The problem with describing any area as ‘cool’ is that the very essence of cool is in the unknown, the underground and the up-and-coming. For the purists of London Cool, this therefore means that as soon as you acknowledge an area as cool, it stops being so almost immediately.
Many of London's "cool" areas are going through gentrification, although this isn't something that's exclusive to certain areas, as it's happening throughout London thanks to the rising price of the city rents and houses. Some could debate whether London is cool anymore since many "cool" people just can't afford to live there!
For us, the "cool" areas of London at the moment are the ones with plenty of live music venues, art galleries, quirky new bars and a vibrant, diverse community. Often located near respected art schools, these areas are influenced by the studios and workshops that surround them, leading to a relaxed, creative atmosphere.
Here's some of (what we think are) the coolest places to live in London: Click on the titles for the full guides!
Previously associated with violent sink estates, high rise flats and gun crime, Peckham has undergone a renaissance in the last twenty years and is currently the hottest place to live in South East London. Now home to many photographers, graphic designers and cutting-edge creatives, Peckham mixes artistic cool with a vibrant, multicultural community that gives it a unique atmosphere that is hard to find.
Along with cool rooftop bars and independent clubs, including the Bussey Building, which has been described as ‘Peckham’s answer to the Hacienda’, there is also an award-winning library, an annual film festival and a host of food markets. Young professionals are in luck too, with London Victoria a speedy 13 minutes commute away.
Cheapest rent for a 2-bed flat: £1000 pcm
Described by the Guardian newspaper as the ‘coolest place to live’ (they quoted Italian Vogue no less!), lively Dalston still remains one of London’s most interesting and energetic areas. It’s particularly popular with students and young professionals who are drawn in by the great bars and clubs. With a mix of Victorian terrace houses, ex-council estates and new modern, high-rise buildings, there is a type of property for everyone.
What’s more, the local Ridley Road Market is rumoured to be the inspiration for the famous British soap Eastenders – making Dalston as authentic, East-End London as you can get. Check out our Official Guide to Dalston for tips on transport, food, shops and living in one of London's coolest towns.
Cheapest rent for a 2-bed flat: £1250 pcm
As the previous home of Movebubble HQ, we could be accused of being biased about Shoreditch. Luckily for us, the funky east-London area is now universally recognised by Londoners as a pretty cool place to be. It was probably THE coolest places to live in London at one time but it is beginning to fall out of favour slightly due to the influx of bankers cashing in on the easy commute to the City and driving up the rent. However, there are still plenty of artistic and eclectic things to love about this area.
With the historic Spitalfields market full of independent traders, the curry houses and vintage shops of Brick Lane, and the quirky bars and clubs of Shoreditch High Street, there is always something new to discover here. Many flats are in converted warehouse buildings too, so your chances of getting a cool, exposed brick flat are reasonably high. If you do move in, make sure you check out the 13 best restaurants in Shoreditch, the 10 best bars in Shoreditch and all our other great Shoreditch posts!
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1400 pcm
With Old Street, Moorgate, Shoreditch and Haggerston all in close proximity, Hoxton is filled with a varied mix of slick city workers and cool art students, making the most of the polished City bars on one side, and underground clubs on the other.
Once a Victorian slum filled with alms houses, Hoxton has emerged from this gritty past to become a sought-after area, particularly due to the fantastic transport links offered by Old Street Station.
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1300 pcm
Despite the difference in postcode, Hoxton and Haggerston are actually a mere half-mile apart. While Hoxton boasts great transport and an easy stroll to the City, Haggerston offers its own local music and food festivals, along with a thriving, diverse community. During the spring and summer, Street Feast takes over Dalston Yard every Friday and Saturday, with a smorgasbord of amazing pop up food stalls, an open-air bar, and live music.
Nearby Haggerston Park is also home to the annual Found music festival, where cool Londoners flock to hear new DJs and emerging bands. The only downside to Haggerston is the lack of tube station, but it does the Overground and a lot of buses.
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1500 pcm
Looking for more ideas? Check out the ultimate guide to the best places to live in London, or the places that young professionals live in London!
Home to the infamous Camden Lock Market, Camden was cool long before all these other areas were. Just north of Camden is Kentish Town, a low-key, relaxed area full of food critics drinking real-ale and discussing the latest issue of local magazine The Kentish Towner.
With a more North London Academic vibe than the other cool areas, this is where to live if you want to be close to the action, but not have it being sick on your doorstep at 3am.
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1400 pcm
Kensal Rise is one of the coolest place to live in North West London. From its super cute independent cinema to the great restaurants and cafes in the area, it's a magnet for cool 20/30 somethings. Close to Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove (two other very cool places to live in London).
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1360 pcm
Brixton is associated with Caribbean culture, cool food stalls, buzzing nightlife and a fantastic cinema.
With families filling the neighbouring areas of Camberwell and Clapham South, Brixton is where the young professionals and graduates now want to be in South West London.
Transport is also excellent – Brixton is on the Victoria line, making Central London a very easy commute.
Cheapest rent for a two-bed flat: £1250 pcm
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Main Photo credit: markheybo