the most romantic hotels in London

Top 20 of the best neighbourhoods in London

From elegant North London roads to quirky East End haunts perfect for finding a hip London hotel stay, here are my best and prettiest London neighborhoods that are beautiful, interesting or just very unique and can be easily reached from the city centre, enjoy! 

‪1. Bloomsbury – a beautiful intellectual and literary hub

Bloomsbury Shop London

Start your visit to this fashionable residential area by taking the tube to Russell Square, London’s largest square. Wander along to Bedford Square and see the Georgian architecture and immaculately kept homes. Through the locked wrought iron gates you can see the beautifully landscaped private gardens.

Although originally the neighborhood of the Dukes of Bedford, it rose to fame as the popular hang-out of writers at the turn of the century, especially the Bloomsbury Set. This group of illustrious writers included Keynes, Virginia Woolf and EM Foster.

Bloomsbury is home to several educational and cultural institutes like the British Museum, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the Charles Dickens Museum. Here you’ll also find the University College London and several well-known theatres and cinemas.

This area also makes a good base for exploring the city and there are many hotels in this area to choose from (including the very prestigious Bloomsbury Hotel).

2. Notting Hill – famously one of the best and most loved neighborhoods in London

Notting Hill pretty streets

One of London’s most famous and most loved neighbourhoods this is an affluent, buzzy, and bohemian area as well as being highly desirable. The area was made even more famous by the popular film Notting Hill when Julia Roberts’ character fell for William Thacker (played by Hugh Grant). 

Filled with high end and trendy shops, spas, intimate restaurants, bars hotels and independent boutiques, and of course the famous Notting Hill bookstore you could easily spend a day here, and it wouldn’t be enough. 

If you love street markets Portobello market is a must-see of course, and on the last weekend in August, the Notting Hill Carnival is a spectacular burst of colour and music filling the streets.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Notting Hill

3. Chelsea – an affluent area of South West London made famous by the TV series Made in Chelsea

Chelsea neighbourhood London

Pretty Chelsea shop

This classy neighborhood is an exclusive residential area recently made famous by the docu-soap Made in Chelsea. It’s the area that also spawned the phrase “Sloane Rangers” referring to the rich young things that live close to Sloane Square.

Belgravia is also part of Chelsea which is bordered in the south by the Thames. Reach Chelsea’s main thoroughfare – King’s Road – by going to Sloane Square tube station. Here you can explore exclusive stores and boutiques as well as Fulham Road where you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Chelsea

4. Kensington – one of the best neighborhood’s in London home to stately Victorian buildings, embassies, and chic shops

Kensington Shops London

Take the tube to South Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner or High Street Kensington tube stations to reach this neighbourhood.

Knightsbridge has wide-open expanses of green parkland with Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens as well as prestigious museums like the Victoria & Albert and the Natural History Museum.

Other landmark sites here are Royal Albert Hall and Harrods. High Street Kensington is a great street for shopping and a good alternative to Oxford Street.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Kensington

5. Angel, Islington – a lively shopping and entertainment hub and one of the most charming neighbourhoods in North London

Angel, Islington

Trendy cafe London

I love this affluent and trendy North London neighbourhood which has a buzzy atmosphere and many great things going for it. The main thoroughfare is ‘Upper Street’ which is a long street lined with cool bars, traditional pubs, a variety of excellent restaurants, independent boutiques, and design shops.

Located near Angel Tube Station it has a lovely charm, attractive buildings, and an interesting history. It’s also a popular residential area for famous personalities.

Angel also is known for its theatres and church also don’t miss the popular antique market which is located in Camden Passage.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Angel, Islington

Soho – a trendy West End district featuring a variety of dining, nightlife, and shopping options

Soho - London's prettiest neighbourhoods

Soho Kingley Court

Full of chic bars and very cool London hotels, Soho is a village within a city; it is home to London’s gay community (Old Compton Street) and many of the city’s central sites like Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, and part of Oxford Street.

This is the heart of the city and it is packed with restaurants, bars, jazz and music venues, and creative agencies. Soho Square is a popular gathering point on the weekends and the theatre district – with venues like the London Palladium and Palace Theatre – brings out the night-time crowd.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Soho

6. Hampstead – an affluent and pretty residential community loved by academics, artists, and media figures

Pretty street in Hampstead London

beautiful Hampstead Heath London

Beautiful Hampstead Heath is the heart of this area in the north-central part of London, the Heath holds beautifully landscaped areas with natural plants as well as interesting archaeological features. Around the green heath are historic buildings, expensive homes, pubs, and museums.

This elegant area has many classy and unique restaurants and stores and has been a popular hang-out for the literary set. The Keats House, Freud Museum, and Hampstead Parish Church are a few of the sites which can easily be seen on foot.

You can also see the final resting place of Karl Marx and other famous people in Highgate Cemetery. The Hampstead tube stop will bring you to this area.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Hampstead

7. Little Venice – a beautiful tranquil London canal area, home to waterside cafes and pubs

Little Venice London

Little Venice London

This is a great and very pretty area to visit in London, and is where Regent’s Canal and Grand Union Canal meet. Dine or have a drink beside the pretty canals or take a picturesque boat trip on the water.

It is also possible to walk along the towpaths which will take you all the way to Camden. Although it’s located in the middle of the city, this is a world away from the craziness of the crowds in central London.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Little Venice

8. Camden and Primrose Hill – a fun, cool and gritty but charming area in London

Camden- London coolest neigbourhood

Primrose Hill London

Visit the world-famous and very cool Camden Lock Market where Londoners of walks of life sell arts, crafts and everyday goods.

Camden Town tube station will bring you close to the market. The area is a hotbed of alternative culture and young trends where anything goes. Walk along the canals and enjoy the Camley Street Natural Park. For Primrose Hill travel to the Chalk Farm tube station north of Regent’s Park.

The Hill is an open green space with exclusive homes in the surrounding streets occupied by many well-known celebrities.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Camden and Primrose Hill

9. Shoreditch – a cool and hip London neighborhood with its own brand of beauty and charm

Shoreditch East End Neighborhood

Shoreditch cafe London

For a hip, cool bohemian area with a gritty edge travel to Brick Lane in Shoreditch to the Brick Lane Market bordered by Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street.

The arty types make this area an interesting alternative to other inner London neighborhoods. Here you’ll find a good range of independent stores, flea market stalls, and vintage boutiques.

Hotels and Self-Catered Vacation Rentals in Shoreditch

10. Greenwich – one of the prettiest and sought-after neighborhoods in London

Greenwich - best neighbourhoods in London

Greenwich Village London

Lovely, green, and leafy Greenwich is one of the most village-like of all of the London neighbourhoods and it’s a wonderful area to both live and visit. It’s located on the banks of the River Thames in South London. It’s famous for its maritime past and for being home to the impressively restored 19th-century ship the Cutty Sark. 

It also has other highlights too including the classical buildings of the Old Royal Naval College, the large National Maritime Museum, the famous venue the O2, the Royal Observatory, and the lovely Greenwich Park. Although arguably the biggest draw is the much-loved historic Greenwich market. Set on a World Heritage Site and open daily from Monday to Sunday here you can buy street food, antiques, independent fashion, and they also have boutique shops on site too.

11. Marylebone – an upscale and wonderful area in London

Marylebone London

Marylebone neighbourhood London

One of the prestigious and sought-after locations in London, Marylebone is a chic and upscale area that has a charming village feel. Its well-kept Georgian streets have seen it being a fashionable location since the 17th century and are filled with celebrities, elegant luxury restaurants, cafes, bars, and beautiful boutiques. 

Nearby is the famous waxwork museum Madame Tussauds and Baker Street (aka Sherlock Holme’s old stomping ground). Don’t miss the gorgeous Georgian mansion that houses the Wallace Collection of art and period furnishings, the wonderful Marylebone Farmers’ Market, and the Jasper Conran shop.

12. Belgravia – a beautiful and posh area in London

Belgravia - best areas in London

Belgravia cafe London

Both a place and a popular TV series, this refined and elegant area in Westminster is a beautiful London gem. It also enjoys one of the best locations in the city near Chelsea, Hyde Park, and the gardens of Buckingham Palace. 

The layout and architecture are simply stunning and primarily constructed by Thomas Cubitt in the 1800s – think terraced stucco townhouses, beautiful garden squares, international embassies, and upscale hotels. Throw in a good handful of antique shops, designer boutiques, upmarket delis, luxury furniture stores, fine restaurants, trendy galleries, and sophisticated cafes and you have one of the best areas to visit and spend time in London, hands down! 

13. Clerkenwell – one of the prettiest and creative neighbourhoods in London

Clerkenwell London

Clerkenwell London

I love this area of London and honesty feel it’s one of the most underrated areas in London. It’s another place that has a village feel to the area and it’s quaint and gorgeous and filled with interesting little areas to discover and explore. It attracts a lot of trendy creative types and is home to a lot of creative agencies, offices, and residential homes converted from converted warehouses. 

It’s quite a relaxed but still somehow buzzy area home to cool independent shops, trendy restaurants, bars and nightclubs, hip boutique hotels and cosy gastropubs. Other highlights include the popular car-free Exmouth Market, the bustling Leather Lane market, pretty Clerkenwell Green, the jewelry shops of Hatton Garden, the theatres of Sadlers Wells, and the tranquil gardens in St John Priory church are pretty special too. 

Parsons Green – one of the nicest parts of London

Parsons Green London

This is a popular and sought-after mostly residential neighborhood in London located in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It’s also a leafy and very easy-on-the-eye area centered around a large green which is bordered by the New King’s Road section of the legendary King’s Road (made famous by the series Made in Chelsea). 

Its lovely streets are filled with trendy bars, upscale eateries and restaurants, countless pub gardens, independent cafés, boutique shops, and the odd hot yoga studio giving the area a village-like feel (but a very hip one!). 

Bermondsey – a cool, hip and trendy London district 

Maltby Market Bermondsey

Bermondsey neighborhoods London

This is a cool London neighbourhood that has been officially “up and coming” for a while now. Located near Tower Bridge in the London Borough of Southwark, South East London, the area is filled with hip converted former warehouses and stylish riverside flats.

Reasons to visit include the cosy pubs, trendy eateries, and cafes, the great selection of independent shops, the antique market, buzzing Bermondsey Square, The Fashion and Textile Museum, and the White Cube contemporary art gallery. Although my favorite reason to visit this area is the fantastic Maltby Market which is held under railway arches and is filled with gourmet food stalls and bars – it makes a great alternative to Borough Market. 

Chiswick – a charming London suburb filled with great eateries

Chiswick London

Chiswick London

With pubs and restaurants galore, Chiswick is known as a foodie’s paradise it’s another desirable and affluent location in London with a village-like atmosphere. It also has a slightly bohemian air, attracting a lot of creative professionals and because of this is home to make fantastic designer furniture and independent shops.

There’s also plenty of great wine bars, bookshops, excellent restaurants as well as historic pubs, and lovely walks along the River Thames. Other highlights include Chiswick House which is one of the best examples of 18th-century British architecture and Strand-on-the-Green a picturesque Thameside street filled with attractive 18th-century homes. 

Battersea – a gentrified and trendy area of London

Battersea Square London

Battersea Square London

Famous for its Power Station, its lovely Park, and its wonderful Dogs and Cat Home Battersea is a fantastic place to live and visit. Battersea Park is one of my favourite green spaces in London and offers a boating lake, lovely fountains, and a Japanese-style Peace Pagoda which overlooks the River Thames.

Its location along the River Thames in South West London is one of the highlights as well as the iconic – but now retired – art deco Battersea Power Station which dominates the skyline. Other reasons to visit include the great collection of bars, restaurants, and cafes (Battersea Square is particularly lovely), the New Covent Garden Market which sells flowers and other produce, and Battersea Arts Centre, housed in the 1890s town hall and hosts comedy, music, and drama events.

Hackney

Hackney London

Hackney London River Path

Once considered a fairly rough and ready area of London, Hackney is becoming increasingly gentrified but yet still manages to retain plenty of its original character. It’s now a fashionable and diverse district attracting lots of families and young working professionals. 

It also has a pretty interesting history and was once a former Tudor town home to 16th-century brick buildings and has connections with Alfred Hitchcock, the Kray twins, and even William Shakespeare. Today though, it’s a buzzy creative place with plenty of green space, hip art galleries, music venues, and trendy bars and eateries, and lots of cool micro-breweries. 

Fulham

Market Hall Fulham

Attractive street in Fulham

One of the famously fun and sought-out areas in London, Fulham is an upscale attractive residential area located in SouthWest London filled with great pubs, excellent bars and restaurants, chic boutiques, home-goods stores, and luxury delis.

Highlights include the popular Market Hall food court located on Fulham Broadway, chic shopping streets like King’s Road and Fulham Road, the Football club, and the riverside Fulham Palace which is a centuries-old former bishops’ residence and landscaped gardens.

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With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a tiny coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat Tomb Raider-style as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights.

6 Comments

  • Pamela R

    9 August, 2012 at 9:03 am

    It’s an amazing idea to explore the color and beauty of the neighbors of London. Basically, London is surrounded with many beautiful villages which are worth seeing. There are many historical properties to see, great shopping areas, green villages and many more. Getting around London can be a great vacation.

    Reply
  • LISA

    8 August, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Notting Hill is one of the famous cosmopolitan cities famous for fashionable areas full of restaurants and shopping houses. The Notting Hill Carnival is among one of the greatest street festivals in Europe. Thanks for putting its colorful picture here.

    Reply
  • Mario Mucalo

    31 July, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Wow. I was just thinking about Paris or London for my next vacation, and then you reminded me how cool London actually is. Thank you.

    Reply
  • kelly

    28 July, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Aww this has made me feel really homesick. Currently living in Australia, but looking forward to going back home. Your photographs are amazing. The vintage markets are the best in the world, but maybe I am biased:)

    Reply

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