Where To Live - The Lesser Known London Edition
London is a beautiful, multicultural, dynamic, multi-faceted city and one that many people from all over this earth are proud to call home. But when it comes to districts, zones, or boroughs and areas as we officially call them in the UK, there are so many to choose from that you might end up losing your mind trying to. That is why we have decided to create a definitive list of our absolute favourite lesser known, up and coming places in and around the City and explain what we love (and hate) about them for your reading pleasure. So, without further ado, let's dig down deep and get to the nitty gritty of London Town shall we?
Archway has undergone a number of regeneration attempts over the years, but they have at last managed to get it pretty much right with the most recent attempt. Archway Tower, the huge building that sits above Archway Underground Station, was built in 1963 by the UK government and has been an eyesore of my childhood along with anyone else who grew up in the area for decades. After sitting predominantly empty on and off for years, the building was finally purchased by Essential Living in 2013 for a reported £6 million, with plans to make the building "one of the country’s biggest office to residential conversions" and that they have certainly achieved. The block, now known as Vantage Point due to its enviable view across the London skyline, now houses over 118 premium apartments and a shared luxury penthouse and roof terrace. This has been a huge step in changing the area for the better, Archway now boasts lots of cute independents Cafés like the locally beloved Bread & Bean every supermarket you could dream of (there is a M&S, Sainsbury's, Tescos, Co-op, Iceland, and Aldi all on one block!), and of course the newly pedestrianised Navigator Square with its weekly markets. The area is known for its big old Victorian houses, which offer stylish and spacious living within easy reach of the City via the Northern Line. Archway also has a surprising amount of green space, with an abundance of small local parks as well as the vast expanses of Hampstead Heath, Highgate Woods, and Primrose Hill all nearby. The community in Archway is diverse and young, making it a great place for young families and singletons alike - plus it neighbours some other pretty cool areas including Holloway, Highgate, Kentish Town, Tufnell Park, Camden, Hampstead, and Crouch End!
Crystal Palace, SE19
Hills, hill, and more hills! This area is not for the weak legged, but if you fancy cancelling you gym membership and strutting your stuff up and down the pavements then perhaps Crystal Palace is the place for you. The area has breath taking view, like Muswell Hill but on steroids, down to the City and beyond. Now granted, the area is still considered by some to be a little 'rough around the edges' and it does sadly have one of the higher violent crime rates in the capital, but things are improving and we hope that Crystal Palace despite this rightfully claims its place on the coveted and desirable list of up and coming areas in London. The park is beautiful, and offers a fantastic leisure centre with a 25m indoor pool and of course no trip to the park in complete without checking out the wild-eyed Jurassic sculptures known as The Dinosaur Court. Transport is also not bad, with lots of buses into town and the Crystal Palace Line running from Balham Junction to Beckenham Junction.
Vauxhall, Battersea & Wandsworth, SW8
Vauxhall is undergoing one of central London’s largest regeneration projects for decades with the Nine Elms project leading the efforts. The area has always been known as a bit of a transport hub, which with the eagerly anticipated and upcoming extension of the Northern Line it is about to become even better connected than before (if anyone thought that was even possible!) the NLE (Northern Line Extension) will see the arrival of two stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. The area also fairs pretty well for coffee, retail, and dining culture with an abundance of local shops, restaurants, and cafés located in nearby Kennington Lane. Sadly, Vauxhall has struggled to match the expected interest following the astronomical investment pumped into the development, and only time will tell if it manages to scrape through. But this could in some way offer good news for actual Londoners looking for a longer term investment or bargain as prices slip. The luxury apartments of Embassy Gardens also unveiled a jaw dropping Sky Pool suspended 10 stories in the air, the latest addition to the luxury residential enclave in Nine Elms. The building also boasts a private cinema, indoor pool, gym and rooftop lounge bar. It was originally dismissed as a “crackers” PR stunt when the plan was unveiled by Irish developer Ballymore in 2015 says the Guardian, and it has been likened to a "fantastical aquarium of captive high net worth individuals for the rest of us to gawp at from far below" but whatever your thoughts are, the area is changing big time, for better or for worse remains to be decided.
Shoreditch & Whitechapel, E1
Prices here in good old East London have been rising for quite some time now, and the area has seen a huge influx of tech entrepreneurs in more recent years thanks to the new Silicon Roundabout (also know as East London Tech City) takeover and redevelopment of the area. Once home to actors, poets and even spies, Shoreditch is now a vibrant hub for the creative and tech industry professionals of London to work and play together. With its colourful street art and vast array of endless bars and restaurants, Shoreditch’s social side is seemingly never ending, and quite astounding. It is something like a more Hipster Camden Town we feel, but if you are brave enough to venture through some of its backstreets you’ll stumble upon a much more sophisticated and grown up side of Shoreditch, with independent designer shops, boutiques, awesome galleries, and amazing restaurants. The are is of course also home to east London’s Zone 1 Crossrail hotspot - Whitechapel Crossrail station, which is set to take passengers to Shenfield in the east and Heathrow and Reading in the west via Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, and Paddington. Houses are still popping up and prices keep rising accordingly in this area, but there are still bargains to be found. There are some good green spaces on the Shoreditch side, but overall the area does have a lack of parks and open green spaces compared to other areas on this list. Plus a high number of dilapidated terraces, derelict buildings, and neglected streets which are in urgent need of TLC – all of which have discouraged more affluent Londoners from relocating in the Whitechapel side of the district especially. But all in all Shoreditch is a charming and artistic area which is well suited to those working in tech, creative industries, or with a love of all things rugged.
Doggy heaven may possibly be here if it is a place on Earth. With its burning evening sunset and wide leafy streets Teddington offers a little slice of country life, within an easy commute of the City. Placed in a prime spot right on the River Thames beside the 1,000-acre expanse of Bushy Park, there are few places so close to the capital that offer such serenity and peace. But don't let the country feels fool you, Teddington also enjoys a bustling high street with all modern conveniences you would expect in town, a Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and M&S are all on offer along the main strip alongside independent cafés, beloved local restaurants, and boutique shops. Teddington had bucket loads of suburban charm and is an ideal spot for young families looking for a more balanced pace of life. Teddington Lock and Strawberry Hill House offer ideal weekend walks and activities, and the area is popular for those who are a fans of sailing, paddle boarding, horse riding, and outdoor sports in general.