I looked at Google maps and searched around in forums but I still haven't found an answer to that. There are two options of homestay in London, one staying in the Ealing area and another in "Zone 2" (unspecified area).

From what I understand, Ealing is a leafy borough in west London, that is about 30-40 minutes from central London, it is a Zone 3 area so fares a bit more expensive to get to/from there. It seems to be quieter than a Zone 2 area.

Zone 2 is closer to central London, but I don't think it is walking distance, right? Being closer to central, I think that it might be not be as safe at night, correct?

Apart from that, what are some differences between the two choices that would make one preferable over another?

  • 1
    This question is probably too subjective. If there was a definitive answer, everyone would live in either zone 2 or zone 3, and the other would be vacant.
    – Flimzy
    Oct 10, 2014 at 12:47
  • 2
    @Flimzy not really. Manhattan is more expensive than say, the Bronx, but has a shorter commute to central New York. Each area has benefits and downsides. He's not asking 'which is better', but more what are the potential differences. At least, that's how I read it.
    – Mark Mayo
    Oct 10, 2014 at 13:18
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    Check maps.met.police.uk for crime and calculate your chances of being mugged. Compare the rent you would pay. Check how much commute would you do and then decide on National Rail or the zone travel card. Check if either tube/rail goes on strike, can you come into the city.
    – DumbCoder
    Oct 10, 2014 at 14:30
  • Ealing Broadway to Oxford Circus is only 25 minutes on the tube. Zone 2 is a huge area circling central London so apart from saying it's a bit closer it's impossible to compare really. Oct 31, 2014 at 18:04

1 Answer 1



I lived in both Zone 2 and Zone 3 in London (4 years on and off, in Putney, Southfields and Colliers Wood).

Generally (as a guy) I felt safe walking most places in London at night, and on public transport. Zone 2 doesn't feel safer than zone 3, or less safe. It's more the certain areas that some people might say to avoid (but that's a different topic).

Zone 2 is not generally considered walking distance to Central London, although it might be, if you're closer to Zone 1 - for example, I've walked to Parliament from Earl's Court easily, but from East Putney I would not be particularly keen - it's a good 25 min on the tube!

From Ealing, you've got a decent way on the tube or bus for every trip. District or Central line, both will take you into town, and it's convenient for trains out west (overground). But if you're in town and want to 'pop home' to get something for the evening, it's a fair hike.

It'll totally depend where in Zone 2 the other option is. As seen on the tube map - Zone two covers an awful lot of suburbs, stations and possibilities. I'd try and find out where it is.

Of course, the other advantage of having a Zone 3 fare pass (eg buy a Zone 1-3 travel card) is that all your other trips to other Zone 3 locations would be essentially 'free'. And it's not that much more per week.

The other thing to consider is if the tube is down, you'll be taking the bus or overground. So if you know where you're studying (I assume that's why you're there) or where you'll be spending much of your time, play around with the TFL route planner and see how long it might take by bus, train, or tube.

One final small benefit I did notice is that the further you were from Leceister Square (in central London) the cheaper movie tickets seemed to be, so that's a plus ;)

  • Thank you for your answer, just two questions to clarify what you said. When you say "Ealing has decent way for every trip", do mean the lines are just adequate or they are good enough to navigate around? What 'pop home' means? Go home then return to town? BTW, the movie tickets are really a big plus. :) Oct 10, 2014 at 20:39
  • When you use quotes, you need to actually quote - I never wrote that ;) I had to go hunting. Anyway, the sentence you're likely referring to - "From Ealing, you've got a decent way on the tube or bus for every trip", I meant reasonably long trip. It's the disadvantage of zone 3 - you can't just pop back from central London easily, but you get used to planning for that. Yes, 'pop home' means quickly go home to grab say, a jacket. I used to have a small daypack with a jacket, umbrella, some meds and a netbook, covered most needs.
    – Mark Mayo
    Oct 12, 2014 at 11:21

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