8 of the best areas to visit in London
You’ve booked your trip to London – or are just about to – and now the tricky bit starts. With so many incredible things to see and London neighbourhoods to visit, how on earth will you squeeze it all in?!
Born and bred in London, we love the way there’s always something new to see. Check out London’s newest up and coming areas, head into the city for views of a changing skyline or into its cool East End. And with the advent of the city’s new Elizabeth line, it’s easier than ever to get around.
London’s newest neighbourhood – Battersea
The Thames-side wasteland around Battersea Power Station is the latest area to receive a touch of London magic. A £9billion regeneration has transformed the area, providing homes, mesmerising Thames views and, beneath the railway arches, restaurants, cafés and shops.
Top tip: Pause for a coffee on the historic jetty and watch life on the Thames.
Best for Sunday vibes
If your trip to London is over a weekend, then the city’s East End is the place to head for. Start early at the Columbia Road flower market where, on Sundays, the boutique-lined street is awash with plant and flower stalls – and a mass of people! From here, you can escape to the slightly quieter Broadway market – a Victorian street market with over 70 shops, cafés and restaurants. At nearby Spitalfields, the former fruit and veg market now has stalls with clothes, jewellery and accessories as well as retail outlets.
Top tip: Enjoy the best salt beef bagels in town, courtesy of the Brick Lane Beigel Bake, in nearby Brick Lane.
Best for City Slickers
Covering just one square mile, London’s Square Mile is the very heart of the City. Start your journey with a stroll round Eataly by Liverpool Street station, then continue through Leadenhall Market and past some of London’s most iconic buildings such as the Gherkin and Sky Garden. If you’re visiting over the next few months, visit Superbloom at the Tower of London where 20 million seeds have been sown in the moat to create a magnificent flower display to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Top tip: Forget a traditional English fry-up – make time for a delicious Italian coffee and custard-crammed pastry at Eataly!
London transformed – King’s Cross
Londoners have welcomed the ongoing 20-year transformation of King’s Cross from a rundown industrial estate to a truly vibrant area where we all want to live! The area is still home to iconic cultural institutions such as the British Library but has incorporated its heritage into stunning new developments such as Coal Drops Yard and canal side apartments created from former gasworks.
Top tip: Add a canal side walk from Kings Cross to Camden Market.
London by night
Of course there’s enough nightlife going on in London to satisfy any partygoer. But what if you’re more interested in visiting somewhere where you can just soak up the London vibes and views? Head for the Southbank, London’s cultural heartland, where you can take your pick of live music, film, exhibitions and performing arts. Outside the National Theatre and Festival Hall, restaurants, bars and pop up street food stalls line the Thames side walkway.
Top tip: Walk across Waterloo Bridge for the most thrilling views of London by night.
Hampstead – London’s prettiest neighbourhood?
With picture postcard alleyways, leafy lanes and some glorious architecture, Hampstead certainly comes close to being London’s prettiest neighbourhood. With masses of open green space, highlights include national treasures such as Kenwood House and Fenton House. The best way to explore is to simply to wander and allow yourself to get lost in the back streets that lead from the main road. When you need a break, there’s a huge selection of cafés, bars and restaurants including the charming outdoor courtyard at the lovely Burgh House art gallery.
Top tip: join the queue at La Creperie which has been flipping crepes since 1985.
London day time views
We’ve already highlighted the night-time view from Waterloo Bridge. If you’re looking for an overview of the London skyline by day, head for the neighbourhood of Primrose Hill, and wind your way up the zigzagging paths for the best scenic view. Gaze out from the top of the grassy hill over multiple protected viewpoints including the London Eye and Canary Wharf. When you’ve finished feasting on the view, head back down into the high street where a selection of independent boutiques and cafés are big favourites with local celebrity residents.
Top tip: Pick up picnic provisions in Melrose and Morgan and head for the hill!
Best neighbourhood for history lovers
With a noteworthy royal, military, seafaring and scientific past, Greenwich is a must for history lovers. Highlights include the Queen’s House, designed by Inigo Jones, and Britain’s oldest neoclassical building, the Old Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. Each brings with it epic stories of history, discovery and exploration.
Top tip: Arrive by boat via City Cruises or Thames River Sightseeing or by air on the Emirates Air Line cable car from London Bridge.