Tuesday, 20 May 2014

London Calls...!

Many new graduates flock to London in the summer following their final year. The hope of a well-paid graduate job is perhaps the biggest draw, but there is also the appeal of a fast-paced city with a great social life and a wide variety of activities and entertainment options. London is an incredibly exciting place to live in, but it can seem overwhelming to some grads at first, so we've put together some tips to help get you started.

Which areas do graduates live in
Trying to decide where to live in London can be complicated as there are 118 areas in Inner London for graduates to choose from. Here are some of the most popular areas and their highlights:

Clapham - a huge area in South London (zones 2-3) which has a buzzing high street full of shops, bars and restaurants stretching down from Clapham North, through Clapham Common down to Clapham South. The Clapham Old Town is the posh bit with bakers, deli and shops such as Oliver Bonas. Summers are spent on the vast Clapham Common where open air concerts and lots of drinking take place.

Islington - a vibrant atmosphere can be found on Upper Street and Islington High Street. For delis and independent bric-a-brac shops head to Chapel Market which also houses a market on Sundays. The Kings Head is the first theatre pub founded since Shakespearean times. Transport is great as there are 2 tube stations at Angel, or Highbury & Islington both of which will get you into the West End or the City in just a few minutes. Buses and the Overground are also available. Highbury Fields is the nearest open space.

Herne Hill - is also located in South London near to Brixton. The area centres around the gorgeous Brockwell Park which has a lido, tennis courts and cafe. The main area is small with a villagey-feel and centres around Half Moon Lane and Herne Hill itself. It has a small selection of great pubs such as the Florence and the Half Moon and bakeries such as the Blackbird. Herne Hill doesn't have a tube, but it has great bus services and a rail station in zone 2 which will get you into London Victoria in 9 minutes, or London Blackfriars in 11 minutes.

Muswell Hill - located in North London, the main high street is the Broadway which houses smart shops and classic food chains such as Giraffe and Carluccios. It's a quiet area and popular with graduates, young professionals and families alike. Muswell Hill doesn't have a train or tube station, but don't let that put you off as it has excellent bus services and you can get to a central location such as Oxford Circus in about 35 minutes.

Other popular areas include Forest Hill, East Dulwich, Battersea, Highbury, Kennington, Shoreditch, Limehouse, Putney, Balham, Camden, Bow or Crystal Palace. Whilst all these areas are different from each other, what they all have in common is a good selection of local conveniences and amenities in the form of shops, bars, restaurants, parks, public transport links and of course rental accommodation. They are all also located reasonably near Central London within London Transport Zones 1-3.

Who to live with
It is usually best to have sorted out some accommodation before you move to London, just to give you one less thing to arrange when you arrive. If you need temporary accommodation before finding a more permanent solution, then your options could be:
  • staying with a friend or family member
  • staying at a hostel
  • using a travellers network such as Couchsurf
  • taking up a short-term rental from somewhere like Gumtree
When you're ready to commit to permanent accommodation, then you need to decide who you want to live with.

If you're young, free and single, then you can either live with existing friends or with 'randoms'. If you want to live with existing friends, then get a group of you together and approach local lettings agents or look online at Gumtree to find private lettings.

If you'd like to live with 'randoms', this means that you'll be moving into a room in an existing house share environment. In this scenario, you'd be better off using a flatshare service such as Easyroommate who have details of thousands of vacant rooms all over London - they also have lots of advice on how to protect yourself against scammers.

Of course if living with other people doesn't appeal to you, or if you're in a relationship, then you might be more tempted to either live by yourself, or as a couple, although these are both usually more expensive as you have more of a portion of the household bills to pay!


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