Moving to London? Discover which of the capital’s neighborhoods is right for you with our guide to the 10 best places to live in London.
London is one of the greatest cities in the world. Fusing gritty, historic pomp with shimmering modernity, the UK’s capital has it all. World-class culture, fashion-forward shopping, and a food scene that’s surprisingly innovative, there’s something for everyone. Better still, London’s transit system is one of the world’s best.
But if you’ve chosen London over the UK’s other great cities, how do you know which neighborhood is right for you? Which part of the city has the best parks and playgrounds? What area has the best craft beer scene or outdoor yoga? Where can you find the hippest bookstores or all-night eateries? To help you answer these questions and more, here’s our guide to the 10 best places to live in London.
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Located just to the north of the capital’s only international station, St Pancras, Camden is well-established as one of North London’s liveliest neighborhoods. At its heart sits Camden Lock, a trendy mix of canalside bars, cafés, market stalls, and artistic spaces. It also boasts some of London’s best live music venues, including Electric Ballroom and the legendary Roundhouse. You’ll find plenty of nearby parks, although your new favorite will likely be Primrose Hill, which offers spectacular views over the city.
Accommodation in the heart of the action, near Camden Town metro station, is likely to be apartments. For larger homes, you will need to head towards the exclusive Primrose Hill area next to the park. Generally speaking, Camden’s boho-chic vibe doesn’t come cheap, but more affordable homes can be found in the adjacent neighborhoods mere minutes away. These include Chalk Farm, Kentish Town, and Barnsbury.
Not many lists of the best places to live in London include North Greenwich – but expect that to change in the coming years. The Greenwich Peninsula neighborhood is developing quickly, stretching south from the iconic dome of The O2 leisure complex. As well as modern residential high-rises along the banks of the River Thames, a growing number of restaurants, cafés, and world-class retail outlets now call North Greenwich home. Popular riverside trails and a breathtaking driving range keep the locals active.
Homes in North Greenwich are almost exclusively apartments, making it popular for young professionals and couples. It’s also a good option for workers based in Canary Wharf – just one metro stop away – or those who travel frequently as London City Airport is nearby. More family-friendly homes can be found in nearby Greenwich, a historic neighborhood and home to the world-famous Royal Observatory.
Shoreditch and Hoxton
As its many warehouses suggest, this former industrial area of East London was once the heart of London’s cheap clothing industry. However, these days the trendy neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Hoxton are where fashionable locals flock. You can expect a surprising array of clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops around every corner. There aren’t many green spaces, but local Shoreditch Park is definitely the place to see and be seen when the sun comes out.
Shoreditch and Hoxton are intriguingly mixed communities, combining young hipsters and local families with city professionals and celebrities. The housing stock is predominantly old council estates and terraced streets. That said, as ever in London, you’ll find pockets of modern living in every neighborhood. Prices generally drop as you move east, further from nearby Liverpool Street station. You might prefer a cheaper option on the local Regents Canal. Houseboats are increasingly popular for young Londoners.
Looking for somewhere a little quieter while staying within easy reach of central London? Then Putney might be the answer. Nestled along the banks of the River Thames in South West London, this feels more like a lively market town than a suburb of London. Central Putney offers a mix of local independent stores and national chains and there are plenty of atmospheric pubs to explore in the area. The leafy banks of the Thames, meanwhile, offer popular walking and running trails. To truly escape the city, however, head to nearby Richmond Park, which is around three times the size of New York’s Central Park.
Of all the London neighborhoods on this list, Putney is the furthest from the city center. However, the area has a direct rail link to Waterloo station, with the journey taking around 15 minutes. Homes in Putney are a mix of new apartments, family homes, and Edwardian mansions, mostly set along quiet residential streets. This makes the area popular with young couples looking for a little more space and family-friendly activities.
Tucked quietly between Paddington and Euston stations is the surprisingly sedate Central London neighborhood of Marylebone. Stroll down its quiet residential streets or dine in one of the area’s many eclectic restaurants and you’ll probably forget you’re just a short walk from Oxford Street. This unique vibe attracts families and young professionals alike. At the heart of the area is the lively Marylebone High Street, where you’ll find plenty of pubs and cafés to choose from.
The neighborhood is defined by its grand terraced streets and hidden parkland squares that are scattered across the area. While many of the original houses have been converted into flats or offices, some remain the same, should you need more space. While city center living comes at a hefty price, Marylebone does remain slightly cheaper than nearby Mayfair and Fitzrovia. And with much of London’s West End within walking distance, you can expect to save on transport costs, too.
There are few London neighborhoods quite like Brixton. As soon as you step out of the metro station, you’ll be swept away by the sheer energy of the place. Enticing smells, sounds, and colors come at you from all directions and at all hours of the day and night. Despite its somewhat checkered reputation, these days Brixton is every inch the multicultural face of modern London. This eclectic corner of South London offers great places to eat, drink, and socialize, all wrapped together with a lively community spirit.
The buzzing nature of Brixton makes it incredibly popular with young professionals relocating to the city. This has pushed rental and housing prices higher and higher. That said, they still remain lower than in other popular parts of London. Houses are a mix of terraced houses, old council estates, and new builds. Brixton is well-connected via the metro, making it popular for commuters heading into the Soho and King’s Cross area.
Another great option for expats is the leafy South London neighborhood of Dulwich. For many Londoners, Dulwich remains off-the-beaten-track due to its lack of metro station. However, this has let the neighborhood develop into one of South London’s best-kept secrets. The small-town vibe of Dulwich is obvious in the relaxed pubs and cafés of the main streets. Dulwich Park also has a popular boating lake, and football fans can enjoy cheering on the local team, Dulwich Hamlet FC.
The villagey feel of Dulwich has made it popular with families and young professionals looking for an altogether different slice of London living. Direct trains from Dulwich into London Bridge take around 15 minutes, on average, and cycle routes into the city are constantly improving. The housing stock is a mix of Edwardian and Victorian buildings, with some converted into flats. You can expect to pay more for a park view or proximity to a mainline train station within easy reach of central London.
The unassuming riverside neighborhood of Bermondsey offers an intriguing place to live for expats. Stretching east from London Bridge station, the area is a diverse mix of modern London. Bermondsey Street is a bohemian mix of quirky cafés, restaurants, and one of the most unique weekly antique markets in London. Around Butler’s Wharf, dockside warehouses have been transformed into waterfront eateries, while further east you’ll find the popular Southwark Park.
If you’re thinking of moving to Bermondsey, you really have your pick of different housing options. Near the River Thames, you will mostly find modern apartments and waterfront lofts. If you look further away from the water, however, you’ll find a more affordable mix of terraced streets, old council estates, and new-builds. The area is perfectly placed for those working in the City and Canary Wharf, which is just two metro stops from Bermondsey station.
Highbury and Islington
The North London neighborhoods of Highbury and Islington have long-since been among the capital’s most sought-after areas. Spreading out either side of bustling Upper Street, Islington is the lively heart of the area. Here, you’ll find bars, cinemas, theaters, and an impressive retail offering. Nearby Highbury is more residential than its southern neighbor, offering plenty of cozy pubs and chic cafés. However, things can get busy when local football team Arsenal play their home games.
The main residential area of Islington extends north from the Regent’s Canal, with streets and squares lined with elegant old terraced homes. Outside this area, you’ll find a more mixed housing stock with social housing rubbing shoulders with Victorian and Georgian townhouses. Highbury offers more family-friendly living, with green spaces and larger homes. Both neighborhoods offer easy access to the West End and the City, making it a great base for expats moving to London.
When Londoners talk about Clapham, they could be talking about a number of neighborhoods that cluster around the sweeping Clapham Common park. This can be confusing for expats who are new to the area. The bars and restaurants of Clapham High Street attract a largely younger crowd, while a more laid-back pace of life can be found in nearby Clapham Old Town. Here, boutiques, cafés, and delis are the norm for local families and young professionals. The Common is the center of attention when the sun shines, though, attracting people from across the capital.
The Clapham area is a sought-after part of London, and house prices in the area reflect this desirability. Homes are a mix of terrace homes, new-builds, and council estates, meaning there are options in most price ranges. Slightly cheaper areas to rent and buy can be found further down the Northern line, around Tooting and Balham. These areas are still easily accessible from central London, making them good options for expats.