Cost of Living
England is quite expensive, with London consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world.
When traveling, expect to pay about £100 per person for mid-range accommodations and meals. Backpackers using hostels and cooking their own meals can get by on as little as 50 GBP a day.
Prepare for your Housing Search
Research and introspection should define your pre-accommodation search. Familiarize yourself with the different areas of London and find where you want to live. Read blogs from the area, find official resources, visit the different areas. Ask yourself questions like:
With answers to these important questions you can begin to think of a specific place.
Two of the biggest determiners in finding an apartment are price and location. These two factors are usually in competition as a better location can result in much higher prices. Many people choose to commute into the city for more manageable housing prices. Properties in a fashionable parts of London can reach prices of up to 100 times more than the same kind of property outside the city. Within the city, there are also more desirable areas.
Brixton, Clapham, Battersea
Brixton is not as trendy (although improving), but it is multi-cultural and is known for its Caribbean market.
Earl's Court, Fulham, Putney, Southfields and Wimbledon
Putney or Fulham offer a stronger "neighborhood" feel with shops, pubs, clubs, parks and public libraries. Wimbledon and Southfields also offer unique attraction and more country-like settings, linked to central-London by the District line (and train for Wimbeldon).
Shepherd's Bush, Acton, Hammersmith
Greenwich, Docklands, Canary Wharf
Highgate, Hampstead, Archway
Notting Hill, Willesden Green, Kilburn, Wembley, Camden
Notting Hill, once populated by Caribbean immigrants, has become among London's most desirable areas (and the home of some high Tory profiles in the government), especially near Holland Park. Within the area, Portobello Road is well known for its antique section, clothing stalls and fruits and veg market... and its movie starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
Short-term accommodation can help you and your family get situated after moving internationally without having to make any permanent decisions too soon.
Student housing is a popular option for young, single people as a temporary solution. Inexpensive and flexible, student housing usually only requires 1 week notice. Shared rooms are most common with single rooms available for a long wait.
International Student House
Christian Alliance Center
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A flatshare can be an excellent way to save money on your accommodations. It also offers an opportunity to get to know a new city with a local and a home that is already established.
However, an important trait in any roommate situation is having boundaries and a clear understanding of what each roommate requires. To protect yourself against potential problems should the worst happen, try to arrange it so that your roommates co-sign the lease. This makes all the roommates responsible for whatever happens to the property. If the worst was to happen, such as your roommate losing their job and not being able to pay rent, they will be held financially responsible - not only you.
Hostels are plentiful across the UK. Most are clustered around the cities, although a few are interspersed in the countryside. Most youth hostels only charge £10 per bed, per night. Within London, prices can be much higher, but there is also greater competition. Expect to pay between £15 - 20 per bed, per night.
The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) has a searchable network of Independent Hostels. The YHA traditionally involved guests performing chores and a ban on alcohol. However, as time marches on many new hostels are abandoning these rules.