Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Canadian Teacher Does Research on Areas of London

To follow along from yesterday's theme where I "stole" from one of the Classroom Canada teacher's blogs, here is another steal. Jodi & Tyson are from Winnipeg and they're planning their upcoming adventure into teaching in London with us in the fall.

I really like their blog so far. They post regularly and share their insights into everything involved in preparing to depart for London. Here, they share their insights into neighbourhoods in London:

"Compared to Winnipeg, London is a HUGE city, with a population of over 7 million and a Population density of 4,761/km²

According to UK National Statistics:
"In Inner London the population density (people per square kilometre) was highest in Kensington and Chelsea with 14,676 in 2006, and lowest in the City of London with 2,678."

However, in Winnipeg we have a population of under 700,000 and a population density of 1365/km². This is a stark contrast to the city of London, and I often try to imagine what a city with a population density of 14,676 would look like compared to what we know in Winnipeg.
Then I found this website that has short (2 min) videos of about 20 different areas/neighbourhoods in London. These were great for seeing what London looks like, besides the usual -Big Ben, London Eye, London Bridge stuff....


One thing that seems daunting about moving to London is finding a place (area and flat) to live. Everyone has an opinion about this, some about where they have lived or where they have visited, and areas they would never walk after dark. Often in online forums and discussions there is conflicting advice about which areas to live. Overall, the areas of Chelsea, Notting Hill, and Kensington seem to stand out as the most liked, most expensive and safest (? conflicting evidence on this as well, I read one post that stated there was no safe place in London, anywhere...!) The same could be said about Winnipeg, or any city for that matter. But, I am sure we will find a safe, affordable and likable place to live and explore. Somewhere near the Camden Markets would be cool!"

Thanks to Jodi & Tyson for allowing me to steal this blog post & share with you here. I really enjoyed the 2 minute video clips as well.

A couple of my thoughts re: neighbourhoods to live in London.
  1. It's more important what tube line you are on than particular neighbourhood. For example, I avoid the Northern Line at all costs as it is the most unreliable line. Most Londoners will tell you this, except those that are die-hard Northern Line supporters. If you are living near the Northern Line, but there are other lines to take, then that is fine. I lived in Finsbury Park area and had 3 options for tube lines. That was fine. I also avoid living in South West London (Parsons Green is very popular for example) on the District Line because when it's down, it's really down. Also, that line goes through Earl's Court, which is like a bottle neck tube station - you're almost guaranteed to be stuck there a few times a week, waiting for the trains to pass so your train can get through. While the neighbourhoods are lovely along that line, the trouble with the tube hardly makes up for it. SO, which line should you live near? Ideally, more than 1 line and ideally the Central Line. That's why Notting Hill is so popular - you have 3 lines there, Central, Circle & District. It's in Zone 1, so close to "downtown", close to Hyde Park, and all round a good neighbourhood by Canadian standards. But, yes, pricey! So, many go to Shephard's Bush, a couple of stops over (and where Ewen McGregar crashed his motorbike in Long Way Down).
  2. It's also important which zone you live in. London is broken down into 6 zones, with zone 1 in the middle, and it goes out ring by ring til you hit Zone 6. Classroom is in Zone 1, at Oxford Circus, which is where our accommodations are as well. This means that most of our schools are in zones 1-3. So, don't live in zone 6, even though you think it is cheaper! You'll pay more on the transportation, and be miserable with the travel you have to do. We always recommend that you live in zones 1-3 for that reason. Realistically, most of our teachers live in Oxford Circus (zone 1, right downtown), or anywhere in zone 2.
I hope that helps as well! Any other thoughts on neighbourhoods for teachers to live in London? Please share your thoughts or questions below. Please read this blog post as well: How to Find an Apartment in London.

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website. Be sure to read the Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.


  1. Hi Victoria!

    When I lived in London, I first lived in zone 4 (off Turnpike Lane) which only has one Tube station. I agree that more than one option for tubes is the best! I then moved to the Bermondsey area on the Jubilee Line which I found fast and reliable, although closed about one weekend a month for expansion work for the Olympics. The beauty of living in Bermondsey was that I was in between two stations; the Bermondsey and London Bridge (on two different lines, very important!). I loved walking home from the London Bridge Station along the Thames, passing by Tower Bridge and the London Dungeons. I was lucky enough to share a flat for cheap with friends from church.
    I was in zone 2 which made it very easy to travel most places quickly.

  2. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for sharing! I love the Jubilee line as well. There's something amazing about a quiet, new line with glass doors to stop the jumpers from ruining the timeliness of tube travel. It sounds like you lived in an incredible area. The Tower Bridge was one of the first places I went when I arrived in London, and it always makes me happy when I think back on walking across the bridge for the first time. There's something dreamy about it. Like a movie.
    Zone 2 is great as well - so convenient!

  3. I agree with Victoria that Tube lines are the most important factor when thinking about where you want to live in London. I'm going to have to say though that, unlike her, I'm actually a fan of the District line, though it tends to be a bit slow. It's the line that runs closest to the Thames on the North side, so you'll find yourself taking it at some point or other, and I've found that it breaks down a lot less frequently than other lines! Having said that, yes, you definitely don't want to live by a station that's only served by 1 line because if it goes down, you're basically screwed.

    Case in point: I live in Hammersmith right now, which is served by 3 Tube lines (District, Piccadilly, and Hammersmith and City). Last week, there was a fire in the building directly over the Tube station and, consequently, they shut it down, thus removing the option of using the District or Piccadilly lines. Fortunately, that still left the Hammersmith and City line, multiple buses, and the possibility of walking 10 minutes to the next station along on the District and Piccadilly lines. So, yes, having more than one transportation option is always great! :)

    So, here's some general advice about Tube lines. The Bakerloo line is a good one (probably the least interruptions and engineering works of any Tube line in London, and it runs right through the heart of London), as is the Piccadilly, though that one tends to be very crowded. I love the Central line and the Jubilee line has also been good to me, though be warned that that one's packed at rush hour because it runs through Westminster and Canary Wharf, both of which are meccas for London's professionals/businesspeople. Avoid the Circle line at all costs - it's slow and it's forever breaking down. I'm with Victoria on hating the Northern line (it's also a bit confusing because it branches into 2, so you need to be really careful about what train you're getting on). The Hammersmith and City is also pretty slow, though that one can help in a pinch because it rarely seems to go down, except for because of scheduled engineering work.

    As for areas of London? I really like West London, which is mainly served by the District line. I'm loving Hammersmith right now - the river's just down the street, it's quiet and residential, it's got every shop and service I could possibly need, and it's got great transportation links. Prior to Hammersmith, I lived in Paddington, which is also a fantastic area. I had 5 tube stops within a 10 minute walk of my flat, which gave me the option of taking 5 different Tube lines (Central, District, Circle, Bakerloo, and Hammersmith and City). There were also buses going just about anywhere, and Hyde Park was a 5 minute walk away. Be warned though - you're going to see amazing connections like that reflected in the cost of your flat/room!

    If you want something cheaper though, I always recommend something along the Docklands Light Railway in East London. I know that there's a certain stigma attached to East London, but the Docklands are being regenerated and offer new and modern flats that are significantly less expensive than comparable flats in Central London. Most of the Docklands also fall within Zone 2, and they're served by the DLR and mainline trains, both of which will get you into Central London in about 20 minutes using the same fare structure as the Tube. I lived in Lewisham for awhile and, whilst not the prettiest area in London, it was brilliant - inexpensive, quiet, well-connected to Central London, and only a 10 minute walk to Greenwich. It's definitely something to think about :).

    I always seem to write a novel when I comment on these posts - insomnia doesn't help! Hope this info helps a bit.

  4. Hey anonymous - thanks for sharing :-) I like your comments. You are very informative!

    I also like the Docklands rail and East London. I'm a fan of Bethnal Green area, and we used to have our teacher accommodations there as well. Great restaurants, and there are some excellent schools in the Tower Hamlets area.

    Do you blog at all? Sounds like your insomnia might be a good reason to blog. ;-)

  5. Hi Victoria,

    I do blog, but it's more about day-to-day life than teaching (though teaching does make a regular appearance! :D).

    Thanks for this blog, by the way - it's such a great resource for teachers. I'm not with Classroom Canada, but that's only because I was already kind of established in London when I started teaching (I did my OISE internship here, and I'd visited about 20 times before moving). If I had been brand new to London, I would definitely have applied!

    Linda (aka Anonymous)


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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