What's the best area to live in London as a young professional?
Each London postcode has its own personality. The young professionals who prefer a buzzing nightlife might be fascinated by East London, while renters that are looking for a quieter neighbourhood might consider moving to West London. North London offers a good mixture of the previous two, while South London, now home to lots of local amenities, is becoming more and more popular among young professionals.
Depending on your precise expectations, you might prefer one of the different postcodes... the video below will help you get a general idea to start your search!
What are some of the most popular areas?
Some of the most popular areas for young professionals moving to London include:
- Shoreditch: famous for the buzzing nightlife
- Dalston: where renters can find the East London vibes at a budget
- Hackney Wick: known for the lively canal-side cafes
- Fulham: one of the most searched areas on Movebubble
- Maida Vale: quiet and clean neighbourhood
- Camden: with its hipster markets
- Angel: with lots of restaurants and bars
- Hampstead: famous for one of the mot beautiful parks in London
- Clapham: definitely the most sought-after areas by young professional
- Battersea: West London vibes at a lower price
- Bermondsey: with many local amenities including markets and cafes
How to choose what's the best area for you...
Every day my team and I scour the Internet and pound the streets to find out about the best events in London, rental prices in different areas, what people are talking about and yes, where people that are moving to in this amazing, crazy city that everyone wants to live.
Renting property for the first time as a young professional in London can be a daunting task and if you're looking for flats and houses to rent in London (as thousands do each year), it can seem like a lot of work just to narrow down an area 😬 The city is huge and the pressure of finding a rental quickly has reduced many a would-be-Londoner to tears.
But don't worry, this article should help you narrow down your search. Click on the links to find out more about each area.
What are the most sought-after areas in London?
North of the Thames is where most young people live, with two thirds of 25-35 year olds living in what is seen as the trendier, more established side of the river. Of that age bracket, 90% choose to live in Zones 1, 2 and 3 of the underground. This is mainly because it's a cheaper and simpler commute whilst also offering a massive choice of cultural hotspots and evening activities.
If you're moving you'll definitely find the fabulous ultimate guide for newbie Londoners really helpful!
Let's have a closer look at the different areas of London
1. East London
East London is famous for its bohemian, cool, arty residents. As West London became more expensive, hoards of graduates and people involved or employed in the lower paid creative industries flocked east and have never looked back. The resulting gentrification has been a topic of debate, as residents saw the demographic of their beloved area rapidly changing to accommodate new tastes.
Artisan coffee shops, galleries, bars and restaurants began popping up and that in turn has made prices rise in what had been a much less expensive area to live.
East London now is still very much a vibrant and eclectic scene. Mostly, it's still cheaper to eat, drink and live in East London but prices are rising.
Some great places to live in East London are:
Shoreditch and Dalston
Image credit: teatimeinwonderland.fr
If you're looking for somewhere with a bohemian, eclectic and downright awesome mix of people, look no further than Shoreditch. The E1 postcode is one of London's most original and unique areas where the sophisticated moneymaking Liverpool Street and City bankers work alongside market traders, fashionistas and silicon roundabout entrepreneurs. It's a true mix of the financial, creative and media centres in London.
If Shoreditch is a little expensive then take a look at Dalston. In the borough of Hackney (Hackney is a borough so don't confuse it with the area Hackney, which is also inside the borough of Hackney - just to be confusing). Heralded as the coolest place in London by Italian Vogue, the area has become more and more popular over the last few years.
Rental prices start at around £2,900 per month in Shoreditch and £1,900 in Dalston (based on a 2 bedroom property). Living in or near Shoreditch will put you in Zone 2 of the underground.
For other great East London areas check out the best places to live in East London which also include:
2. West London
West London is known for being more expensive, housing the London boroughs that reflect what most people imagine as the grand, traditional London architecture. TV shows like Made in Chelsea do nothing to dispel this image, with wealthy Londoners depicted running around the cobbled, mansion-lined streets sipping cocktails and carrying small dogs and much larger shopping bags.
Image credit: Jaqueline Clair
No matter what anyone says though, West London is charming. Tree-lined streets and well-manicured parks are fitting for the area where Her Majesty the Queen resides (Buckingham Palace is West London's most famous house).
Some great places to live in West London are:
Maida Vale offers a quieter lifestyle, where kids can play in the street and it makes "home" a place far removed from the hustle and bustle of Central London. It is of course the home of Abbey Road studios and tourists can often be seen recreating the iconic Beatles album cover on that zebra crossing!
Little Venice boasts a wealth of cosmopolitan bars and restaurants where a canal cruise or a brisk walk will take you to Camden Lock. The laid-back attitude and lifestyle may make Maida Vale the perfect choice for any country folk looking to move to the city without jumping in at the deep end!
2 bedroom flats can be rented from around £2800 a month.
If you want a completely different contrast from Maida Vale, look no further than Acton. The area could be described as more gritty than its West London counterpart, yet offers a certain charm through the diverse crowd that inhabit the area.
The W3 postcode is one of London's larger areas and is broken down into West, North and East Acton. Rental prices are cheaper than in Maida Vale and the area offers a good transport network which includes tube lines, train stations, regular bus routes and, from 2018, the Elizabeth Line will run through Acton. So get in now before the prices jump.
2 bedroom properties rent for around £1,750 per month.
If you think West rocks then check out some of the best places to live in West London including:
- Kensington and Chelsea,
- Notting Hill,
- Shepherd's Bush,
- Holland Park,
- Richmond (South West)
Looking for more ideas? Check out the ultimate guide to the best places to live in London!
3. North London
North London is generally a little more popular with families, but that doesn't mean it's not a great place for young professionals to live. Camden and Angel (both close to East London) are featured here and are both popular with young professionals thanks to good transport links, popular venues and a vibrant after office hours scene.
North London is one of the most beautiful areas of London and it's easy to fall in love with. Popular areas like Belsize Park and Hampstead aren’t cheap but they remain popular with a young, (generally) higher earning demographic.
Great places to live in North London include:
Image credit: Camden Town London
Camden Town and some of its surrounding areas offer affordable property along with the an alternative lifestyle. One of the greatest things about Camden is the variety of food, antiques, music, fashion and art stalls found in the market that runs alongside Regent’s Canal. The neighbouring tube stop is Kentish Town, which alongside Camden has pleasant-looking studio flats starting at £1,550 per month.
Angel is in Islington, on the northern edge of central London, and is near to the action, but has its own strong cultural and creative identity without there being too many tourists after somehow managing to stay under the radar. There's a big mix of city and artistic media types calling it home and the achingly cool canal-side cafes give everyone a place to take in all the action!
Upper Street (or ‘Supper Street’ as the Evening Standard have dubbed it) has a huge amount of restaurants and bars with varying foods, while the high-street shops of the N1 centre and vintage delights of Camden are great for shopping. Two beds are usually more expensive by the room than 3/4 beds, but as a rule, in Angel the average rent for a two-bed flat is around £2,400 pcm. Search for properties to rent in Angel!
Also check out:
4. South of the Thames
There are some brilliant places to live south of the river for young professionals. It can be a little harder to get back to certain areas after a night out in central London - but with the tubes now running 24/7, this shouldn't be as much of a problem for areas in South London served by the Victoria and Northern Line. Much of South London has an East London feel and areas like Brixton and Peckham are going through the same processes of regeneration and 'gentrification' that East London's been through.
There are some beautiful boroughs like the Royal Borough of Greenwich in South East (popularly used on film sets) alongside artsy, Goldsmith student areas like New Cross, Deptford and Peckham that have distinctly less grand surroundings. All of these areas offer their own unique personality and if you're a little lower on budget but want to experience London at its fullest - check these places out...
South of the Thames is where you'll get better value-for-money. Make sure you check out:
- Clapham Junction,
- New Cross,
- Greenwich (south/east London)
All have great restaurants, pubs and bars and many areas south of the river have large parks and open areas. Battersea is a mix of young people and nice families; the diversity is easy to see - between the commons (Wandsworth and Clapham) young mothers meet for lunch in a stretch of cafes, bars and restaurants labelled “Nappy Valley.”
Prices start from as little as £2,000 to rent in Battersea, and many of the places south of the Thames are a great place to start in London whilst still being in zones 1, 2 and 3 of the underground.
A busy but cool area of London, Brixton is extremely popular with young professionals who like to have a good time. Rent isn't crazy expensive and you'll find a lot of entertainment at your doorstep from bars and beer gardens to clubs, restaurants, food markets, shops, cinemas and more.
It's a multicultural hub, boasting residents from all over the world and a rich culture and history to go along with it. At the end of the Victoria line, it has great transport links for overground, underground, and bus routes. You can get a 2 or 3 bedroom place in Brixton for £1,200 pcm at the cheaper end of the scale.
Tips and free help
We get loads and loads of you guys e-mailing and posting on the blog daily asking advice on where to live in London. We've all done the move before so we know exactly how confused or worried you might be feeling.
There are also a whole stack of great articles from finding the best hairdressers in London to the best places to eat in London and the best cocktail bars in London - as well as our individual area guides! We even talk about how to make a head start when renting. We constantly update these so make sure you check them out or join the newsletter to get each month's exclusive content!
Hope you enjoy all of our blogs on London and if you have any questions then please post them in the comments below. We do our best reply to every comment quickly :)
To discover more area guides and exclusive content about London, make sure you download the Movebubble app.