As a teacher, you can live anywhere in London. That freedom can be exhilarating, but it can also be confusing.
Where should you even start looking for a place to live? Which part of London is best for you?
After living in London for three years, I’m getting a much better idea of where the best places in London are. Hopefully, the list below will inspire you to get started on your London house hunt.
If you imagine yourself catching £20 flights to Iceland or Greece every half-term and long weekend, you’ll want to live in Tottenham Hale. The local train station will take you directly to Stansted, London’s budget airport, in 42 minutes. If you’re craving a croque monsieur, catch the Victoria Line from Tottenham Hale. You’ll be at the St Pancras International train station in a quarter of an hour. You’ll be able to take the train underneath the English Channel to Calais, Lille or Paris. Taking a day trip into the countryside? You’ll be at Victoria Station in the centre of London in just 20 minutes. From there, you can take a train or bus to nearly anywhere in the country.
Recently awarded Best Commuter Town for all of London (http://www.totallymoney.com/commuter-hotspots/tool/), Swanley isn’t technically in London. Instead, it’s an up-and-coming suburb full of friendly young families. People living in Swanley consistently rate their happiness as higher than people living in nearby London. Swanley is full of beautiful parks, running trails and golf courses. It has regular street markets and a shopping centre. And when you decide you want to visit London—or if you’re working in the city—the train journey to Victoria Station is only half an hour. It’s the perfect place for anyone who wants a little more space without paying London prices.
Now that Shoreditch has been fully taken over by hipsters and corporations, any real partiers go to Brixton. Brixton is the most up-and-coming area of London and the rental market is heating up like crazy, but it’s not fully gentrified yet, so it’s still more affordable than better-known alternatives like Shoreditch or Camden. Brixton is full of quirky shopping options, independent local restaurants and occasionally wild clubs. Brixton has enough going on to keep you entertained and well-fed all year round, but if you ever find yourself wanting to visit central London, you can be at Victoria Station in only eight minutes.
Shepherd’s Bush is where people who grew up in London move after university. An affordable residential area close to central London, it offers a quick commute and a sense of community. You’ll have neighbours of all different ethnicities and get to rub shoulders with all kinds of different people. With a £8 million regeneration going on, there’s never been a better time to move to Shepherd’s Bush. New shops and restaurants are opening all the time. And with a tube station on the Central Line, you’ll be anywhere you want to be in no time—like Hyde Park in five minutes or Oxford Circus, the famous shopping destination, in 12 minutes.
Waterloo is a coveted Zone 1 location in central London. Living here means you have access to everything in and out of London, and all of your friends have easy access to your place. You’ll quickly become the social hub of your friend group. Your flat will always have friends from home staying on the couch or new friends from all over the world gathering to watch the football match or Eurovision. The only reason the rent in Waterloo is even close to manageable is that it’s on the south side of the river. You’ll be only steps away from the Thames—if you pay a little more, you might even have a view! In the evenings, you’ll enjoy jogging along the river or popping into a late-night gallery viewing at the Tate Modern next door.
Feeling inspired? Use a tool like RightMove or Zoopla to check out listings in your favourite location. You’ll be moving into your brand new flat in no time. All prices are based on actual listings from RightMove on 28th August 2017.
Written by Kirsten, Engage Teacher from Canada!