London is an enormously desirable city to live in, but choosing your area can be seriously challenging. There are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration.
What the best place to live is will heavily depend on what your priorities are. Different people will come to different answers.
That’s why we’re going to explore all the different things you may need to know about living in London
We’re going to look at house prices and rent rates, safety levels, the availability of shops, and local schools. We are also going to look at transport links, green spaces, and how picturesque the area is.
What Factors Should You Take Into Account?
There are quite a few things you’ll need to think about when working out where the best place to live in London is. You may wish to make a list of your priorities and rank them according to their importance.
We are going to cover quite a range of different aspects. For most people, house prices/rent will be key, but other things like the cost of living will matter too.
Families will want to know what the local schools are like, and whether there are parks. You might be looking for a particular kind of community.
For each of our top places, we are going to look at things like:
- Rent rates/house prices
- Crime rates and safety
- The availability of schools
- The proximity of shops
- Transport links
- Parks/green spaces
- How pretty the area is
- What clubs are available
- What the local community is like
With that in mind, let’s make a start!
Best Areas to Live in London
If you’re looking for somewhere reasonably inexpensive, Bexley is somewhere you should consider. It’s not very close to the centre, but this makes it an excellent option if you need to prioritize affordability over other considerations.
Commuting can get expensive, so this may not be ideal if you’ve got to get to central London regularly. The tube services are not particularly good, but travelling should be okay overall.
In terms of the atmosphere, Bexley is arty, and it’s one of the greenest suburbs. It has good parks and lots of renewable energy sources.
If you like spending a lot of time outdoors and you want to be able to get out of the city quickly, Bexley is a good place to live.
Bexley has 23 secondary schools, which may make it ideal for families. It’s also among the safest areas in London.
The amenities are reasonable, with good shops on the high street. One notable thing is that there is a distinct lack of chains, and you’ll mostly see independent stores.
This gives it a distinctive feel and helps it to feel characterful.
The nightlife in Bexley is somewhat lacking, as it doesn’t have a huge number of clubs. It may not be enormously popular with students for this reason.
It’s also got fewer theatres and cultural attractions when compared with other boroughs. However, with price being such a major factor for many people, Bexley should certainly be considered.
For those people who want to prioritize transport links and access to the centre, Hampstead must be considered.
It offers a wonderful blend of liveliness and quiet. It’s often said to be one of the most beautiful places in London.
The streets are narrow and cobbled, and the whole area has a quiet charm. It is also considered an extremely safe part of London.
Being an affluent area, it is filled with shops and unique cafes. The market is varied and has lots of options.
There are fewer big stores, though, which could be a drawback for some people.
You’ll find plenty of cultural places to check out, including the Queen Anne house and the Freud Museum.
Hampstead is ideal for young professionals, but may be too expensive for some families. It’s the tenth most expensive area in the country.
On the other hand, if you can afford it, it’s ideal for children. This is because Hampstead offers the largest number of good schools north of the Thames. There are seven secondaries and twelve junior prep schools.
In terms of access to nature, Hamstead essentially is one big green space! It is very much like living in the countryside while you’re in the heart of London.
Hampstead is outside the budget of many people, but you might want to consider Belsize Park instead. This is still a beautiful area, but the prices are lower.
You’re still probably looking at around £600 per month as a minimum, and the average is around £4000.
However, crime rates are low, and it’s a beautiful place to live. It’s full of impressive Victorian houses and pretty walks.
There are green spaces all over, so this is an ideal location for a nature enthusiast.
That is coupled with a good tube station, providing access to central London when necessary. It’s on the Northern Line.
There’s a strong sense of community, and there are excellent quirky shops.
In terms of education, there are plenty of schools, and many have strong reputations. You can choose from both primary schools and secondary schools.
If you’re raising children, that might make it appealing to you.
Belsize Park isn’t ideal for students, as it is distant from the campus and quite quiet. There’s not much in the way of nightlife, and there are few clubs or bars.
However, it is perfect for young families and working professionals. Couples may also find it the ideal spot for them.
If you’d rather live in a quiet, peaceful area, Belsize Park certainly deserves your consideration. It still has access to things like cinemas, theatres, and great cafes, but it’s quieter than other spots.
Anybody looking for a vibrant, busy, energetic lifestyle will quickly fall in love with Camden. Before we learn more about it, let’s note that it’s mostly made up of apartments.
That might make it difficult for established families to find a home here, because there are few full-size properties.
However, Camden has a lot to offer to those whose lifestyles suit apartment living. It’s home to the famous Camden Market, which many people love.
Packed with style, quirky ornaments, and unusual food stalls, the market has made this place famous. It’s certainly a major selling point.
Camden also offers excellent transport links and a superb nightlife. It’s bound to appeal to students and young professionals.
There are some good schools, but these are offset by high crime rates. It’s considered the second most dangerous neighbourhood in terms of violent crime.
This is another reason Camden may not be ideal for families. It does offer good parks and green spaces, such as Regent’s Park, however.
A major drawback of Camden is the house prices. When you’re enjoying so many benefits, it’s no surprise to learn that you’ll be looking at steep rental and buying costs, even for an apartment.
It is a cheaper alternative to places like Westminster, but it’s still on the high end of the housing market.
Another great option for a young professional is Notting Hill. This place is packed with clubs, theatres, trendy coffee shops, and nice restaurants.
If you’re looking for an up-and-coming atmosphere with energy, this is the place to be. Portobello Road is a short walk away, and you’ll have easy access to Hyde Park and Kensington Palace.
Despite its size and vibrancy, Notting Hill has a village-like feel that many people love. On the flip side, it can get very busy.
This is an unusual combination that attracts a whole host of different people.
Some people find the touristy atmosphere overwhelming and dislike this area for that reason. Other people love the energy and atmosphere.
You’ll certainly enjoy good transport links, with cheap tube and bus options. If you need to commute to central London, this is certainly a great place to be.
For families, the green spaces are another major attraction. Notting Hill boasts about 200 playgrounds and parks that are perfect for little ones.
The schools are also excellent, with multiple options available. This means many parents are keen to bring their children up here.
However, being one of London’s most fashionable areas does affect the cost of living. It is among the most expensive places in London.
Buying a house here would usually cost millions of pounds, and even renting can get pricey fast.
That may not be surprising, given its attractions, but it does take it off the list for many people.
Moving to look at a more affordable area, Greenwich is well worth your consideration. East Greenwich is cheaper than West Greenwich.
With an average rent price of around £1600 per month, it’s more affordable than some of the other areas on this list. It also still has many attractions, despite being cheaper.
For example, Greenwich is known for its beauty and its green spaces. It contains more than 50 open spaces. There are more than 5,000 acres of historic parkland.
That makes it ideal for families and nature buffs who want to live in London without giving up all signs of greenery.
There are 76 primary schools, but only 32 secondary schools. That’s still a reasonable number, although some people might want more options.
There are also excellent shops, and Greenwich Market is pretty famous. It’s in a World Heritage Site and offers all sorts of delicious foods.
One of the drawbacks of Greenwich is that the crime rates are relatively high. Violent crime accounts for almost half of criminal activity.
That might deter families, young people who live alone, and some other individuals.
If you’re a student, Greenwich has some excellent options for clubbing, and there are some great pubs too. Studio 338 is one of the top clubs in all of London.
Greenwich is a highly multicultural place. The community is made up of many different ethnicities.
There are still notably more white British individuals, but people from all different countries are welcome in this area.
Another option for those looking for affordable living, Bromley is both one of the largest and one of the cheapest London boroughs. It’s fairly affordable, with an average rent price of around £1500 per month.
The transport links aren’t the best from Bromley, as there is no underground station. However, there are good bus services and above-ground trains.
It takes about 15 minutes to get from Bromley South to London Victoria, which is an acceptable commute for many people.
The shops are varied and there are quite a lot of independent shops. You will find toy shops, antique stores, gift shops, boutiques, and jewellery shops.
If you love nature, Bromley is also one of the best places in London to be. It’s got 160 parks, and allotments for its residents.
This makes it good for families, especially if you want to spend time in nature with your children. Additionally, Bromley is in the top 10 safest London boroughs.
These are major draws for many families. It also offers excellent schools, making it a top option.
The downsides of Bromley probably lie in its lack of excitement. If you’re looking for clubs, socializing, and partying, it may not be ideal.
There are still plenty of things to do, however. If you like museums, theatres, art galleries, libraries, cinemas, and more, you’ll be happy here.
With excellent links to both central and north London, Brixton is good for young professionals who will be commuting. It’s got a unique energy that many people love.
With Brixton tube station, buses, and trains, it’s easy to get to anywhere you need to go. This has drawn in some working professionals.
It’s certainly more expensive than some areas, with an average rent of around £2100 per month for a two-bedroom house. If you’re looking at buying, the average price is over £600,000, which is an enormous amount.
In terms of outdoor spaces, there are a reasonable number of parks. Brockwell Park is the most famous and is an award-winning space.
There are also playgrounds and spaces for young children, making Brixton inviting to families. Good schools are available, although Brixton isn’t known for its education.
Unfortunately, crime is a big problem in Brixton. It has traditionally been known for instability and violence, and despite gentrification, these are still big problems.
It has been rated as the third worst borough in London in the past, so it may not be ideal for young families.
Many people can look past this because of the vibrancy and fun that the area offers, but you should be aware of it.
That said, Brixton is a very diverse place, and welcomes strangers.
It’s considered the unofficial capital of the British African-Caribbean community. Almost a quarter of the population has either African or Caribbean ancestry.
Over 130 languages are spoken in Brixton, and the commonest is a Jamaican dialect called Patios. Those visiting from Afro-Caribbean countries may feel particularly at home here.
Anyone looking to get away from central London’s prices without losing its advantages should consider Croydon. The average rent is around £1400 per calendar month.
Houses cost around £425,000 on average, making this considerably more affordable than other options.
There’s a good train link to central London, and the whole borough enjoys an excellent network of trams. This makes it easy to get around.
Although Croydon’s green spaces aren’t anything astonishing, they are abundant. There are over 100 parks and other green spaces.
This makes it great for families. Being cheaper also makes it more feasible for people to purchase a house, rather than an apartment.
The schools are decent, too. Most of them have achieved an Ofsted rating of “good,” while some got “outstanding.” There are both primary schools and secondary schools.
There’s also Croydon College, which is famous for producing artists like Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Leona Lewis.
Croydon is not the prettiest part of London to live in, but it does have charm. New buildings are constantly being added, and the shopping options are reasonable.
Some people are disappointed by the options and it’s certainly not a top shopping destination. For most individuals, however, its offering is sufficient.
If you’re interested in the culture, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are various museums, cathedrals, and churches. It’s got plenty of artistic heritage.
Unfortunately, crime rates in Croydon are relatively high. It’s in the top 20 most dangerous boroughs in London.
That may put off some families and people who live alone. However, for others, Croydon represents a good middle ground.
It’s got a lot to offer, and it’s cheaper than many other residential areas.
You have to think about a lot of different things when you consider where to live in London. Things like access to shops and activities are key, but so is your personal safety.
The nightlife will be significant to many young people. Other individuals might be interested in transport links and green spaces.
Often, price will be the most important factor. Hopefully, though, this has given you more insight into what the different areas offer to the people who live there!