May 02, 2017
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If you’re thinking of buying a property in central London, you’ll want to know what life here is really like. We’ve compiled our insights about living in London into a handy guide, with everything you need to know about all the important things, from what shopping in the area is like, to the transport links.
The history of central London is long, stretching back to pre-Roman times. Much of central London was contained within London Wall, which was built by the Romans and still defines the perimeter of the City of London today.
In 2008, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery was discovered at Covent Garden, suggesting the Anglo Saxons also settled in central London. The expansion of London beyond the inner city limits really took off in the 17th century, but conditions were unsanitary with so many people living in close quarters, and the Great Plague of 1665 and 1666 killed roughly a fifth of London’s population.
This disaster was swiftly followed by the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed about 60% of the city, including the old St Paul’s Cathedral. Since then, London has been rebuilt and redeveloped, with industrialisation taking hold in the 18th century, leading to vast expansion. It became one of the world’s leading cities in the 19th century, and today enjoys a position as a hub of culture and commerce in the United Kingdom.
London is one of the cultural capitals of the world, so you’ll be spoiled for choice if you choose to live in the centre of it all. Head to the West End for the UK’s finest theatre shows at iconic venues like the Palladium, the Dominion and the Apollo.
People flock from all over the world to experience the culture of central London, and you’ll be lucky to have it on your doorstep to explore whenever you want – what could be better than being a tourist in your hometown?
Whether you want to grab a quick bite to eat, or are looking for full slap-up meal, you won’t be short of dining options in central London. There are 67 Michelin-starred restaurants in London, and almost all of them are located in the central areas of the city, including two which have been awarded the coveted three stars: Sketch Lecture Room and Library, and Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, which can both be found in Mayfair.
For more affordable dining options, head to Soho. You can enjoy cuisine from India, Sri Lanka, China, France, Spain and, of course, good old British pub food. There’s also a huge choice of places to have your tipple of choice in central London, from Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese which dates back to the 1500s, to modern craft breweries and taprooms like the Waterloo Tap.
There is no shopping destination in the UK that’s more famous than Oxford Street. It’s home to Selfridges, which you could spend hours in – and that’s not to mention the 300-odd other shops to be found on the street.
For luxury retail therapy, head to Bond Street and Mayfair, where you’ll find a whole host of designer shops including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and Burberry, or take a trip to Carnaby for independent boutiques and classic British brands.
Covent Garden is renowned as one of the city’s best shopping areas for quirky items and one-off pieces. Explore the stalls of Covent Garden Market, high-end shops of Seven Dials and visit Neal’s Yard for a unique shopping experience.
If you’re looking for bespoke tailoring, you’ll find the world-famous Savile Row in Mayfair. Some of the most famous tailors on the street include Henry Poole & Co, credited as the inventor of the tuxedo; Gieves & Hawkes, which provides tailoring for the royal family; and Dege & Skinner, which is famous for military tailoring.
If you’re a family with young children, buying a property which is close to good schools is often a priority. There are a number of highly-rated schools in central London, making it a good choice for families, with several schools rated by Ofsted as ‘Outstanding’. This includes the Hampden Gurney Church of England Primary School, located in Marylebone; St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School, in Holburn; and the Christopher Hatton Primary School in Holburn.
There are also several well-regarded secondary schools across central London. The Grey Coat Hospital School is a girls-only school in Westminster, which is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted thanks to its above-average exam results. The King Solomon Academy in Marylebone has also been rated as ‘Outstanding’, and in 2015 it was rated as the best non-selective secondary school in England.
Transport in central London couldn’t be easier. Many of the city’s amenities are easily reachable on foot from most areas in the city centre, or you could hop on a Santander Cycle (often referred to as Boris Bikes) to get from A to B. There are docking stations all over central London, and it works on a pay-as-you-cycle basis. And, of course, there are numerous tube stations serving all of the underground lines across the city centre.
Central London is also a convenient place to live if you’re looking to get out of the city, with several major train stations serving the rest of the UK – and you can even travel directly to France, Brussels and the Netherlands on the Eurostar from St Pancras. You can easily get to Heathrow Airport in 40 minutes on the express train from Paddington Station; to Gatwick Airport in just over an hour from London Victoria Station; and to Stansted Airport in 50 minutes from London Liverpool Street.
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May 02, 2017
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