London Interns - Where to Live
So you’ve got the internship, you’re all excited, but you’re worrying about moving to wherever your job role is based. WORRY NO MORE! As current interns, many of us have been through exactly what you have too, so here is my best advice depending on where your next year is based.
The first part of your placement will be based in Victoria, London (highlighted on map below in blue diamond) which is very central, however you will be moved to Paddington (yellow diamond) during your internship so it is best if you live somewhere which is easily commutable to both! Ideally it is best to live in Zone 3 (red diamonds); as it’s still near enough to get to central, but it is a little bit cheaper. If you prefer to splash out and live in zone 2, I’ve highlighted some of these easily commutable places in Green.
Another tip is to check out the app ‘tube map’, it shows you how long it takes to get from one place to the next by tube so gives you a good indication of where would be good to live! And all you lucky thingsare going to be getting 24 hour tubes from September so you’ll never have to worry about the dreaded night buses or scraping your coins together for a taxi.
Here is a bit of an overview of each place I’ve highlighted just to give you an understanding of what you should be expecting in each of these potential areas!
First up, we’re going to look at Zone 2; more pricey but you can definitely call yourself a ‘propa Londoner Guv’na.’
Time to Victoria: 11 minutes by tube. Time to Paddington: 13
Rent in Fulham can be pretty expensive and you might find yourself paying the same price for a twin share in Fulham as youwould for a single room in a place like Acton. If you’re a big footy fan – Fulham has two major football stadiums. Even better if you’re a Chelsea fan as Stamford bridge is right by Fulham Broadway underground and for those of you who are Fulham FC supporters Craven Cottage is right next to Bishop’s park. You can imagine the crazy atmosphere when Chelsea play at home but it’s always good craic! Fulham also has a big shopping centre as you come out of the tube with a spoons and a cinema, good for a chill out after work!
East Acton and West Acton
West Acton – Time to Victoria: 31 minutes. Time to Paddington: 23 minutes
East Acton – Time to Victoria: 27 minutes. Time to Paddington: 19 minutes
Pub lovers will be happy as for its size, Acton has a lot of pubs to choose from! There’s also a bowling alley in Park Royal that’s a short walk from North Acton. It’s got a bar where you can get pretty big jugs of beer for £8. Happy days. East Acton tube is a 10 min walk from Acton Park which has got tennis and basketball courts, a kiddie’s playground and plenty of open space. There’s also Gunnersbury Park which is great for the Summer months! It’s the largest in the area and located south of Acton Town tube. It’s huge and has a pitch n’ putt, a museum, a pond and you can do all sorts of sporting events! There’s no shortage of choices of transportation in Acton with four underground lines, two national rail stations, loads of bus routes and a few night buses. North, East and West Acton are all served by the Central Line and Acton Town is on the Piccadilly and District Lines.
Time to Victoria: 13 minutes. Time to Paddington: 11 minsHammersmith is one of the best connected areas in all of London. Three tube lines go through here (Hammersmith & City, District and Piccadilly) and there’s a huge, central bus garage that seems to have buses going everywhere. If you’re a big foodie, Hammersmith could be the place for you! Every Thursday the Hammersmith farmers market is a delight to visit as it has marvellous fresh and cooked food from farms around the area. For live entertainment, Hammersmith is great. It is the home of Hammersmith Apollo, a major London live music venue that plays host to some major international acts. Then there are the Riverside Studios, once an old water pump factory converted into a BBC recording studio that showcases experimental theatre and international films. Unfortunately, Hammersmith is covered in concrete and doesn’t have much in the way of parks but more than makes up for this as it is close to the river so it’s not bad for a walk!
Moving out a bit to Zone 3, if you’re not used to the city, Zone 3 could be for you – slightly quieter out of the dense lively zone 1, and slightly cheaper – however keep in mind, you will pay slightly more for your travel card.
Time to Victoria: 28 minutes. Time to Paddington: 26 minutes
Ealing is a nice place to be, it isn’t all that busy which could be a nice break from bustling central London! Ealing has good tube links, being located on the central line. For this reason any other part of London is accessible providing you know the tube map well. For those of you who like to keep busy, Ealing is host of many summer events in Walpole Park including a yearly Jazz festival and some other musical events and entertainment. There are several other large parks including Osterley Park and Gunnersbury Park, both of which are ideal for long walks and are ideal for a picnic. Ealing offers everything you need with regard to shopping – but perhaps not everything you want but with a large Lidl, and some good retail shops, you’ll get mostly everything you need! With regards to restaurants and takeaways, there’s a lot to choose from. Nightlife isn’t amazing but there are lots of Irish style pubs, such as O’Neils, which is always good for a chilled evening.
Time to Victoria: 26 minutes. Time to Paddington: 28 mins
Wimbledon isn’t just great for the Tennis! It’s a friendly place with good access to the centre of London! Wimbledon has plenty of attractions, including a relatively new 12-screen cinema, two theatres, a swimming pool, several reasonably pricedgyms and even a greyhound racing track! Wimbledon also has a real mixture of evening venues and certainly provides a lively weekend, though party animals may be disappointed that it’s somewhat quiet during the week. Home to the Wombles, Wimbledon Common with its woodland, windmill, tearoom and lake provide a relaxing and chilled day out. For those of you who are more active, Wimbledon Park provides water sports, playing fields, tennis courts and mini golf.
Wimbledon rail station provides an extremely useful and speedy service to Clapham Junction (about ten minutes) and Waterloo, with trains running very regularly. The district line also runs from Wimbledon station, or you can even take the northern line from South Wimbledon (The two stations are about fifteen-twenty minutes walk apart), trains from here take about thirty minutes to the West End and the City of London.
Time to Victoria: 23 minutes. Time to Paddington: 25 mins
Living in Clapham Junction is extremely great for trains as it’s the ‘busiest train station’ in the UK! Clapham Junction is about 10 minutes on the overground to Victoria. It’s nice to have guaranteed timing in your journey to work! The only downside with Clapham Junction is that there isn’t a tube station unless you go to Clapham north, south or common (half an hour walk), however with the amount of trains, it’s not hard to get to get an over ground train to a nearby station with a tube link. Clapham Junction is home to the famous Clapham Grand, a venue hosting lots of different crazy nights, sure there’s something there for everyone. Rileys’ 24-hour pool bar, which is a must-do with a group of mates, it’s a bit of a boys club and hosts both pool and poker tournaments if you fancy something different. Clapham Junction has far more in the way of a shopping experience. The old Arding and Hobbs building nowadays houses a Debenhams, and there are a few more clothes shops in the surrounding area for some retail therapy. It’s still probably worth a twenty-minute trip into central London though.
Lift London/Soho Studios
These offices are based in Oxford Circus, central London. I highly recommend living in the following places, due to the commute being easy and the places being great locations. Tooting Broadway or Tooting Bec, Balham, Clapham High Street (tubes are Clapham South, Common or North).Tooting (Broadway or Bec) has a great buzz about it, and if you like spicy food it’s famous for its curry! The high street has everything you could need on it from Primark, new look etc for the ladies to a range of restaurants and some great pubs too! The Tram has been a regular on most of my Friday nights since we started, it’s free entry, so it’s perfect for that last minute “…shall we?” which we normally end up asking ourselves after a long week of work. Tooting also houses a library, bingo hall and Tooting Bec Common which is a nice park to chill in, again with loads of sports going on! Tooting Broadway also has a great market – not as big as Camden or Spitalfields but it’s a really fun place to go and has a range of pop-ups from Chinese dumpling restaurants to vintage shops, one way to spend a day if you fancy doing something local. Tooting Leisure Centre is the recently refurbished gym with an Olympic size pool just a 5 min walk from Tooting Broadway station. As I mentioned earlier, Tooting is famous for its curry so even if you don’t end up living here, head down to have one of the best curry’s you’ll get in London! Another bonus – as Tooting Broadway is located towards the end of the Northern Line, you’re a lot more likely to get a seat on the tube on the way to work than living in Clapham which is more central. It’s the little things.
Clapham Highstreet has three undergroundstations on the Northern Line (Clapham South, North and Common), which can all have you in the West End or the city in fifteen minutes. Clapham High Street, a small overground station, also has a service to Victoria via Clapham Junction. Clapham highstreet is a personal favourite of mine – the place is filled with young professionals like yourselves, heaps of amazing restaurants, a quirky cinema, and let’s not forget Clapham Common, a huge park with sports activities and boot camps going on most evening! In the summer months you can even go along to some one day festivals, you won’t miss having a garden if you end up living in a flat without one! The High Street is home to the phenomenon known as Inferno’s. Never has a nightclub been so loved and loathed at the same time. The best way to hack Inferno’s is to get all your pals together and go down on a Friday night, be ready for sticky floors, but feel like you’re back at your student union, then end up in the late opening KFC on your slow walk home. There’s also a Revolutions (commonly known as Revs!) if you’re not into the tacky side of life! Just by Clapham Common is a quirky cinema, and loads of restaurants! There’s also a few gyms located on and off Clapham highstreet so you can burn off those post-work drinks!
I hope this bit of advice is enough to get you started on your quest for a house! I hope it gives you a better understanding of London, and with any luck you’ll be able to work out the best place for you depending on the commute and what you most like doing!