Living in Mile End: transport links, parking, schools, best streets — and the average cost of monthly rent
Although, along with the rest of the country, Mile End is a lot quieter than usual as residents follow government advice to stay at home, under normal circumstances the East End neighbourhood is one of London’s most diverse, something-for-everyone melting pots thanks to its Zone 2 Central line Tube stop, the Queen Mary University campus, numerous top art galleries and a large Bangladeshi community.
Stepping out of the Tube station on to the main drag may usually be a somewhat hectic experience, but stroll around the neighbourhood (at a safe distance from each other, please) and you’ll find some of the capital’s prettiest conservation areas and squares sitting alongside pockets of at best unremarkable post-war housebuilding.
With any luck, the area’s good pubs and cool cultural scene will once more abound after the crisis passes, along with its growing number of spots to eat out and a surprising number of parks.
One tip: if you’re looking for a place to rent, it may not hurt to time your search outside the summer months and September, when Queen Mary students usually flood the market looking for rental homes for the next academic year, although this is also when most rental homes are listed.
Who lives there?
Mile End’s conservation areas, with their exemplary period houses, are popular with high-earning professional renters, often working as doctors, lawyers or accountants.
The area is also a student hotspot thanks to Queen Mary University. Students are more likely to save on rent by sharing ex-local authority properties.
Average cost of renting in Mile End
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What the locals say:
‘I love the vibrancy of east London life’
Luckily for Matt Mouncey, originally from Harlow in Essex, he is “quite close” to the other three people who share his four-bedroom house in Mile End. The four of them have been rather thrown on each other’s mercies for the past week or so due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But they have created a mini office-from-home for themselves with set hours, although they all work in different professions.
“We’ve structured it so we all work between 9.30am and 6pm and stop working for lunch at the same time so we’re not interrupting each other if anyone’s on conference calls,” says the 31-year-old architect.
“We’re all working in our rooms but we’ll sometimes come down and answer emails in the living room together and at lunch we try and have a stroll around Mile End Park just outside the house — while we’re still allowed.”
Matt Mouncey pays £785 a month excluding bills for his room in Mile End (Adrian Lourie)
The four housemates have also engaged Matt’s personal trainer, @fireandsteelfit on Instagram, to lead them through virtual yoga workouts on Zoom. Matt might even get his university pals who live all over the UK to join them remotely.
All of this is no mean feat for housemates who didn’t start out as friends but instead found each other on a flat-sharing website.
People have moved in and out in the three-and-a-half years that Matt has lived in the house and when replacement housemates have been needed to fill rooms, they’ve tried to get friends in.
“We’ve all become quite close and we keep in touch with those who move out,” says Matt. “There’ll always be a troublesome one but we’ve generally been very lucky.”
Matt pays £785 a month excluding bills for his room, and the house has a garden. “We’re fortunate to have a decent-sized garden which over the weekend was very nice to escape to and sit in.”
He says he’d ultimately like to buy in London and is trying to save a deposit.
“Buying’s not on the cards right now. Saving’s not going as successfully as I’d like but it is happening. I really enjoy living in Mile End. It’s more rough and ready than west London but it’s also more vibrant.”
Mile End travel links and accessibility
Matt’s house is only a couple of minutes’ walk from Mile End Tube, served by the Central and District lines.
The area is also well served for bus routes and Cycle Superhighway 2 runs down Mile End Road between Stratford and the City.
Shopping in Mile End
“I love a good market,” says Matt. “In Victoria Park on Sundays there’s the food market, which is lovely and then I’ll often wander up the canal to Cambridge Heath to the plant shops. I like Flower Warehouse and Conservatory Archives. I also like to walk to Broadway Market and I’ve been up to Roman Road a few times for a coffee.”
Eating and drinking in Mile End
When not social distancing Matt recommends Greedy Cow for burgers and cocktails and The Morgan Arms gastropub for a Sunday roast.
He and his housemates also like The Lord Tredegar, “a lovely little pub with a fire in the winter”.
In the past few weeks, however, Matt and his housemates have been putting the local takeaways through their paces, ordering in from Jasmine Garden for Chinese and Mogul’s Kitchen for Indian food.
Culture in Mile End
Having the Genesis cinema nearby is a real positive for Matt because it’s an independent cinema rather than a chain and is comparatively cheap, too.
There are also several hip art galleries within strolling distance, including Chisenhale Gallery, The Approach, Maureen Paley and several spots on Vyner Street.
Green space in Mile End
“Our street is set back in Mile End Park, which leads straight up into Victoria Park and along Regent’s Canal,” says Matt.
“Being somewhere you can step back from the city with good parks nearby is really quite important to me, especially so at the moment.”
Parking in Mile End
An annual residents parking permit in Bow costs from £10 to £186, depending on engine size and CO2 emissions.
There is a £25 diesel vehicle surcharge.
Crime in Mile End
Crime is below the London average with seven crimes reported per 1,000 residents.
The top-reported crimes are violence, vandalism and personal robbery.
Fitness clubs in Mile End
There’s a PureGym at Bow Wharf and an Anytime Fitness off Roman Road.
Mile End Park boasts the council-run Mile End Leisure Centre – with a spin studio, female-only gym, swimming pool, outdoor courts and pitches and an athletics stadium – and Mile End Climbing Wall.
Best Mile End streets to live on
“Coburn Road is very popular. It has a lot of Victorian houses and a nice gastropub, The Morgan Arms, so it’s sought after by well-off professionals and families,” says Fabian Akinola of Ludlow Thompson.
Best schools in Mile End
Old Ford Primary, Bonner Primary, Old Palace Primary, St Agnes Catholic Primary, Phoenix Primary and Secondary School and Beatrice Tate School for pupils with special needs are all rated “outstanding” by Ofsted and there are several more “good” schools in the area.
“Gentrification hasn’t taken full effect yet and the area’s still pretty mixed,” says Akinola. “I think that’s mostly a good thing but it does mean there’ll be areas that can be a bit rough-edged. There’s also a worrying number of traffic accidents on Mile End Road, which gets very busy.”