Where to live in London: a guide for Australian teachers

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Where to live in London: a guide

Australian teachers coming to London will find it a diverse and exciting city. With a population of more than 8 million, London is a very large place and it can be hard to know how to decide where to live, especially if you grew up abroad. Here are some pointers to find a home in London that suits you.

Where to live in London: rent versus commuting costs

When considering where to live in London it’s essential to take into account the costs of rent versus the cost of commuting.

In London the cost of commuting by train is measured by how many zones the commuter passes through, with the highest prices charged for trips to, or within, the centre of London (Zone 1). If you work in the centre you will save money on transport by living as close to your school as possible.

The downside to this, however, is that rent becomes proportionately more expensive the closer you live to the city centre. It is usually far more costly to live in Zone 1 than in Zone 3 or 4. If the school you work at is not in central London, find out what zone it is within and try to rent within it if you can.

Bear in mind that you will have to pay much more if you travel through Zone 1, even if your journey starts and ends within the same zone. For example, renting near Bermondsey (Zone 2, South London) if you teach in Finchley Road (Zone 2, North London) will mean that you have to pay Zone 1 prices.

Living costs outside of the centre of London will be marginally lower here in comparison to Zone 1 locations, though often not by much. Generally, the price of bars and restaurants is more dependent on how prestigious the neighbourhood is, rather than its location.

Where to live in London: how to choose where to live

Once you have established where you will be teaching in London, you are likely to have a good idea of the area of London in which you will be living.

It is a good idea to explore that area of London for yourself to decide what would best suit you. Signing a housing contract for a room or flat in an unfamiliar location could backfire, leaving you living somewhere unsuitable until your contract runs out.

For this reason, it is a good idea to stay in a hostel for a few weeks while you investigate the nearby neighbourhoods and look for suitable accommodation. If your school is in Zone 1, choose a hostel in a central location for easy access to multiple areas.

Investigate local amenities such as supermarkets and transport facilities as well as other things you may want to live close to, such as green spaces, coffee shops, libraries or a gym. Make sure you like the atmosphere of the area of London in which you are living.

it’s only natural to be overwhelmed when looking for a place to stay in a city as large as London. By waiting to make that choice once you have seen a bit of the city, you will quickly get a sense of where you would like to live and be able to make it happen.

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