How to find the best London neighbourhood
The ultimate guide to relocating to London
So, you are relocating to London for work soon, or looking to get a new experience in the British capital? Maybe both?
Congratulations! Now you have to get serious about deciding where to live in London.
Fear not, here is the ultimate guide to finding the best London neighbourhood… for you!
Relocating to London isn’t just about finding a place to rent – a good amount of time has to be spent deciding which area to live in, as there is so much choice.
Step 1: Assessing your priorities
London is a very large city – you can spend two hours in the Underground to cross it from West to East! (you might need a good book).
Finding the right place to live will be your first step towards the perfect relocation to London 🙂
There are many types of neighbourhoods in London:
- Urban areas: for the city-type of people who want to make the most out of London’s multitude of activities.
- Village-like areas: shops and cafes, and you might end up recognising some neighbours!
- Town “out-of-town” – a mini-town, just not in Central London.
- Suburban: peace and quiet, trees, long residential roads, the family dream.
It is really important to define your priorities and the lifestyle you want to have in London.
- Space and budget: the more central, the less space you will get for your budget
- Urban vs. suburban: do you like to feel the 24 hour London vibe around you, or do you prefer to feel the peace and quiet
- Community: is it important for you to belong to a local community?
- Amenities and facilities: are there places that you really want to be close to? Such as a park, a sports facility, shopping facilities, etc.
- Transport facilities: last but not least, how close do you want or need to be to transport like buses, underground, etc.
Step 2: Researching London neighbourhoods
Once you have defined your priorities, it is time to do some research.
- If you don’t know London, or have only every visited London as a tourist, then do take the time to do some research on London neighbourhoods: check out our videos of the 15 most popular London neighbourhoods to get a first impression if you have never been.
- Ideally you will identify 2 or 3 areas that you would like to explore.
- If you are struggling for choice, a good starting point is to check out the 5 best places to live in London.
Step 3: Narrowing down your location options
Focus your home search in London on 2 or 3 areas maximum. Anything else can quickly become a logistical (and decision) nightmare.
But to get there, start by having a larger choice of locations, and narrow it down progressively:
- List your favourite areas based on the research you have done previously.
- Your next step will be to make sure that your rental budget enables you to live there. Take a look at our areas guide that includes average rental prices for each area we present.
- You can also check the two biggest online property platforms – Rightmove and Zoopla (beware, it is addictive!)
- Once you have done that, you should end up with 2 or 3 areas that really look like the ideal place for you – as much in terms of environment as in terms of the rental places you can get with your budget.
Step 4: Searching for your new London home
Congratulations! Now you have selected your 2/3 favourite London areas, it is time to get down to business: you need to find your ideal flat or house!
Your objective will be to set up viewings for London rental properties in a short time frame, ideally one day – the market is extremely reactive, and you will not want to see one property per day, because by the time you see the property on Day 5, the first three will have gone already.
You do want to be able to compare areas and properties immediately, in order to make a quick but funded decision.
- You will need to call each estate agent for each property you will have identified, to clarify whether the property is still available, and whether it matches all of your criteria.
- Don’t forget to check when the property will be available! Some properties are available immediately, others later on. You can decide which ones to choose depending on your own timing.
- You will also need to set up your viewing at a time that is convenient and not too far away from the next viewing (tip: use Google maps!)
Once you have found the place of your dreams, sign your tenancy agreement, get your keys, and enjoy the London life!