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Neighbourhoods to Visit if it's Your First Time in London

7 April 2021 Simon Banks Read time: 4 min
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Simon Banks

So you've just moved to London. It's safe to say that your excitement levels must be at ten. Along with New York and Paris, London is one of the top three cities in the world, and now you get to call it home. But where do you start your new journey? After settling into your new home, you will want to explore the capital and its eclectic neighbourhoods. So we've gone and put this handy guide together listing all the areas you should visit if it's your first time in London. Who knows? One of them might even be the place of your new humble abode

The West End

One of the most-visited areas of the capital, the West End is full of entertainment. This is the place to go for world-class shopping on Bond Street, exclusive dining in Mayfair or a show or two at one of the many theatres around Leicester Square and Covent Garden. The West End is a tourist's delight and a great place to experience if it's your first time living in London. After taking in all the buzz of places like Soho, head to one of the calmer areas like Marylebone for a coffee before going for a stroll around Hyde Park

Shoreditch

Some argue that Shoreditch has become too commercialised, but it's still one of the best places to discover another side of London. Built on hipster and bohemian vibes, Shoreditch is jam-packed with bars and nightclubs, making it one of the best areas for nightlife in the capital. Head to Boxpark for a few drinks or grab a bite to eat at Dinerama. Then go for a walk down Brick Lane, taking in excellent street art and sampling some of the best Indian food spots in the world. 

Hampstead

Embrace the village vibes in northwest London's Hampstead, one of the capital's most sought-after neighbourhoods. Stroll the cobbled streets and visit local independent boutiques or stop at one of the many restaurants or gastropubs that serve up a treat. Of course, you can't visit Hampstead without going to Hampstead Heath with its 790 acres of rolling greens, unkempt woodland and swimming ponds. It's one of the best open spaces in London. 

Battersea

A place that's equally as desirable for young single professionals as it is for families, Battersea is one of London's best residential areas. It's also a great neighbourhood to visit too, with Battersea Park somewhere you can enjoy a scenic stroll. There are many gastropubs to enjoy a Sunday Roast, and Battersea's fantastic River Thames location only adds to the allure. The Battersea Power Station has also been regenerated and now offers restaurants, shops and some very snazzy buildings. 

Kensington & Chelsea

Another prime postcode, Kensington & Chelsea are two neighbourhoods that cross each other's boundaries to offer some serious style. Head to South Kensington and wander down Exhibition Road, visiting world-famous museums like the V&A and Science Museum. Or pay a visit to Kensington High Street and the King's Road in Chelsea for independent boutiques and five-star shopping. Round your visit off with a trip to Sloane Square, where you can enjoy a hot brew and a fancy pastry. 

Canary Wharf

The Docklands has gone from a sleepy waterside area to a super-prime postcode in the last 10 years, and Canary Wharf sits at the forefront of it all. The area is its own metropolis in the capital, with skyscrapers that dominate the London skyline. There's also excellent restaurants, the Canary Wharf Shopping Centre, an increasing number of entertainment venues, such as the Everyman Cinema and awesome waterfront bars with fantastic views. 

The City

London's Square Mile is full of history and has expertly merged the old with the new. You'll find iconic buildings like St Paul's Church in the City, along with modern designs such as 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin). There are five-star restaurants to sample, plus a range of shops (including Cheapside shopping centre) and great spots to visit like the Sky Garden with its classy restaurants and bars offering sweeping views of the capital. Or simply just walk around the Square Mile, admiring London's buildings and a history that dates back to the Roman Times. 

Brixton

Brixton is a South London gem full of buzz and vibes. There are great bars and pubs to visit, many of which feature live music. The food scene is eclectic, with everything from Caribbean restaurants to Italian delights, and there's great entertainment found in classic buildings like The Ritzy, which shows films and hosts live events. Brixton is all about fantastic food, great bars, pop-up stores and jazzy nightlife. 

Notting Hill

Is there anywhere more recognisable in London than Notting Hill? The West London neighbourhood rose to fame after its namesake movie, and it's now one of London's most in-demand areas. Wander the streets and admire the pretty-coloured houses, stop by the local cafes to soak up the atmosphere in the area and find a gem at Portobello Market. There's also the Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place every August and celebrates Caribbean heritage, arts and culture. It's also one of the best festivals in the world. 

Camden

There's no area quite like Camden, a place full of electric vibes and home to one of the best markets in town. With a history of punks and protestors, Camden has always played by its own rules, and the NW1 postcode has become a bona fide hit as a result. Today, 100,000 people visit Camden Market each weekend, with many more heading the quirky bars and cafes and eclectic restaurants that serve everything from bangers and mash to Brazilian cuisine. 

South Bank

Head to South Bank to experience London's creative buzz and some of the best tourist attractions around. Whether you're spending time on the London Eye and taking in views of the capital, visiting the Borough Market for some delicious local food or going to the Southbank Centre for an exhibition, South Bank has something for everyone – and it's all to the backdrop of scenic river views. 

The best of London neighbourhoods

As you can see, there is so much to explore in the capital. We've only just begun to scratch the surface with these excellent neighbourhoods, and London is a city that will always throw up something new – no matter how long you've lived here. So where will you visit first after moving to the capital? One of the areas on our list or another great London neighbourhood?

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