An Expat’s Guide to London Neighbourhoods

London is an exciting, culturally diverse, and dynamic city. However, the UK capital can be a daunting and stressful place to locals and visitors alike, so when someone is moving from another country to live here, it can seem almost impossible to know where to begin looking. To help you make sense of the different neighbourhoods, we’ve compiled a small guide to introduce you to the city and provide insights into the local areas.

The districts of London

London is typically split into North, East, South, West, and Central London. There is usually a bit of overlap in each district, like neighbourhoods such as Camden, which falls under both North and Central London. Generally speaking, everything north of the River Thames is known as North London, and everything south of the River Thames is South London. Most of the London Underground network is also in North London, where South London has a much more extensive railway system. North London has a number of popular neighbourhoods, which bring with it a high price tag on properties, such as North Camden, Stoke Newington, and Walthamstow. However, there are some more affordable neighbourhoods in the North district, such as Finsbury Park and Kentish Town.

Moving slightly west, Northwest London is home to some of the busiest bars and markets in the capital and provides some of the finest dining available. Places like Notting Hill and Kensal Rise are popular residential areas at the higher end of the market, where more affordable living can be found in Kilburn and Wembley.

The majority of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in London are located in West London. Home to famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Grosvenor Square, and the Luxury Quarter, visitors can experience some of the top retailers in the world on Bond Street and Albermarle Street. With some of the world’s best entertainment available in the West End, you would want to explore properties in Mayfair, Kensington, and Westminster, but expect to pay top prices – properties valued below £1 million are rare in these areas. Mayfair recently took the crown back from Kensington as the number one address in prime central London, and you will find some of the most in demand properties in the world in this neighbourhood. More affordable areas in the West are Shepherd’s Bush, Hammersmith, and Fulham, the latter of which is particularly popular with wealthy, young singles, couples, and families.

Moving slightly south, areas like Richmond Park and Kew Gardens provide lots of green open space. A variety of restaurants, shopping locations and family-friendly neighbourhoods make the South West popular for families with children. Residential areas to consider here would be Chiswick, Richmond, Twickenham, and Barnes.

If you’re looking for something a little less costly in London, you might find South London appealing. Neighbourhoods here tend to be newer, and you can generally get more space for your money. Areas to look at here would be Clapham, South Wimbledon, Brixton, and Battersea. If transport connections aren’t a top priority, you could consider going even further from the centre, where you’ll get even more space for your money. Neighbourhoods like Croyden and Purley will provide you with plenty of space, but travel will be mostly by the Overground or bus.

Finally, East London is a multicultural hub, home to artists and people leading alternative lifestyles. There’s always something interesting happening in neighbourhoods in the East. There are many affordable areas in this district, such as Hackney, Dalston, and Haggerston, and at the more expensive end is Shoreditch. East London is popular with those working in creative industries and media and tends to attract a younger crowd. However, prices are increasing as the area grows in popularity and upscaling.