London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom - and, some would say, the world. Although the term ‘Greater London’ is used to mean many different things, it generally refers to the parts of the capital which lie outside the City of London. It can be divided into Inner London and Outer London, which is useful for getting a general idea of distance and commute times into Central London. With some of the world’s most famous institutions, people, and landmarks, and a large and diverse population, London has something for everyone. As Samuel Johnson famously said, ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’
Barking is a town that is being wholly regenerated, with much work having already been completed in the town centre a big new project set to deliver over 10,000 new riverside homes. The neighbourhood has the huge advantage of having two Tube lines, the Overground, and rail services, making it exceptionally well-connected for Zone 4. It also has good road links, and is very near London City Airport. Barking also has some of London's most affordable housing - for now - including Thirties semis that would attract families and newly-built town centre apartment buildings for young professionals.
Barnet is a commuter suburb at the north edge of London, offering the best of both London and the countryside. There is a wide range of property available here, but many of the properties would be good for families, including the wide selection of terraces, semis, and detached period and modern houses. There are also great transport links by road or by rail, including a Tube link at High Barnet and the M25 motorway. Schools in this area are very good, and there is a lot of green and open space for residents to enjoy, from golf courses and riding schools to heathland and playing grounds. Barnet residents - especially families - tend to stay within the area when they trade up or down the housing ladder.
Beckenham is a suburban part of London that still has the feeling of being a town, with many independent businesses and local amenities. It has a variety of property available, but a good stock of family homes in particular. Schools and green spaces are also very good, contributing to this being a very family-friendly area. Though it is somewhat far out, transport links are very good, too - there are many train stations serving Beckenham.
Belvedere is now part of Greater London, but retains the feel of being the Kentish town it once was. However, despite being on the far edges of London, the town is very well-connected by train - the journey to London Bridge takes about half an hour - and the surrounding areas can meet most of the daily needs of residents. Property in this area is relatively affordable, and there are good parks and schools. There are also good pubs and a fairly wide selection of shops for Belvedere residents to enjoy.
Bexley is a suburb on the very edge of South East London, bordering Kent. It is a place with a villagey atmosphere, full of great parks, independent businesses, and affordable family homes. It comes with the benefit of being in Zone 6 and served by its own rail station, as well as having good road links. It's a good area for families, with a choice of good schools - including selective schools - alongside the affordable homes and greenery.
Bexleyheath is a leafy suburb with a long history that still adds to the lives of its residents. Fine period properties are dotted throughout the area, from Georgian gems and red-brick Victorian houses to modern houses, and the gardens of historic homes like the Tudor house Hall Place are local amenities. More modern advantages to living in this area include good rail connections and road links, as well as good shopping and entertainment facilities. Families tend to favour this area because of the relatively affordable family homes, great access to green space, and excellent state schools - but young professionals choosing to live in the new-build flats will also find much about Bexleyheath is to their taste.
Brentford is a West London suburb that benefits from having two rivers, many beautiful parks, and great transport links. As one might expect with an area that has two rivers, there is a lot of waterfront housing, including many new-build apartments. Those who prefer more classic period architecture will also find it in Brentford, and at a much more affordable price than in neighbouring areas like Richmond. Schools in this area are generally good, adding to the amenities for families, and road, rail, and bus links are all good in this part of town.
Bromley is a residential suburb with a lot to offer families in particular. Property is relatively affordable, for London, and the range on offer is wide - everything from detached Edwardian houses to new-build flats can be gound here. There is also good access to green and open spaces, and schools - both primary and secondary schools - are very good. For commuters, there are several rail stations, offering quick commutes to hubs like Victoria and Charing Cross. In 2014, Bromley was ranked as one of the happiest places to live in London by The Information Capital.
Carshalton is a villagey suburb on the fringes of London. It is popular with families, who come for the good grammar schools, the wide selection of large family homes, and good local amenities. There are nice parks and ponds, lending to the rural atmosphere, but with the benefits of living on the outskirts of a major city - and with a fair range of local shops and businesses, too. Those who have to commute have their choice of two Zone 5 rail stations, as well as good bus and road links.
Chessington is a quiet suburb on the fringes of South West London, popular with professional couples with children who are looking for more space to live in. Though it is located about 11 miles from Central London, Chessington has two rail stations with trains that can reach Waterloo in just 30 minutes, making it a good option for commuters.
Chislehurst is a pretty village that has been absorbed into South East London, but managed to retain its rural feel thanks to the protected land that surrounds it. It is one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in this part of London, thanks to the combination of the village atmosphere that appeals to families as well as local amenities and proximity and transport links to Central London. Chislehurst offers the best of both rural and city living, and its wide range of property ensures that anyone could find a suitable house here.
Coulsdon is a town located in Surrey, which has been absorbed by London. Positioned on the fringes of Greater London, this villagey area offers the best of both worlds - the strong sense of community and greenery associated with the small towns, and the benefits of a major city close by and easily accessed by public transport. There is a good selection of homes that are suitable for families, as well as both state and private schools, making this area appealing to young families. Transport links for commuters are good, too, and the area's older residents will enjoy the local amenities - including a medieval church, good shops, and welcoming pubs.
Croydon has had something of a bad reputation for many decades, partly because of its centre filled with unattractive Sixties tower blocks. However, as a major town centre in its own right, yet with affordable prices for London, Croydon deserves a second chance. There is a range of property available in this area, including period properties that would be much more expensive in Zone 2. There are also good shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs in Croydon, so residents need not always go into Central London for entertainment - though if they choose to, or must commute, transport links are excellent. Ongoing investment into the area ensures that Croydon's outlook is only going to improve.
Dagenham used to be a rural Essex village, but was swallowed up by the capital, and now relatively few traves of its ancient history remain - a 12th century church and a listed 18th century pub are hints of its past. The vast green and open spaces also allow residents to feel like Dagenham is still a rural village. More recently, the area has been an industrial centre, with housing for working-class residents built in the Sixties and Seventies. Despite being on the fringes of London, however, the area has excellent transport links, including several stations with access to the District Line and c2c rail services.
Ealing was dubbed the Queen of the Suburbs in the 1880s because of its excellent balance between city and rural living - and whilst London has changed significantly in the many decades since, that title is still deserved. With unrivalled transport links, including access to four Tube lines, rail services, and good bus and road links, Ealing feels very central - however, its huge green and open spaces preserve the area's rural charms. Attractive, spacious houses and schools round out the appeal for families, and young professionals can enjoy the array of shops and restaurants in the area.
Edgware was a village until the 1920s, and its long history is still evident in the half-timbered buildings lining its high street. Now, it's an affluent commuter town, popular with families - and it's easy to see why. There is a good supply of semi-detached houses in this area. It's safe, and relatively green, with good schools - and yet, it's on the Tube, and is served by night buses, making it easy and quick to get into Central London.
Enfield straddles the border between North London and Hertfordshire. There are still some 14th-century remnants of Enfield's past as a small town, but today it is a thriving suburb offering the best of both London life and country living. Enfield has several train stations, as well as good bus and road links, making commuting into Central London easy. It's a good place to look for a family home - or a home for pets - that's relatively affordable, in an area with an abundance of green space. Schools are also good, making this area ever popular with families.
Erith is on the fringes of South East London, where the capital has encroached on Kent. The area is a mix of industrial and rural land surrounding the town centre, with salt marshes to the east and a riverside high street. The town was mostly built in the Sixties, and the area has a largely suburban feel. Erith is on the receiving end of a lot of recent and ongoing regeneration efforts, which Bexley Council hopes will make it a place to live in its own right rather than a place that is thought of as being on the very fringe of London.
Feltham is a residential area that is very close to Heathrow Airport, and well-connected to Central London. The area is family-friendly, with affordable property, excellent parks, and good schools. Proximity to Heathrow means that a lot of local business serves the airport, and there are also some major employers based in the area, but road and rail links are excellent for commuters, with trains to Waterloo, access to the Piccadilly Line, and good bus and road links.
Greenford is one of many London suburbs that still retains the feel of the small town it was before the capital absorbed it. Property in Greenford is relatively affordable, and includes many homes that are suitable for families. It has a small town centre, as well as other local amenities - including excellent access to green and open spaces and waterways - but also has outstanding transport links. Greenford is served by the Piccadilly and Central Lines, which run a Night Tube service at weekends, making it easy to get to and from Central London at all hours. Heathrow is also a short Tube ride or drive away.
Hampton is one of many villages that has been absorbed by the capital's sprawl, but it still manages to feel like the riverside resort is was a couple of centuries ago. This is partly because of Hampton's unparalleled access to beautiful green spaces, including Bushy Park, the boutique businesses, and pubs that wouldn't be out of place in the countryside. Add in the fact that there is a wide range of attractive period and modern property, the good schools, and a few Zone 6 rail stations, and this is the perfect place for families - it's no wonder they rarely leave once settled here.
Harrow may be best known for its public boarding school, which has produced many famous and accomplished Britons, but that's far from the only thing this neighbourhood has to offer. A wide range of period and modern property, including a good stock of homes suitable for families, is found in this area. Harrow also offers good access to green space, and yes, good schools - state primary and comprehensive schools, not just the public school. And, located in Zone 5, two Tube stations and the Overground serve a handful of stations - making things easy for commuters, too.
Hayes is a suburban town in West London which is now home to many people who work at Heathrow. It is well-connected to the airport and to Central London, and in fare zone 5, but it can feel much more remote - big parks, waterways, and village pubs make it feel like it's in a much more peaceful setting. Property is relatively affordable in this area, and schools are generally good, making this a good place for families to live.
Formerly a part of Essex, this London suburb is an area with a particularly strong sense of community. Many Hornchurch residents have strong family ties to the area, and will either stay here or eventually return after moving away. A large part of the market is local, but there's a lot to encourage outsiders to move to Hornchurch - there are spacious Twenties and Thirties homes, lovely green spaces, good schools, and of course multiple Tube stations.
Hounslow is a multicultural town located in West London, near Heathrow. It is a relatively affordable place to live, and has a wide range of property types to offer, from purpose-built flats for young professionals to large semi-detached houses for families. There is also a wide selection of schools, and good access to green space, rounding out the requirements for a family-friendly area. For commuters, transport links into and out of Central London by Tube, rail, bus, and road - or even plane - are outstanding.
Ilford has long been torn between its identity as an Essex town and as part of Greater London, and it's as yet unclear how ongoing regeneration - and changes brought on by the arrival of Crossrail - will factor in. However, this is part of why Ilford has something for everyone. The town centre is increasingly full of new-build flats, but there are lovely period properties of all sizes on the outskirts. Transport links and nightlife for young professionals are great, but so are parks and schools for families. And not only does Ilford have something to offer any demographic, but it does so at a bargain, compared to much of London.
Isleworth, like many areas this distance from Central London, used to be a village - and the evidence of that remains in what is now called Old Isleworth, where there are lovely period properties along the river. Though many people look in this area because they are priced out of neighbouring Richmond or Chiswick, Isleworth has many good qualities in its own right that make it a nice place to live, as well as good value for money. The area is popular with young families in particular, who appreciate the greenery and riverfront, good schools, and Thirties semis as well as the transport links.
Kenley is a small town that is just within the borders of London. It is well-connected to nearby Croydon as well as to Central London, but still feels semi-rural - partly because of the easy access to green and open space in the area. There is a good supply of homes that are suitable for families, and a wide selection of schools. Kenley is somewhat quiet, but offers a fair few local amenities, including parks, and it is overall a nice place to live.
Keston is a villagey area that is nominally part of London, but feels like part of the nearby Kent countryside. With acres of green and open space, large detached houses, and small village shops, this is an area that appeals to families and older people in particular. It is quiet and somewhat remote, but its proximity to areas like Bromley or Central London makes up for what Keston itself lacks, from retail options to nightlife.
Kingston upon Thames was once the market town where Saxon kings were crowned. Today, it is a suburb of London, as well as being home to a university. Students, young professionals, and families live side by side in this leafy riverside area, in large Victorian houses, new riverside flats, and everything in between. There is excellent access to green and open space - aside from the river, there are several Royal Parks in the area - as well as the good housing stock and schools. Kingston is also well-connected by rail to Central London, with a Zone 6 station offering services to Waterloo.
Once a Surrey town, Mitcham is now a suburb of London with good transport links to the centre, and to other areas like Croydon or Wimbledon by a relatively new tram. It's a family-friendly area, with a high percentage of residents who are children, affordable family homes, and excellent access to green space. No longer an industrial power source, the River Wandle and the many parks, including Mitcham Common, help Mitcham feel peaceful and green despite the good local commercial development.
Morden is a suburb that lies at the end of the Northern Line in Zone 4. Previously overlooked in favour of nearby areas like Wimbledon, various factors are now encouraging Londoners to consider Morden - including the council's plans to improve the high street and the area around the Tube station, as well as building new, affordable homes. The area is already attractive to families, however, with its good supply of family homes, green spaces, and great schools - and young professionals benefit from good transport into Central London, even in the wee hours, with the Northern Line.
New Malden, otherwise known as Little Korea because of its large Korean community, is a family-friendly suburb in South West London. There is outstanding access to green and open space in this area, with parks in the neighbourhood and proximity to Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. There's a good supply of houses in this area, particularly Twenties and Thirties houses, and schools are good. Transport links to Central London are also useful for commuters. The large Korean community has also created a range of celebrated restaurants and shops, including karaoke bars, which make for a quirky nightlife scene.
Found the North-Western fringe of Greater London, Northolt is a residential suburb. Northolt does not have much of a town centre, but is well-connected by its own Central Line station and by road and rail. The housing stock in this area is mainly Twenties and Thirties terraces and semis, with many homes that are relatively affordable and which would be suitable for families. The area also has good schools and access to green and open space, contributing to the area's reputation for family-friendliness.
Northwood is a suburban town on the border of Greater London and Hertfordshire. It is known for having an excellent balance between proximity and ease of access to Central London and leafy, quiet roads and green space characteristic of more rural areas. There are three Tube stations served by the Metropolitan Line, making commuting into the centre easy. There are also great schools and large, detached homes here, making this a good place for families, too. Northwood also has a high percentage of residents who are older people, showing that it's an area that appeals to all ages.
Orpington is a commuter suburb of London. In the 1960s, the 'Orpington man' was the term for a typical lower-middle-class British voter. If the new-build mansions in the area are anything to go by, some things may have changed in the intervening decades - however, Orpington remains a nice suburb of London. For commuters, there are great rail and road links to Central London and beyond. For families, there are spacious period and modern family homes and great schools. And for everyone else, there are good parks, local shops, and restaurants.
Pinner is a medieval village that has been absorbed by London's sprawl and now benefits from its historical buildings and traditions as well as London conveniences - including a Tube link.
Purley is a suburb on the southern edge of London, near Croydon. It is popular with families because of the wide range of comparatively affordable family homes and good selection of schools, as well as the good access to green and open space and the countryside. Purley residents don't have to give up the conveniences of London, though - with four train stations, offering quick journeys to Victoria and London Bridge, and the amenities of Croydon accessible by a quick bus ride, Purley offers the best of both worlds.
A leafy green village on the river Thames, Richmond is known for being the favoured home of royalty for hundreds of years. Technically located in Surrey, Richmond nevertheless has excellent transport links, by tube and Overground trains, into central London.
Romford is a town on the edges of London and Essex with a lot to offer its residents. With quick commute times - trains from Romford's London Travelzone stations take about half an hour to Liverpool Street - you'll still feel like you're within easy reach of London, but without the accompanying house prices.
Although the first thing that springs to mind at the mention of Wimbledon is tennis, the area is also known for having a villagey feel, abundant green space, and easy transport into Central London. A historic area, also Wimbledon boasts some special attractions, like numerous horse riding stables in the area and the last dog racing track in London. This area is popular with families, couples, and wealthy ‘crash pad professionals’.