International students, just like tourists or other short term visitors to London, often hone in on central London when looking for accommodation….and to be honest, who can blame them!
The city centre of London is a bustling hub of culture, history and nightlife and is the perfect place for any young (or less young!) student or visitor. Zones 1 and 2 of London incorporate the very centre of the city including areas such as Oxford Circus, Holborn, Liverpool Street, King’s Cross, Waterloo, Convent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Clapham Junction and Hammersmith. Many of these are popular tourist attractions and are probably places that you will want to see during your time in London.
That said, if you are considering Homestay accommodation you would be well advised to consider living outside of zones 1 or 2.
Zones 3 and 4 have many plus points and with London being London, there is no reason why you cannot choose to live a bit further out and still benefit from all that central London has to offer.
Here we look at 5 of the top reasons to choose a Homestay in zone 3 or 4.
Keep your costs down
Living in the centre of London is expensive…this is no secret. When you are student your funds are likely to be a bit more limited, and you will want to try and save money where you can. The cost of the homestay will be lower, so this is probably the first reason you should consider choosing a host family outside of the centre.
Although it sounds great to be where the heart of the action is, it also means that the cost of living, including prices of everyday things is much more expensive. You’d be very surprised at the difference between the cost of a pint in zone 1 compared to that in zone 4…and these costs all add up!
A better “home from home” environment
It can be scary to move away from home, especially when moving to another country. You can’t, for example, pop home at weekends if you’re feeling a little homesick. By choosing a homestay in zones 3 or 4, you are more likely to experience a more traditional family set up. You can live in the suburbs and spend more time with your host family, as opposed to living in zone 1 or 2 where you are more likely to be living with just one or two people, who may not be able to spend as much time with you.
AMAZING transport links
You may think that living outside of the centre of London would mean that you’re more cut off from everything. This isn’t the case. For example, going from most stations in zone 3 on the Central line will get you to Oxford Circus quicker than going from zone 2 by rail. If you don’t believe us, take a look at TfL’s Journey Planner and compare travel times to Oxford Circus from Leytonstone (on the underground in zone 3) and Brockley (zone 2 but on the rail). Leytonstone will get you there in less time, with no changes and you will also save money on your weekly zone 3 travel card!
You might have heard scary stories about living in London, particularly for those who aren’t native here. Although a lot of these stories are blown out of proportion, there is some truth that the level of crime is higher in the centre of the city than on the outskirts. The suburbs of London, like zones 3 and 4, are generally safer. The population there is a bit sparser and more spread out so you aren’t as surrounded by people. Many of our international students tell us that this means they feel safer when out and about, instead of having to worry about guarding personal possessions up in central London.
More green, open spaces
Central London is packed. It is packed full of all sorts of buildings. These buildings range from large commercial offices to high-rise residential blocks or towers. It is also fast paced and can be quite “full on” for visitors new to London. It is true that central London has some world famous parks (Hyde Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens and Regent’s Park to name a few) and outdoor spaces, but if you are bit adventurous there are many, many more green spaces to explore a little further out of the centre. These are areas that are quieter, greener and generally a bit cleaner too.
Considering Homestay in London?
In reading this, we hope that you will be more open about Homestay in zones 3 and 4!
While you may think that you are missing out by not living in the centre of the city, there is no reason why you cannot have the best of both worlds. The transport links mean you are only a short ride away from anywhere, and the money you’ll save by not living in the centre can be spent on enjoying your time as an international student in London. What’s not to like?!
If you want advice on choosing where to live in London, then please get in touch. We know and love London, and would be very happy to help you navigate it to find the right homestay accommodation for you.
We look forward to hearing from you!