Advice on moving to London

Hello London/UK Dopers,

As it appears it will be highly likely I will be offered a job in Luton. Now my british friends have already warned me that, under no circumstances, should I move to Luton.

Thus I turn to you to help me out on where to look for housing. I’m 33, gay, like the occasional visit to a bar/club, enjoy outing out and love spending my weekends in coffeehouses or parks. I don’t have a car so I am looking for suggestions where I can bus/train (or combo thereof) to Luton.

St. Albans looks nice though I read that it is currently as, if not more, expensive to live there as Mayfair in Central London. So who can help me out here with suggestions??

Many thanks

Under no circumstances move to Luton. Ever. Don’t go to Hemel either.

A lot of Hertfordshire is pleasant, with really good train links into London - St. Alban’s is OK, Hertford is nice, Bishop’s Stortford is quiet and quaint too, and all have pretty good amenities. The problem is getting from those places to Luton for work without a car. I guess you’d be relying on local buses, which are never particularly efficient.

One radical thought, though: you could live in North London, and commute out of the city to Luton. Shared accommodation there isn’t killingly expensive, and the nightlife’s great. You’d be going against the tide of humanity too, so your journey would be much more pleasant. Though I warn you, British public transport is expensive and inefficient at the best of times.

Luton is the UK’s #1 crap town. I live there. Whereabouts in Luton will you be working? Luton town centre is well-served by bus and rail, but it’s more of a case of ‘easy to escape’. Are you looking to rent or buy?

North London is on my radar as well - it’s just so frikkin huge and not every undergroundstop is equally nice to live at. Any suggestions as what neighbourhoods/stops to explore/ignore?

My work is based at the Luton Airport Parkway stop. And I’m looking to rent (for now).

What is the best internet source to look for places to rent? Does London have its own Craigslist?

The Luton “stopping” service stops at Kentish Town. Both there and adjacent Chalk Farm are pretty cheap and quiet places to live, but within walking distance of Camden, which is very vibrant. The fast train goes into St. Pancras, which is near Islington, another nice area (if a trifle pricy).

ETA: http://london.craigslist.co.uk/

Thanks for the info…I had a quick look at Belsize Park/Hampstead which is quite pricey and therefor assumed Chalk Farm and Kentish Town would be as well.

I guess once I know more about the pay I can start more seriously looking into things. Keep the advice coming though, it is greatly appreciated

You’ve got the major point take care of:

(1) Be a citizen of an EU country.

(jealous :()

In general, Chalk Farm is cheaper than Belsize Park and Hampstead, and Kentish Town will be slightly cheaper.

Speaking as someone who lives at the north end of Kentish Town, the area’s not to everyone’s taste. Unless you live in the area, the high street’s hardly a leisure or shopping destination. The shops are a mix of un-posh chains (a Woolworths, a Sommerfields and one of the smaller Tescos), some discount stores, various dying local businesses and a few quirkier outfits (good independent bookshop, a newish organic foodstore). Similar mix with the restaurants and cafes. Pubs are split between unreformed old-style Irish boozers and gentrified gastropubs.
No parks as such, but both Regents Park and Hampstead Heath are fairly close.

As jjimm notes, it is very close to Camden. That provides a broader range of stuff - big Sainsburys supermarket, cinema, etc. - just to hand, but is also overrun by tourists and wankers. Swings and roundabouts …

The great advantage is the transport connections. Easy to get quickly to anywhere in central London.

Personally, the grittier aspects of the area don’t bother me. It’s definitely city living, rather than some sprawling Metroland suburbia.

Luton. So, you’re either working for EasyJet or Vauxhall, then? :slight_smile:

Good luck on the move, sounds like all the right experts are already in this thread.

Thanks for the great advise…I don’t quite care about the grittiness either (I used to live on the corner of 14th street NW in DC before the gentrification of the last few years).

The area (Kentish Town, Chalk Farm) sound interesting given the proximity of Regents Park and Camden. Touries don’t bother me so I can deal with Camden.

What would be the best place to start looking for a place? Any specific websites? Which newspaper/weekly?

Here are a couple more sites:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk

I meant more the London equivalent of craigslist :slight_smile: I realize that London has its own section but craigslist, in my opinion, is still predominately used and known by Americans

I guess the equivalent would be www.loot.com, in that case.

Speaking for the (so far not represented) gay population, I’d also say don’t go anywhere near Luton if you want to have a sex/dating life. North London, especially Camden, would be much better suited. If you want specific thoughts on the London gay scene beyond where to live let me know.

You could also try looking for flatshares on http://www.gumtree.com/

Well I guess I can forget about getting work done today with all the links you guys have provided me :slight_smile:

Many thanks

Wel free to email me through my profile with your thoughts on the gay scene in London - what to check out, what to avoid

Sadly I haven’t lived in London for a long time.
I still know where all the chess clubs are. :smack:

Here’s another couple of links:

  1. http://www.upmystreet.com/

The site asks for a postcode:

Camden’s postcode is NW1
Kentish Town is NW5
Chalk Farm is NW3

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/in_pictures/360_degree/index.shtml

These are fun!

Far be it from me to junior-mod but my understanding is that games of Mornington Crescent now belong in the Game Room.

Don’t know whether you’re interested, but they are a couple of specifically gay/gay-friendly flatshare sites for London:

www.outlet4homes.com
www.gayshare.co.uk