Digital Nomads in London: Your Ultimate Guide
For lots of digital nomads, London is an excellent place to live.
One of the most exciting cities on the planet, you could live here forever without getting bored. Made up of 9.5 million people, countless varied districts, a huge number of different vibes, and more venues than you could possibly ever visit, it’s stuffed with things to do.
More than a third of London’s residents were born outside of the UK, and the city is home to almost 300 different nationalities. So whoever you are, wherever you’re from, and whatever you’re looking for, you’ll easily be able to feel at home in London.
There are loads more perks of living in the city, whether for a long time or a little. In our guide for digital nomads in London, we’ve covered them all, including nightclubs, bars, green spaces, affordable areas, all the different districts, and how you might want to spend your time.
We’ve also covered challenges and topics that are specific to digital nomads—including visas, ease of movement, getting a short-term rental, and quickly finding a community.
So grab your Union Jack, brew up a cup of tea, and get practicing your cockney colloquialisms. Today, Homelike are taking a tell-all trip to London. And lucky for you, you’re coming with us!
Why London is a great place for digital nomads
For digital nomads in London, some of the biggest perks (and there are lots of them!) include…
- You’ll never get bored: you’ll find dozens of events every day, lots of great bars and nightclubs, a massive range of cafes and eateries, a bunch of green spaces, and a load of weird stuff you’ve never even heard of. Here, you’ll never run short of things to do.
- A huge international community: as we’ve already mentioned, this is one of the most multicultural places on the planet. No matter where you’re from, you’ll fit right in.
- Lots of green space: for some reason, most people have some misguided assumption that London is a built-up metropolis with no room to move. That’s not true at all—almost half of the city is made up of green space. So expect lots of parks and picnics.
- Excellent public transport: you’ll never need a car—London’s swift, reliable and extensive public transport system can take you wherever you want to go (whenever you want to go there). And although the transport network is huge, it’s very easy to use.
- It’s a pretty healthy city: digital nomads sometimes find themselves in places where being healthy is hard. That’s not the case in London—you get many exercise classes (and venues), lots of keep-fit fanatics, good cycling infrastructure, and very healthy food.
- It’s incredibly varied: whatever type of neighborhood you like, you’ll find it in London. Looking for leafy suburbs? Never-ending party hubs? A safe place for your family? An area that feels like it was plucked from another nation? You’ll find all that and more.
- It’s artistic: if you’re a digital nomad, your job is probably (at least partially) creative. And if you’re a creative person who likes creative things, you’ll find lots of them in London: it has 1,500 galleries, over 200 museums, and plenty more culture and art.
- It’s a super-central travel hub: you’re a travel-mad digital nomad, and London is perfect for moving around. Other parts of the UK are only hours and minutes away… and the city’s 6 airports can take you quickly and cheaply to all other pockets of the globe.
Why London isn’t always a great place for digital nomads
Alright, there are way more pros than cons for digital nomads in London.
But like living anywhere else, living in London comes with its negatives. They are…
- Lofty costs: London is one of the most expensive places on the planet. One of the perks of digital nomad life is being able to save money by living in affordable places—but you won’t be doing that in London.
- It can be stupidly hard to find a place to live: as you’ll learn, this is one of the most consistently-frustrating parts of living the city. But here’s some good news: a serviced apartment or a serviced flat can quickly solve that tricky dilemma.
- Visas: we’ve covered this in depth next. But the UK doesn’t make it easy for some would-be relocators seeking a new life in the nation. Joining the other digital nomads in London is appealing… but for some, reaching the place might not be swift or simple.
Best neighborhoods to stay in London
Broadly speaking, London is made up of 48 different neighborhoods (though lots of those neighborhoods also have sub-districts and mini-regions).
All 48 offer different atmospheres and appeal… but the following 8 are among the best for digital nomads in London:
- Camden (average monthly rental cost, £2,620*): one of the most hip and happening areas in the city, canalside Camden is very popular among digital nomads in London. If you like strange events and making friends with bohemians, you’ll love the place.
- Richmond (average monthly rental cost, £1,840*): most famous for hosting the park of the same name, Richmond is one of the greenest regions in London, and it’s a nice pocket of peace. Want to feel like you’re living in a separate but pretty town? Head here.
- Battersea (average monthly rental cost, £2,360*): currently undergoing lots of varied development, Battersea is a nice balance between lots of appealing excitement. You get parks, riverside stretches, independent hangouts, and great places to eat and drink.
- Chelsea (average monthly rental cost, £3,960*): super expensive and super classy, this upmarket district is packed with rich dwellers, luxury housing, and lots of high-end venues. It’s not a typical nomad hotspot, but it’s very fancy, and it’s full of frills.
- Shoreditch (average monthly rental cost, £2,130*): this hip neighborhood is edgy, trendy and interesting, with lots of things to do. Expect sourdough, avocados, craft beer, goateed bartenders, and lots of once-was-a-warehouses.
- Kentish Town (average monthly rental cost, £2,620*): very close to Camden, this up-and-coming area offers arty, independent venues, and lots of quirky events. It’s sort of like Camden, but not as pretentious, and not quite so self-aware.
- Croydon (average monthly rental cost, £1,280*): this south-London outskirt area is affordable but interesting, with cut-price housing, good connections to the center, and great stores and nightlife. If you want a semi-suburban life, it’s an excellent choice.
- Dalston (average monthly rental cost, £2,130*): this is an upcoming hotspot for digital nomads in London. Semi-affordable, it’s home to students, young couples and young professionals—and you’ll always find food markets and other events here.
*We’ve taken all our average monthly-rent figures from this recent Time Out article (and, of course, as we offer lots of lovely apartments throughout various parts of London, we’re pretty familiar with all the relevant prices).
We’ve featured details on all these London neighborhoods (and more!) in our guide to the 15 best places to live in London.
And we also have introductions to specific types of neighborhoods in the city. Check out:
- The 10 best commuter towns near London (for saving some money and living on a budget)
- The 8 richest neighborhoods in London (for splashing some cash)
The 10 best family-friendly neighborhoods in the city (if you’ll be another of the child-bearing digital nomads in London)
How to find a rental in London to spend a few months as a digital nomad
For digital nomads in London, this can be one of the most stressful parts of moving to the big city.
Finding a nice place to live can be very difficult in London: you’ll need to attend never-ending property viewings, you’ll spend countless hours shuttling yourself around the city, and because useless real estate agents will show you every substandard property they have, you’ll have to pretend that using an oven as a pillow is a perfectly normal thing to do.
But with (a lot) of patience and persistence, it’s possible to find a reasonable home.
The easiest and most fuss-free solution for digital nomads hunting for housing in London is moving into a serviced apartment or a serviced flat. You don’t need to attend house viewings, you don’t need to deal with unreliable landlords, and you don’t need to buy any furniture or appliances. You simply arrive with your suitcase, and quickly get going with your life.
If that sounds like a good solution to your tricky housing problem, we have plenty of serviced apartments and serviced flats on our site. They’re all homely, comfortable, cozy and affordable, and they’re perfect for digital nomads. Best of all, they’re ready to move into today.
For finding your own unfurnished apartment, Zoopla and Rightmove are the best places to begin… while SpareRoom is best for finding house shares.
Another good resource (of course!) is Facebook. On the platform, you can find a huge variety of places, including sprawling family homes, tiny studios, welcoming house shares, budget-friendly places, and everything in between. Two of the best Facebook rental groups are here and here… but you’ll find many more.
Some digital nomads in London also like living in hostels, because you can save money, make friends, and (if it’s a decent hostel), have a ready-set place to work. Some of the best work-friendly hostels in London include Wombat’s City Hostel, Urbany Hostel London, and Astor Museum Hostel.
That said, hostel life can become pretty stifling and depressing after a while, and having a standard private space (that isn’t full of screaming 3am drunkards) is usually much more fulfilling and productive.
Best areas for restaurants and bars in London
If you like sipping, slurping, and trying varied fayre, you’ll love joining the digital nomads in London—the city has one of the most unique, appealing and diverse culinary scenes on the planet.
Some of its top foodie neighborhoods include…
- Chinatown: one of the biggest and most impressive Chinatown districts in the world, this area is stuffed with eateries from all over Asia. Top joints include laid-back dim-sum-spot Gerrard’s Corner, small-scale Old Town 97, and upmarket Orient London.
- Peckham: people underrate this place. If you like unpretentious eateries where the flavors are more important than the aesthetics, you’ll love Peckham. You’ll find canteen-style joints, untidy tables, smiling faces, and trucks serving fresh jerk chicken.
- Camden: canalside Camden is brimming with varied food trucks from around the globe. It also offers lots of trendy restaurants, running the gamut from Michelin-recognized high-end spots to a bunch of low-key markets sitting in repurposed shipping containers.
- Clapham: with a young and a lively population, central Clapham offers a bunch of varied bars. Expect beer gardens, DJs, dancefloors, and even classy cocktails. Two of the most popular drinking venues here include London Cocktail Club, and The Little Orange Door.
- Hoxton: all of Shoreditch is intentionally trendy, with many interesting and unusual venues. But the western section of Hoxton has recently emerged as a must-visit, featuring kooky places like Callooh Callay, Bar Kick, and Roadtrip & The Workshop.
Best areas for London nightlife
Some digital nomads in London flock to the city exclusively because of its fantastic late-night scene. Some of the city’s best nightlife neighborhoods include:
- Shoreditch: maybe the hippest district in London (and that’s saying something), Shoreditch is packed with brash bohemians, young professionals, and many repurposed venues. Highlights include the neighboring nightclubs of XOYO and Club Shoreditch.
- Soho: the LGBTQI epicenter of England’s capital, Soho is also famous for cut-price Sam Smiths pubs, al-fresco venues, and an inclusive atmosphere of anything-goes allure. Head to Simmons Bar, G-A-Y, Bar Américain, and all the tucked-away pubs.
- Brixton: home to a diverse population, an excellent live music scene, and some edgy arts venues, you’ll always find something exciting here. Check out O2 Academy Brixton, eclectic Brixton Jamm, and the storied and iconic Dogstar.
- Islington: among the most popular drinking spots for digital nomads in London, Islington offers classy cocktails, craft beer haunts, late-night places, and more. Fox on the Green serves laid-back beers, while The Alpaca is one of the area’s top independent pubs.
Top things to do in London
London is famous for offering a hefty range of different attractions and excitement. Some of the city’s top things to do include…
- Wander along Southbank: this part of the city runs along a central portion of the Thames River. It’s super touristy but super fun, featuring the London Eye, London Dungeons, Big Ben, Shakespeare’s Globe, the city’s aquarium, and plenty more.
- Explore plenty of parks: in Greenwich Park, you get panoramic views of the city. In Hyde Park, you can find plenty of tucked-away picnic spots. In Battersea Park, you can join an organized run. In Richmond Park, you can make friends with deer.
- Step back in time: this place is one of the most heritage-stuffed cities on the planet. Some of its historical highlights include the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
- Meander through some museums: London is home to way more museums and galleries than most other cities. Some highlights include the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the Science Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
- Slurp and sip at a whole bunch of pubs: British pubs are unlike any other drinking venues in the world. And in London, you’ll find around 3,500 of the places. Have a pint in each, and you’ll win a free overnight stay in a hospital!
- Pretend you’re a wizard: if you’re one of those people who has the brain of a 5-year old, and loves Harry Potter, you’ll love London. Here, you’ll find Platform 9¾, the theme-park-style Wizarding World, many filming sites, and plenty of stores and tours.
- Go on a bike ride: London is the UK’s best city for cycling, with various officially-waymarked trails (both long-distance and short-distance). Lots of the Thames riverside is excellent for cycling, while the city is stuffed with many pretty canal banks.
- Chomp on lots of eats and treats: English cuisine hardly has a startling reputation for churning our world-class tastes. But London is one of the world’s best cities for food, with morsels from around the planet. There are around 15,000 eateries in England’s capital.
- Settle down with a show: for live theater, London is one of the world’s top metropolises. Big shows you can catch include Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Hamilton, and Matilda. There are 39 theaters in the iconic West End area alone.
- Take some trips: digital nomads in London can easily pack their weekends with constant fun. This is arguably the best base in the UK for enjoying hikes, beaches, other cities, historical sites, castles, forests, kid-friendly attractions, and even other nations.
Best cafes and co-working spaces for working in London
If you become another of the digital nomads in London, you have a massive number of places to work from.
Your options range from co-working spaces to work-friendly independent cafes, to lots of chain venues where you can type and slurp guilt-free.
Some of the best coworking spaces for digital nomads in London are:
- WeWork: relatively affordable, and basic but excellent, there are almost 50 WeWork venues in London. You’ll find one of these places no matter where you’re living.
- Second Home Hackney: this Hackney branch of the groundbreaking chain offers lots of plants, bold splashes of color, cultural events, and bring-your-own schemes for people with dogs and kids.
- LABS: Camden’s branch of LABS has lots of windows, a bunch of glass-fronted surfaces, many trendy regulars, and excellent proximity to the neighborhood’s fun.
Aside from these work-friendly havens, you have many more places to choose from—there are around 1,500 coworking spaces in the city.
And some of the best cafes for digital nomads in London are:
- Redemption Roasters: the original Redemption Roasters in Bloomsbury, this place has beautiful coffee, lots of sockets, and many seats over two floors. The chain works with ex-offenders to help former criminals re-enter a life of employment and normality.
- Vagabond N7: this cafe has healthy food, an ambient outdoor seating area, and some of the city’s tastiest coffee. Because it’s not hugely central, it’s never too busy.
- The Wren Coffee: tired of working in standard coffee shops? This one sits inside the remains of an old church, featuring stained-glass windows, great pastries, and excellent proximity to some of the city center’s most famous sites (ideal if you’re here short-term).
- FWD:Coffee: sitting in Finsbury, this is another pretty-central option. It has lots of plug sockets, vast stretches of space, excellent coffee, and many diary-free milk options.
It’s worth noting that working in cafes and public spaces is very normal in London. No matter where you go, you’ll always find students and nomads using their laptops in cafes, in libraries, and even in bars and restaurants.
Public transport in London
For digital nomads in London, this is one of the best parts of living in the city.
London’s public transport system is vast and extensive, and it can take you from any part of the city to any other part of the city. Public transport systems aren’t usually this good—and lots of London’s residents never need to use a car.
The city has 272 metro stations (or ‘tube stations,’ as locals like to call them), around 700 different bus routes, and a big bunch of trams, riverboats, and overground trains.
Best of all, the system is very easy to use. All transport is paid for by card—and you simply tap your debit card onto a card reader when you enter your chosen method of transport. If you don’t have a UK bank account, you can instead use an easy-to-get Oyster Card in exactly the same way.
Although London is expensive, the city’s public transport is relatively affordable, especially if you use the system regularly—here’s a breakdown of all the fees. Importantly, you can’t use cash on any of London’s public transport.
If you prefer to get around on two wheels, here’s some good news: London is the most cycle-friendly city in the UK, and it’s easy to zip around exclusively by bike (as many London locals do).
You have two options for cycling in the city: you can either ride your own bike (or hire one from a store); or you can use the unimpressive-but-omnipresent public-hire bikes, which you’ll find liberally dotted around the entire sprawl of the city. Again, you can pay for these bikes by using your bank card or your Oyster card.
The cost of living in London
Digital nomads in London (and anyone living in London) can expect to pay the following costs:
- 1-bedroom apartment in the city center: £1,920
- 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center: £1,380
- 3-bedroom apartment in the city center: £3,257
- One-way ticket on local public transport: £2.60
- Regular monthly pass for local public transport: £152
- Meal for 1 at an inexpensive restaurant: £15
- 3-course meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant: £65
- Large draught domestic beer in a bar or restaurant: £6
- Regular cappuccino in a cafe or restaurant: £3.25
- Regular liter of milk from a supermarket: £1.09
- Loaf of white bread from a supermarket: £1.01
- 12 regular eggs from a supermarket: £2.35
- 1kg of chicken breast filets from a supermarket: £6.51
As we always do, we’ve taken these figures from reliable ol’ Numbeo, one of our favorite relocation resources.
The expat community for digital nomads in London
As we’ve already mentioned, there’s a huge international community in London—and it’s genuinely one of the most diverse and varied cities you can live in.
Yes, compared to some of the world’s biggest remote-working hotspots, there aren’t vast groups of digital nomads here (partially due to the prices, and partially due to the nation’s semi-restrictive visa situation).
But there are still plenty of digital nomads lingering about… and there are also lots of people in the city who come for short-term work and short-term studies (along with plenty of natives and non-natives who just like making friends!).
For making friends and meeting other digital nomads in London, your first resource should be Facebook, which has a bunch of buddy-hunting groups. You’ll find generic groups for finding friends and events (such as this one and this one)… but you’ll also find hobby-specific communities (such as this London running club, this climbing group, and this chess club).
Another great resource is Couchsurfing, which has a very active community in the city. You can use the platform to find locals, expats and even short-term visitors.
Making friends in London is especially easy because literally everyone you meet will speak at least some level of English… so if you’re reading this guide, you’ll be able to successfully interact with everyone in the city.
Digital nomads in London: final thoughts
And here we are—we’ve typed, co-worked, and re-homed our way to the end of this guide for digital nomads in London.
As we’ve hopefully now made pretty clear, it’s a great city for being a digital nomad, and it’s a great city to call home.
If you’re looking for a fully equipped apartment or a serviced flat in the city, we have lots of lovely options on our site. They’re all homely, comfortable and welcoming, and they’re all ready to move into today. And most importantly for you, they’re all great bases for working, living, making friends, and embarking on a brand-new life in London.
For even more information, here’s our guide on everything you need to know about being an expat in London.
Thanks for reading, thanks for choosing Homelike, and good luck in London!