London is a truly unique city, home to a diverse and eclectic range of people, cultures, architecture and attractions. With property in high demand across the city, house prices are, unsurprisingly, among the highest in the world.
If you’re looking for your own piece of London life and want the very best that the city has to offer, look no further than these five exceptional neighbourhoods.
It might have been made famous by Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the nineties, but Notting Hill has been one of London’s most fashionable areas for quite some time. Home to affluent trendsetters and bohemian arty-types, the streets of Notting Hill are packed with boutique shops, fine dining establishments and one of London’s most famous markets, on Portobello Road.
Located in the north-west of London, Notting Hill Gate is accessible via the Central, Circle and District Lines and is just a short walk away from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Look out for impeccably styled Victorian terraces, particularly around the Ladbroke Grove area. For more information on Notting Hill see this helpful area guide.
On the surface, the neighbourhood of Bloomsbury might seem quiet and sleepy, with little going on. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find hidden gems like beautiful private gardens, charming residential streets and rows of quaint cafes, bookshops and pubs. Best served by the Russell Square tube station, there is little need for a car in Bloomsbury, which is walking (or cycling) distance from Saint Pancras, Covent Garden and Regent’s Park.
You may have to contend with affluent students for a place to live, but with a little patience and savvy, you can snap up an apartment in one of the area’s imposing mansion blocks or scout the quieter back-streets for one of the picturesque mews properties.
There’s a slight misconception that ‘more central’ is akin to ‘better’ in London. While this is often true, Richmond proves that there are exceptions to this rule. Head west along the Thames and, before you reach Twickenham, you’ll find this beautiful neighbourhood that barely feels like part of ‘the Big Smoke’ at all.
Despite being in Zone 4, trains from Richmond Station reach Waterloo in just 21 minutes, making a commute into the City fast and convenient.
Kew Gardens and Richmond Park compete for the title of ‘most scenic’, with one being the home of the iconic Royal Botanic Gardens and the other housing a historic herd of hundreds of deer. The riverside is another picturesque spot, with its many fabulous bars and restaurants perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon.
It’s easy to see why Richmond residents (which include the likes of David Attenborough, Richard Ashcroft and Jerry Hall) claimed to be among the happiest in the UK.
Knightsbridge has long been one of the most exclusive areas in London, with notable residents like Harrods and 1 Hyde Park (the most expensive private real estate in the country). In addition to luxury shopping, you can find a smorgasbord of excellent restaurants, exclusive entertainment venues and London’s best museums. If it’s upmarket living that you’re after, Knightsbridge is the address you want.
The only drawback to this prestigious area is that it falls under strict conservation legislation and a large percentage of its property is listed. Providing you don’t want to make any dramatic changes to your home (and when it’s as beautiful as most are in Kensington, why would you?), life in Kensington is a cut above the rest.
Perhaps Kensington’s closest rival in luxury, Mayfair is situated on the opposite side of Hyde Park. Its pristine streets, lined with stunning Victorian and Georgian terraces, tend to be the image that people conjure when they think of traditional London, whether they know it or not.
Mayfair has a long-standing association with prestige and aristocracy, making it the natural choice of international embassies, London’s most prestigious hotels, exclusive shopping locations and Michelin-starred dining.
In case this ever fails to satisfy, residents are only a short walk away from shopping areas like Covent Garden and Kensington, and green spaces like St James’s Park and Regent’s Park. There’s a reason why Mayfair is the most enviable spot on the Monopoly board.