So you’ve gone through the process of applying for graduate jobs, bagged yourself a job in London, and have got your graduate budget in place – now, it’s time to start thinking about where to live in London as a graduate.
For recent university graduates, making the big move to London can be daunting.
Is it better to live in a graduate house share in London or serviced apartments?
Should you live close to your graduate job, or will you get a better price living in Zone 3 and commuting to work?
The process of finding where to live in London is undeniable stressful, especially when you’re trying to find somewhere that’s well-connected and lively, but (and here’s the catch) – affordable. Don’t stress!
We’ve compiled a list of the best places to live in London in your 20s on a graduate budget.
Looking for the best things to do in London? Check out our Guide To East London, Guide To North London and Guide to South London!
Affordable places to live in London for graduates
Sat on the Central line, Leyton is populated by young professionals looking for a lively area in close proximity to the City.
With plenty of things to do at the weekend, The Olympic Park and bustling Westfield Stratford City shopping centre are both within walking distance, making Leyton one of the best places to live in London, and a great choice for graduates.
Other attractions in Leyton include Jubilee Park, and the famous ArcelorMittal Orbit.
Recently voted one of London’s happiest places to live, Bromley also happens to be one of the cheapest places to live in London.
It’s close to the border of Kent, and boasts a rich history and an abundance of green spaces.
It might surprise you, then, that it takes a mere 15 minutes on the train to central London (pretty handy for those who’ve scored graduate jobs in London Bridge!)
Plus, it’s perfect if you’re looking for somewhere to escape from the bustle of the City when your working day is over.
Make sure you visit the Chislehurst Caves (man-made tunnels with daily guided tours) and Kelsey Park if you’re living in Bromley.
Well-connected, vibrant and diverse, Holloway has been undergoing huge regeneration for the last few years – and is becoming an increasingly desirable area for recent graduates.
9 out of 10 of Holloway renters are young professionals looking for affordable areas of London – and as a result, the area of Holloway Road is teeming with cool cafes, shops and bars to keep you occupied if you’re looking for places to go in North London in your downtime.
Looking for things to do in Holloway?
If you’re a football fan, you’ve stumbled upon one of the best places to live in London – and are just a stone’s throw away from the world-famous Emirates Stadium.
As a recent grad, you might not be able to afford trendy Balham or Clapham just yet, but never fear – if you’re looking for a social hub with a smaller price tag, look no further than Tooting.
This Zone 3 haunt is a short ride on the Northern line to London Bridge, and only 25 minutes to Old Street (which you might have heard called “Silicon Roundabout” or “Tech City”) – and its vast array of graduate jobs.
On our list of the best places to live in London, this is one of the cheapest places to live in London – perfect if you’re on a graduate budget, but don’t want to miss out on a social life.
There are a number of things to do in Tooting; from picnicking on Tooting Common to browsing the markets, and tucking into the range of global cuisine (it’s especially well-known for its Indian food offerings).
Read more in our full Graduate’s Guide to South London here.
A bustling urban hub, the North London hotspot of Wood Green is remarkably well-connected – a speedy 13 minutes to King’s Cross station on the Piccadilly line.
What’s more, Wood Green boasts a good selection of shops and amenities including ‘The Mall’ shopping centre, and is within walking distance to the legendary Alexandra Palace.
Other things to do in Wood Green include visiting Woodside Park, and the food markets Blue House Yard.
It might not be somewhere you’ve heard much about before, but take our word for it – it’s fast becoming one of the best places to live in London on a budget.
Home to the iconic former BBC Television centre, the renowned O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the convenient White City shopping centre, you might be surprised to know that Shepherd’s Bush is actually one of the cheapest areas of London.
Close to the City and bursting with amenities to fill your hours outside of the office, Shepherd’s Bush is somewhere to consider on your search for the perfect pad – especially for those who have landed graduate jobs in West London and are looking for cheap places to live.
If you do have a little more cash to splash on rent in London, Shepherd’s Bush is also home to plenty more expensive digs – check out Zoopla and RightMove.
Whether you’re on a super-tight budget in London or have a little more to spend, Shepherd’s Bush tops our list of the best places to live in London.
A lively, cosmopolitan area occupied by a vibrant mix of residents, Acton is serviced by four different tube stations – and in 2019 will also benefit from a stop on the Elizabeth line.
A top tip – if you want to go for a large house share, check out North and West Acton, where the houses tend to be much bigger.
As cheap places to live in London go, there’s not as much to do as some of our other picks – but if you don’t mind commuting into Central London, you’ll find Acton an affordable area to call your home.
An up-and-coming area of South-West London, with three different tube stations – you’ll be well-connected no matter where you work in London.
As one of the cheapest and best areas to live in London, you will never be short of things to do in Streatham at the weekend.
Why not spend your Sunday taking a walk around the picturesque Streatham Common (and when you get tired of that, relax in one of the many pubs surrounding it)?
Served by an efficient Overground that’ll have you racing around the city, Forest Gate is especially convenient if you land a graduate job in one of London’s outer boroughs or in trendy East London.
Forest Gate is also teaming with curry houses, coffee shops and traditional pubs to keep you busy in your downtime – so as cheap places to live in London go, it’s a winner all-round.
4 Cheapest areas to rent in London for graduates
If you’re looking to rent graduate flats or housing on the cheap, certain boroughs tend to be more affordable areas for graduates.
For where to live in London as a graduate, here are the London boroughs that cost the least to live in:
Cheapest borough in North London: Enfield
Cheapest borough in East London: Bexley
Cheapest borough in South London: Croydon
Cheapest borough in West London: Hammersmith
What to do in London on a budget
Moving to the capital doesn’t end once you’ve found where to live in London as a graduate; the next step is to find out everything you can about your new surroundings.
London is thoughts to be one of the best cities in the world for young professionals, due to its lively nightlife, speedy transport system to help you get around, and an array of free activities to do.
You’ll never be short of things to do in London, or places to go in London, whatever your budget!
Check out our Complete Guide to East London for the best pubs, restaurants and free activities in the area – or if you’re based in Central London, take a look at our 11 Best Places To Eat Lunch In Soho or 11 Best Places To Eat Lunch In Covent Garden.
As one of the most expensive cities in the world, moving to London and living in London on a budget can be a scary thought.
But if you’re on the hunt for graduate jobs in London, or you’ve already landed your perfect role, check out these 9 cheap places to live in London in your 20s, that won’t compromise on your social life.
Find more career advice for graduates on our Careers Advice Blog – or check out the latest Graduate Jobs in London!