You may have noticed that we always measure a neighbourhood's distance from Charing Cross in our London guides. That's because, since the 19th century, it has been used as the central position of London and therefore measures an area's distance to the centre of the capital.
It also happens to be a buzzing and vibrant place to live, moments from the River Thames, the West End, Covent Garden, Westminster, the Strand, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Holborn. Yes, it's not cheap, and you need to earn a pretty penny to call the WC1 postcode home. But if you do have the means to live in Charing Cross, there's just about everything you need right on your doorstep.
So, after many guides where we used Charing Cross as a marker for distance, we're now seeing what it's like to live here. Read on and discover everything there is to know about the area, from its homes to the history and everything there is to see and do.
Charing Cross on a map
Charing Cross technically isn't a neighbourhood as it's actually a junction where six routes meet. It's located in central London, with those routes comprising the east side of Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross Road, the Strand, Northumberland Avenue, Whitehall and The Mall.
Charing Cross history
The original Charing Cross was one of the medieval Eleanor crosses that stood in the centre of the hamlet of Charing. It was there until its destruction by Parliament in 1647. The embodiments of the cross remained, however, with the name also given to the railway station.
Charing Cross was referred to as part of Whitehall until 1931, with Drummonds Banks retaining the address 49 Charing Cross until this day. Charing Cross has been the national centre of London since the early 19th century.
Who lives there?
High earners, such as bankers and lawyers, tend to call Charing Cross home. There's also a growing population of wealthy overseas residents who desire a prime central London location. Around 80% of residents rent their homes in Charing Cross.
Renting in Charing Cross
Expect to find a mix of new-build residential developments and converted period properties in Charing Cross. Many of these feature on-site amenities, such as concierges, and enjoy a super-prime central location.
Expect to pay around £2,500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in Charing Cross. A two-bedroom home fetches in the region of £3,500 per month, while a three-bedroom property achieves in the region of £5,000 per month.
Charing Cross transport
Charing Cross is home to one of London's major train stations, which has a variety of services all around London and outside the capital. The area is also served by a tube station located on the Northern and Bakerloo lines. Charing Cross is located in travel Zone 1.
Charing Cross eateries
L'ulivo Charing Cross
A stylish spot in the heart of Charing Cross, L'ulivo is a modern dining room with exposed brickwork and plush interiors. It serves breakfast as well as traditional Italian favourites that'll leave your mouth watering.
Located just a three-minute walk from the National Gallery, Barrafina is a cosy little space presented diner-style. It serves tapas, with small Spanish plates served with sherry, cava and more.
Street Burger Gordon Ramsay
Sample great food under the name of famous chef Gordon Ramsay at Street Burger. This American-inspired chain dishes up posh hamburgers with a choice of toppings, sides and salads.
Things to do and see in Charing Cross
The National Gallery
There is so much to do and see in Charing Cross that it's hard to whittle it down to a few places. But the National Gallery is a must-visit. Located in Trafalgar Square, it was founded in 1824 and houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating back to the mid-13th century.
There's no excuse not to spend some time exploring Covent Garden – after all, it's only a short walk from Charing Cross Road. Hang out at the piazza and watch street performers, visit the boutique shops, dine at the many restaurants and dance the night away in the bars and clubs.
Charing Cross is in the heart of the West End, which means you can watch show after show at the many nearby theatres. Famous venues include The Charing Cross Theatre, Garrick Theatre, Phoenix Theatre and London Coliseum.
Moving to Charing Cross
If you're looking for West End living right in the heart of the action, you'll find it hard to beat Charing Cross. Everything you could ask for is right on your doorstep, and although you need to pay a premium, there's no doubt that this is one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live in the capital.