Creative? Here’s where to live (and not to live) in London

As a creative looking to start out, the sheer scale of London and it’s active artistic community make it the obvious choice to launch your career. But at the same time, London life comes at a cost and choosing the right place to live in a city of more than eight million people is a thankless task. Plump for the wrong postcode and you could soon live to resent the capital. Clapham can feel a hundred miles from neighbouring Brixton.

Help is at hand. Fat Lama has compiled data from 20,000 items listed in London to create a heat map (above) of where your fellow creatives are residing. We’ve focused on three creative categories looking at the densest areas for Film & Photography, DJ Equipment and Musical Instruments. 

Five postcodes emerged from our data as key hubs for London’s creative crowd. If you’re a musician, videographer or art director and want to be living amongst other artistes, here are five areas to consider, split by East, South, North and West.

When it comes to creative hotspots, East London still reigns supreme. Whilst they’re far from cheap, areas like Dalston, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green are where it’s at.   

#1 Dalston (E8)

According to our data, Dalston boasts the highest overall density of creatives across photographers, filmmakers, DJs and musicians. Why? Well, from venues like Brilliant Corners to Servant Jazz Quarters, it’s not lost its grasp on the leftfield in spite of the prowling estate agents. Its streets are still crammed with pound shops, Turkish restaurants and markets and a wealth of clubs that would probably confuse your parents.

Check Out: The Rio Cinema – a Grade II listed independent Art Deco cinema on Kingsland Road.

#2 Bethnal Green & Shoreditch (E2)

Like Dalston, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch have seen a rapid transformation in the past few decades. Shoreditch, especially, is now analogous to hipsterism with it’s ‘charcoal activated buns’ and cereal cafes. However, it’s not an area to discount. It remains more affordable than West and is a key player on the touring circuit for many great acts.markets

Check Out: Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club – an 1887 working men’s club cum music, comedy and burlesque venue.

#3 Brixton (SW9)  

Situated in the Borough of Lambeth (currently bidding for 2019’s London Borough of Culture Title), our results showed that Brixton and Stockwell are particularly favourable areas for DJs. Of course, this is nothing new: Brixton is famously the birthplace of artists David Bowie, Big Narstie and La Roux.

Check Out: The Ritzy – a Grade II listed indie cinema just a stone’s throw from Brixton station.

#4 Bermondsey and Southwark (SE1)

Bermondsey and Southwark have a long history of being centres for arts, not least for Shakespeare’s Globe itself. Nowadays, it’s home to art galleries and music venues including Corsica Studios, Ministry of Sound and, a little deeper into Southwark, Peckham’s DIY Space For London.

Check Out: White Cube Gallery – a contemporary art gallery owned by Jay Jopling.

#5 Camden Town (NW1)

Holding the torch for North London is Camden Town, an area renowned for names like the Rolling Stones, Queen and Amy Winehouse. Moving here will give you easy access to venue institutions like The Underworld Camden, The Good Mixer and Barfly as well as Camden Market – the fourth most visited tourist attraction in London.

Check Out: Camden Roundhouse – an arts hub and events space in a former railway engine shed.

In comparison to the East, West London seems very sparsely populated on our map of where creatives live (scroll up to see). With help from research by Spareroom we may have discovered why:

It looks a look like creatives have been priced out. This is not, in fact, all that surprising for an industry that notoriously occupies lower salary brackets. If the West was once a creative hub, it seems to have tripped up over its own property prices. Artists, steer clear.

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