London is divided into 33 administrative areas: 32 boroughs and the City of London. Each has its unique character, attractions, and history. This guide takes you through each of the London boroughs, exploring what they have to offer.
Boroughs In London
- Tower Hamlets
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Barking and Dagenham
- Kingston upon Thames
- Richmond upon Thames
- Waltham Forest
1. City of London
Unlike the other 32 boroughs, the City of London is a corporation with unique rights and privileges, and it has its own local authority. It’s the historical and financial heart of London, housing the Bank of England and numerous multinational corporations.
Known For: Financial hub, historical landmarks
What You Can Find: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, the London Stock Exchange
What You Can Do: Visit the Museum of London, walk through Leadenhall Market, dine in luxury restaurants
Home to the UK’s government, Westminster includes the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and Westminster Abbey. It’s the political centre of the country and also offers rich cultural experiences.
Known For: The heart of the British government, rich cultural scene
What You Can Find: Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, National Gallery
What You Can Do: Witness the Changing of the Guard, attend West End theatre shows, explore Trafalgar Square
Inner London Boroughs
Known for its eclectic and alternative vibe, Camden is famous for its markets, music scene, and nightlife. The British Museum and London Zoo are two of the borough’s significant cultural institutions.
Known For: Vibrant arts and music scene
What You Can Find: Camden Market, The British Museum, London Zoo
What You Can Do: Visit the Roundhouse for concerts, explore quirky shops, walk along Regent’s Canal
This lively area is renowned for its arts and entertainment venues, such as the Almeida Theatre. Islington offers a mix of chic boutiques, restaurants, and bars.
Known For: Trendy neighbourhoods, cultural diversity
What You Can Find: Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Emirates Stadium, Islington Museum
What You Can Do: Attend dance performances, enjoy fine London dining, explore antique shops
Lambeth includes the South Bank cultural area, featuring landmarks like the London Eye and Royal Festival Hall. It’s a hub for arts and entertainment and is ethnically diverse.
Known For: Diverse communities, lively atmosphere
What You Can Find: Brixton Market, London Eye, Lambeth Palace
What You Can Do: Experience multicultural cuisine, visit the Florence Nightingale Museum, stroll through Brockwell Park
South of the Thames, Southwark is home to attractions like the Tate Modern, Globe Theatre, and Borough Market. It’s an area rich in history and culture.
Known For: Historical landmarks, modern attractions
What You Can Find: Tate Modern, Borough Market, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
What You Can Do: Explore art galleries, indulge in gourmet food, walk across Millennium Bridge
7. Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets encompasses much of the East End. It houses the Tower of London and Canary Wharf, one of the UK’s major financial centres.
Known For: Docklands, East End’s history
What You Can Find: Tower Bridge, Victoria Park, Canary Wharf
What You Can Do: Explore maritime history at the Museum of London Docklands, shop in Canary Wharf, tour the Whitechapel Gallery
Known for its young and creative population, Hackney offers an array of indie shops, galleries, and hip eateries. It is rich in diversity and culture.
Known For: Creative community, thriving nightlife
What You Can Find: Hackney Empire, London Fields, Broadway Market
What You Can Do: Attend live performances, explore hip cafes and bars, visit Hackney City Farm
9. Hammersmith and Fulham
This borough includes popular venues like the Hammersmith Apollo and features affluent areas like Fulham. It’s well-connected to central London.
Known For: Riverside scenery, cultural venues
What You Can Find: Hammersmith Apollo, Fulham Palace, Ravenscourt Park
What You Can Do: Attend live concerts, enjoy riverside dining, explore historic sites
Haringey is a mix of leafy suburbs and urban areas, hosting attractions like Alexandra Palace. It offers both affluent areas and some of the most deprived wards in London.
Known For: A diverse and vibrant borough known for its rich mix of cultural influences.
What You Can Find: It offers abundant green spaces like Alexandra Park, historic sites like Bruce Castle, and bustling urban areas like Tottenham.
What You Can Do: Visit Alexandra Palace, a historic entertainment venue with events, exhibitions, an ice rink, and breathtaking views of London.
11. Kensington and Chelsea
As one of London’s wealthiest areas, Kensington and Chelsea includes landmarks like the Natural History Museum and Harrods. The borough is known for its luxury shopping and beautiful architecture.
Known For: Affluent neighbourhoods, world-renowned museums
What You Can Find: Natural History Museum, Kensington Palace, Harrods
What You Can Do: Explore luxury shops, visit the Serpentine Gallery, wander through Holland Park
South-west London’s Wandsworth is known for its open spaces like Battersea Park and is home to the iconic Battersea Power Station.
Known For: Open spaces, family-friendly attractions
What You Can Find: Battersea Park, Wandsworth Common, Southside Shopping Centre
What You Can Do: Enjoy outdoor sports, explore the children’s zoo, shop and dine in Southside
Outer London Boroughs
13. Barking and Dagenham
An area in East London, Barking and Dagenham has seen significant regeneration and is one of London’s most affordable boroughs.
Known For: Regeneration and community spirit
What You Can Find: Eastbrookend Country Park, Barking Abbey Ruins
What You Can Do: Visit Valence House Museum, enjoy Dagenham Sunday Market, explore local parks
One of London’s largest boroughs, Barnet is suburban and offers parks and outdoor spaces like Hampstead Heath.
Known For: Suburban living, historical attractions
What You Can Find: RAF Museum, High Barnet, Kenwood House
What You Can Do: Explore aviation history, stroll through Hadley Wood, enjoy Hampstead Heath’s views
Located in Southeast London, Bexley is mainly suburban, known for its open spaces and historic buildings like Hall Place.
Known For: Tranquil parks, architectural heritage
What You Can Find: Danson House, Hall Place, Lesnes Abbey
What You Can Do: Visit Red House, enjoy boating on Danson Park lake, explore woodland walks
Brent houses the famous Wembley Stadium and Arena, offering a diverse culture with significant Caribbean and Irish communities.
Known For: Cultural diversity, entertainment venues
What You Can Find: Wembley Stadium, London Designer Outlet
What You Can Do: Attend sporting events, shop for designer bargains, explore Willesden Green Library
The largest London borough by area, Bromley offers a suburban feel with many parks and green spaces.
Known For: Largest borough, wide-open spaces
What You Can Find: Churchill Theatre, Crystal Palace Park, Chislehurst Caves
What You Can Do: Explore Glades Shopping Centre, enjoy Beckenham Place Park, or visit Down House (home of Charles Darwin)
A major commercial district, Croydon has a thriving arts scene and offers a mix of urban life and green spaces.
Known For: Shopping centres, modern skyscrapers
What You Can Find: Whitgift Centre, Boxpark Croydon, Croydon Airport
What You Can Do: Enjoy the bustling nightlife, explore Surrey Street Market, visit the Museum of Croydon
Known as the “Queen of the Suburbs,” Ealing boasts a rich cultural life with the famous Ealing Studios.
Known For: Film industry, diverse neighbourhoods
What You Can Find: Ealing Studios, Questors Theatre, Southall Market
What You Can Do: Watch classic films, explore local markets, visit Pitzhanger Manor
In the north of London, Enfield offers a blend of urban and countryside living, known for attractions like Forty Hall.
Known For: Green belt, historical sites
What You Can Find: Forty Hall, Capel Manor Gardens, Trent Park
What You Can Do: Visit Myddelton House Gardens, explore Whitewebbs Museum of Transport, walk through Chase Side
Greenwich is famous for its maritime history and gives its name to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Royal Observatory and Cutty Sark are key attractions.
Known For: Maritime history, Royal Observatory
What You Can Find: Greenwich Market, National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark
What You Can Do: Stand on the Prime Meridian Line, explore the Royal Naval College, enjoy riverside walks
Suburban and family-friendly, Harrow is known for its prestigious Harrow School and diversity in culture.
Known For: Educational excellence, suburban life
What You Can Find: Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, Harrow Museum
What You Can Do: Visit historic schools, enjoy shopping in St Ann’s and St George’s, explore local parks
Situated in the northeast, Havering is largely suburban, offering numerous parks and open spaces.
Known For: Rural landscapes, community events
What You Can Find: Upminster Windmill, Rainham Hall, Queen’s Theatre
What You Can Do: Explore Hornchurch Country Park, visit Havering Museum, enjoy local theatre productions
Home to Heathrow Airport, Hillingdon is London’s westernmost borough, with many parks and green areas.
Known For: London’s western gateway, airport location
What You Can Find: Heathrow Airport, Stockley Park, Brunel University
What You Can Do: Visit the Battle of Britain Bunker, enjoy watersports at Ruislip Lido, walk through Colne Valley Park
Hounslow is a diverse borough with a significant South Asian community, situated near Heathrow Airport.
Known For: Cultural diversity, historic houses
What You Can Find: Chiswick House, Osterley Park, Twickenham Stadium
What You Can Do: Attend rugby matches, explore historic gardens, enjoy the Hounslow Urban Farm
26. Kingston upon Thames
Known for its shopping and riverside location, Kingston is rich in history and includes Hampton Court Palace.
Known For: Riverside charm, shopping destinations
What You Can Find: Hampton Court Palace, Kingston Market Place, Rose Theatre
What You Can Do: Explore Tudor architecture, shop along Thames Street, enjoy riverside dining
Merton is known for the All England Lawn Tennis Club, where Wimbledon is held. It has a blend of city life and green spaces.
Known For: Tennis fame, peaceful parks
What You Can Find: Wimbledon, Morden Hall Park, Mitcham Common
What You Can Do: Attend the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, enjoy Merton Abbey Mills, explore historic homes
Hosting the Olympic Park, Newham was significantly revitalised for the 2012 Olympics. It’s one of London’s most ethnically diverse areas.
Known For: Olympic legacy, regeneration
What You Can Find: Olympic Park, Westfield Stratford City, ExCeL London
What You Can Do: Visit the London Aquatics Centre, shop in Europe’s largest mall, attend exhibitions at ExCeL
A suburban borough in the northeast, Redbridge is family-friendly, known for its parks and quality schools.
Known For: Multicultural communities, educational facilities
What You Can Find: Ilford War Memorial, South Woodford Library, Valentines Mansion
What You Can Do: Visit Redbridge Museum, explore Hainault Forest, enjoy local theatre productions
30. Richmond upon Thames
Richmond is noted for its beautiful scenery, including Richmond Park, Kew Gardens, and a charming stretch of the River Thames.
Known For: Royal parks, scenic beauty
What You Can Find: Kew Gardens, Richmond Park, Hampton Court Palace
What You Can Do: Explore botanical gardens, observe deer in Richmond Park, enjoy riverside strolls
Sutton is a suburban area with numerous parks, Sutton is often cited for its high quality of life and excellent schools.
Known For: Green living, suburban tranquillity
What You Can Find: Little Holland House, Whitehall Historic House
What You Can Do: Visit Honeywood Museum, explore the historic village of Carshalton, enjoy local nature reserves
32. Waltham Forest
This North East London borough, known for its creativity and community spirit, was named the first-ever London Borough of Culture in 2019.
Known For: Cultural diversity, artistic community
What You Can Find: William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow Market, Epping Forest
What You Can Do: Explore local art, shop in Europe’s longest street market, walk or cycle through ancient woodland
Lewisham is a diverse borough in southeast London, known for its bustling markets and vibrant arts scene.
Known For: Diverse shopping, parks, and open spaces
What You Can Find: Lewisham Market, Horniman Museum and Gardens, Blackheath
What You Can Do: Visit the Royal Observatory extension, explore local markets, enjoy community festivals
Enjoy All London’s Boroughs Have To Offer
London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London each offer unique characteristics, attractions, and activities. From the cultural treasures of Westminster to the tranquil beauty of Richmond, every area has something special to offer.
Exploring the distinctive personality of each borough will help you discover the full richness of London’s heritage, culture, and lifestyle. Whether you’re a resident looking to explore your city or a visitor wanting to see beyond the typical tourist destinations, this guide is your key to unlocking London’s diverse and fascinating boroughs.