The 5 Best Places to Live in London When You’re Broke

The 5 Best Places to Live in London When You’re Broke

Ever clicked on a Gumtree listing only to find that the £1500-a-month is for a parking space, not a flat?

For all its charms, London is not a budget friendly place to live. And the closer you get to the centre, the more mind-boggling the prices become.

So what’s a person to do? I mean, yeah, you could commute from Basildon. Or save your pennies in Waltham Forest. But is it worth it?

Luckily there are still a few islands of sanity left in the capital. Places where a broke student, creative or just your standard non-millionaire human can afford to live – and where they’d actually want to.

  1. Dalston

As the City spills East and trust-fund-hipsters seep across Hoxton and Haggerston leaving cocktail bars in their wake, it’s harder and harder to find a haven for creatives near their once-natural-habitat of Shoreditch.

Hoxton might have gone full-tilt Time Out, but head up Kingsland Road and you’ll find more reasonably priced accommodation in an area that’s often touted as the coolest place to live in Britain.

Nearby markets like Broadway, Ridley Road and Columbia Flower Market are excellent and there’s a plethora of pubs, cheap eats, cool bars and second-hand/vintage shops, as well as one of the best indie cinemas in the city.

And, while it’s one of the pricier places on this list, Dalston’s Zone 2 location means you might just make up the difference by saving on your commute. Get in quick, because it’s changing fast.

  1. Stoke Newington

Yes, yes, so it doesn’t have a tube station. But there are great bus links to Stokey, and plenty going on in this North London “village” to keep you entertained without having to leave.

Parts of Stoke Newington have hurtled from “grimy-but-vibrant” to “aggressively middle class” in just a few decades, but it’s clung to its charm and (if you look in the right places) its affordability.

Stokey borders Haringey, the second-cheapest London borough, and there are budget-friendly options near Green Lanes and the Clapton end of town. Despite a dearth of clubs, there’s a great variety of pubs on Church Street and plenty of green space for a Sunday picnic. You could do a lot worse.

  1. Bethnal Green

Jack the Ripper’s old haunt is barely recognisable from its Victorian-slum days, but parts of the area are pretty raw and steeped in Gangland history. The Blind Beggar pub, where the Kray twins gunned down George Cornell in the 60s, is a top spot for a Sunday pint.

Being within walking distance of Liverpool Street, Bethnal Green’s rents aren’t cheap, but they’re definitely among the cheapest for central London, so if you’re brave enough to bike it’s the perfect place to ditch the TravelCard.

Plus: Banksys, Tayyabs, and London’s first cat café. What more could you want?

  1. Peckham

With Brixton’s rough-but-artsy identity all but obliterated by the forces of gentrification and Clapham a mecca for the red trouser brigade, students, creatives and broke artists have been trickling across to nearby Peckham for years.

Home of the Trotters in Only Fools and Horses, Peckham still has a no-nonsense Saaff Laahdan appeal, and a strong Caribbean-influenced identity. Rentonomy calls it the “cheapest and coolest” place to live in London, and while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, those that love it really love it.

Of course, like every creative hotspot in London, there are whispers that it’s only a matter of time before Peckham falls pretty to the Yuppie invasion and prices start to soar. Which leads us to…

  1. Deptford

Down the road from Goldsmith’s but with rents half the price of Shoreditch, there are a number of good reasons why the New York Times predicted that Deptford would be the hipster haunt of the future back in 2009.

From Kit Marlowe to the Klaxons, the area’s been popular with broke musicians and writers for half a millennium – but somehow seems to have passed under the developers’ radar. Now, with its fashion and nightlife credentials soaring, MoveBubble’s calling it “the new Dalston.” Let’s hope it lasts.

Have we missed out any awesome-but-affordable London areas? Let us know in the comments below!