Regeneration and innovation in East London have made it a sought-after corner of the capital to live.

From the historic warehouses and docks frequented by Charles Dickens, to the gleaming new financial hub of Canary Wharf, East London is an eclectic area.

It still has pie and mash and fish and chip shops, yet it is also known for its chic wine bars and hip eateries.

And major regeneration and improving transport links have only served to make it more popular.

Living in East London

East London has seen significant regeneration in recent years. As well as the high-visibility projects such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Westfield Stratford City, former dock and warehouse buildings have been converted into stylish homes.

The area attracts a diverse group. Canary Wharf with its luxury high-rise buildings is home to city high-flyers, whereas places like Spitalfields and Haggerston attract hipsters and artists.

Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Mile End and Bow still retain an appealing sense of old London, bringing some of the more conservative elements of the city together with edgier, multi-cultural areas. And developers are moving in to Shadwell, with plans to transform more old warehouses into sleek city-living apartments.

While some families eye areas in nearby Essex, such as Chigwell, Loughton and Buckhurst Hill, there are still opportunities in East London, such as Victoria Park Village and Forest Gate, for those keen to remain closer to the heart of the city.

Prices have risen steeply across East London, particularly in fashionable locations such as Hoxton, Shoreditch and Hackney. According to Zoopla data, the average current value of a home in East London is £460,431 – up £178,574, or 63.4% in the last 10 years.

Rush hour in Canary Wharf

Where to start your property search

Victoria Park Village: This area just north of Victoria Park describes itself as “East London’s leafy little secret”. You’ll find apartments and a range of terraced houses in this pocket of the city.

Shoreditch: You can enjoy ultra-trendy urban living here, with apartments in both new developments and converted warehouses available.

Bethnal Green: This area is seeing significant new development. Property varies from studio flats suitable for first-time buyers to substantial five-bedroom period homes. There are also terraced family houses and maisonettes available.

Forest Gate: Just a quarter of an hour from London Liverpool Street, and with good schools and links to the forthcoming Elizabeth Line, Forest Gate is where many families start looking. Abundant Victorian terraces also make it appealing.

Barking: If you’re preparing to move further out in search of cheaper housing, you’ll find modern first-time buyer and retirement apartments alongside three- and four-bedroom 1930s style terraced and semi-detached houses in this area. Tube and train stations are less than a mile away.

Waterfront apartments in East London at sunset

Getting around East London

East London is well-connected, with good underground and overground links, the DLR and bus routes. The new Elizabeth Line will stop off at Custom House, Canary Wharf, Whitechapel and Liverpool Street. The line, which will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, will be fully operational by December 2019.

Train: The Central and District underground lines serve East London well, with frequent trains into central London. The DLR connects to the Central Line at Stratford, with journeys into Canary Wharf taking less than 14 minutes. Overground trains run from Liverpool Street through East London to Chingford, and from Barking and Stratford through North London.

Car: The A13 and A12 both connect to the M25 and the North Circular Road. The M11 can also be reached easily from East London, giving access to Essex and the East Anglian countryside.

Air: Flybe operates up to 40 flights a day in and out of nearby London City Airport in East London. These go to British destinations as well as Amsterdam. London Stansted Airport is also convenient at approximately 40 miles outside London. From here, there are flights to Europe run by airlines including Ryanair and EasyJet.

Things to do in East London

With the family: There are lots of green spaces in East London. Victoria Park is London’s oldest public park and offers good recreation and sports areas. London Fields is known for its lido, tennis courts and barbecue area, making it popular with young professionals too.

Shopping: Westfield Stratford City has all the high street brands, including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Topshop. East London also offers plenty of pockets of independent stores – in Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington, for example – and is renowned for its markets at Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

Evening entertainment: From trendy rooftop bars and friendly riverside pubs, to restaurants and cafés serving everything from the fine dining to street dishes, East London has it all. There are still quarters where jellied eels and pie and mash can be found. Meanwhile, fresh fish is served near Billingsgate Fish Market and Brick Lane is known for its curries. There are also cinemas, art centres, music, comedy and nightclubs.

Sport and fitness: There is a multitude of health clubs, gyms and classes to join, plus tennis courts, cycle paths and even skate parks for those who prefer to be outdoors. The famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford includes the London Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Luxury buildings in Stratford

Hidden East London

Tucked away in the heart of Hackney, Broadway Market has stalls selling everything from clothing and crafts to freshly cooked street food.  

5 reasons to live in East London

  • The full spectrum of housing

  • Good transport links for easy commuting

  • Plenty of green open spaces

  • Lots of different shopping areas

  • Outstanding restaurants, cafés and bars

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