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Where to live in London?

05 April 2018

In reality, London is a collection of neighbourhoods and villages stitched together by buses, trains, trams, and of course, the Underground.

N postcodes include a wide variety of nice areas and only a few not-so-nice ones. Most areas have a somewhat suburban feel. Great for families, not so great for nightlife.

Money no object: Highgate. Money to spare: Crouch End. On a budget: Finsbury Park. Be careful about: South Tottenham, Seven Sisters, and Edmonton.

E postcodes generally contain areas that were not very desirable until recently. This is a good thing as it means prices tend be lower than elsewhere. However, it also means there are few truly nice areas; most are still in transition. Great for affordability, not so great for peace and quiet.

Money no object: St Katharine Docks. Money to spare: Wapping. On a budget: somewhere in Hackney (but not for long), Walthamstow, Dalston (if you’re a hipster), or Whitechapel. Be careful about: Hackney (some areas), Beckton, and both East & West Ham.

SE postcodes contain some the best and worst parts of London, so it’s very important to investigate what each area is like. Includes areas that are affordable and great for families and nightlife, as well as areas that aren’t great for any of those things.

Money no object: Blackheath. Money to spare: Greenwich. On a budget: Abbey Wood, Kennington, Herne Hill, or New Cross and Peckham (for hipsters). Be careful about: Lewisham, Elephant and Castle, and Thamesmead.

SW postcodes defy generalisation; they extend to areas on the North side of the Thames, which are some of the most desirable places to live anywhere in the world. Yet, SW postcodes also include some of the most notorious and dangerous areas in England.

Money no object: you’ve got a plethora of choices, including Belgravia, Chelsea, and South Kensington (among others). Money to spare: Earl’s Court or Fulham. On a budget: Tooting, Streatham, parts of Clapham, Wandsworth, and Battersea. Be careful about: Stockwell and South Wimbledon. Brixton is an interesting case because it used to have one the worst reputations in London but it’s now gentrifying faster than almost anywhere else. If you are young and are looking to rent or buy in an area with good nightlife, check out Brixton before it becomes too expensive.

W postcodes include areas that go from the merely pricey to the completely unaffordable. These range from leafy suburbs to the mansions of Mayfair. Generally, the postcode is a good area for kids and families but only if you can afford it. Also note that the further west you go, the more likely that noise from Heathrow will be an issue.

Money no object: Mayfair. Money to spare: Bayswater or Fitzrovia. On a budget: Hammersmith or Acton. Be careful of: North Kensington (especially the area around Latimer Road Station) and White City.

NW postcodes also contain some of the most desired property in London and some of the most deprived estates in the whole of the UK. That said, it really has everything, from quiet suburban streets to the nightlife of Camden. Thus, it can be right or wrong for almost any way you want to live.

Money no object: Hampstead or Primrose Hill. Money to spare: Belsize Park (closer to Chalk Farm), Tufnell Park, or Queen’s Park. On a budget: Kilburn, Willesden, or Kentish Town. Be careful of: South Hampstead, Camden Town, and Sommers Town.


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