London just got half a million people busier this month thanks to the return of its student population. And with universities and colleges offering digs in locations like Southwark, South Kensington, Covent Garden and Clerkenwell, it’s these scholarly types who are lucky enough to call Zone 1 home. To welcome these autumn newcomers, here's some tips to living in the capital's exclusive turfs.
Max out on travel discounts
London doesn’t get smaller just because you’re in the middle of it. For those journeys that turn out not to be walkable after all, approach a TfL staff member and ask them to link any railcards you own to your Oyster account in order to get discounts. This lesser-known money saver will mean you feel the full benefit of living in Zone 1: spending peanuts on travel.
Claim your territory
Now – and only now – people might actually be familiar with your neighbourhood when you tell them where you live. Look proud. Make it obvious that you know local waypoints by having a brief orienteering session – or, at the least, a Google Street View cruise. The more niche your references, the more impressive.
It gets noisy (and dusty)
Bars, galleries, restaurants, museums, theatres, bars and more bars. There's no metropolitan pleasure inaccessible to you now, but ease yourself into that Zone 1 life by basing yourself near a quiet park if you can. Otherwise, prepare to get ear plugs to spare your sanity. And you’ll need a vacuum if you’re anywhere near a busy road, as city centre lodgings get very dusty, very quickly.
Consider shopping outside of Zone 1
It sounds like a paradox, but despite your proximity to some of the world’s best shopping streets, you’ll keep costs down by combining household shopping with any expedition you take outside central London. The space limitations of inner-city supermarkets mean products are pricier and makes bulk-buying impossible. Home delivery services may also be your saviour.
Smugness is compulsory
Never mind that you’ll be paying for this chapter of your life well into middle age: it'll be worth it. Enjoy it while it lasts, for there is nothing like watching the sunset over a pint in the local boozer – which if you're lucky, could be the bar atop the BT Tower.
Need more newbie advice? Check out 29 tips for when you first move to London.