You’ve got your acceptance letter, you’ve got the place on your dream postgraduate course, and you’re moving to London to study. Nicely done. You’ve certainly got good taste in cities. In fact, it was recently voted as the best city in the world for students. Not bad, eh?
But before you can get started on your new postgraduate life in the Big Smoke, you’re going to need to find somewhere to live. If you’ve never been to London before, then that can be pretty daunting. What areas are good? How close will I be to my university? Is it a safe area?
We’ve used our many years of experience helping students find postgraduate accommodation in London to put together this guide to help you get settled in and have you exploring the city like a real Londoner in no time. Here’s a rundown of everything that’s included in this guide:
London is a hot spot for students from all around the UK and the world, and you’ll be in good company when you arrive. As there are so many students in London, there are many different options available for student accommodation. But, when it comes to your postgraduate studies - you won’t just want any student accommodation…
Another option for postgraduate accommodation is a private student studio or one bedroom flat. Postgraduates tend to love this option as it offers a more mature and independent university experience. Private student flats are available around London in places like Euston, Bloomsbury, West Kensington, Hammersmith, Earls Court and Hampstead.
Most of the time, private flats come equipped with everything a postgraduate will ever need, such as:
That way, you can spend more time studying and exploring the city and less time buying and building IKEA furniture and sorting out your utilities.
London is home to over eight million people, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places available to rent. Private shared accommodation is an excellent option for postgraduate students as you can choose exactly where you want to live in London. It’s also often a more economical choice.
Finding shared housing in London, however, can be a bit tricky. London doesn’t have a dedicated student rental market which means you’ll compete with every other Londoner for properties. This can be even more difficult as some landlords can be reluctant to rent to students, even if you’re lucky enough to view a property before it disappears from the rental market.
If you’re considering private shared accommodation, it’s good to get started early. Online platforms like SpareRoom are handy for finding accommodation. It’s also worth checking if your university has any resources with reliable landlord information available.
This type of student accommodation is favoured by undergraduates and particularly first year students, and universities tend to prioritise these students when allocating places. Halls of residence also tend to be on the rowdier side of life, making them a potentially disruptive environment for postgraduate study and therefore, not the best type of student accommodation for postgraduates.
You may have already missed out on a spot in your hall of residence, but with all the other great accommodation options in London, you might soon be glad you missed out. London is full of other, often better, opportunities for postgraduate accommodation with far more choice in terms of location, contract length and property size.
The only main difference between this type of student accommodation and university-run halls of residence is that private companies run them.
There are a couple of aspects of private halls that put some students off. The first is that undergraduates and postgraduates share halls, which means you may be sharing with people younger and potentially less invested in their studies. This could be disruptive for your postgraduate studies. The other aspect is that the price of private halls is often higher.
Finding the right place to live — AKA sorting the good postgraduate accommodation from the bad — is super important. A good place to live can be the difference between a terrific and a terrible university experience.
But being able to tell the difference isn’t always obvious, and what might seem great at first can turn into a nightmare. When you’re looking at properties and accommodation in London, keep an eye out for some key indicators.
Obviously, one of the first things you’ll look at when you’re trying to find postgraduate accommodation in London is how much it’s going to set you back every month. And it won’t take you long to notice that the cost of living in London can be pretty high. However, there are ways to make it more affordable.
The first thing to do is look around at the different options and areas to get an idea of the average price. Once you’ve found a few budget-friendly options, you’ll be able to gauge the cost of the other options and see what’s available in your price range.
But be cautious when you’re looking at prices. If it seems too good to be true, it often is. Very low prices could mean that the accommodation isn’t very good or, worse, it could be a scam.
While the most apparent expense of postgraduate accommodation in London is the rental costs, there are a lot of other costs you’ll need to consider, such as:
While some properties will come with bills included in the rental costs, most private shared accommodations won’t, and it will be your responsibility to arrange them. If you’ve already found a good option, you can check the average cost of utilities and bills through comparison sites like uSwitch. If you do this before making any enquiries, you’ll be able to make sure the cost of bills won’t make the property unaffordable.
While most students only study for about nine months of the year, contracts for London accommodation usually run for 12 months. This can mean that students pay for three months of the year without living in the property. If you can, look for properties that offer shorter or flexible contracts to suit your needs.
If you’re moving to London, either from within the UK or abroad, finding furnished accommodation can be an absolute game-changer.
Unfurnished properties are far more common in London, but the cost of furniture can quickly rack up. Finding furnished accommodation can save you a lot of money and the stress of arranging deliveries and putting together flat-pack furniture.
London is a huge city and has a long list of great areas to rent student accommodation, that are all very different from the next. Picking where you want to live in the capital can be a tricky decision. Maybe you want to be right in the heart of the city. Or, perhaps you’d like to be in a quiet spot that’s close enough to explore the city when you feel like it. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s worth considering a few things to work out where you want to live.
While there’s a lot to do in London, the reason that you’re here is to study. So it makes sense to try and find student accommodation that’s close to campus. While you might want to live in Shoreditch, you’ll spend a lot of time and money on public transport if you’re studying at University College London.
There is nothing worse than having a long commute for those 9am lectures. Unless you’re desperate to live in a particular part of the city, it’s worth looking close to your university. Beyond just getting to classes quickly, you’ll be close to the library, so you can quickly go and grab that book you need for your assignment.
Getting around London is easy, but certain areas make exploring the city even more accessible. Picking somewhere to live with good transport links means you’ll be able to get from one side of London to the next in a flash and be able to explore the rest of the UK when you’re not studying.
For example, Earls Court, which is close to Imperial College London, has excellent transport links. You can hop on the tube and go all around London on the District and Piccadilly lines and Overground trains. And, you can get to Heathrow Airport in less than 40 minutes.
While you may be in London to study, you’re still in one of the most vibrant cities in the world and should make the most of the opportunity to explore. You’ll have a massive list of activities to try, such as:
It’s well worth researching the things you’d love to do in London to help you choose whereabouts in the city you can live and be close to them.
Beyond the museums, galleries, shops and restaurants, you’re going to need some fresh air and exercise. Unlike some cities, London isn’t all concrete jungle but is full of beautiful green spaces that are perfect for long walks, picnics and playing sports. Through the city, there are parks and gardens dotted around, such as:
Plus, you can jump on and off bikes throughout the city to explore, enjoy the parks and get some exercise at the same time.
Moving to a new place can be daunting, and there’s a lot to consider. Even once you’ve got your postgraduate accommodation in London arranged, you’ll still have plenty to do before you can relax and start your studies.
If you’re moving to London for your postgraduate studies, you’re going to have a lot to think about, but don’t let that get you distracted from the excitement of the move. London is an incredible city to live in and even better to study in — especially for postgraduates. There are tonnes of accommodation options, and you’ll find the perfect one for you. Once you’ve moved in, the world, or London, is your oyster.
We manage and rent private student accommodation in London. We make renting in London easy with fully-furnished and all-inclusive studio apartments. If you need any extra information or advice on renting private student accommodation in London, please feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be glad to help.