Where to live in London if you're not in halls

14 May 2023

Worried about where to live in London if you're not in halls? Unsure of whether you'll still be able to have the student life? Well, we've got you covered.

Tube map of London

We have chosen 20 locations in London that we feel are the most student and graduate friendly as rated by our top chosen criteria, including cost of living, transport, food, shopping and of course not to forget - the entertainment side of things. 

As dictated by the points of the compass, we've gone with - North, East, South and West London areas. Within each part of London, we have picked 4 locations. Some a little closer to the centre and some a little further out. Take a further look below - there is something for everyone, no matter where you're situated in London!   

North London


Camden is possibly the most popular place for students and young people living in London. Right in the heart of London, it's renowned for some of London's most eccentric clothing, old cobbled streets and celebrity spotting. It's perfect for shopping, with many main high street retailers and independent shops in sight. Of course, there's also the entertainment aspect, with Camden being home to one of the many hot spots where London's best night life takes place, as well as several cosy, old pubs. The area is also home to one of London's best street food markets, where you can find affordable cuisine from all over the world. 

The Roundhouse is an award-winning music venue who have hostedsome of the world's finest of all genres, as well as regular exhibitions and other cultural events. It's right by Regent's Park and ZSL London Zoo, so it's easy to escape the busy high street for a bit of nature. Camden has great connections to the centre and the rest of London, with Camden Town on the Northern Line, Camden Road on the Overground and many bus routes. It's also a walkable distance from the Warren Street/ Euston area for those still commuting to UCL's main Campus. 

"Camden is a lively, bustling part of London, famed for its market, nightlife and music scene. There is always something interesting happening, even if you’re just people watching! Camden is well connected, with the Northern Line making it easy to get back into central London as well as being a stone’s throw from Hampstead Heath where you can enjoy long walks and views back across London." - Owain.

Finsbury Park

Known as one of London's most sprawling areas, Finsbury Park moved from being a largely Irish area to a mix of communities over the past 50 years. Finsbury Park is very popular amongst students and new graduates in London. The area has pretty much all the main high street stores you're familiar with as well as lots of independent shops from around the world selling unique and delicious produce. So if one night you fancy a takeaway, whether that's Indian, Italian or Chinese, you'll have it all within walking distance!

The area has been going through a recent boom with its entertainment value, meaning there have been lots of new bars and pubs popping up which just adds extra fun to evenings. There's also the Rowan's Ten Pin Bowling which always offers a great night out, and The Park Theatre which shows brilliant theatre both new and old. Not to forget, Finsbury Park is a popular area for its transport links, with direct access to the Victoria line, which is widely regarded as the fastest tube line in London - no more excuses for being late!

"Just a few stops further north is Finsbury Park, a multicultural neighbourhood with Victorian houses, traditional pubs, Arsenal football club and of course the legendary Rowans Tenpin Bowling Alley." - Owain.

Wood Green

Wood Green is a residential area in the borough of Haringey. It's famed for its Turkish restaurants, there are loads to choose from on the high street where you'll find some of the best Turkish food in London. The area is also near the famous Alexandra Palace park, which hosts one of London's best music venues, an ice rink, summer festivals, outdoor cinema, ice skating, golf, green space and a weekend farmers market. There are plenty of cosy pubs and independent as well as chain coffee shops to relax or catch up with friends in.

Wood Green is well connected via the piccadilly line, making it a great location for commuters who want to save a bit of money on rent. Alternatively, Blue House Yard offer studio space and work sheds for small businesses. They have a platform for start-ups with low-rent physical retail spaces and nearby is an old London bus known as Ludo’s which has been converted into a bar and venue.

"I love living in Wood Green - it's a diverse area and there’s so much on your doorstep, whether that’s shopping or entertainment. There are a few gyms in Wood Green but I prefer to go for a run in Ally Pally, especially when the sun is shining - you can't beat it! I think the most picturesque streets in Wood Green are in Noel Park. It’s a conservation area and one of the earliest garden suburbs ever built." -  Adrian 

Kings Cross

Just a short walk from UCL’s main campus, Kings Cross is a super well-connected area with loads to do. There are great places to eat and drink in Coal Drops Yard as well as canals to stroll down and lots of unique as well as familiar chain shops. King’s Cross has lots of student accommodation as well as private flats to rent. 

If you fancy a relaxing stroll, there are winding canals in the area with bars and restaurants dotted along them - as well as a bookshop on a boat! Everyman cinema provides entertainment as well as the many bars and clubs in the area. 

"King's Cross is a great area for students, it has lots of private accomodation offering rooms in different price ranges. You've got the British Library on your doorstep which is a beautiful place to study, as well as loads of different options for dining out." - Kelly 


Walthamstow is a lively, up and coming area in North-East London, not far from the nightlife of Hackney or the more peaceful Wetlands Nature reserve and other sprawling green areas. It is a highly diverse area and the mix of cultures influence the variety of shops, cafés, coffee shops and bars you'll find there. Bargain hunters will enjoy the wide range of charity and vintage shops on the high street, and nature lovers can find tranquility in a stroll through the marshes, or the herb garden behind the William Morris Gallery in Lloyd Park.  

It’s popular with commuters and young professionals, owing to great transport links meaning you can be in central London quickly whilst paying more affordable rent. Locals will refer to this area as 'the real east London', as it really is a bit of a hidden gem.

"Walthamstow is a great place to live if you want to save money on rent whilst commuting into the city. I love visiting Crate in St. James Street on the weekends for a drink or a coffee with friends. At The Gleaners Café in Hoe Street, you can get delicious plant-based meals made from surplus food that would normally go to waste. It's great as you pay what you feel the meal is worth, or what you can afford, which allows those with little money to eat there, and those with more can pay more." - Sam.

South London   


Brixton is one of London's most popular areas, whether it be for it's food scene or for the nightlife. The area is busy with some of the best restaurants and bars in South London, many of them contained within the brilliant Brixton Market. Did you know Brixton once had its own local currency, known as the 'Brixton Pound'?!  Although not around anymore, it's a testament to the independent nature of Brixton which is why so many people are drawn to it. 

In the summer months, you can enjoy Brockwell Lido, the park's large open air pool - but watch out for huge queues on hot weekends! Alternatively, relax in one of Brixton's many sprawling parks. Located at the end of the super quick Victoria Line, you can get in to central London within a maximum of 15 minutes. Loads of buses also pass through Brixotn which can get you all over London.

"Brixton is a vibrant place to live and has a young population! The huge variety of shops, bars and restaurants mean you're never bored! You are truly spoilt for choice. It is also very well connected by bus, tube (Victoria line) and train so travelling around London is easy" - Alix. 


Tooting is still in its upcoming stages but has a lot to it. Just down the road from Clapham Common, Tooting provides direct links via the Northern Line, which makes getting in to central London fairly easy. Tooting is known for its own unique culture and vibe that has been found to suit the young adult generation in London. Tooting Common is a large green space, home to Tooting Bec Lido - London's largest open air pool! 

The entertainment value is made up for by the variety of food options that Tooting has to offer. From world food stores and supermarkets to a wide variety of restaurants, Tooting is bound to fulfil all your food cravings!

"Tooting really does blend that line between central London and great open space. Feels a bit like a village with the commons and parks surrounding it, plus Tooting Market. Also, you can be in central London in 20 minutes using the Northern Line." - Alix.


Deptford is an area on the south bank of the River in southeast London, in the borough of Lewisham. A fast-developing area, Deptford has a busy high street, with a market that sells produce, fish, and bric-a-brac. Lots of eclectic shops and spots for tapas and Caribbean food fill the railway arches in Deptford Market Yard. The Albany theatre stages music and modern plays, while the Laban Centre hosts dance performances. Deptford hosts a street market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with stalls selling cheap basics and amazing/bewildering junk. Food stalls take over Market Yard on a seasonal basis.

Location and affordability make living in Deptford a popular choice with renters. It is served by National Rail and Docklands Light Railway services, making it easy to commute into the city. Deptford Bridge sits on the boundary between zones 2 and 3, which can leave many people wondering how that affects their fare. Luckily, where stations are technically categorised as two zones, the cheapest fare is always applied depending on the journey (so passengers with a zone 1-2 card can travel to Deptford bridge at no extra cost). 

"Deptford has so much going on, it's a great place to live and on the more affordable side for this area of South East London. You're super close to amazing music venues in the area and the neighbouring New Cross, plus even more down the road in Peckham. There are some great spots to eat and drink including my personal favourites: Taca Tacos  and Little Nan's Bar." - Aisling


From local markets and green spaces to bars and restaurants, Battersea has become an increasingly attractive area for young professionals. Northcote Road hosts a huge selection of cafes and bars, with both chain favourites and local independents. The newly redeveloped Battersea Power Station offers shopping, leisure activities and dining, and Heathrow airport is only a 50-minute drive away. 

Battersea’s bars and pubs like to do things a little differently. Here, you can sip cocktails on a historic barge or sing karaoke in a superbly outrageous spot. For quiet Sundays, there’s still a cosy local place for a pint. The area is very well connected, not just to central London but to many other parts of the UK, via Clapham Junction station. 

"I love living so close to Battersea Park, it's beautiful for an autumn walk or a picnic in the summer. Plus it's so well conected - Clapham Junction station gets you into central London and beyond, via Victoria, really quickly." - Tania 


Streatham is a great residential area closely located to both Brixton and Tooting, meaning there’s loads to do. There is a flourishing cafe culture with many great coffee and brunch spots dotted along the high street. It's a bustling and culturally diverse neighbourhood, meaning you'll find shops and restaurants selling produce from all over the world.

Streatham has great transport links; Streatham Hill takes you to London Victoria in 17 minutes and Streatham Common has services to both London Victoria and London Bridge. There's also the 8-screen Odeon and the Hideaway Jazz Club. Fun fact: Streatham High Street was once the longest High Street in Europe!

"Streatham is a really up an coming area that's a steal to find in South London. There are loads of nice cafes to study or work remotely in, and you're super close to Brixton for amazing music venues and nightlife." - Aisling

East London

The recent investment that has been made in Stratford has resulted in incredible modern touches to all aspects of the area. From great accommodation to excellent transport links, Stratford has a lot going on! Being not so far from the Olympic Park where the London 2012 Olympics were held, the area has been developed further on, especially with its activities and entertainment value.

You will always find something to do here, from shopping, bowling or watching a movie at Westfield, to swimming in the London Aquatic Centre Olympic Pool. There are lots of new builds and affordable modern housing in the area, making it a perfect area for students or new graduates. 

"Stratford is a big transport hub; being linked up to the Central line, Jubilee Line, DLR and TFL Line; making it easy to get in and out quickly. UCL is also opening its East London campus there in 2022/2023 so you're always going to have that UCL link. Westfield Centre has sooo much going on and you won't run out of things to do there." - Chris 

Mile End

You'll find that Mile End is full of students. Being the home of a Russell group university, Mile End has a lot to offer. Just down the road from the hustle and bustle of Liverpool Street and Aldgate, Mile End has all the amenities you would need. From supermarkets, to superb eateries and great transport links. Mile End is situated on the Central Line, which gets you to central London in just 10 minutes - however be prepared for one hell of a journey if you're travelling during peak times! 

There are plenty of local activities as well as an independant cinema which shows blockbusters as well as hosting film festivals. The area is filled with cosy pubs and cafes and only a stone's throw from the beautiful Victoria Park, so there's something for everyone. 

"Mile End is seeing that upward swing of trendiness that Shoreditch saw 10-15 years ago. You get a great mix of students and young professionals, which creates a cool vibe. Having the Central Line, Hammersmith Line and District Line makes it really accessible too!" - Chris 


Due to the lively lifestyle Hackney offers its residents, the area is a sought-after location, particularly for young professionals, and new builds are popping up everywhere to meet the rising demand. Museums in the area include the Hackney Museum, Geffrye Museum, and V&A Museum of Childhood, while film fans are well provided for with both the Hackney Picture House and Rio Cinema. Hackney Empire is the ultimate venue in the borough for a range of entertainment from dance to stand-up comedy, and the Arcola Theatre is one of the best spots for established and emerging theatre outside the West End. 

Hackney is equally well known for its vibrant night life, with some of the capital’s most popular bars and clubs including the Queen of Hoxton, Shapes and Oslo, as well as a huge number of pop-up bars, cocktail lounges, and traditional pubs. Victoria park hosts the famous All Points East festival each summer and London Fields is a smaller park with a popular outdoor heated lido.

"Hackney is my favourite part of London. From Columbia Road Flower market every Sunday to the amazing nightlife, there's always something going on. There are so many nice cafes and bakeries, as well as a restaurant scene that rivals central London. The overground means its well connected and easy to commute, too." - Rosie

Forest Gate

Forest Gate is a leafy residential area not far from Stratford, well connected via the overground that gets you into Liverpool Street in fifteen minutes. The large park, Wanstead Flats, is great for a Sunday stroll and you’ll find lots of cafes, delis and independent shops in the area.

There's an active community in the area which you'll see at the Sunday markets and community events throughout the year. Every summer, the area hosts Forest Gate Festival, with live music, street performers and food stalls from all over the world. What the area lacks in entertainment value is made up for by having the busy Stratford just doen the road, as well as sprawling green space all around which means there's loads of space to chill out in the summer. 

"Forest Gate has a real community feel to it, especially with the Farmer's market on Sundays and all the independant shops and cafes. It's got a village-y feel whilst still being super quick to get to central London via Stratford and Liverpool Street on the train." - Aisling 


Whitechapel is a vibrant area in the east end filled with loads of traditional pubs and curry houses and the lively Whitechapel Road Market. The residential buildings are a mix of architecture from many different periods and you’re right on the doorstep of Shoreditch for nightlife, shopping and countless restaurants. To the east you have Brick Lane and to the West you have the city, all close by making this an ideal area for those who like to explore London and get around quickly.

Brick Lane is one of London’s favourite tourist spots and is a stone’s throw away from Whitechapel. Just a 10-minute walk away, there are markets, restaurants and galleries to explore once you arrive at Brick Lane. Whitechapel Road Street Market has also been going strong for more than 100 years and provides a variety of goods. Visitors can expect bargains galore, whether it’s ingredients for curries from the Bangladeshi community or electrical products from local traders. It's also well connected via the new Elizabeth line, making the area even more attractive for renters who need to commute into the city.

"Whitechapel is such a great location; you get the benefits of both East and central London. I love the huge variety of markets it gives you access to, there's always a bargain to be found or something delicious to eat!" - Katy


West London

Notting Hill 

Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan and multicultural area, home to the famous Portobello Market and countless cafes, bars and restaurants. Art galleries, boutiques and a flourishing music scene keep residents and visitors suitably entertained, and it’s a great area for celeb-spotting. Every August at Notting Hill Carnival, you can see Caribbean floats and costumed performers wind their way through the streets, millions dance to the sound of steel bands, dancehall and calypso, and visit delicious food stalls along the route.

Notting Hill is also home to one of London's oldest cinemas, two theatres and countless bars hosting live music, so you're never short of culture in the area. It's well-connected via the tube, so getting into central London or other areas is easy. There are also countless cafes offering picturesque, cosy settings to work remotely from. Holland Park is one of the less-well known, but nonetheless beautiful of London's green spaces, home to the beautiful Kyoto Garden - perfect for anyone that needs to relax.

"Notting Hill is such a beautiful area with colourful houses, vibrant markets and so much to do. You're spoilt for choice with restaurants and bars, and in the summer, Notting Hill Carnival is a must-see if you want to see bright Caribbean costumes, hear the music and try some delicious food." - Joe 


Acton is a commuter's dream, with seven railway stations and easy access to the M4 corridor and beyond. Acton Town station offers easy access to Heathrow and King's Cross via the Piccadilly Line, or into central and east London via the District line. Acton is a large, leafy residential area just West of Shepherds Bush and White City, ten minutes from the bustling Notting Hill. There is a ‘student village’ in North Acton and the area is a favourite for Londoners looking for plenty of space without having to compromise on connections to the rest of London and beyond. 

Shepherds Bush

Shepherds Bush is the ideal location for those who want a bit of both - the city life and the town life. Surrounded by close links in to central London, you also have quick access to the more homely areas like Chiswick and Fulham. Whether it's large supermarkets and stores, great transport links or Westfield Shopping Centre  (the largest shopping centre in Europe), you'll find it all on your doorstep here. 

Not only with its added amenities, will you find a great sense of community and a wide variety of culture here with so much always going on. There are a wide variety of restaurants, offering cuisine from all over the world, as well as lots of cosy coffee shops and traditional pubs. 

"West London has been my hometown since birth and for me it's always been improving and developing more and more. Shepherds Bush has great Underground and Overground connections and is a place I'm always visiting especially with Westfield Shopping Centre being right next to the station! I love going to Puttshack with my friends and playing some indoor mini-golf from time to time. Shepherds Bush is also right next to Kensington, so you have a good travel distance of whether you'd prefer to be in the city or if you'd prefer to stay local in town." - Nabihah 


One of the most attractive things about Hammersmith is that you are in a very close contact with the city but get to avoid the inner city rent prices. Being around the corner from Kensington, Fulham and Shepherds Bush and close to Richmond, Hammersmith is ideally located. You have the shops of Kensington and Shepherds Bush, the open spaces of Richmond and the excellent bars and pubs of Fulham. Hammersmith is definitely the place to be if you want to experience both the business of the city life but also the (somewhat) quiet of the town life. 

"Hammersmith is a good local town that has great connections direct to the city through the Hammersmith Line and District Line as well as the Piccadilly Line. Hammersmith is close to some lovely green spaces including Richmond Park, which is one of my favourite parks to visit in West London." - Nabihah 

Stamford Brook

Situated between Hammersmith and Chiswick, Stamford Brook is a leafy residential area close to lots of green space and other amenities. If you’re after some culture, Eventim Apollo is one of London’s major live entertainment venues. It regularly showcases well-known comedians and music acts. There are also several gyms and fitness centres in the area and some of West London’s top sports clubs. 

Stamford Brook offers all the perks of busy Hammersmith down the road, with a calmer, quieter environment on your doorstep. Residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat and drink, with a number of coffee shops and restaurants offering lots of different global cuisines. Stamford Brook has its own Tube station on the District line as well as good bus connections to get you all over London. 

"One of my favourite things about living in Stamford Brook are all the great cafes to work remotely in, or grab a bite and relax on the weekends. Just moments from the station is my favourite, Artisan Coffee, and further toward Hammersmith is Coffeeology. A short walk along Chiswick High Road will take you to Angie’s Little Food Shop which is a great choice for breakfast and lunch. It's an ideal area for recent graduates who prefer a more chilled side of London, but it's well connected and easy to get to other areas if you want to party!" - Emily

So what do you think? Of course all the costs are subject to change and are dependent on your individual situation. Living in the London can be super pricey but it can also be fairly affordable if you do your research and stay in search of the best and most cost effective deals in all aspects of your living. 

Here are some home-hunting resources to get you started on your search:

Good luck!