6 Best Places to Live in London
When some people picture London, they see towering corporate buildings, a procession of buses and black cabs, and sidewalks swarmed with suits.However, in reality, London is crammed with colorful neighborhoods, all with their own wonderful personalities.
If you’re planning on moving to London from the US, you can look forward to suburban parks, trendy restaurants, quirky bars, mesmerizing monuments, and so much more. In this article, we’ll cover the best places to live in London for affordable living, students, hipsters, families, food and drink, and nature.
Best places to live in London
|Best places in London||Why?|
|Bexley||Best for affordable living|
|Islington||Best for students|
|Camden||Best for hipsters|
|Richmond||Best for families|
|Shoreditch||Best for foodies|
|Lewisham||Best for nature lovers|
Best place for affordable living
London is a notoriously expensive place to live – so if you’re moving to the capital on a budget, Bexley is the best option for you.
On average, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for £825. Although this sounds expensive, when you compare it to the average price of a one-bedroom apartment (£950 – 1,300) in London, it’s an absolute steal.
Bexley is a charming borough, tucked away in the south-east side of London. Not only does it offer affordable living, but you can enjoy luscious fields, quaint markets, and excellent connections to central London.
One of the reasons Bexley is so wonderfully cheap is because it sits on the outskirts of London – so you might want to bear in mind the travel costs. If you’re planning on commuting to central London from Bexley, brace yourself for a £253.50 monthly train fare.
If the pricey travel costs are putting you off Bexley, check out the map below to see the most affordable areas in London.
Data from London.gov
Best place for students
If you’re looking for student accommodation in London, your criteria will probably include affordability, proximity to universities, and connections to the city. This is why we’ve placed Islington at the top of the leaderboard.
A few years ago, Islington might not have been on our list – but this booming borough is in the middle of a cultural shift. You can look forward to diverse restaurants, bars, clubs, vintage stores, independent shops, you name it! This shift is what’s driving more and more people to Islington – not to mention the location.
The majority of universities in London lie north of the river, which makes Islington an ideal location. You’ll have amazing connections to most universities, which you can access on the Victoria Line (the fastest line in London). So don’t worry if you oversleep before your lectures!
What about the cost? Well, most students moving to London look into getting a houseshare – this way, you can rent somewhere much nicer, for less money. If you do your research, you should be able to bag yourself a houseshare for around £600 a month in Islington. We know this sounds a lot, but when you compare it to London’s average houseshare cost of £783 a month, it’s significantly cheaper.
Best place for hipsters
If you’re hoping to move to London for the street food, vintage stores, and vibrant vegan shops, Camden is the place for you.
This hipster hub has held its quirky individuality since the 1960s – the decade that rock and psychedelia exploded. The Roundhouse (Camden's most attractive music venue) was at the heart of the 60s revolution, and still holds up to this day. And the rest of Camden is no different – whether you’re into soul, jazz, heavy metal, rock, or indie music, this borough has you covered.
Need a new vintage outfit? Camden Market is jam-packed full of vintage treats. Every nook and cranny of this colorful market is filled with retro clothes and wonderful street food, with over 1,000 shops, cafés and bars to choose from.
Best place for families
Despite a sterling effort from Kingston upon Thames, we’ve given the title of the best borough for families to Richmond. We’ve based this decision on three contributing factors: crime rates, schooling, and amount of green space.
Although London can seem scary at times, there’s no need to worry about your little ones in Richmond. This safe south-western haven is currently in the top three boroughs for low crime rates, which will give you welcome peace of mind when your children are out venturing through the streets. Check out the map below to see how Richmond’s crime rates compare to other boroughs:
Data from Finder
On top of this, schooling in Richmond is among the best in the city, with the top grade being awarded to 31% of schools. To compare, the leading borough of Harrow is only seven percentage points ahead, with 38% receiving an ‘outstanding’ grade. So if you’re looking for both high education standards and low crime rates, choose Richmond.
This beautiful borough barely feels like it’s in London at times – and if you fancy swapping the city’s concrete jungle for deer-filled forests, you can pop to Richmond Park for a calming stroll. This borough has everything you’re looking for.
Can you picture yourself moving to Richmond, surrounded by luscious green parks and wild deer?
Best place for foodies
We have to admit, living in Shoreditch is likely to rapidly empty your pockets – but it’ll be worth it. This area of London has something for everyone, from cafés dedicated to breakfast cereals to high-end restaurants. Plus, living in Shoreditch means you’ll be just down the road from acclaimed food joints, such as Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane Food Market, and Boxpark.
If you’re familiar with all-things food, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the recent pop-up phenomenon. And in Shoreditch, you can be sure to see a constant stream of new pop-ups throughout the year.
As for the restaurants and bars that are here to stay? Check out our must-eat places to eat and drink below:
- Gloria – One of the best Italian restaurants in London (we know, big statement). Prepare your tastebuds for traditional Italian food with an exciting twist.
- The Blues Kitchen – Expect atmospheric lighting, eclectic musical performances, and a wide range of whiskies. If alcohol isn’t your thing, you can also tuck into its delicious Southern American style menu.
- The Smoking Goat – Here you can experience a cool, laid-back restaurant, with quirky dishes inspired by Bangkok’s late-night canteens. If you’re partial to a kick of spice in your food, the Smoking Goat have got you covered.
- Redemption Bar – Self-proclaimed as London’s healthiest restaurant, this vegan-friendly establishment serves up sugar-free and wheat-free food, along with an alcohol-free bar. To top it off, its stylish decor will leave you mesmerised.
Best place for nature lovers
Since 47% of Greater London is ‘green', wherever you decide to live in London, you can guarantee that you won’t be very far away from natural space. But ultimately, if you’re feeling a little out of touch with nature, we suggest that you move to Lewisham. This south-east borough has been working hard over the years to transform its streets into natural, green spaces.
For four years in a row now, luscious Lewisham has been awarded Green Flag Awards. Plus, the borough came third place in the Parks category for London’s annual borough report in 2019.
Lewisham’s biggest park
Beckenham Place Park is Lewisham’s most grand addition of green space, covering a whopping 98 hectares. The renovated golf course is now home to sweeping views of woodland and gorgeous green grass. Plus, back in 2019, a £6.8 million renovation project saw the introduction of an open swimming lake in the park.
A beautiful shot of London's dramatic skyline, soaked in sun
Best Places to Live in London: What’s the verdict?
Whenever you decide to take the plunge and move to London, you can be sure that you’ll feel at home. You’ll also be well and truly spoilt for choice!
The top six places to live in London are:
- Bexley: best for affordable living
- Islington: best for students
- Camden: best for hipsters
- Richmond: best for families
- Shoreditch: best for foodies
- Lewisham: best for nature lovers
Once you’ve decided on which borough you’d like to call home, it’s time to organise the big move. This might seem intimidating, but this is where we come in.
If you’d like to receive shipping container quotes, all you have to do is fill in this short form with a few details about your move. To find out how much it costs to ship your belongings to London, check out our guide to container shipping costs.
Before you know it, you’ll be exploring the streets of London – otherwise known as ‘your new home’.