15 best places to live in London as a young professional
It's a big decision finding your first place to live in a new city. You don't want to be too far from work, but maybe you want some greenery or to be close to the action. Absolute minefield. Getting it wrong can really ruin your relationship with a new home town from the off.
But how do you start to understand what you can afford, where suits your lifestyle or what commute will help reduce the stress of a morning tube journey?
We've broken down the main worker hubs in London, and give you the best options for where to rent in London no matter where you're working.
Check out your commute
If you work in Soho or Victoria
The Victoria line is one of London's best transport arteries, you can go from one end to the other in 30 minutes, and luckily, Brixton is at one of those ends, so you're always gonna get a seat. In this area, or just down the road in Stockwell, you're only 10 minutes to Oxford Circus, and even less to Victoria, so if your job's anywhere near The West End, it's one of the best places to live in London.
As a neighbourhood, if you're scared of getting easily bored, there's few better places in London. For great, independent food there's Brixton Village. And Pop Brixton. Oh, and Brixton Market. For a night out, you're unlikely to run out of venues - Dogstar, Hootenanny or Blues Kitchen are a good place to start, but they're just the tip of the iceberg. There's also Brockwell Park, with its own swimming pool (outdoors of course) and amazing green space to escape the urban jungle.
Cost-wise, the growing popularity of Brixton means it's a quite a bit more expensive than it was 5-10 years ago. You'll be looking at between £1000-£1400 per month for a studio or 1 bed place, before you even think about paying bills, but given the location and commuting options, it's definitely worth it!
Both areas are pretty awesome London riverside living. They're inside zone 1 and fantastic locations for getting around London quickly. Waterloo's 6 minutes from Vauxhall, the West End, a couple of stops away and you can be in The City in only 20 minutes.
The neighbourhoods straddle The Thames (Pimlico = north and Vauxhall = south) and you're a really picturesque walk/run/cycle up the river to Westminster, Embankment and The South Bank.
Pimlico feels like a luxury village, transplanted in the heart of London. Full of classic looking pubs and restaurants, with classic stucco architecture (big white columns on the front of houses FYI) and just down the road from Victoria, home of the iconic Apollo Theatre, and The Queen.
Vauxhall, just over the bridge, is a bit of a hub for nightlife and has a great reputation for being LGBTQ+ friendly. There's also a petting zoo with a couple of alpacas called Ben and Jerry.
You might not consider Wembley to the most obvious place to live for commuting or lifestyle purposes, but you'd be surprised. Despite being relatively far north, you're 12 minutes from Baker Street and less than 20 to get into the West End. There's been so many homes built in Wembley Park in recent years, so they needed stuff for people to do, otherwise there'd be a lot of stadium break-ins and the turf would be ruined!
There's a Boxpark, a designer outlet shopping centre, art galleries, incredible street art and events across the year to keep you entertained. All tastes across the cultural spectrum are catered for - Boxpark is the official screening partner for Love Island in 2020, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra has just moved its HQ to Wembley. No news on a potential partnership with Love Island as of yet.
The prices to rent in the area are very much governed by the fact that there's a huge amount of premium apartments that dominate the market. An average studio will cost just over £900, with a larger, one-bed apartment at £1,164.
If you work in The City
Transformed since Seb Coe led the successful 2012 Olympics bid, Stratford's full of new apartment buildings, inspired by the regeneration that's been happening to the area. It's a really handy east London location, plenty of tube, rail and DLR links, as well as incredibly convenient for hopping on a train to Europe. You'll barely have enough time to get through the adverts at the start of a podcast before you're in Liverpool St, Bank or Canary Wharf.
It's home to London's biggest shopping centre (a blessing or a curse depending on your outlook) but also access to some of the incredible sporting facilities left over from the Olympics. Swim in the Aquatic Centre, cycle round the Velodrome or watch world class sport at the London Stadium (ok, maybe not West Ham) or Copperbox Arena. Here East and East Village provide plenty of weekend entertainment - bars, brunch spots or chilling by the canal.
It's a little disingenuous to say Elephant and Castle is only good for commutes to The City. It's basically great for getting pretty much anywhere; to work, to explore London. Very central and not quite as eye-wateringly expensive as many areas in zone 1, although that's definitely changing with its recent facelift and wide array of high-rise apartment buildings.
That's not to say you're going to find a cheap bargain, studios average out at nearly £1,300 and if you want a one-bed, you're looking at around £1,631. You clearly can put a price on convenience, but if you want to be close to the action, it's one of the best areas to live in London.
We probably don't need to sell it too much more to you, it is one of the most up and coming areas in London, but you can check out our Elephant and Castle guide here.
If you work in London Bridge
If you're looking for idyllic greenery without a long commute from the London suburbs, Greenwich could be the one for you. Renowned for its royal park, imposing architecture and village-like town centre, it's a jewel in the south east.
There's a really great vintage scene and iconic covered market, all less than 25 minutes from most of the capital's big worker hubs. A direct train to London Bridge only takes 10 minutes and you're transported from beautiful greenery to buzzing city.
Studio or one bedroom apartments range from, on average, £960 to £1200, which, considering the surroundings and quality of life you can enjoy in the Royal Borough, not to mention commute times, it's worth considering setting up in SE8.
The people who live there would say hands down, it's one of the best places to live in London in your 20s (and beyond). From Clapham Junction to Balham High Road - there's so much to keep you entertained when you're not at work. And if you're trying to get to work, it's pretty sweet too.
There's 4 stations along the Northern Line, taking between 10 - 16 minutes to get you straight into London Bridge. Clapham Junction has a great service to Waterloo, via Vauxhall too, so the West End is more than commutable.
Tucked between Greenwich and Bermondsey, Deptford is a great south London area where you can enjoy all the benefits of its south east London location, but much kinder to the bank balance - all this less than a 10 minute train journey into London Bridge, with an equally agreeable commute to Canary Wharf too.
It's not as pretty as neighbouring Greenwich, but that just means the places works a little harder to keep you interested. One of the many areas being regenerated across the city giving local, independent businesses the opportunity to create something a little different. There's a couple of theatres, a library that triples up as a cinema and place to work out. You're also well served for pubs all over the town and great music venues like The Amersham Arms.
If you work in Canary Wharf
If your office is located in Canary Wharf, chances are you're gonna be working long hours a lot of the time. So the last thing you need after an early start or late finish, is a mission across town to get home. Ideally, you're looking to travel a couple of stops, maximum. North Greenwich is just that spot. It's a 1 minute journey between the stations, so really, your only commute time is how long it takes to walk to and from the tube at either end.
Studios will set you back between £900 - £1,000 per month, with one-bedrooms anywhere from £1100 - £1300. Given that Canary Wharf is where London's highest earners tend to work, it's a price that could be well within budget and make getting to work an absolute dream. There's the added bonus that a lot of apartments around Greenwich Peninsula have exceptional views out over the Thames.
The other side of the coin is Canada Water. Also one stop from Canary Wharf, just in the other direction. Equally as convenient for Canary Wharf workers, and, dare I say, a little more exciting as an area....
There's no O2 or quick trips into Greenwich, but Canada Water is situated on its own lake, really close to the river and home to the street food mecca Hawker House. The former docklands has great parks, some of London's oldest riverside pubs and an excellent watersports centre for all your canoe-based needs.
The homes come in all shapes and sizes, from converted warehouses to modern apartments and classic terraced houses. The prices of studios and 1 beds are a little higher than in North Greenwich, but not significant enough to make it a financial choice - more of a lifestyle one.
If you work in Paddington
Sitting between Putney and Chelsea in west London's zone 2, you get Thameside living amongst some of the city's most exclusive neighbourhoods. Close by there's a palace, two premier league football teams and an amazing array of restaurants and pubs. 15 minutes on the District line to Paddington or 20 to either Embankment, Westminster or Oxford Circus, it's a stone's throw from many of The West End's main worker hubs.
In the area itself, North End Road market is an institution - running since the 1880s - and Whole Foods is the highlight of Fulham Broadway's shops, if you feel like splashing out for dinner. Slice Studios in Parson's Green is great for a workout and one of London's best loved restaurants The River Cafe (where Jamie Oliver was discovered) is close by too.
West London tends to be more expensive than the rest of the city, and SW6 is quite an exclusive post code, so you're looking at around £1100 for a studio and more for one bedroom bed flats.
It's actually the home of L'Oreal, Coca-Cola and Disney in London, so surrounded by shops, cafes and restaurants as you step out of the station to cater for the workers. If you're not lucky enough to work at any of these companies, it's well served by three tube lines, and you're less than 15 minutes to Paddington on the pink one, as well as great for commutes into the West End or Embankment.
Right by the riverside, the banks are dotted with relaxed, old-fashioned pubs, overlooking rowers gliding by. You're also down the road from Shepherds Bush and the gigantic Westfield, as well as a quick skip into Kensington or over the river to Putney.
Made famous by the carnival, its annual explosion of colour, parades and rum punch, and the myth that Hugh Grant could afford to run a failing bookshop and live on Portobello Road (whilst falling in love with Julia Roberts). Notting Hill is one of the capital's most well-known and desirable areas. Less than 5 minutes on the tube to Paddington, around 10 to Oxford Circus and 20 to Liverpool Street, it's a great location for a commute to quite a few of office hotspots in town.
It's difficult to fit everything that Notting Hill's got in one paragraph, but safe to say if you like beautiful, ornate and colourfully painted homes, flanked by world class pubs and restaurants, historical markets or a nearby iconic green spaces (Hyde Park) - you may want to consider Notting Hill.
The prices aren't for the faint-hearted - luxury comes at a price. You'd be looking at the best part of £1,500, at least, for a studio and not much change from £2,000 for a one-bed flat.
There's all sorts to take into consideration when working out where you'd like to live. Luckily in London so many different neighbourhoods, with plenty of different vibes to suit anyone's needs and budget. It just means you need to understand the city a little better to make the right decision.
At Lyvly we can help you with all of that - taking into consideration, budget, commute times and if you're after a bit of greenery vs a night out on your doorstep. Check out what Lyvly has to offer and if you're looking to move, please get in touch.