The Ultimate Guide: Top 5 BEST Places to Live in London for Students + Grads Today

Got a university offer in London? Congratulations! London is a FANTASTIC place to study! Now that you’ve got an offer, you’ll need somewhere to live. Or maybe you’ve just finished uni and are moving to London for the first time. Read on for my complete guide for the best places to live in London for students or graduates! This list is also good for finding the best places to live in London for expats and the best places to live in London as a young professional in general.

This article contains my analysis of the top 5 best places to live in London for students and graduates today, based on price, crime, things to do, and transport links. I’ve also provided lots of alternative options for each of my top picks, as well as places I’d generally avoid living myself.

best places to live in London for students

Now, THIS IS ALL JUST BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE and the places I’ve lived in London or spent a decent amount of time in. Please do not ONLY take my word for this and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every possible place you can live in London. You should definitely do your own research as well, particularly when it comes to safety and things.

And, for my recommendations for places to live for different unis, I’ve only included some of the biggest ones (with which I’m most familiar). Please don’t feel left out if I haven’t included your uni!

Also, please don’t be offended if I’ve listed one of your favourite places as somewhere to avoid! It is not my intention at ALL to make anyone feel badly about where they live. Again, this is just based on experiences I’ve had in particular parts of London. So, take it all with a grain of salt! 🧂

Also, all crime data is from January 2021 from the Met Police website.

best places to live in london for students

#1 – Best Places to Live in London for Students and Graduates in Northwest London: Hampstead and Hampstead Heath

Other Good Areas to Live in Northwest London:

West Hampstead, St. John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage, and Camden

Places to Avoid in Northwest London:

Kilburn, Harlesden, Cricklewood

Good for students at UCL, LSE, SOAS, or Birkbeck and graduates who work in the City or Central London.

I lived in Hampstead Heath for a year (right by the Heath) and it was great! And, one of my best friends lives (and has lived for several years) a few roads down from where I did and absolutely loves it. Hampstead has a very neighbourhood-y feel, but still has good transport links so you can pretty easily get into central London. I will caution, our house was robbed when I lived there, but it is London! And it wasn’t a violent crime or anything—he only made off with one old laptop in the end.

PriceCrimeTransport LinksThings to Do
Hampstead💷💷💷  
Hampstead is definitely one of the more expensive areas of London. However, if you’re in a flatshare, you can definitely find affordable places (my friend paid no more than I have in other areas of London when she was sharing her flat).  
🟢
Violent and sexual offences: 13  
Other theft: 12
🟡  
Hampstead and Belsize Park on the Northern Line   Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak on the Overground. Decent bus routes to central London.
🏞️ 🍻  
Hampstead has lots nice, traditional pubs.   You also have the Heath right on your doorstep, which is a big plus!
West Hampstead💷💷  
West Hampstead is still a bit expensive, but not as much so as Hampstead  
🟡
Violence and sexual offences: 26
Burglary: 8
🟢  
West Hampstead has very good transport links. It’s on the Jubilee Line, Overground, and Thameslink Rail
🍻  
There are a few good pubs in West Hampstead.
St. John’s Wood💷💷💷  
St. John’s Wood is one of the more expensive areas in London. Though, again, for a flatshare, you’re likely to be able to find something more affordable.
🟢
Violence and sexual offences: 9  
Theft from the person: 6  
Burglary: 6
🟡  
St. John’s Wood is on the Jubilee Line.
💤 🏞️   
St. John’s Wood is pretty quiet and residential. You’re right on the edge of Primrose Hill, though, which is great!  
Swiss Cottage💷💷  
Swiss Cottage is slightly more affordable than St. John’s Wood and Hampstead.
🟢 
Burglary: 11  
Violence and sexual offences: 9  
Other theft: 8
🟡  
Swiss Cottage is on the Jubilee Line. It also has decent bus routes.
💤 🏞️   
Swiss Cottage is pretty quiet and residential.   Like St. John’s Wood, you’re adjacent to Primrose Hill.  
Camden💷💷  
Camden is slightly overpriced in my opinion for what you typically get, but you can still find affordable places.
🟢
Violence and sexual offences: 14   Burglary: 4
🟢  
Camden is on the Northern Line, Overground, and has good bus routes.
🎉  🍽️ 🍻  
Camden has lots of restaurants, bars, and clubs.
best areas to live in London for students

# 2Best Areas to Live in London for Students and Graduates in Southwest London: Chelsea

Other Good Places to Live in Southwest London:

Clapham, Fulham, Hammersmith, Putney

Places to Avoid in Southwest London:

Stockwell, parts of Brixton

Good for Students at Imperial or King’s or people who work in Central London or the City.

I lived in Chelsea for two years and it was great! Living in Zone 1 is such a treat! I’ve also lived in Clapham and know people living in Hammersmith, Fulham, and Putney. The latter three are nice because they are on the river, and there are lots of nice pubs there. Chelsea also has nice pubs and restaurants, clubs, and shopping. Clapham also has an active nightlife and Clapham common is lovely. Clapham has a very neighbourhood feel as well and, with lots of shops and restaurants, you have basically everything you need right there.

PriceCrimeTransport LinksThings to Do
Chelsea💷💷💷  
While Chelsea is notoriously expensive, there are good deals to be found, particularly for students, as Imperial is located there.
🟡
Violence and sexual offences: 22
Other theft: 7
🟢
Chelsea is on the District and Circle Lines and the Piccadilly Line.
🏞️  🖼️ 🛍️ 🎉  🍽️ 🍻  
Kensington Gardens, LOTS of museums, bars, shopping, pubs and restaurants.
Clapham💷💷  
Clapham is not the cheapest place, but I paid the same amount in rent there as I did in Southeast London, so I wouldn’t say it’s extortionate by any means.
🟡
Violence and sexual offences: 30
Other theft: 14  
Burglary: 10
🟢
Clapham is on the Northern Line. Clapham Junction is on the Overground and National Rail.
🏞️  🍽️ 🍻
Clapham common, bars, pubs and restaurants.
Fulham💷💷  
There are plenty of decently affordable places in Fulham.
🟡
Violence and sexual offences: 24
Other theft: 16
🟡
Fulham is on the District Line.
🍻🌊
I am not as familiar with Fulham, but there are plenty of pubs there. Plus, you’re right on the Thames.
Hammersmith💷💷  
Hammersmith is also decently affordable, particularly for Zone 1.
🔴
Violence and sexual offences: 34   Burglary: 15
🟢
Hammersmith is on the Hammersmith & City, Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines.
🍻 🍽️ 🌊
There are lots of pubs and restaurants in Hammersmith, Plus, you’re right on the Thames.
Putney💷💷  
Putney is pretty affordable.
🟢
Violence and sexual offences: 16   Burglary: 10
🟡
Putney is on the District Line and National Rail.
🍻 🌊
There are also lots of pubs in Putney. You also have the Thames on your doorstep.
top 5 best places to live in London

#3 – Best Places to Live in London for Students and Graduates in East London: Wapping

Other Decent Places to Live in East London:

Shoreditch, Dalston, Stratford, Langdon Park, Hackney

Places to Avoid in East London:

Whitechapel, Mile End, Bow, Leyton, Barking, Tottenham (technically Northeast, but still), Shadwell, Illford

Good for students at Queen Mary or who work in Canary Wharf or the City.

I love East London and spend a lot of my time there. It is particularly a good choice for students at Queen Mary. Generally, East London is more ‘up-and-coming’ and, therefore, cheaper and has a reputation for having really good nightlife!

 PriceCrimeTransport LinksThings to Do
Wapping💷💷  
Wapping is pretty affordable, particularly for its fairly central location. However, there are a lot of new builds going up which are more expensive.
🟢
Burglary: 11
Other theft: 8
Violence and sexual offences: 8
🟡
Wapping is on the Overground.
🍻 🌊
Pubs, pubs, pubs! You are also right on the Thames.
Shoreditch💷💷  
Shoreditch is a bit more expensive, but still decently affordable.
🟡
Violence and sexual offences: 30
Theft from the person: 26
Burglary: 19
🟢
Shoreditch is on the Overground and Northern Line (Old Street). It is near enough to Liverpool Street, which is on the Central Line, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Circle, Overground, and National Rail.
🎉  🍽️ 🍻  
Pubs and nightlife abound in Shoreditch! There are also lots of great restaurants.
Dalston💷  
Dalston is very affordable.
🟡
Violence and sexual offences: 30   Burglary: 12  
🟡
Dalston is on the Overground and has good bus routes.
🎉  🍽️ 🍻  
Dalston is also a great place for restaurants, pubs, and general nightlife.
Stratford💷  
Stratford is super affordable and, in particular, the new builds are more affordable than in other areas.
🟢
Violence and sexual offences: 10
Theft from the person: 6
Burglary: 5
🟢
Stratford is SUPER well-connected. It is on the Central Line, Jubilee Line, DLR, Overground, and National Rail.
🏞️ 🛍️ 💤
Stratford is a bit sleepier nightlife-wise, but has a HUGE shopping mall and the Olympic Park.
Langdon Park💷  
Langdon Park also has a lot of new builds that are pretty affordable.
🔴
Violence and sexual offences:
Other theft: 15
🟡
Langdon Park is on the DLR. It is also near enough to the District and Hammersmith & City Lines from Bromley-by-Bow and the Jubilee Line and DLR from Canary Wharf.
💤
Langdon park is pretty boring. There’s honestly nothing there. However, you’re close enough to Canary Wharf’s restaurants and pubs. And, I suspect, in a couple of years, there will be a lot more there.
Hackney💷💷  
Hackney has a lot of new builds and older houses alike. There are definitely some overpriced options, but some affordable ones out there too.
🔴
Violence and sexual offences: 43
Other theft: 21
🟡
Hackney is on the Overground. It also has decent bus routes.
🎉  🍽️ 🍻  
Hackney has lots of great restaurants, pubs, and nightlife.
best areas to live in London for graduates

#4 – Best Areas to Live in London for Students and Graduates in Southeast London: Canada Water

Other Good Places to Live in Southeast London:

North Greenwich, Bermondsey

Places to Avoid in Southeast London:

Lewisham, Woolwich, Peckham, New Cross, Camberwell

Good for Students at Queen Mary or who work in Canary Wharf or the City.

Southeast London is another relatively affordable part of London to live in as a student or graduate. It’s also super convenient for people who work in Canary Wharf, in particular. I lived near Canada Water for years (back when there was nothing there), but now there’s way more to do!

PriceCrimeTransport LinksThings to Do
Canada Water💷💷  
Canada Water is mostly new builds at this point, and they can be a bit pricey. But, they’re still more affordable than houses in some other areas.
🔴
Violence and sexual offences: 38
Other theft: 16
🟡
Canada Water is on the Jubilee Line and the Overground.
🎉  🍽️  
There’s WAY more to do in Canada water these days than when I lived there. There’s a big club there and a few restaurants, as well as a Street Food warehouse. There’s also a HUGE Decathalon!
North Greenwich💷💷💷  
North Greenwich has a lot of new builds that are slightly pricier than in other areas.
🔴
Violence and sexual offences: 48
🟡
North Greenwich is on the Jubilee Line.
🎵 🍽️ 🌊
North Greenwich has the O2, as well as quite a few restaurants. It’s also right on the river!
Bermondsey💷💷  
Some places in Bermondsey are quite expensive these days because of their location. However, there are still quite a few affordable options out there.
🔴
Violence and sexual offences: 37
Theft from the person: 22
🟡
Bermondsey is on the Jubilee Line.
🍻 🌊
Bermondsey has LOTS of pubs (the Bermondsey beer mile!) as well as the water!
best areas to live in london young professional

#5 – Best Places to Live in London for Students and Graduates in West Central London: Marylebone

Other Good Areas to Live in West Central London:

Paddington, Notting Hill

Places to Avoid in West Central London:

Shepherd’s Bush, White City

Good for students at UCL, SOAS, Birkbeck, LSE and graduates who work in Central London.

I’m not sure I need to say anything about the benefits of living in Central London! You’re super close to the hustle and bustle and just about any kind of entertainment, shopping, etc. you could ask for!

 PriceCrimeTransport LinksThings to Do
Marylebone💷💷💷  
Marylebone is notoriously expensive, but there are a few, cheaper gems out there! So, keep an eye out!
🟢
Violence and sexual offences: 11
Other theft: 6
🟢
Marylebone is on the National Rail and Bakerloo Line. Baker Street is on the Jubilee Line, Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, and Circle Lines.
🏞️ 🍽️ 🍻
Marylebone is near Regent’s Park. There are also LOTS of great restaurants there and some nice pubs.
Paddington💷💷  
Paddington is very affordable for its location. A lot of the houses are older (so some may be more run down), but it’s worth looking there.  
🔴
Violence and sexual offences: 44
Other theft: 29
🟢
Paddington is on the District and Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Bakerloo, Lines. It is also on the National Rail.
🍽️ 🍻
Paddington has quite a few pubs and restaurants.  
Notting Hill💷💷  
Notting hill is also pretty affordable for its location. A lot of the houses are older (so some may be in disrepair), but it’s worth looking there.
🟢
Burglary: 9
Other theft: 5
🟡
Notting Hill Gate is on the Central, District, and Circle Lines.
🏞️ 🍽️ 🍻 🛍️
There are lots of nice pubs in Notting Hill, restaurants, and you have the Portobello Road Market on the weekends. You’re also near Holland Park.

So, that’s it! Those are my recommendations for the best places to live in London for students and for graduates. Where do you live in London? Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re moving to London, check out my article on finding an affordable place to live in London and my article on practical tips for moving to London. Once you move, check out my list of first flat in London essentials. Click here to read my other articles about moving to and living in London.

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