London living: Tips from our students

If you’re not familiar with London, it can be hard to know where to start your search for where to live. While LSHTM is located in Bloomsbury, most Londoners don’t tend to live so centrally. We asked some of our students to tell us where they live in London, what they love about their area and any top tips they have for affordable living.
Burton Place, London, photo by Vasim Memon

Bloomsbury, Central London

What do you like about the area/what's the vibe? 

Samantha: It’s so central and easy to get to almost any part of London and beyond being so close to King's Cross train station. It's definitely a fun area with lots of parks and the canals are really good for running! 

Toño: It has a lot of cafés, has a student life vibe, is close to LSE, LSHTM and UCL, and is close to King’s Cross station. 

What's your favourite thing to do in London? 

Samantha: Walk around! I love having weekend adventures where I walk for many kilometres exploring every inch of the city. Also finding restaurants and cafés has been a blast.  

Toño: Have a drink at Bussey Rooftop Bar (Peckham). It’s pricey but priceless for the skyline view during sunset. Also, to visit all the museums as most of them are free! Finally, to enjoy food from all around the world, I recommend the Korean corndogs from Bunsik on Charing Cross Road, quite delicious. 

Do you have any tips for keeping London affordable to live in? 

Samantha: Stay at Goodenough College! It’s so central and the subsidised housing makes it reasonably affordable. Plus lots of scholarships are available.  

Toño: Do grocery shopping at Lidl and ask to use student discount everywhere!

Camden, North London

Camden Market, North London
Camden Market, Photo by Javier Martinez

What do you like about the area/what's the vibe? 

Anon: It combines proximity to the great parks Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Regent's Park and their peace with the excitement of Camden Town. It’s also close enough to LSHTM and leisure venues, but far enough for a quiet home. 

Micah: Close to the School, close to other classmates, close to Regent's Park, perfect for summers and where lots of lockdown activities have been happening, close to many transport lines. 

What's your favourite thing to do in London? 

Anon: Exploring the city on foot, it's all super walkable and each part has its own character, from stunning landmarks to diverse communities and delicious food. 

Micah: Discover bars and explore the parks.

Do you have any tips for keeping London affordable to live in? 

Anon: There are private housing opportunities that are cheaper (and sometimes nicer) than student housing, so a look on Rightmove is certainly worth it! 

Micah: Grocery shopping is cheap but eating out is crazy expensive. Don’t forget those student discounts (every 10% counts).  

Hackney, East London

Hackney Wick, East London
Hackney Wick, Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante

What do you like about the area/what's the vibe? 

Junu: Claredale House, Bethnal Green is a nice place to live as a student in central London. The area is lovely with many stores, groceries, restaurants, parks, all within walking distance. There is the famous Columbia Road flower market and Spitalfields Market with its multi-cultural foods and clothing, all available in one place. There are a lot of Indian and Bangladeshi stores as well.  

Anon: Laid back, a bit alternative, lots of local markets and small shops, cafés and bars. 

What's your favourite thing to do in London? 

Junu: My favourite thing is to walk around, visit places and explore history. I am not a foodie or a sports lover, but there are many more things to explore and learn about besides studying. I love parks in London, they are huge, with everything from ponds, to fountains to a variety of species, playgrounds for children, and large green spaces. 

Anon: Arepa and Co. (restaurant in Haggerston and Bethnal Green), Broadway Market, Columbia Road market, Yoga at Triyoga. 

Do you have any tips for keeping London affordable to live in? 

Junu: Eating out costs a lot of money, but I do go out with friends occasionally. I always cook for myself which is healthy and cheap. 

Anon: Get a student Oyster card and shop for veg and fruit in markets. 

Waterloo and Southwark, South London

South Bank, London
The London Eye, South Bank, London

What do you like about the area/what's the vibe? 

Noni: I am surrounded by theatres, the Southbank, the Tate Modern Museum, and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in addition to pubs and restaurants. The vibe is chill working professionals and it's central without being overly expensive or loud.

What's your favourite thing to do in London? 

Noni: My mission is corny, but I am trying to try all the best Great British desserts. Might I recommend Konditor and Elbow's Café? 

Do you have any tips for keeping London affordable to live in? 

Noni: To find a flat, try searching University of London's housing Facebook page, SpareRoom or Gumtree* and live with 2-3 flatmates. Decide if you would rather live more cheaply, further out and commute to everything or live closer and try to walk or bike if your destination is under a 40-minute walk. I prefer the bus over the tube because it is cheaper, brings me closer to most destinations than the tube, and allows me to see the city on my route. Oh, and how could I forget? Download the Olio app to find free food near you!

Clapham and Balham, South West London

Clapham, South West London
Clapham, South West London

What do you like about the area/what's the vibe? 

Maddie: It's a very peaceful, residential area that's safe at all hours of the night. At the same time, you're within 15 minutes' walk of lots of amenities - supermarkets, bars, cafés, restaurants, cinemas etc at Clapham South, Clapham Junction and Balham. It's very green, sandwiched between Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common. Because it's South London, it's cheaper than an equivalent area in North London, but I'd say equally nice - South London's bad reputation is based mostly on a lack of tube stations, but the Clapham/Balham part doesn't really have that issue. Nobody could accuse it of being edgy, but for the combination of peace, amenities, and transport links, I don't think you can do much better. And if you do want something a bit more lively and bustling, Brixton is almost within walking distance.

What's your favourite thing to do in London?  

Maddie: I love going to Lost & Found bar in Balham - it's one of the only places in London that does a decent happy hour with 2-for-1 cocktails, and the drinks are delicious too. I also love Knoops in Clapham Junction, which does the most amazing hot chocolate and chocolate milkshakes. I just love exploring little restaurants, cafés, and bars around the city. 

Do you have any tips for keeping London affordable to live in? 

Maddie: Avoid the centre! I was born and raised in London, but I think a common misconception for people who are new to the city is that they have to live right in Zone 1. I'd strongly advise against it: as well as being crowded, polluted and noisy, the cost of living (especially rent) is absurdly high. London has amazing and affordable public transport, so you may as well take advantage of it. Besides, it's sometimes nice to come back to a quiet, peaceful area after a day in the centre, rather than being right in the hustle and bustle all the time. Also, if you have a 16-25 railcard, you can get that added to your Oyster card so you get a discount. 

*We strongly advise viewing any property listed through advertising websites in person before signing a tenancy agreement or paying any money, in order to avoid scams. If you would like further advice on this please contact