What are the Best Places to Live in London?

Looking to relocate? Whether your priority is green space, good schools or affordable rent, here are the best of London’s 32 boroughs to suit your preferences…


The best boroughs in London

The UK’s capital is one of the most rapidly changing places to live, with even the most tired feeling areas seeing rapid transformation leading to the creation of new trendy hotspots on a frequent basis. The best places to live in London change each year and it can be hard to keep up with which borough is the new ‘place to be’. We decided to conduct our own research, using official data as well as our own unique survey, to find out which London boroughs are the best to live in, according to Londoners themselves.

We’ve created an interactive guide so that you can filter by what matters most to you – be that happiness, safety, green space, affordability, good schools, quietness or cool factor. If you’re looking for an all-rounder then we’ve also given each borough an overall rank looking at all the deciding factors to help you find out where to live in London. Have a go at filtering by your most important requirements to discover the best boroughs in London for you.

The happiest residents

It may come as no surprise that the rather swanky borough of Kensington and Chelsea scored 7.56 in the happiness index, making it the happiest place to live in London. This is well above the London average of 7.3 out of 10! Following in a close second as the happiest place to live is Kingston upon Thames, with Bromley in third. Interestingly, the borough of Islington was ranked as the unhappiest borough in London, followed by up-and-coming Hackney.

The coolest place in town

A whopping 41% of the people we surveyed said Southwark is the coolest place in the city, rather unsurprisingly as this area includes hip-and-happening Peckham, as well as Bermondsey and Dulwich. Camden was voted the second coolest area, thanks perhaps to its eclectic mix of street food and live music venues. These two boroughs have also been voted the most friendly, suggesting that coolness and friendliness go hand in hand. The boroughs of Hounslow, Haringey, Havering, and Merton were voted the least cool places in London.

The most desirable areas

The most desirable places to live in the capital differ by age group, with 18-24-year-olds and 25-34-year-olds saying they would most like to live amongst the buzz of locations such as Southwark. For 45-54-year-olds, however, the best place to live in London is in peaceful and green Richmond upon Thames, and for the older generations Kensington and Chelsea is the favourite.

The greenest place to live

Green space is highly sought-after in London, and fortunately it’s fairly easy to come by. If it’s green space you’re after when looking at where to live in London, Richmond is the place to be. Thanks to its sprawling parks and the fact that it’s home to Kew Gardens, Richmond is officially the greenest borough, with 41% of the total area being green land. Merton and Hounslow follow, with Hackney and Waltham Forest not far behind. The borough with the least green space is Newham, with just 8% of the area being green.

The ‘safest’ areas

Of the places covered in our survey, the borough boasting the lowest crime rates is Bexley, followed by Kingston upon Thames, Sutton and Richmond. These boroughs are notably all further from the centre, in zones 4-6. The boroughs with the highest crime rates are right in the centre of the capital. Westminster has the highest crime rate, followed by Lambeth and Camden.

The best boroughs in London for education

If you have children, then good schools will naturally be high up your list of priorities when it comes to looking at where to live in London. Perhaps surprisingly, the boroughs with the most ‘outstanding’schools are fairly central: Southwark & the City of London with 18, Tower Hamlets with 18 and Hammersmith & Fulham with 16. Bottom of the list for ‘outstanding’schools is Enfield with just two schools ranked ‘outstanding’.

The overall best places to live in London

Taking into account all of the ranking factors, we have created a definitive list of the overall best boroughs in London. So if you’re looking for a good all-rounder, here are the top boroughs you should consider:

  1. Richmond upon Thames
  2. Bromley
  3. Sutton
  4. Kingston upon Thames
  5. Ealing
  6. Greenwich
  7. Merton
  8. Waltham Forest
  9. Barnet
  10. Kensington and Chelsea

There are of course many factors that can influence you when it comes to where to live in London. Outstanding schools, affordability and quietness can also be hugely important depending on your priorities. Use our interactive filters to help you make an informed decision for your move to or within the capital.

If there is anything you would like to see more of in our guide to the best places to live in London, we would like to invite you to leave us your feedback.