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The 20 Best Places to Live in London


London is one of the largest, most vibrant cities in the world. The city was established by the Romans and has had many centuries of history. England's capital is home to British Royalty, great literature, art and theater, and home to great architecture. In 1965, the city of London was divided into 32 neighborhoods. The Western side is filled with quiet neighborhoods, good schools, culture and entertainment and historic architecture. East London was once considered unsafe but is not a trendy place to live with great parks and nightlife. The South Side has the River Thames, parks, and history. North London is known for its hills and sense of community. Central London has all of the city's action and vibrancy.

20. Havering

Havering is suburban district of London with a population of about 240,000. The neighborhood has become a popular place to live. It is a commercial hub with about 7,000 businesses. The area has become a relatively economical place to live. Havering has large open green spaces and a vibrant retail life as well as a good nightlife. Havering is home to the Brookside and the Queen's Theatres. It is home to the Liberty Shopping Centre, Gidea Park, the 1911 Exhibition Estate and the Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia. Havering is also home to the redeveloped Thames Gateway.

19. Chelsea

Chelsea is one of London's most affluent neighborhoods with a high cost of living. Yet, Chelsea is safe and filled with culture and family friendly activities. The neighborhood located in southwest London borders the River Thames. The population is about 41,000. The high end district is home to the Chelsea Collection which was established in 1927 and includes prints and pictures created since 1887. Chelsea includes Oscar Wilde's home on Tithe Street. The area became popular during the 1960's and was where the term "swinging London" was coined. Chelsea is home to the Chelsea Cricket Club and several high end fashion and jewelry shops.

18. Kensington

Kensington is an affluent neighborhood located on the western end of central London. The area, located on the banks of the River Thames, has a population of about 65,000. The neighborhood is considered one of the safest places to live in London. Although expensive, Kensington is great for young families and young professionals. It is home to Westminster, Hyde Park, Albert Memorial, the Serpantine Gallery, the Imperial Palace of London, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Albert Hall and Europe's embassies.

17. Sutton

Sutton is a charming neighborhood located near central London. The area has a population of about 72,500 and is attractive to families because of its parks, good school system and reasonable cost of living. The area has beautiful Victorian and Edwardian architecture, a large public library and conservation areas. The area is the location of the Imagine Festival which was established in 200+ as a Contemporary Art Exhibition. Sutton is home to several churches and a weekly farmers' market. The area also has a low crime rate making it a great place to live and raise a family.

16. Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is most noted as the home to London's Bloomsbury Publishing founded by the Bloomsbury Group which included Virgiinia Woolfe, Duncan Grant and Clive and Vanessa Bell. The area remains a cultural and intellectual center of London. Some of London's finest universities are located in Bloomsbury including University College of London and the University of London. Bloomsbury is the home of London's largest museum, The British Museum. The area of Bloomsbury remaines a fashionable place to live filled with culture, artists and students. The population is currently about 10,900. The quaint neighborhoods include Georgian style homes and white garden squares.

15. Bayswater

The neighborhood of Bayswater is one of the most affluent areas of London. It is located on the border of Kensington Gardens and has a population of about 10,300. Residents enjoy living in redeveloped Victorian and Georgian stucco terrace homes that have become flats. The area is a great location close to all of London's landmarks, Hide Park, the Marble Arch, Whiteley's Shopping Center and international restaurants. It's also home to the United Kingdom Opus Dei headquarters. Although one of London's most cosmopolitan area, Bayswater has quiet streets and a wonderful sense of community.

14. Holland Park

Holland Park is an area in Central London that is a popular place to live, although it's expensive. Holland Park has a population of 30,500. It's located near Kensington Park. It was once a rural area that was developed during the 19th century. Today, Holland Park retains its Victorian townhomes and stucco mansions. It's an affluent neighborhood that has several boutiques, spas, hotels and restaurants. The area has great schools, green spaces. It is home to London's Design Museum.

13. Southwark

Southwark is the oldest area of London, located in the southern end of the city. The area is a popular, yet expensive, place to live. Iti is home to the inns and taverns and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre which was built during hte 16th century. The population is about 300,000. Southwark is filled with character including cobble stoned streets and mixed with modern architecture including the Shard Building, the Millennial Bridge and the Tate Museum along with older architecture including the Tower and the London Bridge. The culture of Southwark is a mixture of old and modern.

12. Fulham

Fulham is located in southwest London along the banks of the River Thames and is home to about 87,000 people. It is close to central London, has good schools, quaint streets and great dining and pubs. The area developed early on during the 15th century with industry including pottery, tapestry, paper and brewing companies. During the Industrial Revolution, Fulham continued as an central industrial area with glass and was the site of the Little Bridge Depot railway which developed into London's Underground rail system. Today, Fulham is home to several sports clubs including the Middlesex Cricket Club, gin and ale breweries and pubs. The area recently added an 80 acre high rise living and business center and has plenty of green space. It's expensive to live in Fulham but popular with affluent families.

11. Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green is located in the heart of London's East End. It began as an agricultural center during the Victorian Era. The area suffered heavy damage during World War II, but was rebuilt with social housing developments. The area was gentrified during the 2000's and today is considered a hip place to live with a population of 30,000 that includes young professionals, artists and hipsters. Bethnal Green has much to see and do including restaurants and pubs. The neighborhood recently began a family festival held annually.

10. Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace is named for the large exhibition building built in 1854. The building was destroyed in a fire in 1936. The neighborhood in southern London has a population of about 12,245. This is made up of mostly families and young professionals and is relatively inexpensive to live in. The area, once a natural oak forest, was developed in the 19th century. It's known for its Victorian architecture and popular indoor market. The Crystal Palace Triangle is where the three main streets meet and includes shopping, restaurants and parkland. Crystal Palace is home to a popular sports stadium and motor racing.

9. Islington

Islington is a family friendly, relatively affordable borough located in northern London. The area is just a 30 minute walk to London's city center. The eclectic population is about 206,000. Family, students and city workers make up much of the population. Islington is featured often in English literature and poetry. During the 16th and 17th century, clean water came to the area making it a great place to grow produce and has since had a popular market. During the 19th century, Islington was home to music halls. Georgian style terraced homes became popular with London's middle class, and Islington has been a popular place to live.

8. Brixton

Brixton is located in southern London and is relatively inexpensive to live. The area was home to a wave of immigrants. It's multi ethnic and has a population of about 78,500. The neighborhood began gentrification during the 1990's and became a bohemian arts scene. Brixton is known for is vintage clothing shops, trendy restaurants and a vibrant nightlife with clubs that host live music. Victorian architecture remains throughout Brixton. There are seven large housing estates in the neighborhood. Brixton hosts a popular farmers' market.

7. Hackney

Hackney is located in London's East Side. Once a poor part of the city, Hackney has been gentrified and now is considered to be a cool place to live. Many young professionals live in the borough and work in the media and creative industries. The population is about 280,000. Hackney became a retreat for nobility to live during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There is Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture throughout the neighborhood. During the past twenty years, gated communities were built in Hackney The borough hosts an annual carnival. There are shops, clubs, pubs and restaurants as well as museums, galleries and theaters in Hackney as well as eight public libraries.

6. Hammersmith

Hammersmith is located in West London which is a good location filled with culture and entertainment. Central High Street has shops, bars and restaurants. The Dove is the smallest bar in the world and was frequented by writers including Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway. The first suspension bridge to cross the River Thames was built in Hammersmith in 1827. Riverside Studios is located in Hammersmith. This was the home of the BBC from 1954 through 1975 and is a cultural center. Hammersmith is known for good schools and is attractive for young families. The population of the neighborhood is about 182,000.

5. Camden

Camden is a neighborhood in northwestern London and includes a portion of central London. The population is about 220,000 but it is mostly young professionals. While not inexpensive to live in the borough, Camden is a hip and vibrant area of the city. It is home to London's music scene as well as trendy shops, pubs and tattoo parlors. Camden hosts a large market and has several museums and theaters including the Bloomsbury Theatre. It also includes the eastern portion of Regent's Park. Several businesses are located in Camden including the headquarters of Atlantic Books.

4. Notting Hill

Notting Hill was made famous by the 1999 movie starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant at the height of the gentrification of the neighborhood. The charming city is one of the most affluent in London's West End. It was built up during the nineteenth century as a home to the brick and tile kiln industry and developed its streets and housing. The fashionable suburb of London saw its decline but was eventually built back up. Today, Notting Hill is known for its world famous annual two day carnival held each year in August since 1965. Today, Nottinghill is filled with revitalized homes, indie shops, trendy cafes, and bars. Notting Hill is an affluent multi-cultural neighborhood that is close to central London. Despite it's high cost of living, Notting Hill is one of the best and most charming places to live in London.

3. Clapham

Clapham is consistantly ranked one of the best places to live in London. The southwestern London burough is one of the trendiest and hotest spots to live in the UK. The neighborhood is trendy and filled with green spaces: perfect for family and nature lovers. Clapham is also filled with great shops, restaurants, pubs and nightlife, so young professionals and visitors love it. Clapham was a perfect getaway for seventeenth centuries Londoners and many large country houses remain as well as the homes of wealthy nineteenth century merchants. The eclectic population enjoy Clapham Common with 220 acres of green space, ponds, footpaths and a Victorian bandstand. Shopping is great on Clapham's High Street, once an anciant Roman military road, and its quaint side streets.

2. Greenwich

Greenhich falls in the top two best places to live in London. It's expensive but family friendly. Many young professionals choose to live in the neighborhood. The population is about 30,500. The trendy southeast London neighborhood is located on the banks of the River Thames where rowing is a popular sport. There are great cafes, bars and restaurants. The area is marked by its Victorian and Georgian architectture. Many grand homes were built during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the town became a resort for the wealthy. What Greenwhich is most noted for is its maritime history which led to the royal Observatory where Greenwhich Mean Time was established. This became the location of the prime meridian marking the Earth's time zones. Greenwich is located both in the western and eastern hemispheres.

1. Richmond Upon Thames

Richmond Upon Thames is often noted as London's best borough to live. The city has consistently been voted the best by the UK wide "Right Move Happy at Home Index" due to its residents happiness and quality of life along with its amazing sports facilities. Located along the Thames where the river narrows, Richmond includes land on both sides of the river. Popular sports opportunities include ruby and cricket, equestrian activities, swimming, sailing and rowing. The West London neighborhood is home to about 190,000 residents, but also includes parkland in half of its area. There are over 100 parks and open spaces including Richmond Park, Kew Gardens and Court Park. Richmond Upon Thames is family friendly and considered one of the safest areas of London to live. With neighbors like Mick Jagger, the cost of living is expensive in Richmond, but there is also much to see and do including shopping, dining, galleries, museums and theater.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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