Moving to London – Choosing The Right Borough For You

Choosing a new home can be a big decision, and making sure you choose a borough that suits you is perhaps the most important factor when starting the search. This month we’ve put together some helpful tips to help you choose the right borough in London.  

Whether you are a student, young professional, retiree, or relocating your whole family, London has a borough that is just right for you.

Moving to the right borough

This tip mainly applies to soon-to-be expats living in London.

London refers to the City of London proper, plus the 32 surrounding boroughs that make up this metropolis of over nine million people. The 32 boroughs are further divided into North, East, South, West and Central London. It is important to note that where one district or borough starts and ends can get a bit blurry. Some districts belong to a number of different boroughs and some boroughs have parks and greenspaces that are shared with other boroughs.

The boroughs can be further classified into inner and outer London. Inner London boroughs (there are 12 in all) tend to be smaller, in both population and area, and more densely populated than outer London boroughs. Each borough contains its own sub-districts, and each has its own unique charm. 

What should I look when moving in a new borough?

The current population of London is estimated at nearly 9.5 million inhabitants. If you are looking to relocate with your family in tow, the number of bedrooms and proximity to good schools may be your number one priority. If you are a young professional however, you may be looking for a centrally located borough with a vibrant night life. The fact is, everyone will have a different idea of what they want in a neighbourhood.

We suggest making a list of some of the things you are willing to compromise on, as well as your non-negotiables. Setting out clearly defined expectations for your new neighbourhood can take a lot of stress out of this first step. If you’re looking to buy a home in London, be sure to check out our article on the topic. You’ll find some information you might not have thought about before.

Whether it’s North, East, South, West, or Central London, read on for our top borough picks.

Moving to a London Borough

Moving to North London

North London roughly includes the boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, and Westminster.

Our borough pick for North London:

Islington (central north)

Islington is a district in the London Borough of Islington. It is the second smallest borough in London.

  • For students: With 10 tube stops in the area, Islington is really well connected by the Underground, as well as bus routes that run both day and night. The average rental cost for a one bedroom here is £1413 per month. School of Pharmacy, University of London, University of North London, City University of London, and St. Aloysius RC College are all in this lovely borough. 
  • For young professionals: This is an attractive borough for young professionals partly due to its abundance of start-up companies situated around Old Street, named “Silicon Roundabout.” Real estate is quite pricey here though. More affordable properties can be found further north, particularly in Holloway and Archway. 
  • For families: The number of Ofsted rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ primary and secondary schools, coupled with an abundance of greenspaces, make this borough an appealing one.  
  • For retirees: Wondering what to do with your new found freedom? Islington is one of the most restaurant-dense areas in all of the UK. There will be no shortage of pubs and restaurants to explore here.  

What it has to offer: 

Upper Street shopping, Arsenal Football Club, Highbury Fields, Gillespie Park, numerous theatres, and Regent’s Canal. 

Includes districts:

Angel, Archway, Ashburton Grove, Barnsbury, Canonbury, Clerkenwell, Finsbury, Finsbury Park, Highbury, Holloway, Islington, Kings Cross, Newington Green, Pentonville, St Luke’s, and Tufnell Park.

Moving to East London

East London is broadly comprised of the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.

Our borough pick for East London:

Hackney (central east) 

  • For students: Hackney is a relatively young borough with roughly 50% of the population under the age of 30. With classic pubs, cuisine from around the world, chic cocktail bars, and all-night raves, Hackney’s nightlife and foodie scene is arguably unbeatable elsewhere in London. The average flat rents for about £1542 a month. 
  • For young professionals: “Silicon Roundabout” and “East London Tech City” are both terms that refer to Hackney, where you can find London’s largest congregation of tech and start-up companies. 
  • For families:  Hackney has the highest number of schools rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The downside is that the closer you are to good schools, the higher the real estate price tags. The average flat costs  £677,898 and the average house £1,113,667.
  • For retirees: This is an up and coming creative hub and perfect if you value staying in the artistic know.  

What it has to offer: 

Mare Street and Hackney Walk (in Hackney Central), Hackney Marshes, Hackney Downs, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, The Hackney City Farm, Sutton House, London Fields, and Bethnal Green.

Includes districts:

Upper and lower Clapton, Homerton, Hackney Wick, Hackney Central, South Hackney, Haggerston, Shoreditch, Hoxton, De Beauvoir, Dalston, Stoke Newington, and Stamford Hill.

Moving to South London 

South London refers to the area south of the Thames and is comprised of the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, and Wandsworth. 

Our borough pick for South London:

Kingston upon Thames (south west) 

  • For students: You can find both Kingston College and Kingston University here. This makes it a hotspot for students from London and abroad. 
  • For young professionals: The cost of living here can be a little lower than some of the more central boroughs, with the average rental cost for a one bedroom flat being around £1188.
  • For families: Recently, Kingston has become highly desirable to families seeking property without the high prices of neighbouring Twickenham, Wimbledon, and Richmond. The average flat price is £411,886 and the average house price is £1,152,833.
  • For retirees: Kingston is away from the hustle and bustle of central London so it is appealing to those looking to settle somewhere a bit quieter. Think of it as a modern village. 

What it has to offer: 

River Thames, Richmond Park, All Saints Church, Bushy Park, Hampton Court Palace, Isabella Plantation, Riverside Walk, Rose Theatre Kingston, Ancient Market, and Surbiton Farmers’ Market.            

Includes districts:

Kingston upon Thames, Norbiton, Berrylands, Surbiton, Chessington, Worcester Park, Old Malden, New Malden, Malden Rushett, Motspur Park, Kingston Vale, Coombe, and Tolworth.

Moving to West London

West London roughly consists of the boroughs of Brent, Harrow, Barnet, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Richmond upon Thames.

Our top borough pick in West London:

Hammersmith and Fulham (central west)

  • For students: Home to London’s famous footballers, Craven Cottage and Chelsea Football Club, this is a lively place for any sports fan. 
  • For young professionals: Unlike the sellers market here, which is one of the highest in London, the rental market is quite diverse, ranging from £1,304 for a one-bedroom flat to £2708 for a four-bedroom house. 
  • For families: There is no shortage of educational institutions in Fulham. Not only that, there are numerous schools rated “good” and “outstanding” by OFSTED (this goes for nursery, primary and secondary institutions). 
  • For retirees: Fulham has long been a sought after borough for those looking for a permanent home to settle. However, with one of the highest proportions of Edwardian and Victorian style properties in London, it’s not ideal for those just starting out. The average flat sells for £1,152,524 and the average house price for £2,116,205

What it has to offer: 

Craven Cottage and Chelsea Football Club, Normand Park, Bishops Park, Ravenscourt Park, Fulham Palace Gardens, King Street, Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith Bridge, and Thames Path. 

Includes districts:

Fulham, Hammersmith, Barons Court, Hurlingham, Old Oak Common, Parsons Green, Sands End, Shepherd’s Bush, Walham Green, West Kensington, and White City.

Moving to Central London

Central London includes the City of London, and boroughs of Westminster, Holborn and Finsbury, and the inner parts of Shoreditch, Stepney, Bermondsey, Southwark, Lambeth, Chelsea, and Kensington.

Our top borough pick in Central London:

Lambeth (central south)

The London Borough of Lambeth is a long, thin borough, about 3 miles wide and 7 miles long.

  • For students: Lambeth is a relatively youthful borough. Clapham and Brixton are very popular areas for students and young professionals.  The average monthly rent here is £1495. 
  • For young professionals: Lambeth borders the City of London, so if you are looking for a borough that’s central and well connected, this is it.  
  • For families: In the past, Lambeth has not been known for its particularly outstanding schools. However, it is a very diverse borough, with distinctly different districts. The southern areas of Streatham and Tulse Hill tend to be better suited for families seeking more space and quiet.
  • For retirees: Lambeth is one of the capital’s cultural hubs with many theatres, galleries and historic sites as well as fine museums, and film venues. 

What is has to offer:

Brockwell Park, Brockwell Lido, Streatham Common, Clapham Common, Lambeth Palace, South Bank, London Eye, Garden Museum, Cinema Museum, Old Vic, Brixton Market, and The National Theatre. 

Includes districts:

Clapham, Clapham Junction, Clapham South, Wandsworth Common, Crystal Place, Streatham Hill, Streatham and Furzedown, Streatham Common, Norbury, West Norword, Gipsy Hill, Sydenham Hill, Tulse Hill, West Dulwich, North Dulwich, Herme Hill, Brixton, Brixton Hill, South Lambeth, Loughborough Junction, and Vauxhall.

Are you moving in or out of London?

To make your moving day totally stress-free you’ll want to consider a removals company to help with your move. A reputable moving company will offer a free consultation so you can discuss what service is best for you. 

Here at southlondonmovers.co.uk, we offer professional removals throughout London. Whether you’re moving in or out of London, we can help. We’re a friendly team and an award winning company. We pride ourselves on our 100% customer satisfaction rate. For more information about the services we offer, get in touch with us today – contact our team. 

From student moves to whole house removals, piano removals and storage plans, we do it all to the highest standard.