The CBRE Residential Guide to Student Living in the City of London

As the oldest district in the capital, the City of London has undergone a number of significant changes over the years – as you might expect. It started out as a walled city built by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago and has gone on to become the leading business and financial district in the country and one of the most famous in the world. 

Back in 1666 Great Fire of London destroyed around 80% of the City, which was predominantly made up of wooden buildings constructed close together. It is believed that the Great Fire destroyed around 13,000 homes and the majority of the City of London had to be rebuilt.

The problem that soon became obvious, was that the new developments in the City of London were taking too long and residents took it upon themselves to rebuild their own homes and businesses. This innovation and can-do attitude was a sign of things to come for the district and helped to shape the area that we know today.

It hasn’t always been that way though, as back in the 16th Century the growth of business and trade in the City of London area and the regeneration of the area as a business district forced a rapid drop in the population with residents moving out into suburban areas of London for a more peaceful way of life.

Fast-forward to the present day and the City is the United Kingdom’s main financial and business district with the majority of companies located within what has become known as ‘the Square Mile.’ It is also home to a number of leading legal firms especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Inns of Court are located.

What’s it like to be a student living in the City of London?

In the last 30 years the residential population within the Square Mile has risen by around 90% with a significant rise in the number of students living in the City of London, too. The City of London is now one of the most sought after residential areas with so many new developments and things to see and do appealing to every single student living in London today, or considering moving into student lettings in the City of London ahead of the new academic year.

Student rentals in the City of London have become every bit as popular as residential properties to buy and rent, with students looking for a location that offers everything from easy access to their University to being within close proximity to the business district and an evolving social scene.

From a student’s perspective, the City has just about everything you need. This is especially true if you’re going to study for a law, economics or business-related degree as King’s College London and LSE are both situated just outside the Western border of the City of London and maintain a number of links with major corporations in the heart of the business and financial district which can help when it comes to graduate positions, placements, internships and apprenticeships.

Looking at things from a residential point-of-view, the types of student lettings in the City of London are of the highest quality as you might expect from an area famous for its wealth. Student lettings have been given something of a stereotype over the years, but here at CBRE Residential we’ve looked to break this down and have a wide range of fantastically finished student rentals in London with many close to the City.

Our student accommodation includes one bedroom apartments in the City that are fully furnished with bespoke kitchens, lift access and contemporary fittings with excellent access to local amenities and the Universities. We also have a number of exquisite two bedroom apartments in the City in prime locations with furnished and spacious rooms, modern kitchen, plenty of storage and great views.

Should you wish to live a little further outside the City we also have a number of recently refurbished student properties and new developments across London, including one bedroom student rentals in Covent Garden with their own balconies, two bedroom student properties in Strand with gym access and steam rooms and many more highly desirable houses, flats and apartments.

To find out more about any of our student lettings, or to learn about how you can buy a student property in London, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the CBRE Residential team who can help you with everything from finding the perfect student accommodation to signing the contracts and collecting your keys.

Nightlife and live entertainment in the City of London

The City of London is a great place if you enjoy eating out, especially at upscale eateries with global cuisine and Michelin Star restaurants, and venues owned by celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay.

Heron Tower is home to the popular Duck and Waffle restaurant which offers panoramic views over London from the 40th floor as well as highly-rated cuisine; and the French Galvin la Chapelle restaurant towards Spitalfields has more of a European bistro feel with an ever-changing and mouth-watering menu.

St Katherine Docks to the South East of the district has been redeveloped in recent years into a popular marina offering a range of options in terms of restaurants, cafes and shops with waterside premises and al fresco dining.

For a more cultural evening of entertainment, the Barbican Centre has its own concert hall, theatre and cinema; and is also home to the London Symphony Orchestra. Alternatively, you could pop over the Millennium Bridge and visit Shakespeare’s Globe theatre for live open air performances of the classics from Britain’s most famous playwright. 

If spending time admiring fine art is more your kind of thing, the Tate Modern and the Guildhall Art Gallery are both popular venues with a variety of different exhibits throughout the year. The Tate Modern is one of Britain’s most famous galleries and is situated close to the Globe on the South of the River while the Guildhall Gallery is in the centre of the City.

Transport in the City of London

London’s public transport network is one of the most widely used in the world with a significant number of stations located within the City of London, helping commuters to get to and from the busiest business district in the capital each day.

In terms of the Underground, the City has five main stations at Bank, Moorgate, Mansion House, Monument and St Paul’s which means that students are able to commute into the City from their student lettings with relative ease.

This is only going to get simpler in the coming years thanks to the opening of the new Elizabeth line, also known as Crossrail. Due to open in 2018 the Crossrail service is aimed at reducing the congestion on the Tube with a new Overground service that speeds up the connections between key locations such as Heathrow Airport, the City of London and Canary Wharf.

There are currently five main National Rail stations in the City of London area. Blackfriars, Moorgate, Cannon Street, Farringdon and City Thameslink are all frequently used by students and commuters living outside the area or in the suburbs.

Finally, there is also the Docklands Light Railway service, which is frequently referred to as the DLR. This is another Overground rail service and stops at Bank in the heart of the City, right by the Bank of England.

Whether you’re living in student rentals in the City of London or commuting into the area for work placements, social events, tourism or to go to the nearby Universities; the City is one of the best-connected parts of London for public transport and falls within Zone One. Should you need any information on travelling around the City then visit the TfL website for more.

Shopping in the City of London

Just as the City of London has grown as the leading business and financial district in the country, it has also grown in terms of shopping and retail. Whereas major department stores such as Harrods and shopping areas like Oxford Street remain the places to go for those who love shopping, more and more major brands are moving into the City of London and helping to create what is essentially a brand new shopping district in the heart of the capital which is great for students and workers alike.

A whole range of retail brands including Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, De Beers, Boodles and a number of other international brands have all relatively recently opened stores at One New Change in the City of London which shows the global appeal of the area.

There are three other famous shopping areas that also fall within or close to the City of London’s borders. Leadenhall Market and the Old Spitalfields Market have a variety of different stores with brands from every sector from fresh foods and fashion to technology, jewellery to literature and much more besides including plenty of places to replenish your energy after a day of shopping.

Smithfield Market has maintained a lot of its heritage by remaining a traditional type of market with independent traders selling their goods and fresh produce. To this day it remains the country’s largest meat market with a wide range of locally sourced meats available.

Landmarks and Tourist Attractions in the City of London

When you’re looking for something to do or somewhere to go during your downtime, the City is home to a number of London’s most popular landmarks and tourist hotspots meaning that you don’t have to travel too far from your student accommodation or the University in search of the sights.

While there are no major green spaces in the area, Finsbury Circus is the largest public space and contains a bandstand and bowling green for something of a typically British way of passing the time outdoors.

The City of London area is home to a number of London’s most famous landmarks and tourist attractions. The Museum of London features a wide range of exhibits that take visitors on a journey through the history of the capital including artefacts from medieval periods, the civil war and even the Great Fire.

There is also a beautiful Monument to the Great Fire of London which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. This is situated close to the River Thames by London Bridge. A little further to the East of the City is the Tower of London, one of London’s most famous and popular tourist attractions with several million visitors each year. This medieval castle is home to the nation’s Crown Jewels and is where a number of the most infamous criminals were sent.

St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England are also among the most frequently visited landmarks in the City. St Paul’s is one of the most iconic Cathedrals in the whole country, and the Anglican venue stands above the City on Ludgate Hill.

In terms of notable buildings, 30 St Mary Axe – better known as “The Gherkin” – and The Leadenhall Building – also known as “The Cheese Grater” – can be found in the heart of the business district and stand out due to their unique designs. 20 Fenchurch Street – better known as the “Walkie Talkie” is located on the eastern fringes of the City of London and you can pay a visit to their Sky Gardens at the top of the building free of charge. 

Gyms in the City of London

More people than ever before are taking their health and fitness seriously, and what better place to get fit that in the City. With some great runs along the riverbank and across the bridges, the City of London is often filled with runners on their way to or from work while many even choose to ditch the Tube in favour of a bike.

If you’re more of a gym-goer then you have a variety of options available. Monthly and annual memberships are available at a number of the exclusive gyms in the area, while many of our student rentals have their own private gyms that can only be used by residents. These gyms and fitness suites even include saunas, swimming pools and some great equipment that will have you in shape in no time, especially if you employ the services of a personal trainer.

Hospitals in the City of London

St. Bartholomew’s Hospital is an internationally renowned teaching hospital in the Smithfield area of the City of London. There is no Accident & Emergency department at “St Bart’s” as it is often referred to, but there is a minor injuries department and wards covering everything from heart conditions to specialist services.

As a teaching hospital St Bart’s has connections with a number of London Universities and provides opportunities for medical students to have their ward placements, particularly those studying at UCL.

Click here to speak to one of the experts at CBRE Residential about any of our student rentals in London or buying a student property.