What is happening with the London Rental market right now, I hear you say? Since when was it quite so competitive to find that home in the desired area in a city the size of London? What is this phenomenon the locals call the ‘Ginger Line’ (since when was it so cool to be ginger? Only always.) and how is it that, this flash of ginger all over the London tube map could help me find a home, a short commute from Central London, and, even a little more space for my money?
We are by no means de-valuing the London Underground – it is one of the best travel networks in the world- and its efficiency, speed and sheer ability to connect a vast city like London is arguably unrivalled by other global cities’ networks. But, by looking further afield at zones or areas connected by the overground or TFL Rail, you begin to open a world of hidden gems with more favourable budgets to match. Returning to the issue at hand however, let’s take a deeper look into just why the rental market is quite so competitive at this time…
London’s Rental Market…
The pandemic naturally changed the landscape for property on all fronts, and the behaviour of renters, landlords and buyers. Many renters with the uncertainty decided to stay put, not moving on or up, instead gaining an advantage by renewing contracts during the pandemic; a circumstance that really did leave them in the position to negotiate more favourable terms. The ‘Buy-to-Let’ market, having lost 18 months of developing new properties, is still not back at its speed pre-Covid. This, alongside the change in taxation, has reduced interest in the BTL market for private individuals. Tax Stamp duty breaks to kick-start the property sales market meant people sold their properties to home buyers rather than investors, which is a clear-cut reason for reduction in rental stock. And so on, and so forth…
So, given there are in fact more rail stations – serviced by these overground lines – than underground stations in London, this surely means getting round town from these hidden gems won’t be too difficult. In true CORNERSTONE style, we have pooled our resources together, given you some background to the ‘ginger line’ and broken down by geographical direction just where you can begin to find these hidden gems…
In general, the trains that service the ginger line are larger and many have air conditioning. They’re more similar in size to the sub-surface trains used on the Metropolitan, District and Hammersmith and City Lines than the smaller tubes that service the Central, Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines. Spending your commute looking out the window as London in all its glory swooshes by, in the comfort of a larger carriage, well, really is no bad thing.
Built into the standard tube map too, the ginger line too accepts payment by Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card, Travelcard and contactless payment card just like any other tube ride. The current London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged, as part of his manifesto for re-election back in May of 2021, that a naming programme for the six London Overground lines will take place to give Londoners the opportunity to tell more of our city’s diverse story and put some of our forgotten people and places back on the map.
Those Hidden gems… East
Shoreditch High Street & Hoxton
- Shoreditch High Steet Overground & Hoxton Overground stations, Liverpool Street Station is within walking distance serviced by the Central Line.
Shoreditch is considered to be one of the cooler neighbourhoods in London. Just a short walk away from Liverpool Street Station it’s home to an eclectic bunch of pubs, bars and restaurants. As you exit the station, you’ll happily stumble across Boxpark, a sort of pop-up mall, constructed partly out of old shipping containers, hosting a veritable cornucopia of drinking/dining venues, along with independent retailers specialising in fashion and lifestyle stores.
Just one stop up from Shoreditch, you’ll find the equally sought-after area of Hoxton. With a vast array of pubs, bars and nightclubs, you’re sure to have a great evening out when you’re in Hoxton. During the day, you can pay a visit to Hoxton Market and the nearby shops.
The areas are a mixture of older buildings and larger high-rises which have begun to dominate the East London skyline.
Dalston – Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction
- Dalston Kingsland Overground station – 30 mins into Central London >> overground line to Camden Road and then the Northern Line to Charing Cross Station…
- Dalston Junction Overground station – 30 mins into Central London >> overground line to Whitechapel >> District line to Embankment
Further up the line you’ll find Dalston, specifically Dalston Junction, another part of East London known for its nightlife. It also has its own market, ‘The Ridley Road Market’, situated just opposite Dalston Kingsland Station, alongside Kingsland Shopping Centre too.
One of Dalston’s claims to fame is that it served as the model for the set of the long running English, East London set soap opera, ‘Eastenders’.
One of the points to note between the two overground stations is that Dalston Kingsland is on a different line of the London Overground and from it you can in fact reach destinations such as Stratford and Richmond. You can also find your way to Hackney Wick, another East London neighbourhood we’ll discuss later!
- Wapping Overground station – 25 mins into Central London
- Wapping overground to Canada Water from there take the jubilee to Waterloo station.
The cobbled streets of Wapping, near the banks of the Thames will lead you to countless posh developments as well as the odd pub or two – often with fantastic riverside locations too.
Much of Wapping was bombed out during the blitz and, as the need for the many bankside warehouses lessened, the area fell in to disuse and dereliction. That was until the 1980s when the area was seized upon by developers who converted the old warehouses in to luxury flats. Now it’s a surprisingly pleasant residential area that’s still within grasp of Central London.
Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays
- Canada Water Overground & Underground station – 15 minutes into Central London on the Jubilee Line.
On the opposite side of the river to Wapping and also home to a number of warehouses converted in to luxury apartments, alongside new build developments, is Rotherhithe.
Named after a freshwater lake and wildlife refuge is Rotherhithe’s neighbour, Canada Water. There you’ll find a collection of new builds and new developments along with the Surrey Quays Shopping Centre. Canada Water is an interchange for the Jubilee Line, so you can have easy access to both Central London (Westminster and Bond Street are just 15 minutes away respectively) and Canary Wharf (which is just 1 stop away).
- Hackney Wick overground Station – 30 mins in Central London
- From the Hackney Wick stop take the overound to Highbury & Islington where you can change to the Victoria line down to Oxford Circus…
With its close proximity to the Olympic Park (Stratford is just a stop away) Hackney Wick has become a prime site for regeneration, as attested by the number of new builds that have popped up in the area. Hackney Wick has also been the destination for the artistic community, having been priced out of their previous dwellings in Shoreditch and Hoxton.
Home to some idiosyncratic bars, pubs and breweries, you’ll not be short of things to do in the area.
- Haggerston Overground Station – 35 mins to Central London.
- Haggerston overground to Whitechapel, there you swap to the district line to Embankment station.
Perhaps a little more tranquil than its more boisterous neighbours, Shoreditch and Hoxton, but still within walking distance, Haggerston none the less has much to offer with bars and cafes dotted across the area; and is often deemed as better value for money when it comes to rent than its glamourous neighbours.
- Peckham Rye Overground Station – 30 mins to Central London
- Peckham Rye overground to Whitechapel, then swap to the district line into town!
Peckham, famous for being the setting of classic BBC sitcom, “Only Fools and Horses” has changed quite a bit over the years. In the 1990s it benefitted from regeneration funding from the EU and now has a number of new developments and improvements.
Cinephiles should check out the Peckamplex, a fantastic multiplex cinema that offers tickets for the latest releases from just £4.99!
- Forest Hill Overground Station – 35 mins to Central London
- The overground line to Canada Water, from there jump on the Jubilee line to Westminster.
Another Largely residential location, Forrest Hill gets its name from the woodland that used to cover the area. The architectural styles used across the area are varied and it’s considered to be a very pleasant part of South London.
Clapham – Clapham High Street Station and Clapham Junction
- Clapham Junction Station, 23 mins to Central London
- South Western Rail to Victoria, then swap to either the district line or Victoria line.
- Clapham High Street, 25 mins into Central London
- From the Clapham north station take the Northern line into town!
Clapham High Street station is one of the many stations in the Clapham area and, as the name suggests, it’s the most convenient for Clapham High Street. Clapham is already a popular location for people to move to with its plethora of pubs and bars as well as Clapham Common if you fancy a stroll through a park.
Clapham Junction is perhaps one of the busiest stations in London. As its name suggests, it’s an interchange for myriad services. You can even change here from the East London Line of the Overground to the line that serves the West of London where you’ll find Routes to Imperial Wharf, one of the closer stations to upmarket Chelsea. Whilst describing it as a junction is accurate, its location is closer to Battersea than Clapham.
- Hatch End Overground Station to Central London (Euston – 40 mins)
A delightful area of North West London, located in the London Borough of Harrow, Hatch End is known for its vast array of restaurants along the high street. There you can find everything from Italian food to some of the best fish and chips in London. Morrisons have a large supermarket located there and Tesco have a smaller Express branch on the high street too.
Bushey and Carpenders Park
- Bushey and Carpenders Park Overground Stations (Euston – 45 mins)
Bushey and Carpenders park lie just outside of London in Hertfordshire, but that doesn’t mean they’re too far away from the centre of town. They also benefit from being just that little bit cheaper than London itself.
These areas, especially Carpenders Park, have seen quite a lot of development, with a number of new builds cropping up all over the place. The town centre has also been redeveloped and looks almost completely unrecognisable compared to how it was just a few years ago.
Bushey has a pleasant village/small town feel with lots of different residential properties to choose from, along with a bustling high street full of pleasant retailers. There’s also a nearby Costco store for when you want to stock up on bulk items.
Of course, they’re also quite close to Watford, but more on why that’s a good thing in a moment.
Watford – Watford High Street and Watford Junction
- Watford Junction Rail Station – West Midlands Train Service to Euston, 14 mins
Watford is certainly home to one of the largest shopping centres just outside of London. The Intu shopping centre itself is home to a vast number of retailers and you’ll find even more up the high street and at the retail park just a short walk from Watford High Street Station. The shopping centre has a food court, but you’ll also find a number of chain restaurants dotted around the town. There’s ample car parking, with the town centre being served by a number of multi-story car parks.
At the end of the high street, beyond the shops, you can also find a collection of pubs, bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained.
Watford is also home to Watford Football club, so you can even watch a match or two if you’re so inclined.
You’ll find a mix of properties in Watford, from Victorian terraced houses to new build apartments, so there should be accommodation to suit your needs.
Highbury and Islington, Hampstead Heath, Kentish Town and Camden Road
- In all honesty, the Overground line connects these stations very well to each other and to other routes on the Overground, they do however have many accessible tube lines!
What more needs to be said about the Islington area! Fantastic pubs and restaurants, excellent shopping opportunities, supermarkets (a Waitrose and a Sainsburys). It can be a little pricey, however.
The area around Hampstead Heath is well sought after, but this also comes at a price. Lots of nice pubs and shops, and the Heath is an attraction in itself…
Kentish Town and Camden are also some pretty desirable areas in London, so your money won’t go as far as it would in other places. They have an abundance of pubs, bars, clubs and music venues which offer superb nightlife, so you’re guaranteed to have a good time when you’re there!
Instead of living in these areas, the Overground connections give you the opportunity to live somewhere else along the East London Line that’s a little less costly. From there you can take a single train to have a day or a night out without having to pay a premium for your accommodation.
Acton Central and South Acton
- The piccadilly does serve this area well with a direct 40 mins journey into Central London. The overground stations of Acton Central and South Acton though will connect you easily to North and South London without having to touch Central London!
Acton is already an area served by several tube stations Acton Town, East Acton, North Acton, South Acton and West Acton, along with Acton Main Line railway Station on TFL Rail (soon to be the Elizabeth Line), but it also has two London overground stations, Acton Central and South Acton.
Whilst Acton is predominantly a residential area, it also has its fair share of pubs along the High Street and a market that runs from Wednesday to Friday.