London housing
June 10, 2010 10:43 AM   Subscribe

A good friend of mine is studying in London starting in July. She'll be there for several weeks and is looking for safe, affordable housing in central London. Her school is in Russell Sq. I'd really appreciate any suggestions you have on temporary housing. I've Googled and Craiglisted...but value a personal POV always.
posted by quiverandquill to Travel & Transportation around London, England (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's her budget per month?
posted by essexjan at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2010

I'd try Gumtree or Loot, which are more used over here than Craigslist. Have a look here, for example. Safe (in the sense that London's a fairly safe place) housing does exist. Housing is not especially cheap - i.e. a room is likely to be upward of £500 per month. She should/could look to be renting the room of a student who's gone travelling for the summer, of which there will be many.

There's no guarantees against crazies of course (although I have a friend who's found tons of roommates through Gumtree without problems), but she could do something like ask for a room in an all-female flat/house.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2010

Response by poster: her budget is per month budget 500 to 600 gbp, thank you
posted by quiverandquill at 10:54 AM on June 10, 2010

She could have a look at this list of accommodation around Birkbeck College, Birkbeck is very close to Russell Square. she might also try and get in touch with the accomodation office at whichever college she is attending, they may be able to advise, provide a list or have there own residences which may be available at reasonable rates for registered students.
posted by biffa at 11:35 AM on June 10, 2010

You could try one of the hostels in that area. I've stayed a couple of times at the Generator, and there were more than a few students staying there - some even for an entire term. The Generator is a bit of a party spot, though. The Clink (formerly known as Ashlee House) seemed quieter last time I saw it, although I've never stayed there myself.
posted by deadmessenger at 11:36 AM on June 10, 2010

Is she willing to stay in the U of London dorms? They are, erm, spartan, but they're also fairly cheap, as London goes.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2010

When I studied in London one summer we were housed at Commonwealth Hall in Cartwright Gardens, about 5 minutes walk from Russell Square, and about 3 minutes from the big shiny Waitrose in Brunswick Centre. It (and other University of London accommodations) are available for B&B rental for ~30 pounds a night. It's substantially cheaper for students, longer-term rentals, and self-catering -- worth calling or writing to ask about.
Commonwealth Hall was nothing to write home about, but it had private bedrooms, and was safe, clean, and convenient. There were also kitchens available, which can save some money on meals.
posted by katemonster at 12:13 PM on June 10, 2010

A couple of details I just remembered about Commonwealth Hall -- it's on a fairly quiet street, but sound carries pretty well up to rooms even on the highest floors. It's quieter in the back (facing onto Sandwich Street), although there is a pub on the corner of Sandwich and Leigh that can be a little noisy at normal pub hours. The real downside of the rear-facing rooms is the sun -- the curtains weren't the darkest, and the sun goes down late and comes up early that time of year in London. An eyemask and/or earplugs would have been nice if I'd thought about them ahead of time.
posted by katemonster at 12:17 PM on June 10, 2010

I went to school in Russell Square and I'd suggest the UL dorms. Cheap, easy, no hassle of getting a bank account to set up rent and utilities.
posted by k8t at 12:37 PM on June 10, 2010

I'll echo the University of London dorms, which are open for non-students to live over the summer.

However, if she would wants to stay in a proper flatshare or even a flat for a few weeks, she could look at Move Flat, which is the non-dodgy, non-sketch, ad-less version of Gumtree/ Craigslist. I have stayed in flatshares I found on Move Flat, when I was between leases and needed a place to crash for a couple of weeks. All the posters were fairly normal and decent folk.
posted by moiraine at 1:00 PM on June 10, 2010

International Students House is not bad. Nice location, walkable to Russell Square.
posted by ashputtel at 1:27 PM on June 10, 2010

I too can vouch for the University of London dorms, and College Hall specifically.
posted by keever at 7:08 PM on June 10, 2010

Check your memail.
posted by SamuelBowman at 6:55 AM on June 11, 2010

Avoid hostels -- nice people, but hard to get up for class when roommates have been partying to 3am. Also, it's usually more expensive than just getting a room. You should be able to get a room for £12-15 per night -- hostels in that area start at £16 for their worst beds.

Look on Gumtree, and also sites called Flatshare and They will generally be cheaper than university accomodation.
posted by jb at 7:06 AM on June 11, 2010

Self-catering is definitely a must --takeout in the UK is crazy expensive. She can grab some pots, etc, from a charity shop (I recommend the Sally Ann as the cheapest) when she gets there.
posted by jb at 7:09 AM on June 11, 2010

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