10 Best Neighborhoods in East London

Best Neighborhoods in East London: Your Useful Must-Read Guide

East London has long been a focal point for London’s cultural and historical identity, often defining the city as a whole. From cockney capers and swinging sixties glamorous gangsters to regeneration, gentrification, and the heart of the capital’s creative scene, East London has seen it all. The diverse range of neighborhoods that make up East London are all unique in turn and provide their own identifiable charm.


From trendy Shoreditch to historic Wapping and everything in between, there are plenty of great places to call home in this dynamic corner of the city. Whether you’re a young professional seeking an exciting urban lifestyle, a family looking for a quieter, more residential area, or a student seeking a convenient location close to universities and amenities, the best places to live in East London have something for everyone.


In this guide to East London neighborhoods, we will highlight some of the top neighborhoods to consider, taking into account the unique features and benefits of each area. We’ll also provide useful information on local schools, parks, restaurants, and cultural attractions, so you can get a real sense of what it’s like to live in each location.

1. Hackney

The vibrant and diverse neighborhood of Hackney is one of East London’s best success stories. Coming out of an older reputation for a high crime rate and poverty, Hackney has started to grow into one of the region’s more promising neighborhoods. Renowned for its artistic scenes and cultural diversity, the huge range of cultural backgrounds allows Hackney to shine through as one of East London’s more ethnically welcoming neighborhoods. 


This diversity and charm have brought in a huge influx of young professionals into Hackney, bolstering the population of families who have also settled here. Hackney Wick, a former industrial area, has been transformed into a creative hub with plenty of galleries, studios, and artist spaces, only adding to the neighborhood’s appeal.


Despite its growing popularity, Hackney has managed to retain its unique character and sense of community, with a mix of long-time residents and newcomers working together to make the borough a great place to live and visit. Newcomers will likely want to get in sooner rather than later, as with many other East London neighborhoods, Hackney may soon be the newest region to see gentrification and a hike in property prices.

Best East London Neighborhoods: Hackney

2. Shoreditch

Synonymous with gentrification and the hipster subculture, the name Shoreditch has become shorthand for both over the past two decades. This being said, the transformation has made Shoreditch one of the best places to live in East London, especially for those who are inclined to artistic and creative professions and pastimes. This can be seen in the neighborhood’s range of independent shops, bars, restaurants, and galleries, as well as its street art and graffiti.   


Shoreditch really comes into its own once the sun goes down, providing a thriving nightlife with plenty of pubs, clubs, and music venues catering to a diverse range of tastes. It’s also home to the famous Boxpark, a pop-up mall made entirely of shipping containers that house a variety of independent shops and food stalls.


The eclectic range of housing is another reason why Shoreditch is a popular neighborhood for those settling in east London. There is everything from classic London townhomes, Victorian and Georgian-style terraces, and warehouses and factories that have been turned into apartments – with everything in between.


Overall, Shoreditch enjoys the perfect balance between residential urban living and an exciting location for leisure. Its central location between the city of London and the rest of the East End means that you are extremely well connected where ever you need to go across the capital.

Best East London Neighborhoods: Shoreditch

3. Stratford

Located slightly north of the East End, Stratford is one of the best East London neighborhoods for those with an interest in sports and business. The neighborhood experienced a huge period of growth over the past decade, thanks in part to its role during the 2012 London Olympics. 


This can be seen in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which covers over 500 acres and features world-class sporting facilities, parklands, and waterways. The park is home to the London Stadium, which has become the home of West Ham United football club, as well as a venue for concerts and other events.


Aside from its recreational prowess, Stratford is also home to one of the largest shopping centers in Europe – with over 250 shops, a cinema, and a casino. The nearby University of East London’s campus also brings with it s fairly impressive population of local students, making it a great choice for those looking to study in the east of the capital. The neighborhood has something for everyone and allows you to live in one of East London’s most up-and-coming districts.

Best East London Neighborhoods: Stratford

4. Walthamstow

Arguably one of the most northern East London boroughs on our list, the neighborhood of Walthamstow’s identity sits somewhere between the north and east of the UK capital. A much more residential neighborhood compared to its neighbors, Walthamstow is hugely popular with residents who want to escape the hustle and bustle of inner-city London.


One of the highlights of Walthamstow is its great parks and green spaces, including Lloyd Park, which is home to the William Morris Gallery, and Walthamstow Marshes, a nature reserve and popular spot for walking and cycling. The bustling Walthamstow Market, one of the longest outdoor markets in Europe, is a must-visit for anyone looking for fresh produce, clothes, or household goods.


Walthamstow marries the famous East End spirit with the more open and green landscapes of northeast London. It is one of the best places to live in East London, ideal for families, the elderly, and young professionals. Walthamstow’s transport connections and closeness to the M11 and M25 motorways also make it convenient for those working in London and further abroad.

5. Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is London’s bustling commercial and financial district, located in the center of the East London region. Centered around the famous historical London docks, Canary Wharf is seen as the heart of the capital’s business and financial dealings. 


The most notable feature of Canary Wharf is its impressive skyline of skyscrapers, including the iconic One Canada Square tower, which was the tallest building in the UK when it was completed in 1991. The district is home to many major companies, particularly those in the finance and banking sectors, as well as several luxury hotels and high-end retail shops.


Although there are residential properties within Canary Wharf, they are some of the most expensive of the East London neighborhoods. Living in Canary Wharf is fantastic for young professionals living and working in the city, as you are right on the doorstep of the capital’s central business district.  


Despite this reputation as a business hub, Canary Wharf also has a vibrant cultural scene, with several museums, galleries, and performance spaces. The Crossrail Place Roof Garden, a public garden located on top of the Crossrail station, is a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

Best East London Neighborhoods: Canary Wharf

6. Bow

Nestled in the heart of East London, the neighborhood of Bow didn’t see the same extensive transformation that nearby boroughs received during the London 2012 Olympic games. Nevertheless, this has often only added to its traditional East London-esque charm. A mixture of Georgian townhouses, estates, and the odd converted cottage all give Bow a truly diverse atmosphere.

Bow is one of the best places to live in East London for a huge range of people. Whether you are looking for a quiet family life – Bow isn’t inundated with a booming nightlife scene, or you are a young professional seeking a residential area close to the center of the capital, Bow is ideal.

You also won’t have to go far to find great shopping opportunities in Bow, The neighborhood has a diverse mix of shops, restaurants, and markets, with a particular focus on independent and locally-owned businesses. Roman Road Market is a popular destination for fresh produce, clothes, and household goods.

7. Bethnal Green

Along with White Chapel, there are few neighborhoods that scream East London than Bethnal Green. The rich and colored history of this neighborhood is an attraction in itself, yet the modern district has plenty of amenities to make it one of the best places to live in East London.  


One of the highlights of Bethnal Green is its great parks and green spaces, including Victoria Park and Weavers Fields, which provide a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. The area also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with several galleries and performance spaces, such as the Rich Mix cultural center.

Unlike many other nearby neighborhoods, Bethnal Green hasn’t yet succumbed to the gentrification seen across East London. This makes the neighborhood a great place to settle for those looking for more affordable housing in the east of the city. Great nightlife and easy access to the rest of the capital also make Bethnal Green an attractive place to settle for the younger generation, not set on more committed places of residence.

Overall, Bethnal Green offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern development, with plenty of amenities and activities to keep residents of all ages entertained. It is a great place to live for those who appreciate the vibrant East End atmosphere and want to be in close proximity to central London.

8. Mile End

Mile End is one of those East London neighborhoods that attract people from every walk of life. This predominantly residential neighborhood is particularly attractive to those who work within the center of London. With several Underground and Overground stations providing easy access to the rest of London, commuting from Mile End has never been easier.


Rejuvenation has swept through Mile End over the past decade, making it one of the most  attractive places to live in East London. Amenities such as Mile End Park and Victoria Park provide a peaceful getaway from the city streets, and the booming cultural scene provided by several galleries and performance spaces, such as the Genesis Cinema, all add to its popularity.


Most housing in the Mile End neighborhood comes in the form of apartments or flats – this more affordable form of housing has long made Mile End a popular haunt for those seeking the ever-decreasing affordable housing in the UK’s largest city. Just under a quarter of Mile End’s population are students – this is inevitable because of the nearby Queen Mary University of London. This bolster of youth and student vibrancy only aids the nightlife and bar scene seen throughout Mile End.

9. Whitechapel

Made universally famous by the crimes of Jack the Ripper during the late Victorian era, Whitechapel leads many curious tourists along the sinister routes of this age-old crime. And yet, there is so much more to this East London neighborhood other than its dark history. 


Today, Whitechapel has a thriving arts and culture scene, with several galleries, museums, and performance spaces, such as the Whitechapel Gallery and the Rich Mix cultural center. The area is also home to many vibrant markets, including the historic Whitechapel Market and the Brick Lane Market.


When it comes to the cost of living in Whitechapel can be a little more costly than in other neighborhoods in the region. Its close proximity to the City of London and Canary Wharf means that it has become a commuter neighborhood for those working within the capital’s finical sector.


The laidback atmosphere and surprisingly quiet residential streets of Whitechapel make it a great place to live for those who enjoy the far less rowdy nightlife of nearby East London neighborhoods. Whitechapel undoubtedly offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern development, with plenty of amenities and activities to keep residents of all ages entertained.

Best East London Neighborhoods: Whitechapel

10. Wanstead

Wanstead is a unique East London neighborhood in the fact that it can successfully call itself a suburb of the East End. Situated about seven miles from the city center and is bordered by the Epping Forest to the north and south giving its residents a coveted greenbelt – a great escape from the built-up inner city of London. 


The center of the neighborhood is home to a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants, including a traditional high street with independent stores and a weekly market. Wanstead also boasts several other green spaces, including Wanstead Park, which covers over 140 acres of land and features a lake, woodland, and formal gardens. The park is popular with joggers, dog walkers, and families.


Being such a popular ‘outside of the city’’ neighborhood in the east of London, competition for properties and inevitably high prices are common in Wanstead. This being said, there are diverse choices when it comes to housing, and Wanstead is home to people from all walks of life

Final Thoughts on East London Neighborhoods

East London is a diverse and vibrant area with many great neighborhoods to choose from. Whether you’re looking for trendy and up-and-coming areas like Hackney and Shoreditch or more traditional and family-friendly neighborhoods like Wanstead and Walthamstow, there’s something for everyone in this part of the city.  The colored and textured history of East London, coupled with its affordability and ever-changing identity, makes it one of the most popular regions in which to live in the British capital. 


Each area has its own unique character, with a range of amenities and attractions to suit different lifestyles and interests. With excellent transport links, green spaces, and a thriving arts and culture scene, it’s no wonder that East London continues to be a popular choice for residents and visitors alike.


To know more about London neighborhoods, read our articles on London’s best neighborhoods, London’s richest neighborhoods and family-friendly neighborhoods in London.

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