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London Guide | London Neighbourhoods

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London and its suburbs are huge and knowing where to stay in London isn't easy.

However, knowing what you like to do in London or what sort of people you like to hang out with can help you decide on which London neighbourhood to go for.

Central London

Central London is a great place to live if you are keen to be around tourists and really soak up the traditional touristy atmosphere.

Here, you are walking distance from the British Museum (Great Russell Street; Holborn), West End theatres and art galleries including the National Portrait Gallery (Trafalgar Square; Embankment).

London transport options are also particularly good here, with a tube station or bus just minutes from one another and every tube line passes through central London.

While accommodation can be very pricey in this area of London, you can find cheap hotels in London if you look carefully.

North London

North London neighbourhoods are largely occupied by students and families, depending on the area.

Camden is a vibrant and busy area of London, with hundreds of shops, late-night bars and a huge market, which particularly comes alive at weekends.

A popular hangout for celebrities such as Amy Winehouse, Camden is home to KOKO club (1A Camden High Street; Mornington Crescent) and other well-known bars and pubs.

Hampstead is another popular London neighbourhood, with 800 acres of park-land, shops and cafes and it is far enough outside central London to feel that you are in a suburb or large village.

South London

South London is one of the best London neighbourhoods for commuters. It has fantastic London transport links, both on the tube, bus and national rail.

It is also a very well-priced area, with cheap London hotels for less than £20 a night.

Clapham High Street is lined with bars and clubs, from the cheesy Infernos (146 Clapham High Street; Clapham Common) to the slightly more refined after-work scene at The Loft (67 Clapham High Street; Clapham Common).

A slightly quieter area is Balham, just one tube stop from Clapham South, making it perfect if you want to return to a more residential area.

Brixton is also a popular are of London. Slightly more hip than the commuters of Clapham, the district provides a mix of students, visitors and life-time residents.

This is not the safest London neighbourhood, but the streets are always awake with late-night revellers, as the famous Brixton Academy is right in the heart of the area.

West London

A hugely popular place to stay in London for Australians, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush are great destinations for cheap London hostels and they have a very youthful atmosphere.

Here you can find great music and comedy venues, as well as Europe's largest shopping centre, Westfield (White City or Shepherds Bush).

The only real downside to these districts is that London transport options are more limited than other parts and the Hammersmith and City Line is one of the slowest tube lines on the Underground network.

Earls Court is largely populated with students from Imperial College and it is also a huge gay hangout, with a host of gay bars, as well as plenty of nightlife for every kind of orientation.

The nearby Earls Court venue makes this suburb a funny mix as one day there can be a business management event, another day a live music act and another day the annual Erotica festival.

It also has great London transport links and is within easy distance of top London museums including the V&A and Natural History Museum (Cromwell Road; South Kensington).

Notting Hill is a bit pricier, but this is a quaint area, lined with different coloured (albeit expensive) houses. It also is the best London neighbourhood for market shopping on Portobello Road.

East London

Fast becoming one of the best London neighbourhoods is the suburbs of East London.

Shoreditch and Hackney have a vibrant nightlife, with reams of trendy bars and clubs. And to make living in these areas of London even better, the new Overground line has vastly improved access to other parts of London.

The more traditional Whitechapel and Aldgate East areas are going up in the world, and they remain cheap parts of London as well. A largely Asian population, here you can find budget markets and a colourful scene along Brick Lane, where Asian curry houses blend with trendy bars such as the Big Chill Bar (Dray Walk; Aldgate East; Liverpool Street).

You can find really cheap hotels in London if you move a little further out to Stratford and Leyton.

This is where to stay in London if you want to be right on the Central line but still far enough away to get out of the hustle and bustle.

What's more, Stratford is soon to be home to the Olympic site, where not only the athletes are heading, but also an even bigger Westfield shopping centre than the one in Shepherds Bush.

Greenwich is a safe London neighbourhood, with a fantastic history, quaint shops, a large market and plenty of bars and clubs. It is also a prime area of London for easy access to the O2 arena.

And because it isn't on the tube network, prices for accommodation are cheaper. But the London transport is still easy when you take the DLR, so don't be too put off.

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