Where to Live in London?
Living is about Happiness. You want to be happy in your neighbourhood, right? What drives happiness:
Maximise “feel good” factors. Minimise “hassle factors”
Guess what the happiest people in the world have most of? Answer: Good relationships! That’s right, more than money, success or power, Relationships rank #1. So think about this. Are there friends or relatives or even colleagues living in London that make you happy? If so target living close enough to them so you can meet up often.
Given London is a huge metropolitan area, you’re unlikely to be living around the corner from your key relationship links, so instead, look to be within short driving distance or easily accessible via public transport (within a few tube stops on the same line, a short bus ride, or a train stop away).
Trust us, if you’re in North London and your best friend is in South London, the hours spent travelling from one home to another means you’ll only meet up in the centre, which leads to less time together. Same with family – a cousin, sister or brother in West London, while you live in East, will lead to less time together as you can spend an hour or more travelling each way – unless they live in Holland Park on the Undergrounds Central line and you get smart and decide to move to Mile End… also nice and convenient for the Central line. In London travel connections count!
Some of us just don’t have anyone we know in London, that’s just fine, from 10 million residents in Greater London, friends and new relationships will materialise! What’s important for you is to be close to the route that will take you to family or friends further afield – whether in the UK or abroad.
Ensure you have easy access to a road, train station or airport that takes you to those you enjoy being with. It genuinely means you will travel to see them more frequently – one of London’s side effects is it grinds down those who have complicated travel scenarios – and it allows those you like to visit you more comfortably.
Also consider living more centrally, or closer to the ‘busier’ parts of an area, so you naturally spend more time frequenting places where you will meet locals, mix into the community and find new friends. If you shop for food each day, as you’re close to the high street, or pop into the local cafe or pub more often, because it’s closer by, you will likely meet more people and quicker.
Two Things You Won’t Sacrifice
Next up: think of the 2 things you just Must Have! We have a huge amount of desires and wants, when it comes to finding the area to make us happy, you can go through all the variables, but you’ll end up nowhere. Instead, pick just two. Once you have these you’ll be able to use our area guides to pick between 5 to 15 neighbourhoods that match those criteria; from here you can narrow down using the Relationship, Travel and Cost parameters to your ideal area.
Examples of things you Must Have?
- Lush green spaces
- Vibrant High street
- High achieving primary / secondary schools
- Proximity to Leisure facilities (tennis courts, gyms)
- Concentration of your home community (French/ Italian/ Indian)
- Your religious place of worship
- Aesthetic properties and architecture
Probably the biggest time-waster for London residents is travelling. Commuting into work, visiting friends, driving to the local shopping centre – London is so heavily populated that traffic builds quickly, trains encounter problems and Underground lines get overcrowded. Travelling around London contributes heavily to Stress!
Choosing the neighbourhood you will live in empowers you to reduce stress, minimise the hassle and improve quality of life. Remember, if you can save 15minutes travelling to and from work, you’ll gain 4 days a year. That is a big enough reward to make better choices in where to live.
Now, I’d rather live close to a group of friends, or in a neighbourhood with big parks where I can walk my dog than be living in a commercial area with no atmosphere just to save time on travelling to work, but if I can get those green spaces in Greenwich and be 15minutes from work at Canary Wharf, rather than in Hampstead, 45minutes from the Wharf, then thats an extra 8 days a year I have to enjoy myself, instead of being stuck on the London Underground – surely that is worth consideration.
If you are lucky enough to work from home, or indeed just not work from a fixed office then think about what your travelling mostly involves – visiting people, shopping, school runs? Again, the closer the better. Once you have your several possible Neighbourhoods from the “Two Things You Won’t Sacrifice” choices, narrow them down with proximity.
London is best divided into North/ South, East/ West. Each of these ‘zones’ will have areas that offer pretty similar amenities, atmosphere, levels of schooling and communities. So if you want to live near a high street where you can Party… Angel Islington in the North will match Clapham in the South. If you want to be close to the American community Notting Hill in the West can match St Johns Wood in the North. A Village atmosphere exists in Hampstead to the North, Dulwich Village in the South.
Now you have had a chance to understand what you want from an area, click on the area guides below to discover what each has for You…