Updated 6 days ago

If you are moving to London with an executives job, you can probably afford a house in one of Londons wealthy areas in the west, such as the artsy Notting Hill or the exclusive Knightsbridge, south of Hyde Park. However, for the median expat, who is looking for a popular yet affordable spot, Bromley is only 15 minutes from central Victoria and has ranked as one of the happiest places to live in London, according to the Office for National Statistics. Considering that it is on the Central Line and near Shoreditch nightlife, Redbridge too offers houses at a reasonable cost. If you are moving to London with your family, Sutton is an excellent place to accommodate the needs of your children with its graphic nature and some of Londons lowest crime rates.

West London

West London is on the wish list of many Londoners and expats for its lush parks, iconic architecture, top-notch schools, and posh vibe. There are over 60 neighbourhoods in West London, and we suggest some of the best, if cost isn’t your primary concern.

Kensington and Chelsea

King’s Road, the street which stretches through Chelsea and Fulham, is where the areas’’ action is; in the busy cafés and bars, and the many fashion shops. Besides a bustling social life, there’s a lot of cultures around, with the renowned contemporary art gallery of Saatchi in the area, a couple of theatres, and the atmospheric Curzon cinema, with an over 80-year legacy in cinematography. If your work is in the North or South London, keep in mind that transport links from Sloane Square Station aren’t great.

Notting Hill

Everyone agrees that Notting Hill has a bohemian aura with its vintage shops and stalls of Portobello Road, and the annual August Notting Hill Carnival, which brings the Caribbean culture right to your door. The accessibility of the area — Notting Hill tube station is on all Central, Circle, and District lines — along with its reputation as one of the most desirable places to live in London, explain why renting here costs about 90% more than the London average.

 Good to know:

If you are looking for a sophisticated, Notting-Hill-like ambience but with less expensive rents, consider Shepherd’s Bush or Ealing.

Fulham

Fulham is also very close to the previously mentioned lively King’s Road and to the Sloane Square, which is in the epicentre of high-end stores and dining spots. However, Fulham boasts its social hub with local cafés, eateries, and parks. Note that Chelsea and Fulham football clubs are located in the area, which leads to cumbersome and noisy traffic on match days.

Hammersmith

Hammersmith has it all: the buzz that comes with the shops, restaurants, bars, and music venues, and the chilled atmosphere, which you can enjoy on Thames’ riverside. Also, Hammersmith hosts the head offices of international corporations such as L’Oreal and Disney, which make the area ideal for young professionals looking to live in modern apartments. Hammersmith is an excellent spot for those who often commute, as District, Piccadilly, Circle, and Hammersmith lines cross it — not to mention the big Hammersmith bus station.

Chiswick

Chiswick is mostly preferred by affluent families thanks to its safe environment, the slow pace of life, green spaces, and reputable primary schools. However, whenever you need to or feel like entering the hecticness of Central London, you can easily do so in less than half an hour.

North London

Similarly, North London represents the glamorous side of London, but with less high-end designer boutiques. Along Green Lanes, one of the longest streets in London (about 10 km), there are international restaurants and independent shops, in which you can find anything — from electricals and houseware to fruits and veg. North London is made of six boroughs and is home to 1.4 million people.

Islington

Islington used to be an overcrowded suburb, which has evolved into an elite neighbourhood. Islington Upper Street boasts independent shops and trendy boutiques, and international restaurants and casual eateries even for the most sophisticated taste buds. One of Islington’s best selling points is its connectivity — from Highbury & Islington tube station you can reach the busy Oxford Circus in just seven minutes.

 Good to know:

George Orwell worked in what used to be the Ministry of Information during World War II, and today is the Senate House Library, the central library for the for the University of London and the School of Advanced Study.

Bloomsbury

It’s likely that your life in Bloomsbury will be so fulfilling that you won’t feel the need to leave your area, as it has it all: the British Museum with its ancient treasures, cosy cafés, fine eateries, bookshops, the renowned UCL, and many green spaces for relaxing strolls. In Bloomsbury, you don’t need a car as you can walk or cycle to Central London, or you can take the tube from one of nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russell Square, King’s Cross & St Pancras, or Chancery Lane.

 Good to know:

In Bloomsbury, Georgian houses and Edwardian mansions, which sell for up to six million pounds are more common than modern flats.

King’s Cross

King’s Cross got its name from the statue of King George IV at the crossroads of Euston Road, York Way, Pentonville Road, and Grays Inn Road. Even though the monument stood there only for nine years, and was demolished in 1845, the area kept the name. King’s Cross tube station opened in 1852, and as the largest railway station in the country, turned King’s Cross into a central transportation hub — a title which more recently was enhanced by the Eurostar terminal. However, there’s more to the area than good national and international transport connections. For example, the reimagined shopping experience at the well-conserved Victorian viaducts, which are now known as Coal Drops Yard.

 Important:

Camley Street Natural Park is currently closed to the public and will reopen in spring of 2019.

 Useful links:

Coal Drops Yard

Camden Town

Camden Town is mostly known for its markets (Camden Lock, Buck Street, and Stables Market), the Camden Lock Village development, and Proud Gallery, which has an extensive collection of fashion and music photography. Camden Town, home to a vast variety of live music venues, deserves its recognition as London’s heart of music scene. However, if you aren’t the night owl expat, you can find meaning in family picnics in Regent’s Park, where the London Zoo is.

 Good to know:

Camden Town used to be the meeting point of punks and alternative musicians; today is one of the most visited areas in London by tourists.

Central London

Within Central London, you will find everything that London is known for: the Parliament and the Royal Palaces, the Law Courts, the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate, the University of London, and the headquarters of some of the biggest global corporations. For its most significant part, Central London remains a place to work and have fun rather than live. Due to limited housing options on one hand, and exorbitant rates for rents on the other, Central London has a small number of permanent residents.

The City of London

The size of the City of London (or The Square Mile) is small, but there's so much going on within this space — museums, art galleries, parks, bars, restaurants, shops, and so forth. In short, it is here where London's heart is beating; in this finance and business hub where big business decisions are made every day, and executives meet. However, The City’s prosperity isn't something new; the area has been growing and taking its place as a primary business and finance centre since the medieval times. Don't expect to find big houses and green spaces in this area; the properties are predominantly flats in blocks, which can often be very tall. Also, shopping options are limited to supermarkets and convenience stores serving the needs of professionals rather than families.

 Good to know:

Over 450,000 employees arrive in the City of London every day, but not more than 10,000 people reside here.

 Important:

Those living in the City, are in the Central Congestion Zone. However, residents are entitled to discounts.

 Useful link:

Congestion Charge

West End

If you are the type of expat who doesn’t want to miss out on evening entertainment and wishes to be in the centre of the capital’s nightlife, need to look no further than world-famous West End. The area is at the very centre of the capital city, and all underground lines pass through here. Living here will enhance your love for theatre, West End is one of the best theatre districts in the world accommodating superb plays every night. Everything in West End revolves around theatre; here you have numerous pre-theatre dining options, including Michelin-starred restaurants. West End is also a famous shopping spot; from Oxford Street’s brands and grand shopping centres to Soho’s Carnaby Street boutiques, shopping will become a way of life in this area.

 Good to know:

On Fridays, The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square stays open till 9 pm, and apart from world-class art exhibitions, the gallery hosts workshops, talks, classes, and music events.

 Useful link:

A guide to Carnaby Street, Soho

Covent Garden

Covent Garden’s residents are exclusive people, who can afford to live in one of London’s most touristy and creative spots. Covent Garden is quieter than neighbouring Soho, which is a fair representation of London’s bar and restaurant scene. It’s not easy to find a big house here, but there are different types of flats in both contemporary blocks and historic buildings. Covent Garden, like all central areas, is linked to the rest of London with tube and bus services, and many favourite places such as Waterloo and Oxford Street are within walking distance.

East London

What used to be a disadvantaged area of London twenty years ago, has become the fastest growing district in the city — one that successfully marries the old with the new; the decayed with the upgraded. No doubt that the 2012 Olympics improved the infrastructure with developments such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City, and the transportation system of the region. The area attracts from fashionistas and hipsters in Spitalfields, Shoreditch, and Hoxton to more conservative and affluent crowds in Canary Wharf and Mile End.

Hackney

In the past ten years, Hackney has become a place for hipsters and young artists; a trendy crowd which has upgraded the area and has contributed to rent increases. Although Hackney doesn’t have a tube station, Hackney Central and Hackney Downs railway stations connect the area with Liverpool Street underground station. Crime levels in Hackney remain higher than the London average; however, overall, crime has decreased more than 30% between 2003 and 2016. If you are worried about how much green you will find in this undeniably urban region, here are some good news for you: there are about 50 parks in Hackney with the most popular being Clissold Park, Abney Park, and Hackney Downs.

Greenwich

Greenwich, on the banks of Thames, is a large area, which is unofficially divided into East and West Greenwich, and in between the two is the quiet town centre. Due to its suburban feel, the residents of Greenwich are mostly families and young professionals who commute daily to central London. However, keep in mind that Greenwich isn’t really isolated, as it is less than ten kilometres away from Central London (it takes ten minutes by train to London Bridge, and you can also travel by riverboat), giving you the option to join the hustle and bustle of the super cool neighbourhoods of London.

 Important:

If you are planning to commute, keep in mind that you will be travelling with many others, and trains from and to Greenwich will be jam-packed in rush hours. Thus, give yourself a lot of time in the morning, and if you prefer the bus, beware of traffic.

Canary Wharf

Looking at Canary Wharf now, it’s hard to believe that just 30 years ago the area was an industrial wasteland, which was of no interest after the closure of the docks. Today, Canary Wharf, at the edge of Thames, is one of the world’s leading financial hubs, and an area particularly popular with professionals working in the finance sector, and earning lucrative salaries. By 2023, it is expected that Canary Wharf’s — Wood Wharf — development will be completed, and will bring to the market over 3,000 new homes, two million sq ft of office space, and 490,000 sq ft of shops, restaurants, and public space.

 Important:

The Elizabeth line, which will open in autumn 2019, will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, and will initially operate as three separate services: Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via central London; Paddington (mainline station) to Heathrow (Terminals 2, 3 and 4), and Liverpool Street (mainline station) to Shenfield. The new railway will connect Paddington to Canary Wharf in only 17 minutes.

 Useful link:

Elizabeth line

South London

South London, the region South of the Thames, is considered as the most picturesque part of the capital thanks to its parks, woodlands, and timeless independent cafés and shops.

Brixton

Brixton is a trendy neighbourhood with an energetic nightlife, especially appreciated by those who know how to work hard and party harder. In Brixton, there’s always something going on, but if you want to be in the centre of London, hop on the Victoria Line for a quick tube ride. In this are you will find a mixture of residents; both families and young professionals live in Brixton for the affordable rental prices and the good connections to Central and North London.

Clapham

Clapham comprises four smaller areas: Clapham North, Clapham South, Clapham Old Town, and Clapham Junction. Clapham North, although a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of High Street, has lower rent prices, which makes the area particularly popular among young graduates. Clapham South and Clapham Old Town have bigger terraced houses, which gives these areas a suburban character. So, it comes as no surprise that middle-class families prefer both neighbourhoods. Finally, Clapham Junction offers everything a young professional expects from their neighbourhood: the best pubs, clubs, and easy access to international cuisine, as there’s never enough time to cook at home.

 Good to know:

Clapham Junction is a hotspot for the LGBT community.

Peckham

Since the early 2000s and after a £290 million investment on a regeneration plan, Peckham has been transformed from a crime-ridden area to “the most desirable place to live in London”, as named in 2017 by the Sunday Times. Peckham’s artsy and hipster atmosphere, as well as its reasonable rentals in comparison to Shoreditch for example, attract young middle-class families and young professionals, who are looking for a balanced everyday life. Peckham offers independent shops, job opportunities, proximity to good schools, and low crime levels in an ethnically diverse and creative community. Peckham Rye, Queens Road Peckham, and Nunhead railway stations connect the area with the city centre, as well as the 436 and 16 bus services, and six night-buses.

 Good to know:

The demolition of a former cricket bat factory, The Bussey Building, was prevented by the community group Peckham Vision, and today the multi-level warehouse is home to CLF Art Café and a rooftop cinema in the summer.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon is, of course, the birthplace of the worldwide Wimbledon Tennis Championships, but to its permanent residents, the area has much more to offer: a balance between excellent transport connections and rural-style living characterised by country cottages and luxurious mansions. Young couples tend to live just outside the exclusive Wimbledon Village, which is occupied by wealthy investors. However, Wimbledon is most popular with families due to the ease to commute to work while raising their children in a safe and tranquil environment with Wimbledon Common and Cannizaro Park on your doorstep. Families also benefit from the many outstanding public and private schools in the area, such as the Bishop Gilpin Primary School, Dundonald Primary School, Wimbledon Chase Primary School, and Ursuline High School.

 Good to know:

Wimbledon is a healthy multicultural society with South African, Polish, Sri Lankan, and Ghanaian communities.

Wimbledon borders the A3 road, which connects London with Portsmouth.

 Useful links:

Wimbledon and Putney Commons
Cannizaro Park
Ofsted-rated schools in Wimbledon (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.