Part 2: London's Top Neighbourhoods
Welcome back to the second part of our top London area guide, the best place to discover where to stay during your holiday to London!
In our day-to-day life on the sales team, when speaking to possible guests about their ideal London vacation rental, we always hear they would like to be “near the sights”, “in central London” or “as close to the City as possible”. Of course, all our properties fit these criteria in one way or another, but we feel it is our duty to educate the masses on London neighbourhoods beyond that of St Paul’s, Covent Garden and Westminster.
If you haven’t read the first part of our guide, find it here, otherwise read on for our tried-and-tested recommendations for this amazing city!
London Bridge & Borough
Between centuries old fortresses and stunning skyscrapers, this ever-popular area offers food, art, and culture in abundance. Walk along the Thames and step into London’s history – via the Southbank you can see the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, St Paul’s, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Tower of London to name but a few iconic landmarks of British history.
Until 1750, the only bridge in London was the actual London Bridge, and so Borough High Street was the only route between the south of England and the City, turning the quarter into a commercial epicentre and chief thoroughfare. Nowadays, it is an unmissable heaven for foodies worldwide, brimming with tourists, locals, and lunch-hunting businessmen alike, and always worth putting in your itinerary when in our gorgeous capital.
What to do in London Bridge & Borough?
Stand amongst the clouds at the top of the Shard – the tallest tower in Western Europe. OK, you can only go as high as floor 72, but at 244 metres from the ground that is plenty tall. You don’t need to plan so far in advance as it’s open to the public from 10am-10pm every day (except Christmas Day!), and lucky for you, there’s a lift!
If that leaves you dizzy, keep your feet firmly on the ground and take a Harry Potter Tour for Muggles around the area. You can explore London film locations, visit points of inspiration for the books themselves, with excellent trivia and behind-the-scene facts told by a knowledgeable guide.
Where to eat in London Bridge & Borough?
There’s no where else except Padella, the famous pasta restaurant, often with queues circling around the corner. We’d recommend going early to grab a table before hoards of hungry workers storm through the doors. Give the cacio e pepe a go – a simple and classic combination of pasta with cheese and pepper.
[Photo Credit: PadellaPasta Instagram]
Where to stay in London Bridge & Borough?
A vacation rental just over a 10-minute walk to Borough market. With 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, this London holiday apartment is complete with a balcony offering beautiful panoramic views over the London skyline.
Contact us for more recommendations on our top holiday rentals in London Bridge & Borough.
Read our full London Bridge & Borough Area Guide here.
West End & Marylebone
From the opulent streets of Mayfair to the winding alleys of Soho, there is plenty to explore in London’s West End. However, it is hard to believe that these iconic roads weren’t always lined with boutique shopping and smart restaurants, and was actually a royal hunting ground of King Henry VIII.
In fact, the word ‘SoHo’ is an old hunting cry used by the Duke of Monmouth, who lead a rebellion against his uncle who happened to be the King of England, and was inevitably beheaded for treason in 1685. He used to live at Monmouth House, which still stand in SoHo Square - the more you know!
The West End was established in 1666 after the Great Fire of London destroyed the city. The area was rebuilt with wide streets and large Georgian houses, and soon become host to secretive meetings held by Trotsky, Mussolini, Lenin and Stalin. If dictators aren’t quite your thing, Lord Byron was born in Marylebone, Admiral Lord Nelson lived here, and it is rumoured that Sir Paul McCartney wrote Beatles hit ‘Yesterday’ at 57 Wimpole Street.
What to do in the West End and Marylebone?
Catch a show, perhaps?! Musicals, dramas and comedies, it’s all on offer at London’s answer to Broadway. An Ivy team favourite is the long-running Les Miserables, although if the French Revolution is too heavy going for your taste we’d also recommend the fabulous Dream Girls, or more light-hearted adaptation of Aladdin. For the lucky few, try and grab a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the two-part stage play based on an original story by the world renowned JK Rowling. You have to get in quick to bag a seat, and remember to #KeepTheSecret
Where to drink in the West End and Marylebone?
There’s a great pub culture all over the UK, but most definitely in the West End and Marylebone. Enjoy the highlife at Radio Rooftop Bar, and sip an expertly mixed martini against a view that stretched over the River Thames. The Experimental Cocktail Club offer some of the best cocktails you’ll find in the city, serving some in medicine bottle à la Alice in Wonderland.
Where to stay in the West End & Marylebone?
A beautifully designed and finished vacation home in the secret heart of London. Being our most centrally located vacation rental, this charming apartment is perfect for couples wishing to explore our great capital.
Contact us for more recommendations on our top holiday apartments in the West End & Marylebone.
Read our full West End & Marylebone Area Guide here.
Clapham & Battersea
Located south of the river, Battersea and Clapham are wonderful residential areas of London, offering a respite from the hectic city centre whilst boasting proximity to central London. With green-spaces aplenty and a buzzing café, restaurant and pub culture each of these individual areas exude character, charm and a community feel – and have lots to offer visitors, and should not be automatically excluded when looking for a holiday apartment in London just for being south the of River Thames!
Due to the absence of tube stations in Battersea, the quarter has flown relatively under the radar for tourists and visitor alike. However, it is very well connected by bus and Overground rail, which offers quick transport links north of the river and into central London (you could even walk across Battersea Bridge to Chelsea), while maintaining a very villagey feel.
The corners of Clapham are united by the eponymous common - a broad and tranquil green space beloved by locals, a real focal point for the community. The 89-hectare common is one of the largest open spaces in London and boasts a number of different playing fields, a playgroup for children, paddling pool, boat pond, and a Grade II listed bandstand.
What to do in Clapham & Battersea?
Go to the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park one afternoon. The pagoda displays a series of gilt-bronze statues which depict Buddha’s birth, contemplation leading to enlightenment, teaching and finally death. The pagoda is open for all to visit; however, the statues are sacred so hands off!
Where to drink in Clapham & Battersea?
Butcher & Grill offers the unique combination of a butcher shop and deli with a bar and restaurant. It is a firm favourite with locals, championing English cooking and artisanal produce, serving the community daily. It’s also dog friendly, which is a win in my book!
Too much meat for you? Head to Madeleine on the corner of Clapham Common for delicious French pâtisserie and a hot chocolate and watch the world go by from the comfort of a cosy armchair.
Where to stay in Clapham & Battersea?
Very comfortable two bedroom Battersea short let apartment with far-reaching city views. Great for couples, solo adventurers, business travellers, and families with children.
Contact us for more recommendations on our top holiday rentals in Clapham & Battersea.
Read our full Clapham & Battersea Area Guide here.
We hope you've enjoyed our complete guide to London's top neighbourhoods - Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill, Knightsbridge, Fulham, London Bridge & Borough, West End & Marylebone, and Battersea & Clapham.