There are so many neighborhoods in London where expats and locals live side by side. We can’t write about all of them, but we have compiled a list of the most popular residential areas for expats.
Expats from around the world and Brits alike flock to Islington in North London because of its convenient location. There are many tube lines and buses and the area is close to the West End and financial area. Upper Street, with Highbury & Islington station at one end and Angel at the other, has a great deal of restaurants, shops, and pubs. It is a lively neighborhood and Highbury Fields park is nearby. Victorian and purpose-built flats are available for rent and purchase in Islington. There are more singles than families in Islington. An additonal perk is that six years ago the council launched the “Technology Mile”, a free wireless internet zone, that stretches the length of the Upper Street and includes private dwellings. On the minus side, parking in this dense area is a nightmare; however, there are plenty of bike routes and this is one of London’s most bicycle-friendly neighbourhoods.
Supermarkets – Every supermarket chain you can think of has a branch in Islington. Check out Expat Info Desk’s supermarket guide to choose the right shop for your needs. In addition to the large branches, food shops spread throughout the borough ensure you will never be short of artisanal cheese or hand-roasted peppers.
Restaurants – There is a large variety both in terms of type and budget all over the area. Two very popular spots are:
- Gallipoli: 102 Upper Street; N1 1QP – Mediterranean cuisine in a fun and lively atmosphere is what you’ll get here. Prices are affordable so it’s a really popular place to eat.
- Ottolenghi: 287 Upper Street; N1 2TZ – This super trendy eatery offers fresh salads and meats. The desserts are also not to be missed. Prices are moderate to high.
Cinemas – 2 main cinemas
- Vue Islington: 36 Parkfield Street; N1 0PS
Mainstream blockbusters play here with great frequency.
- Screen on the Green: 83 Upper Street; N1 0NU Your favorite independent and arts films play here, along with the occasional mainstream offering.
Sports – There are so many sporting activities to take advantage of in Islington so check this link to find locations near you. Swimming pools are everywhere and there is even a trampoline class at Sobell near Finsbury Park.
Kensington is an upscale neighborhood in central London with excellent access to parks (Hyde Park for example), shopping, and transportation. It is a popular area for high-earning singles and many expats, both singles and with family, choose to live in Kensington. Here, the Victorian-style flats which are ubiquitous, are priced at a premium. This is the UK’s wealthiest borough by far. On the weekends herds of tourists flock to the many attractions and shops which might be a little bit annoying as a resident if all you need is a pint of milk.
Schools – Southbank International School; 36 – 38 Kensington Park Road; W11 3BU – This prestigious school is an international baccalaureate school for kids aged 3 to 18. The Kensington branch focuses on kids aged 11 – 16 but the school has other branches not too far away.
Supermarkets – Every supermarket chain you can think of has a branch in Kensington. Check out Expat Info Desk’s supermarket guide to choose the right shop for your needs.
Restaurants – You can find all types of food in Kensington but there is a focus on high-end dining and many restaurants have moderate to high prices.
- Kensington Place: 201 – 209 Kensington Church Street; W8 7LX – Modern British food in a sophisticated atmosphere. Prices are moderate to high.
- Zaika: 1 Kensington High Street; W8 5NP – The first Indian restaurant to receive a Michelin star offers the best lamb rogan josh in the capital. Prices are moderate to high.
Cinema – Odeon Kensington Kensington High Street W8 6NA Blockbuster favorites play here.
Sports – Westway Sports Centre 1 Crowhorne Road, W10 6RP
This sports facility offers badminton, basketball, netball, volleyball, football, martial arts, table tennis, and gymnastics to name a few! You can even learn to scuba dive here.
This area in South London offers a fun atmosphere and lots of nightlife. The Northern Line tube runs through the neighborhood and takes you to the financial district in half an hour or less. Purpose-built flats are popular here that are filled with a mix of singles and families. Clapham is made of 4 areas: Clapham and Clapham North, Clapham Common South and Clapham Park, the dividing line being a large Common (sort of park without the trees). The Common is a good reason enough to want to move to Clapham.
Schools – There are no international schools in this area but Southbank International School isn’t too far (36 – 38 Kensington Park Road; W11 3BU) and offers tuition for kids up to the age of 18.
Supermarkets – Most supermarket chains have branches in Clapham. The more affordable Iceland and Somerfield chains also have branches in the area.
Restaurants – All types of food can be found in Clapham and many places offer affordable dining.
- The Fish Club: 57 Clapham High Street; SW4 7TG – Modern fish and chips is what you’ll want to order.
- Four 0 Nine: – Lamb, steak, and sea bass are some of the dishes at this French restaurant. The wine list is extensive. Prices are moderate.
Cinema – Clapham Picturehouse: 76 Venn Street; SW4 0AT – Mainstream movies and the occasional art-house feature play at this Clapham cinema.
- Battersea Ironsides Cricket Club: Join a competitive cricket team then hit the licensed bar for a Guinness!
- Clapham Chasers: Jog, bike, swim or train for a triathlon.
Shoreditch is a real urban center that is located close to the financial district. Many bus routes go through Shoreditch and Old Street tube station is never far, but in reality, this is not the best area for transport. Shoreditch can be a little seedy with its grubby looking block of flats and it many “gentlemen parlours” dotted along the high street. It is the perfect example of slums gentrified as some of the smartest housing is hidden in North Shoreditch. Perhaps the most famous of development is the Gainsborough Studios where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Lady Vanishes. You will find mainly many purpose-built buildings in this lively neighborhood. Bars and pubs are plentiful in Shoreditch. This is a lively area for singles, while families tend to inhabit the council blocks.
Schools – London International School of Performing Arts: – There is no better place to study the art of theatre than London. The school offers 2 full-time courses – Creating Theatre and Performance and Integral Theatre Pedagogy.
Supermarkets – Main supermarket chains, and small shops characterize Shoreditch.
Restaurants – Every type of food is available in Shoreditch and many restaurants offer affordable prices in very trendy venues.
- Shish: 313 – 319 Old Street; EC1 9LE – Middle Eastern food at affordable prices is what this lively restaurant offers. Sit at the bar and watch the chefs.
- The Albion: 10 Thornhill Road; N1 1HW – The Independent voted The Albion one of the top 50 Sunday lunch venues in the UK. Experience your eggs Benedict in the garden on a sunny day.
Cinemas – Catch a quick bus to Islington and check out the Vue or Screen on the Green. Details are above in the Islington section.
Sports – Ironmonger Row Baths Swim laps or try out the aqua aerobics classes. Take scuba lessons or just relax in the sauna or one of the 5 Turkish baths.
Hampstead is part of the borough of Camden, North of the city, about 4 miles/6.5 kms from Charing Cross station – (one of the main train station). Hamsptead has had and still has a myriad of historical residents from Marianne Faithfull (singer) to Ian Fleming – James Bond’s “father”. It is known for its intellectual associations and poetry readings but still boasts some of the most expensive housing in London. The very large properties are worth in excess of twenty million Euros. The village of Hamsptead itself is said to host more millionaires in its boundaries than anywhere else in the UK. However, though expensive because of its inner London location and its handy tube (the Northern line zone 2) and buses connections, and its large park Hamsptead Heath, it still offers pockets of affordability.
Schools – Visit the list of all the schools in Hampstead. Unfortunately, it does not have any schools dedicated to expats only, but it is home to the prestigious London University King’s College, which is mostly science based.
Supermarkets – Hampstead has its fair share of supermarkets, including Walmart, several Waitrose – upper scale supermarkets – plus the usual chain-supermarket such as Tesco metro, Marks and Spencers and very many independent shops where you can get delicatessen items from around the world.
Restaurants – There is a mix of foreign restaurants ranging from French to Thai. Some of the best known are Gaucho Grill, part of the Gaucho chain and Le Cellier du Midi. However, Hampstead is best known for its pubs which also serve traditional food. Two of the top pubs are:
- Freemasons Arms, 32 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London, NW3, Although recently restored, it kept the old traditional atmosphere which is so dear to the locals.
- The Duke of Hamilton, 23–25 New End, Hampstead, London, NW3, Fuller’s pub with good guest beer and a choice of pub food at a very reasonable price.
Cinema – Beside the chain cinemas such as the Odeon which play the blockbusters and the main stream films. Hampstead has one independent cinema:
- Everyman cinema: 5 Holly Bush Vale, Hampstead, London, NW3 which has been around since the 1930’s
Sport – “Hampstead’s lot” doesn’t seem to be terribly sporty, or at least there are not many indoor facilities, very likely because it is so close to central London with all its sports centers. Hampstead is better known for its outdoors pursuits, Hamsptead Heath has an outdoor swimming “pool” which is actually more like a pond that is very popular. On the Heath, one can play cricket and run in groups. For more info click here.
Live Music – With iconic venues such as the Barfly and the Forum and a score of band-welcoming pubs and bars, nearby Camden is a real music heaven.
Bayswater is the district north of Kensington Gardens and is considered part of inner London and the City of Westminster. Bayswater center is Paddington, home of the Eurostar terminals – fast train to Paris, Lille, Bruxelles. Quiet and green, most buildings are Victorian houses, although there are also new purpose built constructions. There are not many local shops around but it is situated a bus-ride away from the buzzing Edgware Road which is an excellent place for shopping. There is one grand department store, Whiteleys, which dominates Queensway – one of the main arteries. Bayswater is also very near to the famous Oxford Street. Convenient for commuting, two tube stations serves this part of London Queensway on the Central line and Bayswater on the District and Circle lines. What was once a very desirable location, however, has been victim to greed and large houses have been divided into tiny flats/bedsits for maximum profit. As a result these tiny accommodations generally attract mostly a transient population.
Supermarkets – Main supermarket chains, and medium shops characterize Bayswater, including a strong middle-eastern/Arab influence, especially in Edgware Road. Whiteleys is a large department store housing 70 shops stocking everything from latest fashion to chandeliers.
Restaurants – As always the cosmopolitan aspect of London is reflected in its restaurants. In Bayswater you will find a restaurant to suit every need from Thai to Italian, small and large, fast and….not so fast.
- Le cafe Anglais: Classic French cuisine is served in this celebrated venue in the Whiteleys store. It has its own entrance on 8 Porchester Gardens, Bayswater, W2
- Tiroler Hut : 27 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, W2 , all staff wear Tyrolean costumes, live yodeling and accordion playing will entice dinners to sing along.
- Patisserie Valerie Patisserie : 174-176 Queensway, Bayswater, W2 is a French chain of lovely cakes and yummy treats.
Cinema – Bayswater has 3 Cinema venues, 2 Odeon and 1 UCI, Bayswater has a no independent cinema but it is only a few tube stations away from the renowned “The Electric” on Portobello Road which is an independent cinema showing art and foreign films.
Sport – From sports shops to sports center, sporty types can work out to their heart content.
- Bowling arcade: All Star Lanes 6 Porchester Gardens, Bayswater, W2 4DB, bowling popularity is on the increase, trendy magazines rank it among city workers’ favorite “sport”.
Synonymous with tennis, it comes as no surprise that Wimbledon’s main attraction is its recreational facilities and really quite a lot of open spaces (67 parks, 11 nature reserves). Wimbledon is located in the south west of London in the Borough of Merton, with 2 tube stations, 3 railway stations, a tram link and many bus routes; Wimbledon is well connected, though the commute to central London will take around 45 minutes.
A quarter of people are of an ethnic minority and more than a quarter is aged 50+, the majority being affluent urban professionals. Wimbledon’s housing stock is composed of large Victorian houses many of which have been converted into flats, although there are also gentrified cottages. Close to the station there are new houses.
A reputable area with a good transport system, lots of green spaces and entertainment venues, Wimbledon is one of the most desirable suburbs in the capital and its housing market is priced accordingly.
Schools – There is a good schooling provision in Wimbledon, expats from northern Europe will be interested in The Norwegian School and for these interested in art: Wimbledon College of Art is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London and is one of London’s major art institutions.
Supermarkets – Wimbledon is a bustling centre and one might expect a lot of shopping facilities. However, because of its proximity to Sutton and Kingston – both towns with large shopping facilities – Wimbledon is slightly low of shopping venues. Nevertheless supermarkets chains are present, as well as
- The Centre Court Shopping Centre next to the station providing the much needed focus for retail.
Restaurants – A good collection of bistros and cosmopolitan restaurants.
Cinema – Wimbledon is more theatre orientated than silver screen.
- Known for the Polka Children’s Theatre, and an open air theatre in Cannizaro Park which puts on a popular Summer programme.
- The newly reopened New Wimbledon Theatre on the Broadway is also popular throughout London, bringing in a large number of West End productions.
Sports – There is no shortage of venues: horse riding in the parks, 4 golf courses, Wimbledon Club offers squash, cricket, hockey and of course tennis, for club activities the David Lloyd centre provides a venue only a couple of miles away. There is also an active running club in Wimbledon called the Windmilers.
Putney is one of five main towns in the largest inner London borough, Wandsworth, situated South West. Putney is by the river Thames and is mainly residential with an affluent population travelling to work elsewhere in London. The level of wealth in Putney is better than average with a youngish population (between 20 and 39), but is less cosmopolitan than most inner city towns. To many, Putney is a little heaven with some beautiful houses and good schools next to plenty of greenery and all the benefits of the riverside.
Putney is in zone 2 and there is a public transport link to central London through the underground (District Line), but the service is poor. On the other-hand, the rail network to the center is good – less than 30 minutes. There are also road links to both the major London airports at Heathrow and Gatwick. Access to the Ring Road M25 and Motorway M3 are also good. Local satisfaction with transport and local services is high and well above national and London averages.
Putney has a large antipodeans population (Australians, New Zealanders and white South Africans). It is relatively safe and relaxed and like most areas south of the river, Putney is leafy and green. Its high street and shopping district are very busy, but have very little character. You would think that with its positive points, housing would be expensive. Surprisingly, however, that is not so, with the exception of West Putney where 6 or 7 bedroom detached villas can be found. In the rest of the area, the housing stock varies greatly from Regency cottages, Edwardian and Victorian houses, via Sixties council estates to 20th century apartments, all quite reasonably priced.
Schools – This is were Putney excels with an array of schools with better than national average results. None of these schools target expats, but with such a high standard of education, most expats feel comfortable with the schools on offer.
Supermarkets – For groceries there is a medium sized Waitrose – upmarket food supermarket – and a large Sainsbury’s.
Restaurants – Putney is renowned for its fine selection of pubs. Among the most atmospheric are the ones on the river bank which include:
- Boathouse: 32 Brewhouse Lane,SW15 2JX tl: 020 8789 0476, Fantastic view, good food, great beers.
- The Coat & Badge: 10 Lacy Road, The old-worldly 1715 inn is often packed due to good food and a large range of wines and beers.
- Duke’s Head, 8 Lower Richmond Road: A Lovely gastropub with great views on and along the river. A regular for locals.
- The oldest pub in Putney is the wonderful Briclayers Arms
Cinema – Putney has one Cinema (Odeon) so to catch a film it might be necessary to catch a train into London first.
Sports – Putney like most of South London is blessed with green spaces, Richmond Park to the south west claims to be the biggest urban park in Europe. It has a golf course, horse riding facilities. However Putney is best known for its river sports and, in particular, its rowing centres ….about 20 of them. Some interesting open spaces in the area include:
- Putney Heath – at the eastern edge the heath is a huge piece of land that joins Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common.
- Putney Vale Cemetery – Famous names in this cemetery include Howard Carter the archeologist ho discovered the Tutankhamen’s tomb and the Writer Enid Blyton.
Situated between Putney and Chelsea, Fulham is an area of West London, north of the river and a part of the London Borough of Hammersmith. It is situated 3.5 miles/ 6 kms or 20 minutes by tube from the West End. Fulham is rather a small place so cycling or walking will take you from A to Z faster than taking a bus.
Fulham is a very densely populated district and its population growth is expected to continue. Fulham’s nearest neighbour is Hammersmith, which houses a very diverse population. Fulham is much less diverse and Porsches parked in driveways are the general commanality. To the untrained eye, the distinction between Fulham and Hammersmith is really blurred. Often the official double-name of “Hammersmith & Fulham” confuses things even further. As most places of interests are in Fulham, we have concentrated on this part of the borough with the occasional mention to Hammersmith. The borough is home to major international companies, two large exhibition centres 3 professional football club and the BBC.
At first glance Fulham gives the impression of a sea of red brick terraced houses by the river, look again and it is really row after row of uniform dwellings which is rather a rarity in London. The area does well for open spaces, beside the long river there are a few large parks and houses often have a garden making Fulham a favourite with families. Because of Fulham popularity, Fulham prices have been sky-rocketing and each dwelling attracts a great deal of competition, especially since demand outstrips supply.
Schools – There are two adult education centres in SW6. The Dawes Road Centre concentrates on computer skills and language classes while the Sands End Community Centre (Broughton Road) has all sorts, from a sports hall and glass fusing workshops to floral art, stained glass, computer courses and the ever-reliable pottery classes.
For a map of the borough’s schools consult Schoolsnet.com
Supermarkets – From antiques to Harley Davidson motorcycles, dazzling lights to designer fashions, Fulham is a place for individualists where small and specialist shops predominate.
- Elizabeth King: 34 New Kings Road, SW6 4ST Tel: 020 7736 2826 An impressive delicatessen in the heart of Fulham, with a mouth watering range of French ad European cheese, saucissons, bread, olives and meals-to-go. One of Time Out’s top 50 lunch spots.
- Randalls: 113 Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TE Tel: 020 7736 3426 A real gem and favourite of Gordon Ramsey, offering a range of organic, free-range and additive free meat. Game in season and a great cheese counter.
- Fulham Broadway Shopping Centre open 7 days a week until late, the centre offers restaurants, bars, cinema, leisure facilities and selection of excellent retailers with direct access to London Underground.
Restaurants – Hammersmith and Fulham is so cosmopolitan, you will easily find over 30 type of cuisines.
A well known land mark is the River Café famous for its light, fresh and modern cuisine.
Cinema – Entertainment will be Hammersmith’s ticket with:
- Riverside Studio – a cinema – set in the former BBC production studios.
- Hammersmith Apollo : concert hall famed for its concerts and comedy evenings.
Sports – Both Fulham and the infamous Chelsea Premiership football clubs are situated in Fulham. Football is the national sport and an important “player” in the life of Londoners in general. Supporting a team was very much a family hobby until the excesses of the ’90’s which has seen season ticket prices soar and violence on and off the pitch.
Still on match days, London will be fairly quiet, a good address for these occasions are sports pubs such as the:
- Famous Three Kings 171 North End Road, SW6 9NLTel: 020 7603 6071 Dozens of TV screens showing cricket, rugby, football, ice hockey and more. Pitchers of beer available, plus booths. Great atmosphere on match days.
If your sport is more hands on, this is what you can do
- Climbing: Westway Climbing Wall Westway Sports Centre, 1 Crowthorne Road, W10 6RP Tel: 020 8969 0992 – Probably the best climbing wall in London with excellent supervision and facilities, and climbs to suit all levels of ability.
- The David Lloyd Health centre is also here, set in 40,000 sq ft of space, stretching to a cardio theatre and a group cycling studio.
Fulham is particularly well off for such establishments. Fulham Pools, run in conjunction by the council and a private health firm, has three swimming pools and a gym and is on Lillie Road. This is also the road for the Fitness Centre, with its gym, creche, sports therapy and children’s parties.
Apart from David Lloyd there are other private health clubs, notably Cannons (Stevenage Road), the Chelsea Club (Fulham Road), Circle Health (Parsons Green), Harbour Club (Water Meadow Lane) and Top Notch Health (North End Road).
Chelsea means “landing place” in old English and while very few can afford to “land” here, if you can, you are in for a treat. Chelsea is many things, home to some of the best attractions in London, a stone’s throw away from the centre, and host to the ever-hip King’s road. This borough is the most affluent in London. Chelsea is a diverse area, with over a hundred languages spoken in schools. Around a quarter of residents are from ‘white other’ ethnic grousp, one of the highest concentrations in the country. Nationalities and communities include Australian, American, French, Middle Eastern and North African. Some houses are said to be the most expensive in the country and most of them are on short let with extremely complicated, complex leases. Only a third of new homes are classified as affordable to local people. Once the bohemian/artist district, today Kylie Minogue has a pad here. It is surprisingly deprived of tube stations (Sloane square is the only one).
Schools – One of reason the French community is so strong in Chelsea is that it is the catchment area for the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle .
Overall, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea schools perform excellently. To consult a map of the schools in Chelsea, check Schoolsnet.com.
Supermarkets – Chelsea is shopping heaven and its proximity to Kensington High Street is an extra bonus. The King’s road is one of the best shopping street in London. Markets are numerous including farmers’ markets. There are department stores which are so famous that they do not need any introduction:
Since you can’t eat Gucci and Cartier’s products, though, you will need supermarkets which are also present mostly on Cromwell Road with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, there is an excellent Marks and Spencers a bit further on at 113 Kensington High Street.
Restaurants – After any shopping effort sustenance is important, here you will find cuisine from the every corner of the world, a select few are:
- Tom’s Kitchen 27 Cale Street, SW3 3QP. The two Michelin star chef’s restaurant is a home away from home for Chelsea’s super rich set. But don’t let that put you off.
- Pig’s Ear 35 Old Church Street, SW3 5BS, a fantastic gastropub.
- Sushinho 312-314 King’s Road, SW3 5UH when East meets West – fusion food.
Cinema – Only one UCG cinema but you are only 10 minutes away from the West End
Sports – The number of residents who participate in sports is the highest in London and there are increasing numbers from all sections of the community now using local sports facilities. A sports and physical activity plan, to encourage even more people to take part in sports and to develop new facilities has been created. Of course it is also the home of the famous Chelsea football club.
Click here for a list of all the leisure centres.
Shepherd’s Bush, though residential, is best known for the Westfield Shopping Center (also known as White City), which is said to be the largest shopping center in the EU.
Significant communities from Australia and New Zealand exist in Shepherds Bush. There are also links to South Africa and a Polish community, with a community centre in nearby Hammersmith. East African, West Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Irish, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities have a strong association with the area.
Transport is excellent with 4 underground lines, 1 overground and more buses than one can count.
To visualise the area click here.
The downside of the area is its crime figures: statistics indicate that burglaries are twice the national average and “violence against a person” figures one and half time.
Schools – According to council reports pupils who are educated in the area achieve well above average when they leave school at 16. There are no schools dedicated to expats only, but as the area population is so mixed, any foreign national will feel at home here. The Council, police and other local services are working to continue to improve educational achievement, address high numbers of exclusions from school and reduce youth offending further.
Supermarkets – With the largest shopping center conceivable in the borough there is no need for more, but there is. Shepherds Bush is also home to a large, well known market opened Mon- Sat from 9am to 6pm, early. It is a buzzing traditional street market offering ethnic food from around the world (eastern European, Mediterranean, north African, afro-Caribbean). There is also fresh fish, a wide range of fruit and vegetables, meat, groceries, ladies, gents & children’s wear, carpets, dress fabrics and lots of cafes!
Restaurants – The area is so multi-cultural that there is even a walk dedicated to various food and restaurants, led by an official London tour-guide, it includes tastes in shops and restaurants (for info call 020 8753 3412)
- One of the places on the tour is Abu Zaad, serving delicious Damascus specialties. 29 Uxbridge Road, W12 8LH Tel: 020 8749 5107
- For traditional eel pie and mash shop visit Cookes 48 Goldhawk Road Tel: 020 8743 7630
Cinema – Shepherds Bush is the home of the BBC which can be visited by organised tours; there is a tour for children, too. If, after this you fancy taking part in the recording of your favourite BBC television and radio programmes by joining the audience, visit the BBC ticket office.
Sports – There are all sorts of sporting facilities in Shepherd’s Bush, here is the fit map.
Music – with famous alumni such as the Sex-Pistols and The Who, venues such as Bush continue to host great acts today.
This well to do neighbourhood is comparable in population to Kensington. It is nestled in a loop of the Thames, bordered in the south by Putney. Houses in the area tend to be large, with four or more bedrooms, often in Georgian and Victorian terraces. Many are owner-occupied by professional couples and families. There are also high levels of converted flats, some of which are privately rented. Politicians, actors, and high-profile TV personalities live here. It’s also where you’ll find some of London’s most expensive streets, most notably The Terrace.
Transport is not too heavily developed in Barnes; there’s no tube here, instead commuters use trains to Waterloo from Barnes, Barnes Bridge and Mortlake stations. Although one annoyance is aircraft noise as the planes queue over the river, it should not prevent you from exploring this classy “village”.
Practically half of this district is open land. The London Wetland Center is a bird reserve which makes the area a favorite destination for families.
Schools – Barnes is home to the Swedish School Society / Swedish School 82 Lonsdale Road, 020 8741 1751
Supermarkets – The village has a handful of small boutiques, as well as a local grocer’s, delis, a bookshop and some very fine restaurants. Barnes Farmers’ Market runs on Saturday’s from 12 noon til 4pm at Essex House on Station Road (just by the pond) & Barnes country market takes place every Friday morning on the High Street. Supermarkets are minimum a couple of miles away.
Restaurants – Very much like Putney, Barnes location is a dream for pubs by the river. Here are a few local favorites:
- The Sun Inn 7 Church Road – telephone: 020 8876 5256
- The Bull’s Head 373 Lonsdale Road phone: 020 8876 5241
- Cinemas are the other side of the river in Chiswick or along the river in Putney. Barnes is the somewhat unlikely setting to one of London’s most famous music studios: The Olympic Sound Studios where the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, the Kaiser Chiefs and The Arctic Monkeys have recorded.
Sports – The borough of Richmond is one of the greenest and healthiest in London. Children activities after school ranks the highest, there will be no problem to find sports activities that suit you. Though Barnes is a small, its has its own cricket green and rugby club.
Kew – Richmond – Chiswick
Richmond upon Thames is a borough in the south-west of London and is the only borough divided by the river. It is well known for its parks, nature reserves, and village greenery. It has the coveted title of greenest borough and hosts its very own world heritage site in that department: Kew Gardens.
Its population is one of the wealthiest in London and only around 12% of its population is from ethnic minorities. Richmond has good transport connections to central London and many local people commute out of the Borough to work. Average commute time is to centre 50 minutes station to station.
Average house prices are twice that for England and there is definitely a shortage of affordable houses as there is of houses all together. Click here to peruse the price of accommodation.
Schools – Schools results are above national average in the borough. In other words some of the best schools in London are in Richmond but there is a distinct lack of cultural diversity. Richmond is home to the American International University, degrees are accredited in the US and validated in the UK.
Supermarkets – Tesco is the main supermarket provider in the area. The borough is well stocked with shops and supermarkets from Waitrose to Costcutter. There are farmers markets at the week-end in Chiswick and Richmond.
Restaurants – Almost every nationality is represented when it comes to restaurants in the borough, for a list click here
- There is a wide choice of entertainment venues in the borough, including 2 cinemas which are run by the chain Odeon. The third, Curzon, is an ex art-cinema which still shows low budget and foreign films.
- The borough has many theatres click here for a complete listing: http://www.totallyrichmond.co.uk/theatre.html
Sports – Outdoors sports are favourite with people leaving in Richmond-upon-Thames, cycling clubs such as Kingston wheelers attract members from all over South West London alternatively the Richmond council organises courses for adults and children.
Football, horse riding, tennis all feature heavily in the borough. But when it comes to team sports, with the presence of the largest rugby stadium in the UK, Twickenham next door steals the show.
Ealing – Acton
Ealing is a densely populated outer London borough which covers a very large area (almost 100 square km) to the west of the city centre. The borough has characteristics of both inner and outer London. The borough of Ealing is composed of seven town centres which vary between green and spacious areas such as Ealing Common, to more built-up urban areas such as Acton.
It is the third most populated and the fourth most ethnically diverse district. It is home to the largest Sikh population outside India, a very large Polish community, as well as a large number of second generation Irish folks and a lot of Australians. At the latest census more than 100 languages were spoken in schools and around seven in ten children are of a minority background.
Schools are not performing as well as in other areas, although there are pockets of good and excellent education provision.
According to a government report a quarter of Ealing’s areas are within the top 20 percent most deprived areas in the country. Despite some of the downsides, Ealing attracts a lot of residents, this is due to its busy central shopping and entertainment center.
Housing in Ealing is a mixture of large Victorian townhouses and modern flats; Acton North and West Acton are very residential areas with leafy streets. East Acton is a bit more run down and out of the way but has its own small high street with a few shops and restaurants. Transportation by tube to anywhere in London is plentiful and rapid.
To get up-to-date information and a feel of the area, read the Ealing Gazette on line.
Supermarkets – There is no shortage of supermarkets in the area which also has a shopping center, West 12. Stores here cover all your needs from food to electronics.
Restaurants – Acton is quite poor in restaurants with a tendency for fast food joints. Check here for an idea of what’s available. It certainly depends on what you fancy, however for a stable value with even service and food try:
- Carluccio’s 5-6 The Green, Ealing , London, W5 5DA – Telephone: 020 8566 4458
Cinema – The night life in Ealing and Acton may be a bit dull but there are several cinemas in Ealing self.
- Empire Cinema – 59-61 Uxbridge Road New Broadway Ealing W55AH phone 0871 4714714
- Vue cinema in Acton near Park Royal.
Sports – Very recently London has seen a shift in leisure facilities with council sport centers forming association across borough eg: if you work somewhere and live elsewhere you can use your sport membership in both boroughs so it is worth exploring the local leisure centre.
Belgravia – Pimlico
Each capital has its area which is head and shoulders above the rest, in terms of location, tranquility, and good access – in other words the area to live in. In London such an area is Belgravia. Located in central London near Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park. It is a lovely area, extremely green, streets are lined with grand terraces of white Regency houses, some of which are home to various embassies. Flats in Belgravia are a mix of purpose-built block and old house stock divided. Smaller houses are often tucked away in mews. Belgravia is an exclusive area very near the West End, linked to the center by tube stations which are strategically place at its south and north, one of which is a direct line to Heathrow. Being one of the wealthiest areas in London, it has some of the most desirable (and expensive) property in London. If housing prices are exorbitant, council tax is very low which constitutes an oddity. Belgravia is a favourite with expats, in particular Americans, and is home to lots of celebrities.
If you like the idea of living near Belgravia, but can’t afford the staggering prices, then Pimlico might be a good option. It’s close to Belgravia, has good access to transport via the Victoria line and is considerably cheaper than nearby Belgravia and Chelsea.
Schools – Schools in Belgravia & Pimlico fall under the Westminster Local Education Authority. There is an excellent and extensive network of good schools, colleges and universities.
- Pimlico School is the most famous school here, read reviews and results Schoolsnet.com
- More House School one of the best know public school for girls (note “public schools” are privately run)
- Westminster School a day and boarding school next to the House of Parliament
Supermarkets – Pimlico has plenty of one-off, unique shops, but also supermarkets, like the new Sainsbury’s. As for Belgravia it would seem that only a selected few are allowed to trade here and ….most are art galleries. There are several shopping malls in the environs filled with luxury good purveyors. There is a daily market at Artillery Place a little up bit up the river which is always crowded.
Restaurants – There are more restaurants in Belgravia than we can mention, but here is a comprehensive list. Pimlico is not far behind with more than 17 restaurants around Pimlico station only and some where you would never expect! Try Tate Restaurant.
Cinema – A lot of Belgravia is crammed with hotels and tourist accommodation, this in turns means that there is very little in terms of night entertainment but being so close to the West End this should not a problem. Note that the area is famous for its clubs, the gentleman type, not the dancing type. Pimlico and cinema are forever associated in people’s mind thanks to the classic “Passport to Pimlico” but that is not the only association Pimlico has with cinema as it boast no less than 7 cinema houses.
Sports – Westminster claims the sport infrastructure in London, there is a huge range of options download Westminster guide to sports and leisure here.
Notting Hill – Holland Park
Notting Hill is situated in West London. It has seen many reversals of fortune since the 1800, once home to artists and rich merchants on account of its large houses at bargain price, it was badly damaged during the war. In the mid 50s Notting Hill was the first port of call for the West-Indian emigrants looking for cheap lodging and home to very poor white Londoners, the buildings were in a terrible state and parts of the area were horrible slums. It has made great strides to become the area made famous in the late 1990 by the film “Notting Hill” staring Julia Roberts. Notting Hill has a number of both flats and large terraced homes.
Notting Hill is home to Portobello Market and the Notting Hill Carnival. There is a vibrant Mediterranean community, mainly Portuguese, Spanish and Moroccan.
Holland Park is close to both Notting Hill and Kensington High Street. Holland Park features large detached homes as well as a good selection of flats located in mansion blocks. The whole area is sometimes refereed to as North Kensington. It is a transport hub.
Schools – Southbank International School 36-38 Kensington Park Road London, W11 3BU Tel: 44 171 229 8230 Curriculum: US, International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams: SAT Age Range: 3-18
Find a comprehensive list of establishments on Schoolnet.com, to make your selection enter the postcode.
Supermarkets – Tesco is the main name in the area with a Tesco Metro and larger Tescos such 224-226 Portobello Road London W11 1LJ. Many residents in the area simply shop on line.
Restaurants – Parts of the area boast more that 70 restaurants per square mile.
- Here is a food outlet with a difference, it is a book shop which uses recipes from the stock for their daily specials : Books for cooks.
- On Saturdays you will not be able to resist one of the Indian curries or Carribean jerk chicken from the Portobello Market.
- The Bombay Bicycle is a renowned take away: 128 Holland Park Avenue London W11 4UE, Phone: 0207 727 7335.
Cinema – The district is well known for its cinema. Residents maintain a good web site detailing all the delights of the area and under cinema we could not do any better than to point out to their site.
Entertainment also means the yearly Nottinghill Carnival
Sports – There is a wide range of activities available at the leisure centres in London so if you intend to keep fit or get into shape you might have to walk a little form your Notting Hill dwelling to the Harbour Club 1 Alfred Road London, W2 5EU – 020 7266 9300.