If you have a passion for all things art and culture, like me, then you’ll be spoiled for choice living in London. But what are my top picks for the best areas to live in London for you to get your fix? In today’s video, I share my top 3 neighbourhoods where you can enjoy the best of London culture.
Hi – I am Ugo Arinzeh and I am a self proclaimed culture vulture. After moving to London from America in 2011, I’ve spent years discovering the hidden gems of London in the areas of arts, culture, and fashion.
So this is a really fun video for me to share my top picks. I’ll also share property statistics so not only will you learn what the are area has to offer, but also if you can afford it!
One of London’s hippest and coolest is Shoreditch.Its edgy vibe is ever present with fantastic street art alongside warehouse conversions and recent new builds. Located in east London it draws a heavy crowd of creatives, but as it’s fairly close to the city of London, it’s becoming ever more popular for lawyers and bankers.
Well known for its historic Brick Lane – offering vintage shops galore, and street art to whet your appetite for quirky and modern art without having to go to a specific venue.
Shoreditch has been rapidly growing in popularity, causing many modern developers to come to the area and create stunning modern apartments for new residents to live.I even have a listing at the moment on the 6th Floor of the Rosewood building in Shoreditch Exchange – offering all of the modern amenities you can think of – a gym, a cinema, a residents lounge, and fantastic views across the city. If you want to check out that video, click here.
The great thing about Shoreditch, if you want to get your art and culture fix, is that it has a variety of different ways to do so.
Top Arts & Culture finds in Shoreditch
If you enjoy the cultures around you through your stomach, you won’t be disappointed here. Head to Brick Lane (lovelingly coined “Banglatown”) for a selection of 23 excellent curry houses and sweet shops providing the best of Bengali delights.
A top pick for food critics is Bengal Village at 75 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. This fabulous curry house provides incredible eats, including tender slow-cooked garka lamb, scorched seekh kebabs and Bangladeshi fish specialities.
You can also grab a delicious bagel from Beigel Bake at 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB, which opened in 1976. Not only can you get the classic Jewish bagels including salt beef or salmon with cream cheese, but you can pick one up any time of day as it’s open 24/7.
For a space that provides something for all of your senses, then you must head to Rich Mix at 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA. Run as an independent space for all, it houses 3 cinema screens, exhibition & performance spaces, as well as a cafe and bar. They often host art shows, gigs, theatre shows, festivals, and workshops open to all the family.
If you prefer to get your art fix from a smaller exhibition space, then head to the quirky independent art galleries that are seemingly around every street corner here.
Some of the top picks are Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) at 16 John Islip Street; Kate MacGarry gallery at 27 Old Nichol Street; and Hundred Years Gallery at 13 Pearson Street (that also has weekly concerts alongside their ever changing art installations).
If you prefer more nightlife then you can head to the Village Underground at 54 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3PQ for nightly gigs across a variety of genres from rock to rave.
There is also the Museum of the Home in Shoreditch – a surprising find in an area filled with nightlife and quirky street art, that explores the concept of the home from 1600 to the present day.
House Dynamics in Shoreditch
The area is quickly proving popular among young professionals and artists, for the reasons I’ve mentioned above.
This means lots of modern buildings with flats and apartments, alongside historical period homes, and fantastic converted warehouses.
Properties in Shoreditch had an overall average price of £693,818 over the last year.
The majority of sales in Shoreditch during the last year were flats, selling for an average price of £632,794. Terraced properties sold for an average of £1,365,083.
Overall, sold prices in Shoreditch over the last year were 7% down on the previous year and 16% down on the 2019 peak of £829,930 – according to Rightmove (7th April 2022).
One of the most prestigious and highly-sought after areas of London is South Kensington. Not only are the streets filled with stunning white stucco-fronted or red brick mansion blocks, but you are surrounded by some of the world’s most famous institutions for arts and culture. South Kensington is located in Southwest London with neighbours including Kensington and Knightsbridge.
I actually featured South Kensington in a recent area guide, which you can check out here.
Specifically on the arts & culture front, here are some highlights.
Top Arts & Culture finds in South Kensington
The favourite thing for me to get up to on a weekend is to head to the V&A Museum – an incredible space that is awe-inspiring and beautiful.
Filled with fashion pieces and sculptures, it houses over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. You could easily get lost in this building every weekend,
Beyond the V&A, South Ken also houses the other big players for culture – The Royal Albert Hall for concerts and performances, The Natural History Museum, and The Science Museum.
If this wasn’t enough, the Design Museum was moved to the area in 2016. It showcases all things contemporary design, and is a truly an outstanding place to check out.
Whatever your preference, you really are in the heart of culture in London when you come to South Kensington.
Because the area often attracts a lot of tourists, you will want to find a property off the beaten path that provides a little serenity. Luckily many streets of South Kensington are quiet and exclusive. Residents will know all the local restaurants, bars, and cafes to enjoy without being bothered by tourists.
House Dynamics in South Kensington
South Kensington offers residents some incredible places to live – from the area’s well-loved Grade II listed white stucco-style villas and Georgian red brick mansion blocks, to quirky mews properties down cobblestone streets. If you love classic homes with period features and stunning exteriors you’re in the right place.
Properties in South Kensington had an overall average price of £2,452,498 over the last year.
The majority of sales in South Kensington during the last year were flats, selling for an average price of £1,740,998. Terraced properties sold for an average of £4,419,919, with semi-detached properties fetching £8,844,000.
Overall, sold prices in South Kensington over the last year were 8% down on the previous year and 6% down on the 2018 peak of £2,616,373, according to Rightmove. (07/04/2022)
If you’re looking for a neighbourhood in London that is steeped in history, with a great selection of arts and culture finds throughout, yet close to the city, then Clerkenwell could be the perfect place for you to discover. Also located in east London it is conveniently positioned to the City of London, Angel and King’s Cross.
The area has a diverse history, with breweries, craft workers, and even the livestock market in Smithfield that has been going for 800 years! You will be stepping back in time when you head to this area. It even has more creative businesses and architectural firms per square mile than anywhere else in the world.
Clerkenwell seems to be a place that only the ones in the know, know! Providing a fashionable lifestyle, it is a loved area by foodies, history buffs, and those with a passion for design, theatre, and entertainment.
Top Arts & Culture finds in Clerkenwell
To grab an historical and political read, you’ll want to visit The Marx Memorial Library at 37A Clerkenwell Green. It is an archive repository focused on Marxist and wider socialist bodies of work, housed in an incredible building built in 1738.
If you want something a little lighter, then you can head to The Postal Museum at 15-20 Phoenix Place, for a quirky day out. Not only will you get to ride through hidden tunnels, but you can discover a selection of incredible objects steeped in history. There’s even cryptic Victorian Valentine cards to read!
For your evening culture fix, head to Sadler’s Wells on Rosebery Avenue. This incredible space offers visitors a variety of dance shows across all forms. Or if you prefer to dance the night away yourself the area is home to renowned club – Fabric.
This area is also home to a selection of stunning churches steeped in history. The area itself was home to a large community of Italians when they moved to there in the 1800’s. With this, they built the beautiful Roman Catholic Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on 5 Amwell Street, that you can still visit today, and then head to the city’s oldest Italian delicatessen across the street – Terroni for breakfast, cured meats, and cheeses.
You can also visit the beautiful St James’ of Clerkenwell at Sekforde Street. Step inside for a peek at their gorgeous stained glass windows, or view from the outside its imposing tower.
House Dynamics in Clerkenwell
Due to its history, you will see a variety of incredible properties here. From 17th century homes around the market square, to listed estates converted into flats or apartments. There are also modern developments, terraced Georgian and Victorian townhouses, and even some Victorian warehouse conversions, and new mews homes.
Properties in Clerkenwell had an overall average price of £870,291 over the last year.
Flats sold for an average price of £749,873. Terraced properties sold for an average of £2,860,714, with detached properties fetching £1,989,500.
Overall, sold prices in Clerkenwell over the last year were 6% down on the previous year and 9% down on the 2018 peak of £959,417 according to Rightmove. (7/04/2022)
So, were any of these areas a surprise for you? If you want to discover the best neighbourhoods in London for your needs and passions, please reach out.
I love helping international and local buyers find their perfect home or investment in London. I’m always happy to have a chat.
Let me know in the comments your hobbies or passions and I can share the best neighbourhoods in London for you to discover.