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.
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
Clapham and Battersea (with only the river Thames separating from Chelsea and South Kensington) have become very popular recently. There are bars, restaurants, shops and pubs. Clapham Junction (in Battersea!) proclaims itself as Britain's busiest railway station (with connections to both Victoria and Waterloo stations in 8 minutes) and offers a mix of trendy young professionals and well-to-do families with the famous market and shops of Northcote Road. It shares a huge green land (Clapham Common) with the area of Clapham. There is also a famous park in Battersea (a smaller version of Hyde Park with a lake and a zoo).
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
Once quite scruffy, Earl's Court (home to the huge exhibition centers) houses hostel goers in affordable accommodation and excellent transport links to central London.
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
This area is becoming increasingly popular. Pub culture and accessible transport links, or Hammersmith for a tamer (and slightly more expensive) experience. Location next to the water is quite desirable.
Greenwich, Docklands, Canary Wharf
The Docklands and Canary Wharf areas are growing at an incredible rate. There are new homes and business opening all the time. Transport links are basically adequate with the Docklands Light Rail (DLR) and accommodation is reasonably priced. Nightlife is less lively, with Greenwich's historical buildings and antique markets being the biggest draw.
Highgate, Hampstead, Archway
Located in Zone 2, these suburbs have a village atmosphere. There are pubs and fancy restaurants. This area is quite expensive with big properties and quiet residential areas, and the proximity of the huge park of Hampstead Heath
Notting Hill, Willesden Green, Kilburn, Wembley, Camden
Camden and Notting Hill are the trendier "suburbs" with bustling markets (Camden and Portobello Road). Camden is the centre of the capital's underground music scene.
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
229 Great Portland Street - London W1N 5HD
Tel : 020 7631 8300
Christian Alliance Center
2 Secker Street (Waterloo) - London SE1 8UF
Tel : 020 7450 4601
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.
Looking for cheap accommodation in London isn’t easy and can be time consuming. Fortunately the times of browsing innumerable adverts, making hundreds of phone calls and visiting dozen of houses belong to the past: with Uniplaces now you can look for your room comfortably sitting at home. You can pick a room in a shared home with other expats, a studio flat if you want more privacy, or you can team up with other friends and rent an entire apartment just for yourselves.
The booking system is very simple and doesn’t require any visit: all can be done in advance thanks to the detailed descriptions and photos of the rooms and you can secure your room before even getting there. Moreover the Uniplaces team will be available for any questions and help.
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking mid-long term accommodation with thousands of verified properties.