Choosing a place to live when you are beginning your studies can often be a challenge. It’s especially difficult when you’re not familiar with the town or city where you’ll be going to university, let alone the same country. When I was starting my master’s, I was quite unfamiliar with London and had no idea where to live. I knew I wanted to be somewhat close to LSE’s campus, but besides that, had little criteria for choosing a location and didn’t know what to think about. Since many people reading this will likely face some of the same difficulties, I wanted to offer some neighbourhoods to think about, specifically ones that would not immediately come up, when you’re making your choice.
Located in southwest London on the edge of zone 2, Clapham is one of the hottest areas of the city. However, if you’re an incoming LSE student not from the UK, you might not hear about it since it is not immediately close to the direct centre of the city. For many young people moving to London for the first time, it is a popular place to live. It’s not difficult to see why. Anchored by Clapham Common, one of the largest parks in south London, Clapham is a beautiful and affordable neighbourhood filled with shops, restaurants, bars, pubs, and other local amenities. When walking around, most of the people you see are under 35. The housing is much more affordable here than in zone 1, but it is not too far from LSE’s campus. On the tube, it takes less than 30 minutes to get to LSE outside of rush hour. It is a great choice for students.
Bermondsey is a low-key neighbourhood in southeast London tucked away between Tower Bridge and Southwark Park. During Victorian times, it was one of London’s warehouse districts, and many of the flats, shops, and restaurants today can be found in converted warehouses. When I did my master’s at LSE, I lived in LSE’s postgraduate student accommodation Butler’s Wharf there, which was a great choice. Straddling zones 1 and 2, Bermondsey is close to LSE; you can get to campus in as little as 20-25 minutes. If you’re interested in walking, you can follow the River Thames pretty much all the way to campus and get there in around 50 minutes. It is a fantastic walking route. Bermondsey is great if you want to be close to LSE and London’s city centre, but feel like you’re living in a more suburban area. Often times when you’re there, you can forget you’re in the heart of London.
3. Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park is a bustling multicultural neighbourhood in northeast London, centred around its namesake park. The area features plenty of green space, walking paths, outdoor gyms, and is close to Arsenal Stadium. There are a diverse range of shops and global restaurants featuring all types of food, which is great for students. It’s also close to the other popular Stoke Newington neighbourhood, which has additional pubs and chic cafés. You can take the Piccadilly Line from Finsbury Park Station straight to Holborn near LSE and be there in 20 minutes. Its accessibility and diversity make it a pleasant place to consider if you’re an incoming LSE student.