Where Is East London? Starting From The Historic East End, East London Stretches Out Across The City Through Some Unforgetable Neighbourhoods But Where Exactly Are They?
East London has many incredible places to live. Neighbourhoods close to the city centre like Shoreditch, part of the historic “East End” of London’s city centre, have become incredibly popular to live in over the last ten years due to their reputation for being progressive and artsy places to live. Other parts of East London like Stratford, have seen massive development and an increase in affordable housing, which has made it a perfect hub in East London for people travelling to work in the city centre.
Just like living in West and South London, there is no shortage of pretty riverside houses and apartments in East London, with areas like Canary Wharf, Limehouse and St.Katherine’s Docks offering some stunning views of the city.
Travelling around East London is easy, with many connecting overground and underground train services that make it a very easy place to travel around for work.
East London has some incredibly charming neighbourhoods that hold centuries of history. There are more lively and exciting parts to live in and there are neighbourhoods that are quieter and ideal for family living. East London really does have it all, which is why we are delighted to share with you our picks – for the best neighbourhoods to live in in East London.
The Best East London Areas To Live In
Distance to city centre: 4.2 miles
Main Train Stations: Bethnal Green
Area description: Colourful East London Neighbourhood
Notable features: Café culture, art hub in East London, affordable housing
Once upon a time, all there was to Bethnal Green was a tiny little patch of green space and a few charming cottages. Today, Bethnal Green still has the green space – but it’s become a far more populated area to live in! Whilst at one point, Bethnal Green was once of the poorest areas to live in London since the millennium, there has been a lot of investment into the area and it has now become a thriving neighbourhood to live in once again.
Many late 19th and early 20th century industrial buildings have been preserved and converted into brilliant pubs, restaurants, community spaces and of course, homes for people to live in. Street culture has changed dramatically around Bethnal Green and it is now a very diversified living area. Clare Street is a well-known part of the area for street art on the side of buildings, whilst major markets in nearby Spitalfields are fantastic for shopping and experiencing the undying community spirit in this part of London.
Neighbourhoods close by such as Mile End and Poplar are very similar to Bethnal Green and within easy walking distance. Mile End, in particular, is proving to be a very popular place for younger people to move with great transport links and affordable housing. Bethnal Green might get its name from a good-sized green space in the middle of it but, the loveliest park in the area has to be – Victoria Park which is between Bethnal Green and Mile End. It is a stunningly rejuvenated green space, which runs along part of the Regent’s Canal up to Hackney Wick, with many incredible features.
Living in Bethnal Green is ideal for anyone wanting to live in a more affordable part of London that is incredibly close to the city centre. The main high street has a lot more noise but you’ll find plenty of quieter streets and neighbourhoods to live on, with some options for larger townhouses available, particularly along Barnet Road and close to the Colombia Flower Market. There are some good schools in the area for families wanting to send their kids somewhere more local – but as you’re so close to the city centre you have plenty of options for schooling!
Distance to city centre: 4.9 miles
Main Train Stations: Bow Road
Area description: Quiet East London Town
Notable features: A quieter neighbourhood with great affordable housing and transport links to central London.
Bow is a very old area of London that earns its name from the Medieval bow-like bridge that was the focal point for the area. Time has moved more slowly in Bow than in other areas of the city. The area around Bow maintains a more relaxed and local atmosphere, especially compared to neighbouring Stratford, which has been heavily modernised and developed in the last ten years.
Bow’s hub for activity and home for its many independent cafes and shops is Bow’s wonderful old Roman Road (think a modern high street that has been there for nearly two thousand years!). One good thing about living in Bow is you have the easy option of walking into more busy areas such as Stratford via the incredible green space – Queen Elizabeth Park. As the former home of the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, it is the perfect place for anyone in the area looking to exercise or, make the most of the good weather sunbathing in summer!
Accommodation options in Bow as we mentioned, tend to be more affordable than in other areas of London, although this doesn’t mean the area has a shortage of nice homes to live in. Tredegar Square and Rhondda Grove are right around the corner from Bow Underground Station and contain beautiful 18th Century properties. Many homes in areas like these are extremely desirable places to live, as well as having some fantastic new build properties in the area, offering ideal living for anyone in East London
Bow is in a fantastic part of London to commute to work in the city centre. Additionally, the neighbourhood around Bow is considered quite a safe and friendly place to live, which will be of particular appeal for anyone thinking of moving into the area with family! There are some lovely schools in the area to consider sending your children to whilst the option is there to send them to ones closer to the city centre as well. Bow is a quieter but no less charming part of East London to live in that can be a fantastic home for anyone wanting to move to the city!
Distance to city centre: 5 miles
Main Train Stations: Canary Wharf
Area description: East London Financial District
Notable features: Very modernised area, impressive high-rise offices and apartment blocks, located right by the water
Walking around Canary Wharf could easily make you think you had been transported to Manhatten or Singapore’s iconic financial districts. Some of the biggest names and brands in global finance have or have had offices in this very different part of East London. Whilst much of East London is characterised by older, characterful neighbourhoods Canary Wharf, is a very big exception. It is unapologetically modern and at times even feels a bit futuristic!
Aside from being a major hub for finance institutions from around the world, Canary Wharf is home to some stunning architecture, fantastic restaurants as well as many beautiful and surprisingly peaceful views of the water. Even the local train service, The Docklands Light Railway, is a charming and fun addition to the area. The area is quite far out from the city centre but, the Jubilee line is very fast to commute on although, this is an ideal place to both live and work!
You’ll find a host of living options available to you, from penthouse apartments with incredible river views, to more typical apartments and flats both inside and outside of the centre of Canary Wharf. Apartments can range up to eye-watering amounts of money if you want to have the very best view of London every time you wake up in the morning. However, there are plenty of spacious and practical options for any individual requirements, from solo movers to families.
Access to nearby green spaces in areas such as Greenwich is great, as you can make excellent use of water taxis living in this area to get you around some parts of the city far quicker, than by other public transport! Options for schools south of the river in areas like Bermondsey and Greenwich are fantastic for families looking to send their children to school in London. Overall, Canary Wharf can be a very fun place to live and is very workable, for anyone thinking of moving to London!
Distance to city centre: 3.6 miles
Main Train Stations: Haggerston
Area description: Laid-Back East London Town Close To Shoreditch
Notable features: Relaxed living, great housing options, close to popular areas like Hackney and Shoreditch
East London is well-known for its vibrant and eclectic neighbourhoods but, in Haggerston, we have an example of a more relaxed and quieter place to live. Haggerston has become increasingly popular in recent years for living thanks to less expensive housing compared to some more expensive areas of East London which sit closer to the city centre. It is an ideal area for anyone thinking of working in nearby neighbourhoods like Old Street. The City Of London and Shoreditch without having to pay the same amount to live there!
Living in Haggerston puts you in a fantastic position to take advantage of one of the best parts of living in East London. The amazing potential for vintage and boutique shopping! Hackney, Dalston and Shoreditch, are all fantastic places to wander around picking up all kinds of new wardrobe additions – and they’re all within walking distance of Haggerston. That said, you can always hop on the overground if you’re worried about coming home with too many new purchases!
There are some wonderful green spaces and parks in the area around Haggerston. If you follow the Regent’s canal east, you’ll eventually come to Victoria Park, a wonderful and spacious park to exercise or relax in. London Fields to the north of Haggerston is a great place to swim locally at the popular lido in the park. The area is ideal for family living, with London Fields, in particular, having some wonderful mid-victorian period houses, as well as De Beauvoir Town in nearby Dalston.
Transport around Haggerston is reliant upon Overground connections to Liverpool Street station for faster train links into the city centre. It is more useful to live in Haggerston if you’re going to be working somewhere like Shoreditch or Old Street but, it isn’t the worst place in the world to commute to and from for work. There are more than enough other benefits to living in Haggerston to make up for any slightly longer journeys you might face going to work!
Distance to city centre: 2.3 miles
Main Train Stations: Old Street
Area description: Popular East London Neighbourhood Next To Shoreditch
Notable features: Well-connected and popular neighbourhood in East London. Fantastic area to live for commuters and lots of independent bars cafes and restaurants.
The area around Old Street has become attractive for digital businesses and technology start-ups to move into, so much so that one former Prime Minister of the UK dubbed Old Street: “The Silicon Roundabout”. It hasn’t exactly made the area less appealing to live in! Accommodation options are naturally, quite high in demand but, that doesn’t mean the area is impossible to live in.
There’s plenty of room to manoeuvre living close to Old Street thanks to neighbouring Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. With access to Old Street’s iconic underground station, travelling to the city centre is incredibly fast and easy, as well as accessing other areas of the city. With plenty of vibrant independent bars and restaurants around, as well as even more in neighbouring Shoreditch, there is no shortage of fun places to go for food and drinks in Old Street.
Old Street is very central in the city of London, so except for spaces like Shoreditch Park and walks along the Regents Canal, you may have a bit further to travel to find some more open green spaces. However, there is a lot of variety in terms of property, even with such high demand. Spacious loft apartments, converted warehouses and the occasional new development are just some of the potential spaces for you to move into in the area.
Old Street is an amazing area of London to move into providing you can be lucky enough to squeeze past the popularity of the area and move into your ideal home. Families might find it difficult to live in larger accommodation, although in nearby areas like Clerkenwell and Haggerston, there are plenty of options that are within walking distance from Old Street. If you can manage to find your ideal living space then you’ll have no problems enjoying the best of living in such a popular part of East London!
Distance to city centre: 2.7 miles
Main Train Stations: Shoreditch Highstreet (Overground) Liverpool Street Station (Underground and Rail)
Area description: Permanently Popular East London Neighbourhood
Notable features: Former warehouse district converted into a hotspot for food, art and entertainment in the whole of London.
Shoreditch is now the best place to live in East London. It is a large area in the east of the city that contains several really popular neighbourhoods apart from the main high street of Shoreditch. The area has become an incredibly attractive place to move to, thanks to its fantastic street art and architecture (lots of cool, converted warehouses), plenty of stylish bars and restaurants, as well as a community full of artistic and creative people.
There are plenty of fantastic bars, pubs, restaurants and pop-up events happening in the wider Shoreditch area. Food from all over the world can be found everywhere and the iconic Brick Lane offers the finest options for Indian cuisine in the whole city. Shoreditch is often ranked as the best place to eat out in the whole of London and it is very common to see people trying to enter both permanent and pop-up restaurants in the area on all days of the week!
Living around the Shoreditch Triangle of Old Street, Great Eastern Street and Shoreditch High Street, is particularly appealing thanks to the high number of converted warehouse properties in the area that are always popular amongst people looking to move into the area. Property around Colombia road is also very in demand for the two-three bed houses that are ideal for couples or small families looking to move into the area. Additionally, there are plenty of new(ish) and stylish apartment blocks in the area to move into, some with incredible views of the city!
Commuting for work to other parts of the city is incredibly easy living in Shoreditch. Liverpool Street Station is a major connection for anyone travelling to other parts of the city via any means of public transport. The London Overground station at Shoreditch is a great connection for reaching other parts of East, North and South London easily, as well as connections to Stratford international station for transport links outside the city.
Shoreditch has a lot to offer for just about anyone thinking of moving to London. There are quieter neighbourhoods towards Haggerston and Spitalfields which are more suited to families looking to live in this part of the city, on top of being close to the city centre and the very good school options there. Young working professionals will love the high street and lanes of Shoreditch, Hoxton and Old Street as a fantastic place to both live and, work in and around, which makes Shoreditch an amazing East London living area for anyone!
Distance to city centre: 2.6 miles
Main Train Stations: Liverpool Street Station
Area description: Historic East London Town
Notable features: Historic market area part of the old East End of London, very good for shopping locally and more affordable housing
Spitalfields is a charming East-End community that is closely associated with the Old East End. The iconic Petticoat Lane Market is one of the oldest and most popular open markets in the city of London and has a unique place in the history of the area. The same has to be said of Spitalfield’s old and new markets, which are still very popular and active marketplaces to shop for anything from groceries to antique furniture and vintage clothing – great for anyone looking to pick a few things up for home on the weekend!
The area is particularly good for its connectivity to other parts of London. Shoreditch is just a short walk from Spitalfields, along with Whitechapel, Mile End and other popular areas in East London. Liverpool Street Station is the closest station for standard railway and Overground services and other tube lines, as one of the most connected stations in the city. Bank station is connected via the Docklands Light Railway for access to Canary Wharf and Greenwich.
Accommodation options are numerous around Spitalfields with a good mix of new and older accommodation. Living at addresses like Fournier or Folgate Street, you’ll find incredible townhouses along cobbled streets with three to four bedrooms and floors! Property like this will come at a fairly heavy price but, the area has plenty of options for accommodation from smaller houses (without the pretty pavements we’re afraid!) to newly built apartments, particularly closer to Liverpool Street station.
Living in Spitalfields is ideal for anyone looking for a quieter part of the East End of London to live in with a great connection to the city centre. You’re in a great area for schools in the city centre if you decide to move with family and the area is a very safe place to live in! The only thing potentially missing from Spitalfields is the presence of green spaces but don’t worry, it is very easy to get to Mile End Park, just two stops on the London Underground or, an ideal running distance for any runners thinking of moving to London!
Distance to city centre: 6.6 miles
Main Train Stations: Stratford
Area description: Major East London Hub
Notable features: Large, well-connected, suburb of East London. Fantastic area to live for commuters with plenty of more affordable accommodation options and excellent local shopping.
Stratford is in contention for one of the most radically transformed areas in London of the last ten years. Through major rail investment and works, the area has been transformed now into one of the biggest connection points for the East of London, as well as being an incredibly affordable place to live for commuters. Throw in the improvements made to Queen Elizabeth Park as a result of the 2012 Olympics being held in the area and it isn’t hard to see why Stratford is becoming more and more popular for people to move to.
Additions and improvements to the park were very welcome, as the Olympics led to significantly more investment in the area which has made it much more than just a great place to go out and exercise. The local shopping mall at Westfield shopping centre is the largest shopping centre in Europe! There are many high-street stores and restaurants inside that are great for anyone looking for a quick bite to eat or something to grab on the way home after work.
Speaking of work, the connection time to the city centre from Stratford is among the fastest in London (only the Victoria Line and the soon-to-be-completed Elizabeth line will have quicker average journey times). Living in Stratford puts the rest of London within very easy reach for commuting purposes to almost any area. But is housing in the area as convenient as travelling for work?
The Olympic Park may now be ten years old but homes there are in very high demand for this area due to their size. The former Manhattan Lofts hotel has now been converted permanently into The Stratford apartment complex with some incredible options for penthouses and spacious two-bedroom apartments. Living in areas like the East Village generally proves to be easier for those who can’t afford to live in a luxury property but, there are plenty of options in Stratford in terms of property size and scale to make living there workable for anyone!
Distance to city centre: 2.7 miles
Main Train Stations: Tower Hill/ Wapping
Area description: Beautiful Riverside Community
Notable features: Quieter East London neighbourhood along the River Thames with stunning quayside properties.
A charming area with incredible properties and views of the river, St.Katherines Dock is one of the more understated areas to live in London thanks to just how quiet and reclusive the area can feel at times. Which is exactly how many of the locals wish to keep it! You can follow the Thames river path through much of the area, crossing quiet lochs and cul de sacs, with some truly breathtaking homes.
You will find plenty of yacht clubs, luxury hotels and health spas, in this area of London that seems almost completely removed from the rest of the city. We aren’t sure who would want to keep their yacht in a city like London but if you own a boat of any size and don’t want to leave it behind – the option to take it with you is there!
Quite a lot of the housing in this area is from the late 18th and 19th centuries – otherwise known as highly valuable and constantly in demand! There are many apartment blocks and buildings in the area to move into of various degrees of size (and cost!) but overall; there is no shortage of some wonderful places to call home in St.Katherine’s Dock. The area is particularly well suited for families, with great homes, quiet streets and good access to schools south of the river or in the centre of London.
Speaking of transport, Wapping Overground station is good for train connections from here to London Bridge and Liverpool Street, which are among the best ways to get around without walking to Tower Hill for Underground services. Overall, St. Katherine’s Dock offers an incredibly luxurious sense of living for anyone wanting to move to East London and oh, what a charming life to live here it would be indeed!
Distance To City Centre: 4.2 miles
Main Train Station: Limehouse
Area Description: Quieter East London neighbourhood along the River Thames with stunning quayside properties Notable Features:
Limehouse is a slightly more notorious area of East London to live in due to its historical connection to the legendary villain, Jack The Ripper. These days (thankfully) the biggest celebrities in the area are known for playing good-hearted wizards (Sir Ian McKellen who played Gandalf in The Lord Of The Rings owns a pub called The Grapes where he keeps a few props from the films!). Limehouse is quite similar to St.Katherines Dock with the respect that it too is a charming and much quieter place to live than you might think.
There are many incredible places to live in Limehouse, from stunning Georgian terrace apartments and houses to more sleek and modern accommodation, all with fantastic views and access to the water and embankment of the River Thames. Dining out in this area is very popular for those who love gastro-pub cuisine. World-famous, Chef Gordon Ramsey, operates one such pub right by the waterside which is very popular with locals living in Limehouse.
You can go on many wonderful walks living in this area but, following the Regent’s canal up towards Mile End park is definitely, one of the best walks you can go on in East London. Transport around this part of the city is convenient thanks to multiple railway options from the London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and standard railway services operating in the area. If you want to work in Canary Wharf, East or Central London – living in Limehouse can definitely work for you!
The area is great for anyone looking to move to with their family thanks to the quiet streets and neighbourhoods by the river. The Thames path to London Bridge is a fantastic local walking spot or way of commuting to work. Driving around this part of the city is a little easier than more congested parts of East London, which may well help with the school run and commute to work if you’re thinking of bringing both kids and a car. Limehouse has so much potential as an area to live in East London that we may well just have to move there ourselves now!
What About The Rest Of London?
That completes our area guide for the best areas to live in East London!
We’ve shared all our secrets for living in the area with you but, if you want to learn more about some of the areas on this list, see our individual neighbourhood guides, for more information.