Written by Michael Naughton

Contemplating my move to London, I felt daunted by the city’s sprawling size and apparent lack of a cohesively-planned geography. I found this unease compounded by a limited budget and a limited knowledge of London. Fortunately, I found a gem of a neighbourhood in South London named Tooting.

Tooting is one of the few areas near Central London where it is still affordable for a student to live. Personally, I was able to live in a large 3 bedroom flat (with two flatmates of course) for £500 per month inclusive of bills, which relieved me of a good deal of stress when it came to budgeting (Note that the price of student halls f residence can range from £120 per week to as high as £300 per week).

Before I relay some of the things I loved about living in Tooting, let me make one simple observation: Tooting is cheap. It’s littered with little shops that sell good meat and fresh produce at very reasonable prices. Tooting Market offers an extensive range of foodstuffs and household items for you to choose from and of course there are plenty of Tescos, Sainsburys, Lidls and Icelands. You can easily get by on spending £20 a week on groceries without sacrificing eating well.

Besides being an affordable place to live, Tooting High Street is dotted with the best Asian food in London. Forget Brick Lane, forget Dishoom – Tooting is where you’ll find the good stuff. One of London’s best kept secret is that Tooting is home to London’s best curry. What’s more, Tooting also has a slew of cosy pubs with laidback beer gardens and is increasingly becoming a foodie destination with its host of decently priced bistros and cafes.

Tooting also benefits from being on the Northern Line, which easily brings you to the centre of London in 20 minutes. The Night Tube is now also running on the Northern Line making it easier to get home if for some reason you stay out past 1am, but that would never happen, right?

Overall, Tooting is becoming increasingly attractive to students and young professionals who want to avoid the expensive of living in Central London without sacrificing their quality of life. Its diverse mix of ethnicity and culture coupled with its affordability makes Tooting a great option for any student contemplating their move to London.