The 10 Best Neighborhoods to Explore in London

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    London's Must-See Neighborhoods

    Columbia Road Flower Market
    ••• Columbia Road Flower Market in Shoreditch. Joanna Henderson/

    London is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each with their own character and style. There are reasons to visit every corner of the city but we've focused on 10 of the best areas to explore, whether you're looking for cute pubs, posh shops or riverside strolls. 

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    Mayfair London
    ••• Old Bond Street, Mayfair. Pawel Libera/

    This affluent area sits between Hyde Park and the glittering West End. Mayfair is the most expensive square on the London Monopoly board so it stands to reason that it's home to the city's largest concentration of five-star hotels and some of the highest rents in London. By day you can shop for tailored suits on Savile Row, designer gear on Bond Street or art in many of the area's independent art galleries. By night, it's all members' clubs, wine bars, and posh clubs. ​

    Best for: Designer boutiques, posh restaurants, and art

    Neighborhood highlights: Royal Academy of the Arts, Bond Street, Claridge's, the ​Dorchester, Grosvenor Square, Savile Row

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    Brick Lane
    ••• A street scene in Brick Lane, Shoreditch. Stuart Freedman/Getty Images

    This buzzy east London 'hood is packed full of hipster coffee shops, cool bars and vintage shops and markets. It's strewn with street art and many of its former industrial warehouses are now restaurants and clubs. Old Street is known as Silicon Roundabout for its concentration of tech startups and attracts techies from around the world. ​Spitalfields Market, with its stalls selling clothes, art, and food, draws large crowds at the weekend. 

    Best for: Street art, cool bars, and vintage threads

    Neighborhood highlights: Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane, Hoxton Square, Columbia Road Flower Market, Boxpark, Geffrye Museum, Rough Trade

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    ••• Pretty townhouses in Chelsea. Mike Kemp/Getty Images

    This well-heeled west London neighborhood hugs the north bank of the river Thames and is home to pretty squares flanked by multi-million-pound townhouses. The area's main artery is the King's Road, which is lined with high-end shops, cafes and restaurants. It's bookended by the Saatchi Gallery, a centre for contemporary art and Stamford Bridge, Chelsea Football Club's home ground. It plays host to the Chelsea Flower Show each May. 

    Best for: Shopping, football and flowers

    Neighborhood highlights: Sloane Square, the Saatchi Gallery, Stamford Bridge, the King's Road, the Royal Court Theatre, Cadogan Hall, Chelsea Physic Garden

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    Greenwich Park
    ••• Maritime Greenwich from Greenwich Park. Visit England/Visit Greenwich

    This leafy neighborhood in southeast London feels like a real escape from the city. It has a rich maritime heritage and is home to the Royal Observatory where you can straddle two hemispheres at the Prime Meridian. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and pretty Greenwich Park served as Henry VIII's former hunting ground. Head up to the top for dramatic views of the London skyline. The covered market is packed with stalls selling antiques, art, crafts, and food. 

    Best for: Sweeping city views, riverside fun, and crafty market finds

    Neighborhood highlights: Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Market, Greenwich Park, the Cutty Sark, the O2, the Queen's House 

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    London South Bank
    ••• London's South Bank at night. Pawel Libera/Visit Britain

    This historic 'hood on the south bank of the Thames is packed full of cultural gems including Tate Modern and the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Borough Market attracts foodies from across the globe and Maltby Street Market, with its food stalls set in railway arches, is a hit with locals. Southwark Cathedral stands in the shadow of the futuristic Shard, London's tallest building. The borough is home to hipster enclaves Bermondsey, Camberwell, and Peckham. 

    Best for: Tasty market bites, riverside strolls, and cultural gems

    Neighborhood highlights: Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral, Bermondsey Street, Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Shard, Tower Bridge.

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    Brixton Village
    ••• Brixton Market's colorful arcades. Gerard Puigmal/Getty Images

    This dynamic and culturally diverse area in south London attracts foodies from across the city to its historic covered market lined with food stalls, quirky boutiques and independent restaurants serving every global cuisine you can think of. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, you'll find a cool arthouse cinema, one of London's best music venues and tons of cool bars and eateries. 

    Best for: Global cuisine, live music and street art

    Neighborhood highlights: Ritzy Cinema, O2 Brixton Academy, Brixton Village, the Black Cultural Archives

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  • 08 of 11

    Notting Hill

    Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill
    ••• Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill. Maremagnum/Getty Images

    Parts of Notting Hill look straight out of a film. And that's probably because the neighborhood is synonymous with the 1999 Brit flick of the same name. The area's quaint streets are lined with colorful townhouses and its famous market (Portobello Road) is flanked by stalls selling antiques, trinkets and vintage clothes. The streets come alive every August when the area plays host to the world's second largest carnival (after Rio). 

    Best for: Shopping for antiques, film locations, and independent cafes

    Neighborhood highlights: Notting Hill Carnival, Portobello Road Market, Electric Cinema

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    Camden Lock
    ••• Camden Lock. Michael Heffernan/

    Colorful Camden is one of the best places in London to see live music. From the iconic Roundhouse, a converted steam engine repair shed, to countless dive bars that play host to small indie bands, this neighborhood rocks. Its street markets sell everything from jewelry to artwork and clothes to vintage furniture. Stroll along the Regent's Canal to the park of the same name, past the zoo. Or take a waterbus from Camden Lock to Little Venice. 

    Best for: Live music, canalside strolls, and quirky market stalls

    Neighborhood highlights: Regent's Canal, the Roundhouse, Camden Markets, Camden Lock

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    Bar Soho
    ••• Simon Winnall/

    The neon-lit streets of Soho are lined with record stores, coffee shops, hip bars and restaurants serving food from across the globe. London's entertainment hub is buzzing day and night and forms part of the glittering West End, with its theaters showing blockbuster plays and musicals. You'll find countless pubs filled with the media professionals that work in the area and a thriving LGBT scene around Old Compton Street. 

    Best for: Blockbuster theater shows, record stores, and global restaurants

    Neighborhood highlights: West End theaters, Old Compton Street, Soho Square, Chinatown, Oxford Street

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    Kensington Street
    ••• Egerton Crescent in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

    This wealthy neighborhood in west London is home to three of the city's best museums: the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. It's bookended by beautiful green spaces, Hyde Park and Holland Park and has a high street flanked by stores for shoppers of all budgets. Factor in Kensington Palace, a royal residence since the 17th century, and there are plenty of reasons to spend a significant amount of time exploring this decadent district.  

    Best for: Big name museums, posh pubs and park strolls  

    Neighborhood highlights: The Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Design Museum, Hyde Park, Holland Park, Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington High Street