At the heart of London, you’ll find some of the most internationally recognisable institutions of government, the arts, education, media, and business. Many of the world’s most famous landmarks, people, and organisations call Central London home today, and have done so for centuries. Central London is heavily trafficked during the day, but its night population is significantly lower, as many more people visit and work in the centre than live here. A wide variety of property – from the very old to the very new, from utilitarian to luxurious, and everything in-between – is available here. Although homes here are more expensive than further out, life in Central London is certain to be a world-class experience – and it may be more within your reach than you think.
The gateway from the City to the East End, Aldgate is an area with a lot of urban amenities. Aldgate is both very central and very well-connected, and the local area is a diverse mix of commercial, office, and living space. Some of London's most famous markets and attractions (including Brick Lane) are nearby, in addition to being within walking distance of the financial hub of the City. Although it's a very built-up area, Shoreditch Park is close by, and offers many sports facilities.
Bayswater is a gem in Central London's crown. Offering a Zone 1 location with good access to green space, as well as being culturally diverse, but architecturally uniform, Bayswater embodies the best of several worlds. Its lovely white stucco terraces and tidy garden squares stretch to Hyde Park, dotted with varied restaurants and shops.
Belgravia is one of the world’s most desirable and exclusive neighbourhoods. With world-class shopping, stately period townhouses, and access to Hyde Park, homes in this area have reached £4,500 per square foot. The people who live here are best described as the global superrich. Fully 96% of residents of this ward are satisfied with the area.
This ultra-central London neighbourhood comprises garden squares, Victorian hotels, and cultural institutions. Bloomsbury is famous for its literary and intellectual heritage (it was the home of Virginia Woolf, and it is here that Karl Marx developed communism), and is today home to many bookshops and the British Library, while also being close to the West End theatres. Thousands of students now live in residence halls in Bloomsbury, which encompasses many institutions of higher learning, including Birkbeck and RADA.
It just doesn't get any more central than Charing Cross, which functions as the exact centre of London for the purposes of measuring distance to other neighbourhoods and cities. This tiny neighbourhood surrounds the junction of Whitehall, the Strand, and Cockspur Street.
Chelsea's bohemian reputation and current run of popularity began in the 1960s, when it was known as a favourite haunt of celebrities and artists. Today, it continues to attract visitors and residents with its fashionable retaurants, clubs, and boutiques set in beautiful riverside and parkside locations or along the grand stucco-fronted streets.
The City of London, also known as the Square Mile, is the UK's financial centre, and is vitally important to the UK, the EU, and the global economy. Here, you'll find high-powered financiers in thousand-pound suits pouring out from the many Tube and rail stations to work in the City's skyscrapers. Cultural destinations, too - including the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral - call the City home, and are visited throughout the year. Located in Zone 1, this is a very central part of London, but not very residential - many of the people who work here each day board trains for the outskirts of London and beyond in the evenings, leaving it a bit quiet once the after-work crowd has dissipated and throughout the weekend.
The neighbourhood of Clerkenwell was historically notable enough to have merited mentions in Shakespeare's sonnets and Oliver Twist, and today retains those charms while having a modern appeal. Ideally situated for City workers, and itself home to a thriving design industry, Clerkenwell is a trendy neighbourhood with no shortage of ancient pubs and chic new coffee shops and everything in-between.
Covent Garden is in the heart of the West End, with Theatreland and countless other options for entertainment, dining, and shopping at your doorstep. Known for attractions like the Royal Opera House, and the lovely covered market - the Covent Garden Piazza - as well as several museums including the London Transport Museum, Covent Garden is certainly a destination. Covent Garden is also one of London's most popular office locations, and many of the people who choose to live here will do so because they enjoy a stroll to work for a commute.
Earl's Court is ideal for people with interests ranging from museums and culture to retail and entertainment. With the shops of Kensington High Street and the attractions of South Kensington - including the Natural History Museum - nearby, as well as parks like Holland Park and Kensington Gardens, there are a lot of reasons one might choose to live in a flat in one of Earl's Court's many tall terraced houses.
Farringdon is a historic part of London. Its eponymous station was opened as the terminus of the Metropolitan Railway - the world's first underground line - and Smithfield meat market, which has been in operation since medieval times. Sandwiched between trendy Clerkenwell and the City, Farringdon has a great deal of office space, but also has several independent shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, including Sadler's Wells theatre. For chic urban living, especially for those City commuters, Farringdon is hard to beat.
Between the City and the West End lies Holborn, a largely commercial area favoured by lawyers and media types. Although near the buzzy and noisy West End's cultural and entertainment attractions, Holburn is typically quiet in the evenings and at the weekends because of its commerical character. Similarly, Holburn offers an entirely different atmosphere from the City. But offering access to both the City and the West End without their respective downsides is not all Holborn is known for historic, avant garde, and unique bars, restaurants, and shops in addition to the world-famous British Museum.
Kensington is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in London, and, consequently, the world. Home to the royal family since the 17th century, Kensington Palace lends the area some extra grandeur, not that grandeur is lacking otherwise - along these streets are among the most sought-after multimillion pound homes. The area is also popular with tourists, who will be well-situated to enjoy some of London's most famous museums - including the Natural History Museum - and other attractions like Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, and the world-class shops along Kensington Church Street.
This formerly post-industrial neighbourhood, which fell on hard times post-WWII, is now an up-and-coming trendy area. New developments are underway all the time, and new coffee shops and restaurants are opening seemingly every day to serve the residents of new high-rise and residential/commercial buildings. Kings Cross is also gaining a reputation for being a new spot for artists.
Knightsbridge is one of the world’s most desirable and exclusive neighbourhoods. With world-class shopping, stately period townhouses, and access to Hyde Park, homes in this area have reached £4,500 per square foot. The London Plan identifies the district as one of two ‘international centres” in London; the West End is the other one. The people who live here are best described as global power brokers. Fully 96% of residents of this ward are satisfied with the area.
Lancaster Gate is a gem in Central London's crown. Offering a Zone 1 location with good access to green space, as well as being culturally diverse, but architecturally uniform, Bayswater embodies the best of several worlds. Its lovely white stucco terraces and tidy garden squares stretch to Hyde Park, dotted with varied restaurants and shops.
Most of us have at least one Marylebone address committed to memory, whether or not we realise it - 221b Baker Street is the fictional home of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, and the site of the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Indeed, Marylebone is one of London's cultural destinations, with institutions from Wigmore Hall to Madame Tussaud's based here. This neighbourhood also has some world-class shopping and dining, and beautiful properties with aristocratic history. Marylebone is also incredibly central, within walking distance from Oxford Street and the West End, but also sandwiched between Regent's Park and Hyde Park.
The birthplace of HRH Queen Elizabeth and home of Winston Churchill, Mayfair is one of the world’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, and is the most expensive address on the British Monopoly board.
Cosmopolitan and chic, Notting Hill's current run of fame is partially attributable to the 1999 Richard Curtis romcom of the same name, which made Portobello Road Market internationally famous. Another reason the area is known is the annual Carnival celebration, which is second only to the one that's put on in Rio. Notting Hill is an eclectic and bohemian area, though now an upmarket version of this, with lovely stuccoed and brightly painted homes on private garden squares dominating the area.
Paddington is a very diverse area of London, and very central, but was overlooked for a long time and thought of as a transport hub rather than a destination in its own right. It certainly has excellent transport links - with Paddington station on several Underground lines as well as mainline rail services, the Heathrow Express, and countless buses, it doesn't get more well-connected than this. But with access to the canal network and near both Regent's Park and Hyde Park, and with large terrace houses and garden squares, Paddington doesn't feel like a concrete jungle.
A leafy and calm enclave in the heart of London, Pimlico is known for its regency townhouses, gardens, and historical significance - Sir Winston Churchill once called the area home. Pimlico is within walking distance to some of London's most important cultural landmarks, including Westminster Abbet and the Tate Modern. Pimlico has managed to stay somewhat under the radar, which has kept it a quiet residential area.
Soho is no longer London's seedy underbelly; a place everyone wants to visit but nobody wants to live. It's now a highly sought after neighbourhood, edging closer to being thought of as a place one might put down roots, but without sacrificing its trendy and quirky appeal. It's young and vibrant, with mostly young professional residents, and almost all accommodation in the neighbourhood is flats, not houses.
Known as London’s Museum Quarter or Paris’ 21st Arrondissement, South Kensington is full of world-class museums along Exhibition Road, Parisians, and luxury hotels and shops.
Just south of the City, across the Thames, lies one of London's many cultural hotspots. Iconic sites from the Globe Theatre to Borough Market dot the neighbourhood, where some most historic buildings sit alongside the newest, including The Shard - Europe's tallest building. Southwark is known, too, for Borough Market: foodie heaven, with its stalls of everything from artisan olive oil to hot salt beef bagels.
Sometimes overlooked as a residential area because the prominence of the area's offering to travelers - from St Pancras International rail station, to the many nearby hotels - St Pancras is nevertheless a lively neighbourhood with increasingly more to offer to the people who call it home. With unrivalled transport connections and a very diverse range of retail, dining, and entertainment options, this is a very desirable area of London in its own right.
Vauxhall was once down-at-heel, and suffered from traffic snarls and being blocked off from the river by the St George's Wharf development. However, in recent years, the area has blossomed into a desirable place to live - particularly for young professionals who could afford the relatively inexpensive south-of-the-river new-build flats - as a result of a hugely successful regeneration effort.
Victoria is a small, lovely district of Central London that is often overshadowed by its neighbours, and by the eponymous Victoria rail, Underground, and coach stations. Nestled among several of London's large Royal Parks and near the Thames, however, it would be easy to forget that you're in the urban heart of the city. The transport connections in this area are, of course, unparalleled - but anything you could need is a mere cycle or lovely walk away. Mostly occupied by affluent single professionals, lovely residential pockets in this area have an elegant and cosmopolitan air.
Looking at the crowds along the Southbank, it's hard to imagine that this area was dead just a few decades ago, devastated by WWII bombing. But the regeneration efforts since, including the building of contemporary icons like the Southbank Centre and the Tate Modern, have been wholly successful in turning the area around Waterloo station into a destination in its own right. With a range of new-build flats, entertainment options, and excellent transport links, Waterloo is a wonderful neighbourhood to call home.
When most people think of London, the picture Westminster. Its landmarks - from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament - are iconic, and recognisable around the world. It is among the most beautiful parts of London, with some of the most regal buildings (technically speaking), and some of the most sought-after real estate in the world. In Westminster, you could be forgiven for believing you are in the centre of the universe - at the heart of it all.