No matter if you are looking for an entire property to rent or having to be budget conscious and settling for a room in a shared home: London is notoriously expensive.
And, although salaries rarely reflect the cost of living in a capital with almost 10 million people, the 2020 and 2021 pandemic saw rental prices fluctuate when a record number of Londoners switched from busy traffic lanes for calmer areas outside the city – and many more not being able to come to London due to travel restrictions and a series of lockdowns.
With travellers unable to visit the capital and students returning to their parents’ homes, elsewhere, prices of renting a room or property in London even dropped slightly for a short period, with many accommodation owners unable to rent out a property on sites such as Airbnb or renew long-term contracts, as a 2022 study by flatshare site SpareRoom highlighted.
According to the study, which compared data from 2021 with 2020 and 2019, based on over a million UK ads offering a room to let, inclusive of bills, the average room rent in 2021 was £721, compared to £766 in 2019, pre-pandemic. The data also shows the more central areas of London were hit hardest, as people didn’t find the need to live centrally in the middle of a pandemic, and with many mainly working from home.
Another research study, which is newly released by the Office of National Statistics, shows that the relative costs of renting a single room in either a shared property or bedsit, in London, can cost significantly more, depending on where you choose to live. Newham in East London leads as one of the more expensive boroughs with the average room rent at £740pcm – and Barking and Dagenham being the cheapest area to rent in 2022, where the average room is rented for under £600 a month.
For those fortunate enough to be able to rent an entire place – and afford the absurdly expensive utility bills, as gas and electricity costs have increased by an average of 54% in April – where are the most affordable areas to live in London?
“While it might not be the trendiest area, I found that properties in Colliers Wood and Modern to be the most affordable, sometimes 30-40% cheaper than apartments of similar sizes, just a few tube stops away.” – says Jenna Carson, from finance website MoneyLucid. “I lived in the Colliers Wood area for just under 8 months and paid £1050 per month for a beautiful one bed apartment, which was about 6 minutes from the tube. As the area is on the Northern Line too, I could be in Old Street, where I worked last year, within 30 minutes” – recalls Carson, who now lives in the US.
Here are five other areas to consider when renting on a budget in London:
Greenwich surroundings for greener outdoors
“I have lived in London for the last 7 years. During this time, I’ve lived in five different areas of the city, and I highly recommend Mottingham (Zone 4), in the Borough of Bromley and Greenwich. It’s often possible to rent a room in a shared house here for under £600/month, or your own (small) place for around £1,000/month. It’s also quite a leafy area, with several parks, green spaces, and areas of woodland within easy walking distance. The Tube network does not extend into this part of London (apart from the DLR, which serves certain areas in Greenwich and Lewisham). This is probably the main reason that rents are cheaper. However, trains from Mottingham only take 15 minutes to get to London Bridge, and 25 minutes to Charing Cross.”
Alex Tiffany – personal travel planner and the founder of Just Go Exploring
Enfield for the variety of schools
With almost 100 primary schools and 39 secondary schools, Enfield can be a good option for parents looking for an affordable area to rent in London. The region includes Winchmore Hill, Grange Park and Highlands Village, with monthly rent for a one-bedroom flat being approximately £1,150.
Southall for airport proximity
“I have lived in London for 19 years, in an area of Greater London called Southall. Although rental and house prices have gone up significantly during my time in the capital, including in Southall, during that time it has always been one of the cheapest areas of London. To rent a room you will pay an average of £657 per calendar month, while a one-bedroom property has an average rent price of £1203 for the same period. The area is close to Heathrow Airport (25 minutes by car) and has an overground train line, with the average journey time between Southall and Paddington Station (in Central London) being only 17 minutes.”
Brian Vander Waal – Career expert
Croydon for multiple transport links
“Recently my younger brother got a job in central London but, living on his own, he couldn’t afford to live anywhere near the central area. He had to find a place that was cheap to live, and with direct access to London on public transport as he does not drive.
He managed to find a one-bedroom place for £1,200 per month in Croydon, which has overground and national rail services. The stations in Croydon are also easy to get to because the borough has a tram service, so you don’t even have to live in the centre of Croydon to have quick access to London.”
David Bowen – Content Manager at Bordeaux Undiscovered
Sutton for affordable one-bedroom flats
With rail connections from the borough running through to London Victoria, London Bridge, St Pancras and Clapham Junction, Sutton is another recommended area for parents as the borough is one with the highest GCSE attainment rates in London, with over 83% of their students achieving grades 9-4 in English and Maths in 2021. The area has plenty of green spaces, too, and the average rent for a one-bedroom flat starts at £1,160 per month.
Bonus: Havering for low pollution density
Sitting at the far eastern edge of Greater London, Havering is connected to the District line, which crosses London horizontally, and overground. Thanks to a variety of open green spaces, the area has a lower population density than most London boroughs. Average rent for a one-bedroom flat is around £1,150 per month but, if you shop around, you might find compact properties for just under £1,000.
Millions of people in Britain admit to making costly car mistakes
As winter takes hold and temperatures start to drop, a recent research by Aviva reveals the most common mistakes drivers could be making when it comes to getting behind the wheel this winter.
The research, which surveyed 2,000 Brits, reveals that more than a quarter (28%) are leaving their cars running to de-ice screens, with older generations most likely to take the risk. Over a third of those aged 75+ (41%) and those aged 65-74 (34%) leave their car on to de-ice screens, compared to 17% of 18-24 year-olds and 24% of 25-34 year-olds.
By doing so, Brits may be unwittingly putting themselves at risk with most car insurance policies excluding thefts of vehicles while the engine is still running. This is also an offence under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states that drivers cannot leave vehicles running and unattended while on a public highway, otherwise known as ‘quitting’.
When looking at visibility, the research reveals that almost half (45%) of Brits have driven without making sure that their screens and mirrors were properly clear. By doing so, motorists could also be risking a fine under Section 229 of the Highway Code, which states that all drivers ‘must be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all windows’.
The top 10 winter driving habits that could cause issues:
1. I have left my car running to de-ice the screen and warm it up: 28%
2. I have driven in gloves: 21%
3. I have driven in a big winter coat: 20%
4. I have driven even though there is snow on the top of my car: 19%
5. I have driven even though the screen was not fully de-iced or de-misted: 16%
6. I have driven without checking that my number plate was clear: 16%
7. I have driven even though the screen wasn’t clear: 15%
8. I have driven even though I was too tired: 14%
9. I have driven even though the mirrors weren’t fully clear: 14%
10. I have driven through floodwater or a ford: 13%
“While we all want to get to our next destination as quickly as possible, it pays to be safe, particularly as the risk of an accident typically increases during the winter months. Spending five or ten minutes to prepare your car means that not only are you more likely to avoid an accident, but also a hefty fine – which can be as much as £1,000 – points on your licence or even a driving ban in the worst case scenario”, says Martin Smith, Motor Claims Manager at Aviva.
Other British driving habits include leaving the car unlocked to quickly pop into somewhere (13%), pouring boiling water over a car windscreen to de-ice it (11%) as well as wearing inappropriate footwear such as heels (9%) or wellies/snowboots (7%). Those driving whilst wearing inappropriate clothing and footwear could also risk a fine under Rule 97 of the Highway code which states that you should ensure: ‘clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner’.
5 of the cheapest ski resorts in Europe this winter
Whether you are a seasoned skier or a first-timer, one thing that is for sure is that skiing can be a very expensive trip. Even if you don’t enrol for a celebrity-like skiing weekend, following on the footsteps of Kim Kardashian, Orlando Bloom, or Gwyneth Paltrow, the costs can pile up. as research shows Brits fork out between £500 and £750 per person on spending money for a ski trip.
If you are keen to hit the slopes but are being mindful of the pennies, here is a shortlist of five of the cheapest resorts you can visit in Europe, based on the average cost of a lift pass, accommodation, ski rental, and of course food and drinks.
“Skiing can be a very expensive holiday, especially for families. However, there are some fantastic resorts out there offering surprisingly reasonable prices, without compromising on those amazing views and fantastic ski runs”, says Laura Evans-Fisk, head of digital and engagement at eurochange. “Borovets in Bulgaria came out on top as the cheapest ski resort. It’s definitely an underrated destination, with unbelievably low prices for food and drink, and a whole week lift pass for less than £150.”
Topping the list is bargain-friendly Borovets, Bulgaria. The country is quickly becoming a cheap and cheerful favourite spot for skiers, and it’s easy to see why. Located in the Rila mountains, Borovets is an all-round resort providing luxury amenities at very reasonable prices. With fabulous nightlife as well as gentle slopes for beginners, it’s an ideal destination for adults and families alike. Ski passes start from just £29 per day, so you could really save some cash if you visit for just a few days.
- Adult lift pass (6 days): Лв370 (£143.75)
- Ski rental (6 days): Лв155 (£60.22)
- Accommodation (per night): From Лв135 (£52.45)
- Beer: Лв3 (£1.17)
- Wine: Лв6 (£2.33)
- 3-course meal: Лв15 (£5.83)
Lesser known than its Austrian and Italian neighbours, Slovenia’s Vogel resort is no less spectacular. Tucked away in the stunning Julian Alps, Vogel offers exceptional value alongside outstanding snow sports facilities and stunning views. The après is one of the cheapest around, with beer costing just €2, and a three-course meal setting you back just €17.
Les Houches, France
For a Mont Blanc ski holiday without the Chamonix prices, look no further than Les Houches. A top choice for families, this picturesque village is quiet at night, while the neighbouring high-altitude areas are perfect for advanced skiers. A six-day adult ski pass is less than £200 and equipment can be rented for less than £100 for the week.
- Adult lift pass (6 days): €197 (£158.46)
- Ski rental (6 days): from €114 (£91.70)
- Accommodation (per night): From €77 (£61.94)
- Beer: €2 (£1.61)
- Wine: €5 (£4.02)
- 3-course meal: €20 (£16.09)
Nestled in the heart of the Alps, Italy‘s Livigno offers sterling snowsport facilities for all skill levels, from absolute beginners to black slope aficionados. And thanks to its tax-exempt status, Livigno provides premium resort standards at budget prices, giving you far more for your euros than most other ski destinations on the continent.
- Adult lift pass (6 days): €223* (£179.38)
- Ski rental (6 days): from €74.00* (£59.52)
- Accommodation (per night): From €101 (£81.24)
- Beer: €3 (£2.41)
- Wine: €10 (£8.04)
- 3-course meal: €30 (£24.13)
While Switzerland tends to be an expensive country to visit, Grindelwald is one of the more affordable resorts for getting the Swiss ski holiday experience. Even if you’re not a keen skier, there are plenty of other activities to try out, including tobogganing and winter walking. Set in the beautiful Jungfrau mountains, Grindelwald provides a picture-perfect slice of the Alps for far less than you’d expect.
- Adult lift pass (6 days): SFr385 (£308.79)
- Ski rental (6 days): from SFr237 (£190.09)
- Accommodation (per night): From SFr57 (£45.72)
- Beer: SFr2 (£1.60)
- Wine: SFr13 (£10.43)
- 3-course meal: SFr24 (£19.25)
New iPhone photography exhibition opens in Paris
“I Remember You,” a two-day photography exhibition, has opened today in Paris highlighting original work shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The collective work of photographers Malin Fezehai, Karl Hab, Vivien Liu, Mika Ninagawa, and Stefan Ruiz incorporates people, places, and things that move them, exploring memories and the power of photography to preserve them.
“‘I Remember You’ brings together five photographers who share their deeply personal conceptions of memory, connection, and nostalgia,” explains Isolde Brielmaier, Ph.D., the exhibition’s curatorial advisor. “It is a moving glimpse of life, preserved in time.”
In celebration of the opening, each artist spoke about how iPhone has contributed to their creative process and what they hope people will remember from their featured work.
Malin Fezehai is an Eritrean/Swedish photographer, filmmaker, and visual reporter currently living in New York. She has worked in over 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and America. Fezehai is a National Geographic explorer, and in 2023, she became a Climate Pledge grantee. She is working on a project about adaptation to living on water. Her career started in her native Sweden, where she studied photography before attending the International Center of Photography in New York. Her work focuses on communities of displacement and dislocation around the world. She was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme to photograph survivors of violent extremism across sub-Saharan Africa and published a book titled Survivors. She has received a 2015 World Press Photo Award and the Wallis Annenberg Prize, and was named one of the “30 Emerging Photographers to Watch” in 2015 by Photo District News. Her image depicting a wedding of Eritrean refugees in Israel was the first iPhone photo ever to receive a World Press Photo Award.
“The integration of the iPhone into my photography workflow marked a significant shift in how I perceive and capture the world around me — feeling more inclined to capture life as it happens — the fleeting, candid moments that often define the human experience,” Fezehai says. “Its ease of use and ability to capture high-quality images effortlessly enables me to explore and document the ordinary in extraordinary ways. That sentiment is embodied in the work I created for the show.”
“I Remember You” will be on display at the Salon Corderie in Le Marais in Paris on Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11, from 11 am to 7 pm.
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