As the UK’s largest city by far and home to a thriving economy, London is one of the country’s most desirable areas to live. It has an incredible amount of culture, with countless theatres, cinemas, museums and art galleries. That’s not to mention all the great shops, restaurants, bars and cafes throughout the city.
London is such a large city that people tend to separate it by geographical location i.e north, east, south and west. East London is a particularly attractive place for people to move to thanks to its relatively affordable property, thriving culture scene, welcoming community and beautiful natural spaces.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best areas to live in east London as well as the pros and cons of living there. Before we do though, let’s first look at some of the culture highlights of east London.
Things to do in East London
- Museum of London Docklands – If you have an interest in history, particularly the history of the area surrounding the Thames, then the Museum of London Docklands is a must-visit. There are many great historical photographs to explore as well as unique footage and testimonies.
- The Castle Cinema – If you’re looking for a unique cinema experience that’s different to your typical modern multiplex, then The Castle Cinema in Homerton is ideal. The incredible curved, ornate ceiling helps to lend a huge amount of class to the cinema and although it’s relatively small, at just 80 seats, watching a film there is an experience you won’t forget.
- Victoria Park – Victoria Park is one of the most historic in London and attracts a huge amount of visitors from across the world each year. On the huge grounds of the park are a number of listed buildings, so it’s a fascinating place to explore. During the summer months, you can enjoy one of the many festivals that are hosted there and if you go during the autumn and winter months, there are usually some great fireworks displays.
- Emirates Cable Car – One of east London’s more unique offerings is the Emirates Cable Car. Running from Greenwich Peninsula to Royal Docks, riding on the cable car provides you with a great view of the city and the very affordable round trip cost makes it a great experience where you don’t need to break the bank.
- Spitalfields City Farm – If you’re looking for a more relaxing cultural experience in east London, Spitalfields City Farm would be perfect. Not only is it a great area to explore, with multiple animals to see, but they also sell some excellent local produce, including freshly laid eggs.
- Wilton’s Music Hall – One of the most historic buildings in London and the oldest music hall in the world, Wilton’s Music Hall is home to all types of shows, including plays, cabaret, dance, puppetry and magic shows. It’s a great place to visit with kids and the building itself, which is Grade II listed, is incredible to witness in person.
- Broadway Market – Broadway Market provides you with a great alternative to the major chain stores you’ll typically find in most shopping centres. It’s a bustling place that’s home to roughly 135 stalls selling all manner of items, from vintage clothes to fresh produce, homeware and books.
Leytonstone has plenty to offer to residents, with great culture, many beautiful green spaces and just a short journey to central London – it’s a great place to live for young professionals and commuters.
The property prices in Leytonstone are fairly typical for east London as a whole, with a number of great houses and flats to rent and buy.
Shoreditch is another desirable area to live in east London. Due to its constantly growing number of career opportunities and close proximity to the city centre, it’s become a very desirable area to live in for both families and young professionals alike.
Being a one of the poshest areas in East London, the property prices in Shoreditch are very high.
Hackney has seen a lot of redevelopment over the past few years and what was once seen as an undesirable place to live, now attracts people of all kinds to live there. Being home to beautiful parks, including Victoria Park and London Fields Park, it also has excellent cycle routes into the city centre.
Because it’s now become a much more highly desired area to live, the property prices in Hackney are quite high, being comparable to those in Shoreditch.
With many excellent schools in the area, as well as great shops, bars, restaurants and green spaces, Spitalfields would make a perfect area for families. It also has many new office buildings, so there are plenty of career opportunities there too.
The property prices in Spitalfields are some of the most expensive in east London, so this is certainly something to bear in mind before planning a move there.
Walthamstow hasn’t always had the best reputation but in recent years it’s been renovated, with many excellent new restaurants and bars opening there. This, combined with the excellent culture, has helped to attract many new young people to the area.
The property in Walthamstow is considerably more affordable than a lot of the other upmarket areas in east London, so it would make a good choice for young professionals.
Is East London right for you?
Before deciding on a move to east London, it’s important to know what you can expect when living there. There are many plus points to it but also a few negatives. Let’s take a look at both below, starting with its upsides.
- Huge amount of culture – One of the best things about living in east London is that you have a huge amount of culture on your doorstep. As well as the many great shops and boutiques, there’s also the Olympic Park sports complex and park as well as the O2 Arena, which sees some of the biggest acts in music play there each year.
- Many employment opportunities – Another plus about living in east London is the wide range of job opportunities. There are plenty of opportunities in east London itself but it’s also just a short journey to central London, so it’s ideal if you need to commute.
- Great for shopping – If you’re looking for unique shops and boutiques that sell all types of vintage clothes, then east London is perfect. There are also many other types of shops in the area, whether you’re looking for used books, homeware, art or jewellery.
- Plenty of great parks – East London is home to some of the best parks in the city, with the likes of Victoria Park, London Fields and Allen Gardens. There are also many excellent walks to be found throughout the area, so it’s perfect if you’re a nature lover.
- Good sense of community – London can have the reputation of being quite a cold and unwelcoming place but this certainly isn’t true of east London. The plethora of great festivals and local markets combined with the friendly and welcoming community make it a great place to make new friends.
And now a couple of the downsides of east London –
- Property prices are very high in certain areas – London is known for having high property prices in general and although east London has significantly lower average property prices, they’re still very high in certain areas, such as Shoreditch.
- Popular spots can be very crowded – It might seem obvious given what a huge global tourist attraction London is but a lot of the more popular spots in the area can be extremely crowded these days. Whether or not this is an issue will depend on you as a person and what sort of experience you’re looking for when moving to a new area.
Although it has its pros and cons, overall east London is a great place to live. It has a great culture scene and its close proximity to central London makes it an ideal place to live for young professionals who want to live in a thriving and welcoming community.
I’m Paul Smith, Founder and Director of HouseMoveHelper. I have a great love of business, marketing, the wilderness and love to travel. You can learn more about me here.