What are the best places to live in London in 2020?
This is a question that will be asked by many people as they prepare for their next big move.
However, what may be the best place in London for someone else, might not be the best place for you.
It is a big decision that requires a lot of research.
And that’s why we’re here.
In this guide, we break down the many sub-regions of London, and review some of the most renownd neighbourhoods in this great capital city.
For families, ambitious young professionals, and those just seeking an adventure, you’ll find it all here.
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
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Where to Live in London?
So, what are the best areas in London to live?
London is the biggest city in the UK; the options are endless!
In fact, according to WorldAtlas, its population is almost 4x bigger than the second-largest city in the UK:
But, not only is London big in terms of population…
According to Google, the total London area covers 1,572 km2 in total.
That’s bigger than New York City and even Los Angeles!
London also has some of the highest house prices in the world.
Business Insider reports that London has one of the most expensive housing markets in the world.
As the Land Registry states:
The prices are going up.
So, what are the best areas to stay in London?
The truth is that there are many beautiful places to live in London.
Yes, we could give you something like:
Top 10 places to live in London
But this would just be a generic list out of hundreds of areas that might not be right for you.
The choice you are going to make though should depend on your:
- Financial status
- If you are single or not
This article is going to help you identify the best place in London for YOU.
For example, you might come to London with your family.
In that case, you need to stay in a place that:
- Has a nice community spirit
- Is quiet
- Is not near to bars or clubs
- Is near your children’s activities
In that case, you want a good and safe starter home that is affordable and suitable for your family.
Or, maybe you are coming to London alone, as a young professional who seeks new and exciting opportunities.
In that case, you need to stay in a place that:
- Is close to your job
- Is close to your friends
- Is close to your gym or other activities
- Is affordable
There is no doubt that London can offer you a modern urban life.
But, only if you know what you are looking for, and do your research.
Before giving you some of the best places in London, let me give you some context first.
So, stick with me because in the next chapter I am going to help you understand everything you need to know about the different London areas.
As mentioned before, London is a large city covering several thousand square kilometers.
Because of this, London has been divided into regions and subregions.
This chapter will explain these areas to people who are not familiar with London’s regions and boundaries.
First, London is divided into five regions:
- West London
- East London
- South London
- North London
- Central London
Then, they are divided into five subregions:
- North West London
- North East London
- South West London
- South East London
An interesting thing to remember is that in London, the postcodes start with the letters of the area you live in.
For example, if you live in North West London, your postcode will start with NW.
The areas of London are widely different and offer its residents different advantages.
There is no “best” region; again, it depends on your wants, needs, and situation.
Here are some things to know when it comes to London Areas.
If you talk to a Londoner that lives in West London, it is likely that you’ll hear the phrase:
“West is best…”
Is it though?
This area is ideal for families that are looking for a nice and quiet place.
But this doesn’t mean that singles or young people can’t live there.
It always depends on what you want and – in West London’s case – what you can afford.
In West London you will commonly find:
- Quiet neighbourhoods
- Great architecture
- Good schools
- Strong culture
Until a few years ago, East London wasn’t one of the safest places in London.
Image Source: Unsplash
But now it is an up-and-coming area with a bohemian vibe that attracts a lot creative personalities.
In East London you can find:
- Culturally diverse restaurants and boutiques
- Great nightlife
- Green spaces and parks
- Historic houses and museums
If you are looking for a really cool area to live in London, East London might be your place.
South London is situated south of the River Thames.
Even though it was once considered dull, South London has definitely become an exciting area in which to live.
Think of it as a modern urban village.
Residents of South London appreciate the balance this green region provides, as well as its stylish social scene.
In South London you can find:
- Green spaces and parks
- Family-friendly areas
- Many hills
- Various historic districts
This area lies north of the River Thames.
There is definitely a rivalry between South and North London.
But as someone unfamiliar to the city, it is important for you to do your own research and trust your instincts.
In North London you can find:
- A community spirit
- Family-friendly areas
- Historic buildings and areas
- Places for children and families
The last region is Central London.
Many people will argue that this is where all the action happens.
But there is more to Central London than its famous nightlife.
In Central London you can find:
- National Museums
- Lush parks and gardens
- Bustling markets
- Buckingham Palace
Now that you better understand London’s regions, you’re more prepared to read about the neighbourhoods they all have to offer.
Our next chapters will discuss the most popular areas in London in 2020 that suit a variety of needs.
Keep reading and you just might find your new home!
Best Places in London for Families
Moving to London with your family requires a different strategy than if you were to move alone.
Different things must be taken into consideration, and priorities usually change.
Instead of a bustling nightlife, you might now be seeking a calmer neighbourhood with good schools.
We’re here to help you with that.
Below we have reviewed 13 of the most highly-ranked areas in London for families.
1. Isle of Dogs
It’s not actually an island, but this area in East London is situated in a large meander on the River Thames.
In 2019, the Sunday Times named Isle of Dogs the number one spot to live in London.
In the past, couples often moved out of “The Isle” (as it is called by locals) once they had children, and this area was once dominated by young professionals.
But the quality of schools in the Isle of Dogs has increased drastically, making it an ideal location for many families.
Isle of Dogs is just a short walk to the major business district, Canary Wharf, and only 15 minutes from the city centre.
Thousands of flats are being built close to Canary Wharf, and the population is expected to rise dramatically.
The average property price is £686,334 and expected to increase as the Isle gains popularity.
You won’t want to miss your chance to secure a new home with impressive views of the river.
Located in Central London, within both Westminster, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, this district is one of the most exclusive in London.
It is such a luxurious neighbourhood that it is even known throughout the world to be the best area in London to live.
Belgravia’s affluence dates back many years ago, and many properties are owned by royalty, and various embassies and organizations.
There are at least 4 Michelin starred restaurants in Belgravia, along with incredibly high-rated schools.
The average property price is an astounding £3,386,575. This is 466% above the London average of £598,340.
But its close proximity to Central London, village-like atmosphere, and low crime rate make it desirable to the few who can afford it.
Blackheath is a small country-like town in South East London, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Lewisham.
Although it might feel like you are not in London anymore, the bustling city centre is no more than 25 minutes away by public transportation.
Residents love the escape from the city life that Blackheath gives them.
This “village” consists mainly of Georgian style properties worth an average of £546,119, which is 8.7% below the London average.
The average age in Blackheath is 36, making this community a nice place for young families and young professionals.
4. East Finchley
East Finchley is in the London Borough of Barnet in North London.
It is an established middle-class neighbourhood with excellent schools, sensible houses, and efficient public transportation.
East Finchley is on the Northern Line and in Zone 3. It is a 25-minute commute to London Bridge, and one stop from Highgate.
While there are a number of million-pound homes, there are many reasonably priced homes in the area for first time home buyers and those with more modest budgets.
The average price of a 2-bedroom property is £473,999.
There is plenty for kids to do in this area thanks to the parks, public spaces, and nearby neighborhoods.
The crime rate is also relatively low, making this a great place to raise a family.
5. Notting Hill
You’ve probably heard of Notting Hill in the past, especially if you are a fan of romantic movies.
Located in West London, Notting Hill is a place full of high-end restaurants, casual cafes, and boutiques.
This area is also home to the famous Portobello Road Market, one of the hippest markets in London, as well as various festivals and carnivals held throughout the year.
This affluent district offers families a safe and vibrant place to live, but it also comes with a steep price tag.
In Notting Hill, the average cost of a home is £2,017,749.
So, this area is most suited for those with high-paying jobs.
Fulham, known for its wealth and prosperity, is located in South West London, within the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
In the 1700s, Fulham was the prime place to be for those who enjoyed “forbidden pleasures” like gambling and drinking.
But, these days are long gone.
Fulham is now considered one of the most expensive areas in London and offers the public several parks and outdoor spaces.
It also boasts a collection of high-end restaurants, and due to its proximity to River Thames, you can enjoy lovely riverside walks.
It is a popular place for upper-middle-class families, with the average property price being around £1,106,844.
Richmond upon Thames is located right along the River Thames in South West London, and is one of the most desirable suburbs in London.
It is also the only borough in London situated on both sides of the river.
Also unique to this borough, is the fact that it is home to the largest royal park in all of London.
Spanning 2,500 acres of grassland and various landscapes is Richmond Park.
The park is a national nature reserve, and you can often see herds of deer and other wildlife enjoying the lush greenery.
Richmond is just 8 miles (12.9km) from Charing Cross, making its location quite attractive to locals.
Teddington is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Richmond upon Thames.
The Sunday Times speaks highly of Teddington, saying it has an “independent high street and a sense of community that’s rare in the capital”.
In this charming borough, you can find pretty much anything you need:
- Theatres and cinemas
- Good schools
- Great shops and restaurants
As of December 2019, the average property price in Richmond was £889,051, so this area is definitely on the expensive side.
But if you are looking for a safe place with a community spirit and a short commute to the city centre, Richmond upon Thames is the place to be.
Kensington is an area in Central London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
It’s close to the River Thames and other popular areas like Westminster, Hammersmith, and the famous Hyde Park.
It is a safe place to live, but also hosts a stylish nightlife, making it ideal for both families and young professionals.
Though to settle down here you will need a high-paying job.
The average property price is estimated to be £1,978,719.
Chelsea is a real cultural haven.
It is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on the edges of the River Thames in South West London.
There’s no doubt about it, Chelsea is one of the most sought-after areas to live in London, and it has some of the most expensive postcodes in London (SW3 and SW10).
Cheyne Walk is one of the most famous streets in all of London because its location offers stunning views of the River Thames.
The notably exquisite properties in London have attracted celebrities and affluent families to this neighbourhood for many years.
Stella McCartney, J.K. Rowling, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, and many more have all owned property in Chelsea at some point in time.
From Chelsea, it is an 18-minute drive to the centre of London, and while there is no tube stop, South Kensington Tube station is easy to get to.
The schools are prestigious, and among the highest-rated in the country.
The application processes are usually strict, but if you have done your research, this could be a wonderful and safe place to raise your family.
Streatham is located in the South West London Borough of Lambeth, just 5 miles (8 km) away from Central Station.
Admittedly, Streatham has not always had the best reputation, but millions of pounds have been spent in an effort to revamp this London Suburb.
There is a wide variety of types of residential properties in the area, giving buyers many options to choose from.
In addition to its parks, restaurants, coffee shops, this London suburb is also home to the award-winning live music and comedy club, Hideaway.
If you are a young professional or family looking for an affordable alternative to Clapham, Balham, and Brixton, Streatham might be the place for you.
The average cost of a home is £518,235. This is 13.4% below the London average.
Hammersmith is a mostly middle-class, riverside district located in the West London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Here you can find cozy cafes, riverside walks, and trendy pubs, as well as offices for some of the largest companies in the city, such as Coca Cola, L’Oreal, and Disney.
This makes Hammersmith an ideal place to rent for various types of people.
Another upside to Hammersmith is its accessibility to Heathrow Airport and Central London via the Tube.
Favorable schools and a bustling nightlife keep young families and professionals from moving.
12. Herne Hill
This area is located between the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, is one of South East London’s trendiest places to live.
Herne Hill is located 5 miles (8 km) from Charing Cross and offers excellent transport links, making its location highly desirable.
In Herne Hill, lively pubs, upbeat boutiques, and trendy galleries are coupled with peaceful residential streets, providing locals with a cultural oasis.
Due to its growing popularity, property prices have recently increased, but there are still many affordable flats and homes available.
Last year, the average cost to buy a flat in this area was £449,669. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £1,062,580
Along with high-rated schools, Herne Hill is home to one of the best parks in London, Brockwell Park, which hosts nearly 4 million people annually.
If you’re looking for an affordable neighbourhood that’s got it all, look no farther than Herne Hill.
Located in the North West sub-region, Hampstead is an affluent neighbourhood that belongs to the London Borough of Camden.
Although it is only 4 miles (6.4 km) from Charing Cross, there are no major landmarks or tourist attractions here.
Hampstead, one of London’s most beautiful neighbourhoods, possesses a village-like feel.
The average home price in Hampstead is £1,436,669, with properties even selling as high as £4,950,000.
As you can see, settling down in this picturesque neighbourhood is quite expensive.
In fact, this area is home to more millionaires than any other area of the United Kingdom.
Because of its demographic, Hampstead is home to many posh boutiques, specialty food shops, and high-class restaurants.
If you can afford it, the safe and charming neighbourhood of Hampstead definitely makes an exceptional place to live and raise a family.
Best Places in London for Young Professionals
For those of you who are looking for safe places to live in London, without sacrificing the upbeat nature of the trendiest neighbourhoods, this chapter is for you.
We will share with you the best areas in London for young professionals.
Whether you are looking to settle down, or rent short-term in an exciting neighbourhood, we’ve got you covered.
The London Borough of Islington is located just north of the city centre.
This North London district includes prominent areas such as Kings Cross, Archway, Finsbury, Highgate, and more.
Islington offers a broad spectrum of property types, with the average 1-bedroom flat leasing for about £1,764 per month.
This is an attractive borough for young professionals partly due to its abundance of start-up companies situated around Old Street, playfully named “Silicon Roundabout.”
With 10 tube stops in the area, Islington is really well connected by the Underground, as well as bus routes that run both day and night.
In addition to the thriving property market, this borough is home to an impressive culinary and nightlife scene.
Trendy restaurants, pubs, galleries, and boutiques line the streets, making Islington one of the most desirable boroughs for young professionals.
One of the most up-and-coming areas of Islington is Highbury.
Highbury is described by The Sunday Times as a “middle-class staple” with a “belt-loosening roster of restaurants”.
The average price for a 1-bedroom property in Highbury is £1,764 per month, making it lower than the London average.
Clapham is a South West district of London, located in the London Borough of Lambeth and Wandsworth.
This spirited district is one of the trendiest places in London.
It borders Brixton, another desirable neighbourhood with lots of nightlife and entertainment.
Clapham offers excellent transport links to and from the city centre.
If you prefer to cycle, the Supercycle Highway CS7 also runs through this area, giving residents another transportation option.
Another advantage of living in this area is Clapham Common This 220-acre triangular park includes 3 ponds, jogging paths, and is open to the public 24/7.
In Clapham, the average cost of a flat is £2,262 per month.
Many social professionals are already living in the area, but still existing is a community-minded and family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal location for many types of people.
The London Borough of Wandsworth is situated along the River Thames in South West London.
According to the prominent publication, Metro News, Wandsworth is the best place to live in London.
This praise can be attributed to its lovely parks, high-rated restaurants, and connectivity to other parts of London.
In Wandsworth you can find Europe’s largest freshwater open-air pool, Tooting Bec Lido.
Neighbouring 3 popular commons, Balham is one of the most favored areas in Wandsworth. It is also considered to be a good neighbourhood for first time home buyers, “offering slightly better value for money than nearby Battersea…”
It is a lively area ideal for both families and young professionals that offers great schools and a safe community, as well as high-end boutiques, restaurants, and pubs.
South West London is reportedly one of the most attractive places for enthusiastic young professionals, and the Battersea area of Wandsworth is a perfect example of this.
Residents move to this area for the beautiful Victorian architecture and excellent transport links.
Battersea is only about 4.5 miles from Charing Cross.
Located in the heart of Battersea is Northcote Road, one of London’s most thriving high streets.
Northcote Road is a hub for trendy restaurants, entertainment, and specialty shops.
The average price for a 1-bedroom rental in this desirable area is about £1,856 per month.
4. Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green is an area in the East End of London as part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
It is an up-and-coming area for young professionals.
The average rental price for a 1-bedroom property in Bethnal Green is £1,052 per month.
This is much cheaper than its neighbours, Hackney, Shoreditch, and Dalston.
Bethnal Green is the perfect area for those looking to near the hottest entertainment and nightlife, as well as having easy access to offices in the centre of London.
This area is quickly becoming a culinary hotspot due to its ethnically diverse residents.
Bethnal Green is also a great option for families, as it hosts multiple schools with “outstanding” Ofsted ratings.
5. Crystal Palace
Located in South London, this area gets its whimsical name from the metal and glass structure designed by Joseph Paxton.
The brilliant palace burned down in 1936, but the name of the area still remains.
This area was not as desirable until 2007 when the Overground was introduced, making other parts of the city more accessible to Crystal Palace residents.
Now, the district is growing in popularity at a rapid rate.
Crystal Palace is another London neighbourhood with a village-like atmosphere and sense of community.
The average property price in Crystal Palace is 29.1% below the London Average sitting at £424,421.
Therefore, this area is most commonly occupied by young professionals and first time home buyers.
Hilly, green, and residential, combined with fantastic views of the city leaves little else for Crystal Palace residents to desire.
Coolest Places in London to Live
For those looking to live in the trendiest, most vibrant and youthful neighbourhoods, this next chapter is just for you.
We’re talking all about London’s long-standing cultural hubs, and newly fashionable areas.
The London Borough of Camden is located in North West London just 2.5 miles (4 km) north of Charing Cross.
Once home to Amy Winehouse, and Charles Dickens, Camden Town has an interesting history and has been favored by the youth for many years.
Arguably the largest pub in Europe is located in Camden, along with some of the best live music venues in London.
The vibrancy of the nightlife in Camden cannot be matched.
This fascinating area hosts an eclectic mix of restaurants, open-air markets, and exciting street art, making it an urban haven for its alternative, punk, and art student type residents.
Property prices in Camden Town are among the highest in London due to its desirability and fun vibe.
On average, a 1-bedroom flat will cost you around £1,600 per month.
But if you can afford it, and a bustling nightlife and endless entertainment are your priorities, Camden is perfect for you.
Young, hip professionals are flocking to East London at an increasing rate, and Hackney is often at the top of the list.
North East of the city centre, this area is located in the London Borough of Hackney, just 5 miles (8 km) from Charing Cross.
This part of London is an incredibly alluring area for young adults for many reasons.
While there is limited access to Underground stations, the system of Overground transportation efficiently connects Hackney to the rest of London.
This is one of the fastest-growing and most sought-after areas in London due to its vibrant nightlife, trendy pop-up stores, endless museums, and a creative atmosphere.
The rise in popularity and high demand for rental property has made Hackney the 7th most expensive borough in London.
Many of its schools ranked “well above average” in 2019, making Hackney also a great option for young families looking to relocate.
Bermondsey is an area in South East London located in the London Borough of Southwark.
It is only 2.5 miles (4 km) away from Charing Cross and is close to the famous Maltby Street Market.
Bermondsey has made The Sunday Times’ “Best Places to Live in London” list for 5 years in a row, with the publication stating that this neighborhood “epitomises the modern urban good life”.
Once a largely industrial district, Bermondsey has flourished into a trendy and upbeat area complete with chic warehouse flats, public gardens, and stylish riverside restaurants.
Residents are also attracted to this district’s prime location.
The Bermondsey Street Underground station is on the Jubilee Line, and just a 10-minute commute to Bond Street, and it’s within walking distance to London Bridge.
The average property price is £578,940 (3.2% below the London average), and a 1-bedroom apartment rents for around £2,000 per month.
Brixton is another popular area located in the London Borough of Lambeth in South London.
It is undoubtedly one of London’s most diverse and animated neighbourhoods.
It is boisterous and colourful, and rapidly changing with an influx of young adults moving to the area due to the lower than average rent prices.
Late Victorian terrace houses that have been converted into flats are the most common property type rented by Brixton’s young residents.
The cost of a 1-bedroom rental property is estimated to be around £1,364 per month.
Young professionals might also be interested in this area as many tech startups are moving into the area.
There is no shortage of entertainment in Brixton.
Markets, cinemas, music venues, and food from all over the world are just around the corner in this multicultural neighbourhood.
It is the perfect place for anyone seeking a neighbourhood with an exciting, gritty atmosphere.
Peckham is in the South East of London in the London Borough of Southwark.
And this up-and-coming district is one of the coolest places to be right now.
Home to at least 16 different ethnicities, Peckham is one of the most diverse districts in London, giving its residents the chance to immerse themselves in an eclectic mix of cultures.
Peckham is one of the more affordable areas in London, and offers a wide range in types of residential properties.
The average flat rental ranges from £1,200 to £2,400 per month.
Frank’s is of the coolest rooftop bars in London, and it is located in the heart of Peckham. In the summer, hundreds of people flock to this multi-story car park to enjoy sunset views.
The abundance of entertaining clubs, cafes, and vibrant markets place Peckham among the coolest neighborhoods in London.
Leyton is another East London area quickly growing in popularity.
It is about 6 miles from Charing Cross, and home to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Sunday Times describes Leyton as “a new home for the East London cool crowd.”
As neighboring East London areas are becoming more popular and crowded, residents are looking for a new neighbourhood to upgrade to.
Leyton is blossoming, and has everything they’re looking for.
It is a diverse neighborhood with a community vibe and lots of green space.
Housing prices are still in the affordable range, with the average price for a 1-bedroom flat being £375,000.
Young professionals and first time home buyers are taking advantage of this opportunity to expand their homes.
This newly trendy area is expected to soon grow in popularity among the young, hip crowds.
Moving to London is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming due to its size and the large number of areas to consider.
Now that you have read about the regions of London and several of the areas the city has to offer, I hope some of your stress is relieved
Remember to think deeply about what is right for you and your situation, and not get caught up in generalizations.
Without a doubt, London is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
Before making the big move, do your research and ask people who have lived there.
But, above all remember:
It’s not the place. It’s the people.
Good luck with your choice!
Which areas of London sound most appealing to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Some additional resources you might find useful:
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- 16 Tips for Couples Moving in Together [in 2020]
- How to Find a Job in London: 10 Tips You CAN’T Miss (in 2020)
- Student Life in London: The Ultimate Survival Guide (for 2020)
- How to Reduce Plastic Use: 18 Simple Ways (for 2020)
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