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Five of the cheapest areas for renting in London in 2022



Young tenant checking her mobile phone
For small budgets: in Mottingham (Zone 4) you can still rent your own small place for around £1,000/month

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.


Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep



Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films



Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films
The Science Behind Pixar can be seen at CaixaForum Madrid until 8 September.

CaixaForum Madrid is currently hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibition, created by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. The exhibition is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the steps in the process Pixar uses to transform an idea into a film. With specific examples from some of their most famous films, the public will be able to experiment with the techniques behind the modelling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering of animated films.

This is the third collaboration between the ”la Caixa” Foundation and Pixar Studios. In 2015, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, represented a thorough review of this pioneering company’s work in computer animation in its 25 years of history. Subsequently, Pixar, Building Characters (which has travelled to five CaixaForums since 2020) focused on the visual design of the Pixar characters to best transmit the story and fit in with the other elements of the film. Now, the eight sections of The Science Behind Pixar will give visitors an insight into every stage of the technical process used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists

The aim of the new exhibition is to peel away, layer by layer and in a way that is attractive for all audiences, the scientific, computer and mathematical concepts that lie behind our favourite Pixar characters. To do this, the exhibition is organised into eight sections, each of which explains in depth one specific step of Pixar’s technical process: Modelling, which allows characters to be created in 3D; Rigging, in which the virtual bones, muscles and joints are developed; design of Surfaces and Sets; Animation, which brings the story to life; Simulation, which provides automated movements; Lighting, which enhances the emotional impact, and Rendering, which turns 3D scenes into 2D images.

Throughout 815 square metres in CaixaForum Madrid, visitors will learn about all these steps that Pixar pays passionate attention to in order to bring its worlds and characters to life. Dozens of interactive and audiovisual elements will reveal what is hidden behind Pixar films, from the first-ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story – which opened over two decades ago, to the release of Turning Red.

To better understand the science and maths that go into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, visitors will see audiovisuals and hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.

In the Sets & Cameras section, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life; in Modelling, they will try their hand at creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch and in Lighting they will use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo. The exhibition route also includes human-size recreations of many Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story), Dory (Finding Nemo), Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Edna Mode (The Incredibles) and WALL·E (from the film of the same name).

Throughout the months that the exhibition will remain at CaixaForum Madrid, the ”la Caixa” Foundation will be offering various activities to bring the art and science of Pixar closer to all audiences. In addition, the general public can take a guided tour and families can choose between the family tour and the animated stories workshop-tour, where visitors can make a short, animated clip to understand all the phases of the creative process after visiting the exhibition.

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Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest with non-binary singer



Non-binary singer Nemo, winner of the Eurovision 2024
Singer Nemo performed ‘The Code’ for Switzerland | Photo: Alma Bengtsson

After the very last set of scores had come in, The Code, performed by rapper Neno, was announced as the clear champion of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with a points tally of 591 and a lead of 44 points. 

Croatia finished in second place with Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna on 547 points. The other spot on the podium finish went to Ukraine, ending up in third place thanks to alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their song Teresa & Maria, on 453 points.

Scores on the night were awarded in two stages, as is traditional at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first results to come in were from the juries, followed by the reveal of the public vote.

Once the initial points from 37 juries had come in, Switzerland already had secured the lead on the scoreboard with 365 points.

Nemo is the first nonbinary artist to win Eurovision.

“I’m mostly just really grateful for this experience and all the friends I’ve made along the way. This was one of the most queer representations we’ve seen at Eurovision which was amazing, I want to shout out all the other queer artists this year,” said the artist who was born in Biel, a small bilingual town in Switzerland.

Nemo’s triumph in Malmö is Switzerland’s third win at the Eurovision Song Contest to date, following victory by Lys Assia in 1956 and Céline Dion in 1988.

Switzerland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition, which it also hosted. 

It has been a controversial year for the song contest festival launched in 1956. For weeks, the question of whether Israel should be allowed to compete or not while engaged in a military conflict in Gaza dominated the media surrounding the event and attracted pro-Palestine activists to the Swedish city of Malmö. Eden Golan, a 20-year old singer representing Israel, was booed during a dress rehearsal; It has been reported that she was confined to her hotel room, while in Malmo to perform at Eurovision, after a series of threats against the Israeli delegation. Hours before the grand final, on May 11th, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who represented the Netherlands, was disqualified from Eurovision 2024 over what the organisers described as an “incident” involving a female member of the production crew.

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