When you’re moving in London, the most important decision is where you are going to live. This is just as vital whether you’re moving up to the city for the first time, or if you’re moving within the city from flatshare to flatshare. The area you live in influences a huge amount of your life: where you shop, how long it takes you to get home, and the selection of pubs, clubs and cafes where you spend your weekend.
The biggest line to be drawn is between North and South London. This is the traditional dichotomy: it’s a city divided by a great river, and the halves on either side have very different characters. Depending on where you look on each side of the Thames, you should be able to find homes to suit your budget, so it’s down to you to choose which half of the city you prefer.
North London is traditionally richer, ‘posher’, and has indisputably a greater history with the cultural touchstones of the city. Taking Highgate alone, which was a village until the end of the Victorian era, it’s been home to the poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Betjeman, and the author and playwright JB Priestley. Many other famous names are buried in the nearby Highgate Cemetery.
That’s not to say South London doesn’t have a share of famous names. The leafy village-like area of Dulwich is home to Dulwich College, which was founded by the Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn and has produced such famous names as PG Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler.
Culture aside an important factor are the transport links, and here North London does win out. North London is served by 250 tube stations across that entire stretch of the city, while South London has only 29. If you do opt to live in South London, and you live away from key areas along the Northern and Victoria Lines, you will be reliant on buses to get you closer to your door while North Londoners are already at home and enjoying their evening.
Of course, the best way to find out which bit of London you prefer is to live there. If you are blessed with a network of friends living across the city, perhaps the best option for research is to find a London storage facility, pack away your bulkier items and sofa surf for a bit until you can find a borough that really feels like home.