Looking for accommodation as a student in London can feel a little bit like The Hunger Games. Not only is it every person for themselves — but you don’t know if that neighbourhood you’re looking into is actually filled with booby traps.
You get the metaphor.
If you’re new to London, it can be especially difficult to even know where to begin with housing. In any city, there are so many things to think about:
Proximity to your university/college
For general accommodation tips, check out our blog on everything you need to know about student housing.
Here, we’ve highlighted some of the best areas to live as a student in London:
Formerly known for its punk scene, Camden is a popular area to live for students. It’s relatively affordable - and you've got University College London (UCL) and London School of Economics (LSE) nearby.
Camden Market (though more touristy these days) is full of delicious street food, eclectic clothing and jewellery shops and music joints. It’s also close to some great parks - Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Regent's Park. In terms of transport, the Northern Line makes it easy to get to other parts of the city.
Bethnal Green is another affordable area for students to live in London. It’s got a variety of cafes, local markets, restaurants, parks, and pubs within walking distance. If you like greenery, Bethnal Green - apart from its name - is known for its stunning Mulberry trees.
Queen Mary University of London is close by (just a 15-minute walk away!). And the nearest tube line is the Central Line. Bethnal Green is a great option if you still want to live in central London but in a more laid-back environment.
When you hear King’s Cross, you might think of Harry Potter’s Platform 9 and 3/4s. And while there is a spot to snap a pic of a trolly embedded into the wall, King’s Cross is also a convenient location for students to live in London.
King's Cross is very well-connected, including the station itself. It's a hotspot for students at Central Saint Martins and King's College London. The area has gotten a serious makeover in recent years - check out Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard - so you'll find everything you need right at your doorstep. It can be a little bit pricier, but Russel Square (which houses LSE, UCL, Birkbeck, and other unis and colleges), is only a short walk away.
Finsbury Park is located in Northeast London and is a more affordable living option for students in London. It’s got both the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines, which makes it just a short tube journey to a lot of unis and colleges.
Of course, Finsbury Park is best known for its greenspace - there’s Finsbury Park itself and Clissold Park nearby. There are also a ton of options for shops and restaurants with food from all over the world. And If you’re a football fan, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium is nearby.
Elephant & Castle
Elephant & Castle - known as ‘The Elephant’ locally - has got a little bit of everything, from pubs and restaurants to museums and modern developments. Plus, the Bakerloo and Northern Lines will keep you connected to other parts of the city.
With London South Bank University and the University of Arts London nearby, you'll be right in the student mix. The area is diverse, artsy, and changing rapidly - think trendy cafes, street food markets, and cool events. Be sure to check out Mercato Metropolitano, which is a great indoor/outdoor food and drink market, or Elephant Arcade, a former indoor car park turned retail arcade.
Whitechapel has a unique mix of cultures, markets, arts scene, and bustling nightlife, and it’s close to Shoreditch which is another cool area in London. The Elizabeth, and District and Hammersmith & City Lines, are Whitechapel’s main transport routes - so you can get into central in no time.
If you’re a mature student, Whitechapel tends to be a good option as it can be a little bit pricier than other student areas. Or, if you’re studying at Queen Mary, Whitechapel is the main campus for Dentistry and Medicine, so this may be a good choice so you can live within walking distance to the uni. If you’re a fan of True Crime…be sure to check out the Jack the Ripper tour. There’s also Brewery Yard, with two of the largest breweries in the country.
Speaking of Greenwich - this is a great spot for London students. Ever heard of a little thing called GMT - Greenwich Mean Time? It’s based on the local clock in Greenwich, The Shepherd Gate clock, which can be seen at the gates to the Royal Observatory.
Other than that, Greenwich houses The University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, and Goldsmiths, University of London. There’s also Greenwich Park and Greenwich Market, which make for cheap and fun weekend activities. For transport, you can hop on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) or Southeastern trains for an easy ride to the centre.
Shepherd’s Bush is all about variety - from Westfield shopping centre to student-friendly pubs, there's something for everyone. The area is becoming increasingly popular among students for its transport links and lively community vibe. Uxbridge Road can be a little bit chaotic, but it’s a cultural hotspot for food and drink and shopping.
If you're at Imperial College's Hammersmith campus or Goldsmiths, Shepherd's Bush is a top choice. The Central Line connects you with the city, so you're never far from the action.
Camberwell is a lively, artsy, and affordable area for students in Southeast London. It’s got great transport links to other parts of the city, and it’s a short walk to other cool areas in South East London such as Brixton, Peckham and East Dulwich. Denmark Hill Station is also nearby and another area many students choose to live.
It’s close to both Camberwell College of Arts and London South Bank University. The local vibe is friendly and relaxed - and the mix of cafes, pubs, and vintage shops is ideal for student life. For greenspace, check out Southwark’s largest park, Burgess Park.
Lastly, another Southeast favourite is New Cross - with a lively local music and arts scene, and lots of restaurants, cafes and bars. If you’re studying at Goldsmith, New Cross is a great option as it’s a five-minute walk from New Cross Gate station. You can easily get into central London with the Overground and Southeastern trains.
You’ll find a lot of ‘hole-in-the-wall’ bars and restaurants in New Cross, which make it more affordable. It’s also near to some more up-and-coming areas around Southeast London like Brockley and Deptford, with Telegraph Hill Park or Brockley Market, which is open on Saturdays.
London is a huge city with a wide variety of areas to live as a student. Wherever you decide to live will depend on affordability and availability and what your priorities are - whether that’s safety, proximity to your uni or college, or going out scene.
Luckily, London is so well-connected that no matter where you chose to live, you can always venture out and explore other areas easily.
Don't live in London but have the same problem? Read our blog: