As a buzzing metropolis with over eight million residents, it can be hard to believe that there are any undiscovered areas in London left as we all jostle for space in the capital. But as a city constantly in flux, there are always some areas which manage to slip under the radar while others enjoy their time in the spotlight, and subsequently see rents rise rapidly as renters and buyers make the mistake of migrating to the latest popular area.
These lesser-known areas are often much cheaper than their famous neighbours, despite being vibrant, friendly, and offering just as many amenities. Some have been neglected due to historic transport issues and may have recently been opened up by expansions in the Overground routes or the soon-to-arrive Crossrail service, while others spent years nursing a bad reputation that they’re only just starting to shake off.
Whatever the reason, this is prime time to look past the usual neighbourhoods and give the best undiscovered areas in London a try - we can guarantee that they won’t stay under the radar for long…
When considering a historic dockside area in London, most people immediately think of places such as Bermondsey, Borough and Canary Wharf, leaving the small and charming Wapping on the north bank of the river to remain relatively peaceful and undiscovered by tourists. Situated in the borough of Tower Hamlets and close to Tower Bridge, Wapping is popular with finance and media professionals working nearby in the City, or in the grand newspaper offices at St Katherine’s Docks.
There’s plenty of maritime influence here, with historic pubs named after famous sailors, docks filled with new boats and shiny yachts, cobbled streets leading to old wharfs and converted warehouse apartments with views over the river. New buildings have been springing up over the last few years as the commercial presence of Wapping has grown, meaning you can also find luxurious penthouses and even the odd houseboat if you are so inclined. As for amenities, in addition to the historic pubs there are plenty of good restaurants and chic bars dotted around the area, so you’ll never be short of somewhere to go on the weekend!
Average price for a two bed property: £3200 per month
Transport: Wapping Overground Station and Tower Hill Underground Station (District and Circle lines)
With a famous tennis tournament and a reputation for good living, Wimbledon gets most of the attention when it comes to areas in this pocket of. Lesser-known neighbour Tooting is definitely starting to give Wimbledon a run for it’s money though, and for a much more budget-friendly price.
Previously known for being friendly but a little dull, the gentrification that has swept through London has made Tooting it’s most recent target, tidying up the old takeaways, revitalising the Tooting Broadway Market and opening up the idea of SW17 to many Londoners who don’t normally tavel this far down the Northern Line. Add a range of properties varying from Victorian terraces to new-build blocks and a historic lido, and it’s not hard to see why Tooting has suddenly become a South London hotspot. What’s more, after spending years as a bit of a culinary desert compared to the restaurants and gastropubs of Wimbledon, Tooting is now getting on the foodie map with the addition of Soho House’s Chicken Shop, which means many more trendy eateries are surely on the way - rumour has it Franco Manca are already scouting the area for a good site.
Average price for a two bed property: £2000 per month
Transport: Tooting Station (Thameslink and Southern) and Toting Broadway Underground Station (Northern line)
Cheaper than …Greenwich
Boasting an expansive park, a Royal Observatory and direct access to the offices of Canary Wharf, it’s no surprise that Greenwich is a sought-after area of London. It’s western neighbour Deptford, on the other hand, has flown under the radar for years despite offering urban cool, cheaper rents and a lively community too.
Described by some as the new Peckham for artistic types seeking the space to create and bringing independent shops, restaurants and bars with them, Deptford has somehow manage to resist the development that comes with gentrification and is still filled with local business, traditional weekend markets and historic housing. Many students from nearby Goldsmiths choose to live here, giving it a diverse mix of residents including students, professionals, families and old-time locals whose families have lived in Deptford for generations. It’s still a bit rough around the edges and you’re unlikely to find many contemporary properties, but for authentic South East London living, a creative atmosphere and low rents, it’s hard to beat.
Average price for a two bed property: £1700 per month
Transport: Deptford Station (South Eastern)
Cheaper than …Shoreditch
Shoreditch may get most of the attention when it comes to East London cool, but it’s Bethnal Green that really shines when it comes to combining great nightlife and hip restaurants with rent that’s still affordable for Zone 2 (and a tube station on the Central line too).
While the bargain shops and a few, err, ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ might still be there, Bethnal Green has been transformed in the last decade from a relatively rough part of East London to a lively and diverse hotspot for young creatives priced out of Shoreditch and Hoxton, and fun-loving Londoners who want to be close to the action while also having an easy commute into the office. The old railway arches have been turned into a culinary playground with renowned restaurants, cocktail bars and even a hairdresser-meets-Korean canteen, and even the old Town Hall has had a makeover into a hotel with renowned dining room. There’s more to here than just eating and drinking though - on the weekends locals often head to Columbia Road Flower Market, Broadway Market or Victoria Park, and there are two great museums in the area. Meanwhile, for a big night out the clubs of Shoreditch and Hackney are still just a walk or a bus ride away.
Average price for a two bed property: £2070 per month
Transport: Bethnal Green Underground Station (Central line) and Bethnal Green Station (Overground)
Lovely, leafy Richmond in South West London is seen by many as the ideal London village for living the ‘best of both’ lifestyle - far enough away from the centre to offer a huge park and relaxed riverside living, but with speeding transport connections that will get you into the heart of London in 30+ minutes. As you would image, all this charm and river views come at a price - there are plenty of million-pound properties here, and it’s considered normal to see an A-lister or former rock star coming out of WH Smith.
However, just a short walk across Richmond Bridge will take you to St Margaret’s, a charming area next to Twickenham which offers a similar lifestyle to Richmond and a lower price. Filled with tree-lined streets of Victorian terraces and large period homes and close to the historic Marble Hill park, the area is popular with families who want a bit more space and good schools nearby. There are also a number of professional couples, particularly in the attractive riverside developments, who flock here to enjoy the quick commute to Waterloo during the week while being able to spend the weekend walking in Richmond Park and enjoying a drink in a quaint riverside pub.
Average price for a two bed property: £1950 per month
Transport: St Margaret’s Station (South West Trains)