The Best Areas to Live in London

Updated on March 4, 2020
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Ellie is a Glasgow-based writer who loves to write about a variety of topics including travel, business, finance, DIY, beauty or fashion.

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London is one arguably one of the best cities to live in the United Kingdom. Buzzing and exciting, it’s one of those incredibly big cities which can seem a bit daunting the first time you visit but, as you get to know it, it becomes the best place to be. With amazing attractions such as the London Eye, the Natural History Museum or the spectacular shows in the West End, you will never find yourself unamused in the city. As the modern capital of England, it’s no wonder that London is home to over 8 million people.

A place of cultural greatness and financial power, it attracts both foreigners and British people who are looking for an exciting career and a brilliant future in one of the most important cities in the world. But moving into such a massive city can be scary at first, especially if you are unsure about what are the best areas to live in London. In today’s post, I’ll look into some of the most popular and beautiful neighbourhoods in London, where you could start looking for accommodation if you are thinking of moving to London in the near future.

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Isle of Dogs

Considered the Best Place to Live in London in 2019 by The Sunday Times, this corner of the Docklands is home to one of the financial centres of the city, Canary Wharf, where residential leasing companies like Vertus offer luxurious accommodation near some of the most important business buildings of the city. This removes from the equation of the need to commute, which for Londoners results in an average of 74 minutes a day according to The Kings Ferry.

But not only does living in the Isle of Dogs suppress commuting, being only 15 minutes away from the city. After all, this area offers lots of amenities, from parks (like the Island Gardens or Mudchute Park and Farm, where a working farm is run by locals) to great shopping centres like Canary Wharf Shopping Centre, and overall is a quiet and peaceful area.

I’m sure you are as curious as I am as to where the name Isle of Dogs comes from? Well, as far as I have been able to find out, no one really knows! It’s thought to have been used for the first time in the XVI Century, maybe as a variation of other names given to the area (like the Isle of Ducks or Docks), or due to Henry VIII keeping his hunting dogs here. Whatever the case, its original name was the Marsh of Stebenhithe.

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Shoreditch

Located in the East End of London, this area used to be a centre for textile and furniture trades. As time has passed by, though, it has become a vibrant and trendy area for young professionals while attracting new businesses from the art and technology industries. Like the Isle of Dogs, Shoreditch is a great place for those looking to shorten the time they spend commuting (it’s only a 20-minute walk away from the city centre) while enjoying the best of the Londoner eclecticism. In fact, Shoreditch is one of the best areas in the city for those foodies looking to discover new and exotic flavours.

Shoreditch only became part of London in 1889, but its history goes back to Roman times, and it’s thought to carry the name of King Edward IV’s mistress Jane Shore, although this is just a rumour.

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Battersea

On the south bank of the Thames, there lives Battersea, which after the Industrial Revolution was transformed from large farmland into an industrial hub. Now, the factories that populated the area for so long have been replaced with modern flats and Victorian houses, the most popular of which are those between Wandsworth and Clapham Commons.

Despite its close location to Charing Cross (only 3 miles away), there isn’t a tube station in the area, although there is one planned for 2020. It is, however, a well-connected area, as train stations Battersea Park, Queenstown Road and Clapham Junction are a short distance away. Battersea is definitely one of the loveliest areas in London, with Battersea Park being one of its most beautiful attractions - it’s a 200-acre park with a boating lake, a children’s zoo, a bandstand, an art gallery and cafés. The massive Power Station can’t be missed, as well as you’ll need to visit Battersea Brewery close to it. The famous charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is also in this area, rescuing 7,000 animals per year since it opened in 1860.

Battersea is, whichever way you look at it, a great area for families, due to the great choice of state and private schools, nurseries and how close it is to the city centre.

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Belgravia

Well known for the number of embassies, charity headquarters and businesses that can be found in the streets of Belgravia, as well as its conservative and wealthy character. Exclusive and fancy, the area is full of boutiques, patisseries, cafes and restaurants, and it has been home to countless artists, politicians, writers, members of the Royalty and even fictional characters like James Bond.

Similarly to Battersea, Belgravia is a great place for wealthy families due to the garden squares and village neighbourhood. It’s within proximity to the West End and the activities hosted by Hyde Park in spring and summer make the best of events taking place in the area or nearby it, whilst the Grosvenor Film Festival presents a series of open-air screenings in Belgrave Square and Grosvenor Square every year. There are also plenty of pubs, cocktail bars and some incredible restaurants like Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin starred Petrus, so even if you don’t live in the area, there’s always a good excuse to come have dinner here.

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