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For those of us looking to make the move to the capital, one question stands out above all others: where are the best places to live in London?

London so big that two Londoners living in different areas might as well be living in completely different cities. This point is neatly illustrated by this nifty map from Time Out showing how many different UK cities you could fit inside London.

Birmingham with its canals is a world apart from Edinburgh and its castle, and this breadth of character is on offer within London from one borough to another. North London and South London could not be more different as halves of the same city; some would say the Thames trumps the Iron Curtain as the most fundamental societal barrier of recent times.

To help you answer the big questions, here’s a quick guide to North vs. South London. But we’ve gone into more detail still. Check out our specific London area guides as they appear below:

Perhaps all you want are a few ideas on places that might be up you street – if so, scroll down to find out our Top Picks for families, for young professionals and for creative types. And stay tuned for updates as we continue to explore this most vibrant and varied of cities.

Best Places to Live in London for Families

Enfield

Enfield sits in North London, not really bothering the rest of the capital – happy to do its own thing.

A fairly subdued area, it garners a village feel, and its close-knit communities make a nice change from the more frenetic areas that surround it.

What attracts a lot of families to Enfield are its impressive scenery and tranquility. Enfield Town Park is a perfect example of the area’s appeal – with sporting facilities available for kids and regular walking routes for OAPs, this is a lovely environment for the whole family to enjoy.

Considering its proximity to Central London, housing in the area is fairly affordable for the average family. Value for money, bigger gardens and more spacious rooms are a big plus for families considering moving here.

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South Woodford

You may recognise some South Woodford hotspots from the infamous TV show “The Only Way Is Essex”. But there’s more to this area than fake tans and accessorised chihuahuas.

South Woodford has recently seen an upward trend in family migration – driven by its great transport links, top-quality schooling and buzzing entertainment.

Situated in North East London, South Woodford finds itself at a bit of a sweet spot: close to the centre by public transport but sufficiently far away to avoid the hustle and bustle. Check out Elmhurst Gardens for example, a park which earned the “green flag award” for being one of the best green spaces nationwide!

Although the figure is slowly rising, house prices in the area are relatively good value in comparison to nearby areas.

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Best Places to Live in London for Young Professionals

Stratford

Stratford has been the focus of much media attention in recent years. First the Westfield Stratford City shopping complex and then the 2012 Olympics.

This investment into the regeneration of the area has brought with it an influx of young professionals and businesses. Stratford is of course only a short commute from Canary Wharf and the West India Docks.

A knock-on effect of this has been Stratford’s transformation into a business hub in its own right, with an influx of companies, especially startups, seeking local talent and access to business networks.

Young professionals in and around the area benefit from ample leisure opportunities, great shopping and plenty of restaurant life – with a choice of cuisines swelled by the area’s new-found prosperity and diversity.

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Shoreditch

Walk through Shoreditch with a three-piece suit on and you may get a few unsavoury glances. Uttering the word ‘mainstream’ could soon be a punishable crime in this bizarre yet vibrant area.

The late 90s witnessed the regeneration of this once forgotten area of London’s portfolio. Along came Damien Hirst, the rebirth of artistic creativity and quirky fashion. Now, Shoreditch boasts its ever popular BoxPark and, nearby, the infamous “Silicon Roundabout” – coined after the influx of tech companies into Shoreditch following the dot com boom.

Rates for offices in the area now even rival more central areas such as Fitzrovia and Holborn. Though rent is also rising, it’s still relatively cheap for young professionals to flat-share and commute into work. So, no surprise, a lot of 20-somethings are concentrated in Central Shoreditch.

And they find plenty of bars, clubs and nightlife – available for assorted revelry on almost every night of the week.

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Best Places to Live in London for Creative Types

Camden Town

Camden Town is awash with sights, sounds and smells from every culture imaginable.

They don’t do things by the book here. The main attraction of old has been the market scene, and it thrives all year round with tourism. In recent times, the area has skewed towards the younger demographic, with the local creative industries having drawn in plenty of new, younger residents.

Some of the more notable hotspots in Camden Town catering for this crowd include:

  • Oddballs – juggling equipment specialists as well as unicycles and skateboards
  • Cyberdog – niche rave culture store which has gained a large loyal following
  • KOKO – the best in new alternative music, especially on a Saturday night

The music scene has always been thriving in Camden Town, and it has become a popular haunt for aspiring musicians (such as the late Amy Winehouse), even though rents are rising steeply.

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Hoxton

Only in recent years has Hoxton been able to move away from the dark cloud of its past. Often known as the ghetto of East London, home to gang culture and crime, its reputation has never been especially positive.

Then came the influx of youth, not only from London but nationwide, all hoping to get a piece of the action. Art, whether as graffiti or in cult stores, now puts Hoxton on the creative map of England. This hasn’t just made it a hub for people to express themselves but allows it to thrive financially too.

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Or, if you’re looking to escape the Big Smoke, remember there’s always the rest of the UK. We live in a varied and vibrant country, so we’re sure you’ll find the perfect, city, town, village or farmstead for you.