Nestled in-between the charming streets of Belgravia, the powerful, political hallways of Westminster and the Queen's own private residence at Buckingham Palace, Victoria shares its borders with some pretty grand neighbours. However, house hunters looking for something aristocratic and traditional in Victoria are likely to be disappointed - this is a fast-paced hub of commerce, business and transport, with a few accommodation options thrown in.
Victoria is a relatively compact area, centred around the large Victoria Station where trains arrive from and debark to locations across the UK including Brighton, Guildford and Epsom. Victoria Station also offers a national coach station (and international, if you can bear the thought of a 10+ hour drive to the continent) plus three tube lines, so it’s a very popular area for commuters and frequent travellers.
Bordering these affluent areas gives Victoria a distinct personality; turn down a side street towards Belgravia and gone are the traffic fumes and lines of coaches, replaced by posh boutiques and quaint cafes. Head towards Westminster and you’ll find yourself in a modern shopping centre, packed with high-street chains and beloved British restaurants.
In recent years its become somewhat of a hub for businesses too, with the likes of Google UK and the Daily Telegraph relocating here due to the excellent office facilities and easy access. This has led to various commercial retail centres, and while there are few interesting, independent businesses in the area, you're never far away from a Pret or a Zara. Not traditionally known for having a wide choice of restaurants, dining options in the area are rapidly improving, with everything from healthy salad bars to Michelin-starred dining now on your doorstep.
On a map
Victoria is located in the Borough of Westminster. It is situated to the east of Belgravia and the west of Westminster , and covers the postcode SW1.
History of Victoria London
Once part of the parish of St George Hanover Square and home to a large brewery from the 1600s until it was demolished in the 1950s, Victoria was considered for many years to be rather a nondescript area between the wealthy enclaves of Knightsbridge and Belgravia, and the political hub of Westminster.
The fate of Victoria finally changed when Victoria Station was built in 1860. The current London stations were inconvenient for travellers trying to travel to the south of England, particularly to budding seaside resorts such as Brighton which were becoming increasingly popular with Londoners looking for some respite from the city smoke on the weekends. For years it was technically two stations in one due to competing rail companies, until they were finally combined in the 1920s.
Following the arrival of Victoria Station, businesses began to flock to the area and the main offices of a number of key businesses are located here, including the flash Daily Telegraph building on Buckingham Palace Road, and Google UK headquarters.
Transport from Victoria London
Victoria is excellently positioned for travelling around London and beyond, due to its relatively central location and the number of transport options available. Trains depart from Victoria Station to locations across South London, South England (including Brighton) and Gatwick Airport for travelling abroad. Three underground lines also connect to Victoria Station, the Circle, District and Victoria lines, meaning a journey to Oxford Circus takes just 10 minutes, and a journey to King’s Cross only 13 minutes.
Aside from trains, Victoria also has a large coach station with coaches departing regularly for cities across the UK and in Europe, such as Edinburgh, Exeter and even Amsterdam. Meanwhile for places a little closer to home such as Green Park and Chelsea, Victoria is a short walk away.
Cost of living in Victoria London
The rental market in Victoria is dominated by modern buildings, mansion houses and apartment blocks, although a few properties in older terraced houses can be found towards the edges of Pimlico and Belgravia.
Due to its relatively central location and great transport connections, prices in Victoria are higher than neighbouring Pimlico and Westminster, although still lower than nearby Sloane Square, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. As of 2016, the average rental price of a two-bedroom apartment in Victoria is £4500 per month, although properties can be found starting at £1800 per month.
Restaurants in Victoria London
Transport yourself to the delightful canals of Venice at this beloved Italian restaurant on Gillingham Street, which serves a variety of traditional and modern sharing plates. Come with friends and order a range of dishes such as wild seabass, Italian artichokes, calamari and lobster linguine, before finishing with a creamy pistachio tiramisu.
Address: 8 Gillingham St, London SW1V 1HJ
Phone:020 7769 9771
Hark back to the golden days when Victoria was home to glamorous rail travel at the historic Goring Dining Room, where you can enjoy a Michelin-starred meal in an Edwardian setting. Situated inside a luxurious hotel beloved by the likes of Kate Middleton and family, the menu is packed with gourmet British produce including Romney Marsh lamb and Cornish fish, and they offer a great value pre-theatre menu too.
Address: The Goring Hotel, 15 Beeston Pl, London SW1W 0JW
Phone:020 7396 9000
Decorated with beautiful floor tiles, low hanging lamps and leather chairs, Iberica on Victoria Street brings tapas into the high-end realm with their innovative menu from an award-winning chef. Rather than the usual Spanish dishes, they offer a feast for the tastebuds including bean stew with hare, deer loin, crunchy ham croquettes and chorizo lollipops. Too many small dishes to choose from? Go for the traditional signature paella instead.
Address: 68 Victoria St, London SW1E 6SQ
Phone:020 3327 0200
Just around the corner from Victoria Station, Crush is a hugely popular lunch spot with those who work in the area (including a fair few famous journalists). With a healthy menu of smoothies, juices, salads, wraps and noodle pots the food here is both delicious and virtuous — and you’ll feel a lot less guilty about that extra slice of co-worker's birthday cake around 4pm too!
Address: 9 Eccleston St, London SW1W 9LX
Phone:020 7730 1689
Shops in Victoria London
Selling everything from clothes and accessories to quirky wall art and china mugs, it’s hard to pigeonhole the wide range of items on offer at this shop. Located in the shopping centre attached to Victoria Station, it’s ideal for picking up a last minute gift before hopping on the train, plus their regular sales mean you’re likely to be able to grab a bargain too.
Address: 115 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9SJ
Phone:020 7828 5345
While Boots and Superdrug may have the market in affordable health and beauty covered, they can’t compete with modern apothecary Space NK when it comes to cult beauty and must-have brands. With products including Nars make-up, Eve Lom face cleansers and Diptique candles, it’s the best place to stock the bathroom cabinet with envy-inducing products.
Address: 4 Cathedral Walk, London SW1E 5JD
Phone:020 7821 8066
Know your baguette from your ciabatta? Bread fans will love this French bakery on the charming Elizabeth Street, which serves the famous Poilane sourdough loaf as well as Viennese pastries, jams, gingerbread and even bread knives for the perfect slice.
Address: 46 Elizabeth St, London SW1W 9PA
Phone:020 7808 4910
Things to do in Victoria London
With views of London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the London Eye peeking through the trees, a pretty lake and even it’s own resident colony of Pelicans, it’s hard to beat a stroll through St James Park on a warm spring day. Grab a deckchair and an ice cream, and enjoy an afternoon in the sun.
Address: London SW1A 2BJ
Phone: 0300 061 2350
One of the finest cinemas in the independent Curzon cinema group, this Victoria venue beats the usual Odeon and Vue cinemas by a mile due to the extra-comfy chairs, relaxed lounge bar and screenings ranging from unknown art-house films to Hollywood blockbusters. Frequent cinema-goers can apply for a membership to benefit from discounts and priority bookings too.
Address: 58 Victoria St, London SW1E 6QW
Phone:0330 500 1331
Pay a visit to Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, a regal royal residence dating back to 1703. It’s been used as the principal palace for the British Royal Family since 1837, when Queen Victoria moved in, and has been home to Elizabeth II since the 1950s. While you’re unlikely to meet the Queen herself on your visit, there’s a huge amount to see including impressive architecture, historic furniture, and from July 2016, a unique exhibition on the Queen’s outfits throughout the years.
Address: London SW1A 1AA
Phone: 0303 123 7300
Main image credit: Amanda Slater