mushrooms, is now a rival to the West End for pointless tat and slogan t-shirts. That said, the large population of students (mainly from UCL and King’s) and the sheer size of the area mean there are still some good options. Camden has a strong tradition for pubs showing comedy and live music (the Dublin Castle was one of the Libertines favourite venues) and June’s Camden Crawl is still a big deal, if you like guitars.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £800pw
Crime rate: Suprisingly high, but crime tends to be towards visitors, not residents
Transport links: Good. Northern Line Tube, Overground and buses all serve the area
Council tax: around £1300
Parks: You are near some of the capital’s most charming and pleasant spots, such as Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park
Tradition dictates that the home counties public school kids flock to south west London, and it must have the highest density of lacrosse clubs and chinos in London. With a low crime rate, plenty of small green spaces and Sloanie landmarks like the King’s Road and the White Horse pub on Parson’s Green, the rent is high, but the Victorian terraced houses tend to be pretty spacious and nice inside. Putney is south of the river, making it a bit less convenient for transport and a bit more family-oriented. This isn’t London’s exciting, creative district, but it is very nice. Plus, if you’re a football fan, Fulham and Chelsea’s grounds are on your doorstep.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £650pw
Crime rate: Lower than average
Transport links: Plenty of tube stops on the District Line, and buses that take you to the West End.
Council tax: £1100 north of the river, £800 south
Parks: Parson’s Green is honey to the posh bee, and there are plenty of other small parks dotted around.
Further north than Fulham and Putney, this part of west London feels less like a posh village, and more like a gritty junction. If you want an idea of what it’s like, this is where you get your phone unlocked or buy some fried chicken from a non-chain restaurant. That said, the transport is excellent, and Westfield shopping centre is transforming the area by drawing new, smarter housing developments and younger crowds. It’s still not very glamorous though, and apart from the expensive bits of southern Hammersmith, where riverside pubs draw big crowds, there isn’t much of a community vibe.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £550pw in Shepherd’s Bush, rapidly rising as you go south
Crime rate: Fairly high in Shepherd’s Bush, falling as you go south
Transport links: Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush are transport arteries, with big central, piccadilly and district line stations and endless buses.
Council tax: £1100
Parks: Shepherd’s Bush green is a park, but it’s surrounded by a busy road. Head further south for some small spots by the river, like Furnival Gardens.
We’ve probably killed it just by putting it in this guide, but Peckham is rapidly taking over from Dalston as the coolest, artiest place to go. Your parents probably know it as the setting for Only Fools and Horses, but it’s changed a lot since the rich kids invaded. Transport links to Victoria and London Bridge are great, but pretty terrible if you’re going anywhere else, so if you move here, prepare for plenty of hours spent on the night buses back to south east London. The isolation comes with its upsides though – Peckham has a spirit all of its own. If you’re looking for a place, you’ll want to be as close to Peckham Rye and Bellenden Road as possible – that’s where you will go out (everyone’s favourite is Frank’s, an arsty top-of-a-car-park bar with amazing views of London). The least wealthy area in this guide, Peckham can be pretty rough in the outer areas, but we think that’s a price well worth paying.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £440pw
Crime rate: Average
Transport links: Pretty bad. You’re relying on the London Overground and a few buses, but hey, you didn’t come here to leave.
Council tax: £1300
Parks: Peckham Rye common is your only big option, although nearby Dulwich is quite green.
The corner of Notting Hill near Westbourne Park might still be attainable for some graduates, but let’s be honest, if you’re living here you probably don’t need our guide – your parents or your friend have already bought the place. If you’re looking for some excitement away from the Made in Chelsea wannabes, there are parts of Notting Hill still clinging on to the Carribean tradition of the area – head to the bit around Westbourne Park Road and All Saints Road. Portobello Road Market is nowhere near as good as you’d expect, but it’s still worth going to, and for going out, we recommend Notting Hill Arts Club and the Globe, an underground reggae club which has recently been restored to its original glory.
Average price of a three bedroom house: £1100pw
Crime rate: Slightly higher than average
Transport links: Central and District Line tubes
Council tax: £1100
Parks: You’re near the gorgeous Kensington Gardens, where Wills and Kate live, and Hyde Park.