For many Londoners, this buzzing metropolis is their world. In the Big Smoke, you can find the best of food, theatre, music and people all in one place.
However, which areas deem themselves to be part of the actual centre of this cultural hub is often brought into question.
Central London can generally be categorised as the majority of areas that fall under zones 1, 2 and 3. Think as far north as Harringey, as far south as Streatham, west as far as Ealing and East as far as Stratford.
For (speaking in perspectives) not a very large land mass this up-for-debate, not-unequivocal mapping of Central London holds a lot.
Central London is a true melting pot, a Dickensian-contrast (the best of… and the worst of), an authentic ‘city.’ Think hipsters, bankers, mums, students… the list goes on.
Looking for more ideas? Check out the ultimate guide to the best places to live in London, or our guide for where to live in London if you're a young professional!
Though one might assume Farringdon would not be a fun place to live, what with its plethora of business sectors and suits pounding the pavements all hours of the day, the central location, walkable access to businesses and the major districts and a general ‘buzz’ to the area means Farringdon is an overlooked residential area for many.
A central location – wedged in between Barbican and St Pauls, no less – comes with a lofty price tag though, which goes some way in explaining the potential oversight. Farringdon has enjoyed its own share of youth migration though, with the renovated warehouses and industrial spaces being turned into flatshares and (still expensive) lofts for the young, artsy types.
The likes of Fabric – yes, that Fabric – being based in Farringdon, as well as Smithfield Market has helped revamp the neighbourhood's image as a place to live as well as work.
It's easy to get lost in the idea that Westminster is about nothing politics. Get caught up in the ramblings of Parliament, however, and you'll miss a neighbourhood right in the heart of Central London.
A strong contender for upper net-worth individuals to consider taking residence in, Westminster is situated slightly to the west and standing side by side with the ancient City of London and the Royal Borough of Kensington, with the River Thames to the south. It's a sort of London Netflix; a lot of different genres thrown together in one short stretch.
Just some of the attractions that residents at Westminster get to think of as ‘the neighbourhood’ include Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Prices aren’t as high as some neighbouring areas, helped in part by the fact that Westminster has the second lowest council tax in the country.
Many may have scoffed and skipped to the next option just reading ‘Mayfair.’ After all it is famously renowned for its affordability. There’s no denying Mayfair has earned (some) of its ludicrous expense though.
When one imagines traditional London, they unknowingly think of Mayfair. Beautiful streets, grand Victorian and Georgian terraced houses, nearby landmarks AND being one of the best pieces on the Monopoly board, Mayfair is the perfect postcard area for Londoners who don’t have to worry about budgets.
Nestled in between the iconic Hyde Park and Green Park and sharing shoulder space with trendy Soho and Oxford Street, Mayfair may be a mere pipedream for many of us, but for those who can afford to rent here, the dream crosses over into reality.
Proof that not everywhere central has to cost more than the diamond Rose dropped into the ocean at the end of Titanic, Finsbury Park has become the beating heart for London’s young and hungry. If you’re a recent graduate, a young professional or a soon-to-be parent of a London rug rat, chances are your centre of gravity will drag you to Finsbury Park.
Affordable (relatively speaking, naturally) rents and a thriving revival has made this formerly “upcoming” area a trendy mecca for yuppies and youngsters alike. Walkable access to the likes of Angel and Highbury & Islington, where many new companies are setting up shop, Finsbury Park has seen a boom in cafés, restaurants, gyms and nightlife to entertain the newest generation of city kids.
Don’t let the comforting, soft and squishy name ‘Paddington’ fool you; this is prime London property. Centrally located – just a short distance from the likes of Oxford Street and Marylebone – Paddington has somehow successfully avoided becoming a teaming tourist trap.
That does not mean things aren’t happening in Paddington; the Paddington Waterside project has transformed the area around the canal into a hub of restaurants, shops and green spaces just a short walk from central London and the iconic expanse of Hyde Park.
The net worth of the residents tends to run higher than average which is echoed in the stunning houses. Georgian terraces and newly-built, glass high-rises line the area once only famous for the teddy bear that took its name.
A skip from London Bridge and Tower Bridge, Borough personifies central London living at its best. Taking its name from the historical time when it was the only borough except for the City of London, Borough has boomed in recent years.
A world-famous market, a world-famous museum and skyscraper are just some of the sights and sells of this delightfully London neighbourhood. Residents can shop at Borough Market, wander through the Tate Modern, marvel at the Shard and, if they’re feeling truly overcome with British pride at this sublime slice of London living, go and catch a play at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Its riverside location and easy access to the likes of Waterloo and London Bridge have made this area a draw for professionals.
That all being said, if you prefer to live out of the eye of the storm, check out some of our other area guides: