A good, happy and safe place, at a comfortable price, is essential to your student experience. As a new student moving to London, finding accommodation can be a very daunting task, and it is made even more complicated by all the new terms and concepts required to understand in order to judge your options.
So if you’re beginning to look for your dream room in student halls of residence in the city, read through here and I promise you will come out better informed to make your decision.
Some Important Cost Tips:
- All rates are given in terms of PPW (per person per week)
- The contracts can range from 38 to 50 weeks. Decide what contract duration suits you best – consider the duration of your course, and if you need your place during the holidays etc.
- It is important to check if the price includes bills and/or catering.
- In most cases, you will need to have a UK Guarantor. This could be someone you know and are related to, who is willing to be responsible for payments if you are unable to pay. If you do not have someone, you will need to pay to rent a UK Guarantor. There are online websites for that but the one time fees for this is 400GBP. A way to avoid this cost altogether is to pay the entire accommodation fees at once in the beginning.
There are typically four types of rooms available in all student accommodations.
- Twin Rooms – Two people share one room so all the private spaces are shared by two people. While there are separate twin beds, work desks and wardrobes, the washrooms, are shared. If the room type is a twin studio then the kitchen is shared as well. These are usually the cheapest options.
- Ensuites – You have your own room with your own washroom, wardrobe and desk, however, the kitchen is located outside the room and is shared. The number of people sharing the kitchen can range from 3 to 12. These are the most common type of room available in all accommodations and usually come with a generously sized kitchen, living and dining space.
- Single Rooms – Similar to ensuites, you have your own room with a desk, bed and wardrobe, but with the exception that you will share a bathroom with other residents.
- Studios – The largest of the three; these have a private room, washroom, wardrobe, desk, kitchen as well as a small dining space. They are completely individual and usually are the most expensive ones.
- Zones – London is almost radially divided according to the distance from central London into separate zones; for a better understanding, have a look at the London tube map. LSE falls in Zone 1 out of a total of 6 zones. Fare price will vary, depending on how many zones you’re travelling through, and the time of travel (peak and non-peak hours). My first tip is to stay within Zone 2 if you’re new to the city and want to explore during your free time. My second tip is to check the travel duration and route from your accommodation to LSE on Google Maps. (And remember to always use an Oyster Card or your contactless card to make sure you get the cheapest fare price!)
- Connectivity – Your accommodation should ideally be located near a tube station. It would be even better if it has a few around so you can access different tube lines to avoid changes during your journey. Proximity to bus stations are also extremely important as tubes do not run throughout the night and often, buses do. Also, bus stops can be closer to your accommodation than the tube station, which is especially important for those very tiring days.
- Amenities – Another must is the proximity of essential stores, like Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Boots, and M&S, to your accommodation. These are popular stores for groceries, medicines, and other amenities. It can be really difficult to carry these things around at once and so their location should not be compromised.
- LSE Accommodation – These only house LSE students. Some of these are undergraduate only, some may be graduate only, and some can also be a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate. These are a good choice as will be surrounded by LSE students. Popular choices may be Bankside House, Sidney Webb House, Butler’s Wharf etc.
- Intercollegiate Halls – LSE has rooms, for example in College Hall, The Garden Halls, and Connaught Hall which houses students from various University of London institutions. This gives you the opportunity to meet and spend time with students from London universities like King’s and Queen Mary, exposing you to other people outside of LSE.
- College-type Halls – These halls allocate halls through a selection process. Popular examples include the Goodenough College and International Students House (ISH). They have a selection process which requires you to complete application forms and provide letters of recommendation etc. Through the process, they try to ensure a good variety and mix of students. On the plus side, they sometimes offer scholarships/financial assistance,
- Intercollegiate Halls by Private Lenders – These are provided by various private companies like Host, Scape, iQ, and Chapters. Since these buildings are Purpose Built Student Accommodations (PBSAs) rather than converted old buildings, facilities can be more modern. They can be found in Zone 1 to Zone 6 so there is location and price range flexibility. The best part is it usually operates on a first come, first serve basis, so there isn’t an application, you just pay and receive confirmation of your room.
- Fitness centres and gyms – If you enjoy working out, make sure to factor it in when choosing your accommodation! But if there are none you like or near you, you can buy a membership to the LSESU Gym, giving you access to their gym and fitness classes.
- Provision of Spaces – If it’s important to you to have other spaces (other than your bedroom) for studying, hanging out, or just to have a change of scenery. Look for accommodation that offers Common Study Spaces, Library, or Reading Rooms, etc.
- Frequency of Social Events – Some accommodations, like Nido, Chapters and Butler’s Wharf, host regular events such as Movie Nights, Game Nights and parties. These are a great way of meeting new people and making some friends.
Popular London Areas (and few popular choices of accommodations) :
- North – Highbury, Islington (Chapter Islington, Highbury 1 and 2, iQ Highbury, iQ Arcade, Stapleton House)
- East – Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Mile End (Paul St. East, iQ Shoreditch, iQ Hoxton, Paul St. East, Scape Shoreditch, urbanest Hoxton, Chapter Spitalfields, Chapter Aldgate, iQ Aldgate, Host the Curve, Scape Mile End, International Student House, Lillian Knowles)
- South – London Bridge (Sidney Webb, iQ Paris Gardens, Chapter Southbank, Bankside, Butler’s Wharf, Chapter Lewisham, Yara Lewisham)
- West – Hempstead, Kensington (Nido, Chapter Portobello, Yara Central)
- Central – King’s Cross, Holborn, Bloomsbury (Indian YMCA, High Holborn, Grosvenor House, Lillian Penson, Victoria Hall, Chapter King’s Cross, urbanest King’s cross, urbanest Westminster, iQ Bloomsbury)
- Further Out – Brixton, White City, Wimbledon (Chapter White City, Scape Wimbledon)
Visit LSE’s website to explore and find specific information for each halls of residence available at LSE.