Help me move to London
July 6, 2011 10:40 AM Subscribe
I'm moving to London! Help me figure out where to live and how I'm going to get to work and back. Especially curious about commuting by bike.
posted by PercussivePaul to Travel & Transportation around London, England (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I got a 6-month contract job starting in October (yay!). I have only been to London as a tourist and never left the city center. I need advice about what neighborhoods I should look for and what to expect on the commute. Work is in the Shepherd's Bush area which is on the Central and Hammersmith & City tube lines.
Neighborhood wise I would like to live somewhere with a lot of energy and character -- music and art and creativity and interesting people. Though I favour a relaxed vibe over prestige. Mission District in San Francisco, if that helps. Hipstery I guess though it stings to admit it. A good friend lives in Hackney and says the east is where I want to be, though of course it's changing rapidly. I keep reading about Shoreditch online but it kind of sounds like it's super-famous and fashionable now and I'm not too interested in that kind of scene and paying a premium to be part of it. Places with cheaper rents are better, though mostly because such neighborhoods tend to be more interesting to me. I don't want to throw money away but I can afford to pay above the bare minimum.
Anyway somewhere in "the east" sounds great, except that area is under-served by the tube. However the same friend says the bike commute would be 30 minutes. I would love to bike to work as I could get my exercise and see the city every day instead of an underground tunnel. I'm an avid cyclist in Vancouver and ride 45 minutes each way a few times a week over some fairly hilly terrain. I have heard that cycling in London is pretty good and the terrain is flat. How flat? How's the weather in winter? I can handle rain. If I lived in the east would it really only be 30 min each way? And how are the bike lanes, traffic, road conditions, etc? Do you think it would be great, or okay, or tolerable, or miserable if I had to do this every day?
I'm also pondering getting an electric bike, or maybe a scooter or vespa or something, if I can find one used at a reasonable price, as this might give me more mobility. Good idea? I have heard about the congestion charge in London but I assume it only applies to cars. Oh and I bet theft is a big problem for bikes right? Maybe for scooters too?
What if I want to take transit from the east? Are there buses I might take, instead of relying on the tube? How would that work? How reliable are the buses, and how packed are they in rush hour? So packed that you often can't get on?
What areas of "the east" should I look at? And what other neighborhoods might I consider that might be closer to work?
And finally, I am told I should look for a place on gumtree and that most rooms are available immediately. I will arrive in London probably on October 5 or 6 and start work on the following Monday the 10th. Is it realistic to find a room in the 3 or 4 days I will have before starting work? Any tips about this?