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It’s official: Lonely Planet have named Tooting as having one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods! It may not feel like it when you’re out for an early morning run, doing the school drop-off or returning home after a busy day at work, but it’s true: the home of the ‘Curry Mile’ really is an amazing place to visit. International students staying in the UK for study or work placements often approach HFS London for homestay accommodation in London – and we’re always looking for new host families with spare rooms in the area to start hosting our students.

Why Tooting?

Tooting is a popular homestay destination with international students for many reasons. It’s well-connected transport wise, and with it likely to feature on Crossrail Phase 2, that will only improve further. With several over-performing colleges and university centres in the district, even if a commute isn’t required, there’s plenty of educational institutions in the neighbourhood, and some very specialist.

With 9% of the population of Tooting coming from Asian backgrounds, lots of students from the same areas opt to stay in Tooting to avoid homesickness and feel safer and secure than elsewhere in London. That said, we also have plenty of requests from European students to stay in the area too – because where else can you experience such great Asian culture in the capital?!

What is there to do in Tooting?

Tooting may just be home to you, but to international students visiting the UK for the first time, it’s a great place to experience the diversity and excitement of London! HFS London encourages all of our students to get out and about in the area within which they’re staying when they visit the UK; around their work and studies, of course. We recommend the following for students to do in Tooting – and if host families can join them for these activities to help show them around, even better!

Shop local on the high street

Us Brits always seem to be moaning that it’s difficult to shop on the local high street, but you truly can in Tooting! Tooting Market is full of life during the day but has a renewed zest at night when the bars and restaurants open up. There’s a whole host of independent shops and brands to choose from, so you can pick up a great range of genuine British produce.

Put your Bake Off skills to the test at The Castle pub

The Castle pub is not your usual Brit boozer – there’s a whole Bake Off-style tent in the car park! The tent hosts baking contests year-round so fans of the show can test out their skills and see how well they’d fare on the show.

Score the best Asian food in London on the Curry Mile

The Tooting Curry Mile is home to some stunning Asian restaurants and is far less full of tourists than the more commercial Brick Lane neighbourhood. Running between Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway, you can choose from traditional Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Gujurati food… or visit the supermarkets and take home the ingredients to experiment at making your own!

Become a Host Family in Tooting

If you live in Tooting and have a spare bedroom that you’d like to earn some extra income from by renting it out to international students looking for a homestay, get in touch with the HFS London team. We have a waiting list for students hoping to stay in the Tooting area and are always in need of new host families – so give us a call to discuss options and learn more. Feeling confident? You can find our application form here. 

Not in Tooting? HFS are also looking for hosts in neighbouring Clapham, Brixton and Putney.

Do you make the best packed lunches this side of London? HFS are also looking for hosts nearby for students under the age of 16 beginning later this year. Areas include Streatham and Norwood. Get in touch!

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