Shepherd’s Bush, or She Bu, has long been a backpacker’s mecca and home to many an Antipodean. Big houses are always cheap to rent and its sociable bars provide a home away from home. With bit more development (ahem, Westfield) it’s become pricier, but it remains a super-friendly haven.
Why Shepherd’s Bush?
Back in 1983, when TNT started (before the internet), She Bu was the place to go to hook up with people from home for a job,
a place to live and to find some mates. And even though that stuff’s much easier now, it’s still a backpacker’s first port of call.
Luke Simpson, who co-owns Aston Rowe estate agents in neighbouring Acton, moved to She Bu from Auckland, New Zealand, in 2006. “All the way from the other side of the world, Shepherd’s Bush, Acton and more recently the likes of Clapham and Fulham, were names you heard about,” he says.“I’d see people in the Walkabout who I went to school with, that I hadn’t seen in 10-15 years. It’s somewhere you can call home on the other side of the world.”And Chris Kerr, sales director of Kerr & Co estates, says it’s still reasonably priced for its location: “It’s almost central London living, at the most reasonably priced central London location you can get. Fantastic transport, amazing facilities, great local foodie pubs.”
Don’t move here if…
You want to leave your comfort zone – She Bu invented the phrase “Aussie Bubble”.
Aside from Aussies, Kiwis and Saffas, there are quite a few Brits and Eastern Europeans.The area attracts a young crowd – most people are under 35 – but recently Shepherd’s Bush has had many more professionals move in.
Where to hang out
Back in the day, the big hangout was the Bush Ranger on Goldhawk Road. That’s long gone now, and the drinking holes of choice are places like The Walkabout on Shepherd’s Bush Green, Ginglik and Belushi’s. Jaqui Constable, 21, who lives in She Bu and works as assistant manager at Belushi’s loves her area. “The people are friendly, it’s a bit like home and there are cheap drinks,” she says. “Belushi’s is always filled with Aussies, because it’s also a hostel. “If we’re looking for a change, my friends and I tend to go to Defectors Weld. It’s really funky and advertises a lot of local bands. There are a lot of Aussies, but it’s not an Aussie-themed bar.”
The area is a paradise for transport – you’re on the Central, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Overground at Shepherd’s Bush and Shepherd’s Bush Market stations. Plus, it’s got buses and night buses galore going to west and central London.
What can you rent
Historically, Shepherd’s Bush had a large number of sharehouses. “When everyone came to the UK on their working holiday visas during the last 10-20 years, they were here for a limited amount of time,” Simpson says. “You’d try and put as many people in
a house as possible because it was the most affordable way of living and being able to travel at the same time. Now it’s been developed a bit more, you’re more likely to find one- to three-bedroom flats, too.” Those are pricey, but rental bargains can still be found in the spacious flats above the shops on the main roads, such as Uxbridge and Goldhawke roads – even ones close to the Tube.