London Hackers Guide

A short guide for all the hackers willing to live in London.

Image credits to Nietnagel

Living in London

Most of tech companies and startups are based in East London (Shoreditch and around Old Street - the Silicon Roundabout). If you're a meetup/hackhaton/conferences kind of person that's where you want to live. You might also choose to live in Hoxton or Haggerston, as long as you're close to the Overground it's easy to commute.

West London can be cheaper than East nowdays. The Central line is usually fast but busy during office hours. A typical commute time from West London to East London could take up to 30 mins. Use the Transports for London or City Mapper to find out more about commuting time.

East London: Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Dalston Kingsland, Hackney - There are tons of bars and clubs in the area. If you work around the "Silicon Roundabout" it could be the most obvious choice to live there. Note that it could be noisy in certain streets (lots of partygoers).

West London: Hammersmith and Fullham, Shepherd's Bush, Notthing Hill - West London tends to be slightly cheaper than East London and more residential (basically there are not enough cool pubs/bars/cafe!).

South London - Brixton, Southwark and Borough - The area has lots to offer in terms of cafes, restaurants and night life. There are also great markets (Brixton Market and Borough Market).

Hacker map: If you're interested in London's Gentrification.

Find accomodation in London

Finding good accomodation in London can be stressful. Keep it mind it's not an easy task! Here's where to start looking:

Note: Some online offers might be already gone before you can even click on them! Most of the offers will be from Letting Agents.

Hacker approach:

  • Use the websites above to find out the price of the area.
  • Note of the name of the letting agents covering that area.
  • Go to the Agency in person. You will find out about new properties before they'll start advertising online.
  • Double check if the aparment you've found is still available (phone the agency).
  • Be patient. It could take a couple of weeks before you find something nice.
  • Be fast. If you like it, tell the agents you want to take it. Note: typically you'll have to give a deposit.
  • Pro tips If you set an appointment with an agent, call them on the phone a couple of hours before the meeting. Letting agents tend to forget to call you back if the property is already gone. You'll spare a trip and save time.

I haven't dealt with private landlords that much, I think it's a bit more risky (it depends on the landlord) but if you feel brave you can always have a look at Gumtree (it's the local CraigsList) and you might actually find a good deal.

Accelerators / Incubators

If you're coming to London because you want to start a business that's a great time for being in the City. Here's a list of most important accelerators and incubators in London:

Oxygen Accelerator | SpringBoard | DotForge | Seedcamp | Wayra UK | Startup Bootcamp | Ignite | Bethnal Green Venture | White Bear Yard | Health Box | BBC Worldwide Labs

Meetups / Events

There are so many events happening in London that's really hard to keep track of all of them. Meetup is a good place to start looking, as well as EventBrite. There's also Attending.io (london startup!) that lists some events happening in London.

A list of recommended events and meetups:

For a longer list, check the London Tech Event Collection

Coworking Spaces

If you want to work as a freelancer, there are plenty of co-working spaces around the city. The advantage of paying for a desk is the possibility to meet and chat with people working in your area and you might even get to know about new paid gigs.

The Bakery | Campus Cafe | Central Working | Club Workspace | CoWork | The Cube | Google Campus | HackSpace | Hoxton Mix | The Hub | Innovation Warehouse | Level 39 | Metro Lab Coworking | Piano Lab | Rainmaking Loft | Shoreditch Works | Soho Collective | TechHub | Techspace London | Tent | The Trampery | White Bear Yard | Warner Yard

Looking for Work

Hacker approach: Job boards are ok. A better approach is to join some developers mailing lists. Look for your favourite programming language meetup and group. Searching for "[language] User Group London" on Google will do the trick.

You might also be proactive and check yourself the available openings. It requires a bit of manual work (you'll have to find the companies and their hiring/jobs page). Few useful websites:

After work drinks

Burger Night: Organized by Rob Fitzpatrick, it's an informal and friendly meeting for people working on startups.

Silicon Drinkabout: Organized by 3 Beards, it's a Friday after work meeting in East London from around 6-7pm onwards, at a different venue each week.

Do you have any suggestions?

I'm sure I've missed some event, incubator or something important to write (also I don't know North London!).

If you'd like to suggest a link, just leave it in the comments here or join the discussion on hacker news.