London is still one of the safest cities in the world. There are no travel advisories in place for visiting the UK, which makes for great peace of mind if you’re looking to come to London to live, work and/or study.
Of course, as in any city in the world, some areas of London are considered ‘safer’ than others, so when deciding exactly where to set up home in the capital, you need to take sensible precautions. Crime in London is low, and the local police force ensures that there is a good uniformed presence on the streets. You can check out up to date crime figures for London on the Metropolitan Police website.
The UK capital is a huge, sprawling and culturally diverse area, and if you don’t know the city it can feel like a daunting task to choose the right area in which to live. Quality of life and low crime figures are sure to feature highly in your list of wants. So let’s take a look at the safest areas to live in London, and exactly what you can expect from each region.
1) Richmond Upon Thames
In the South-West of the city, as the name suggests this is an area that surrounds an idyllic area of the River Thames. Richmond really came into its own during the 1700s, when it was a location enjoyed as a royal retreat. Boasting a great shopping area, a wonderful selection of restaurants and bars, not to mention the world famous, Richmond Park, where herds of deer roam freely, this is an area where many famous names call home. Think nature expert, David Attenborough, Rolling Stone legend, Mick Jagger and actor, Richard E Grant, to name but a few.
2) Kingston Upon Thames
Kingston Upon Thames: Slightly further along the river, Kingston is another area of South-West London that is a popular place to live. From here you can enjoy walks next to the water, or watch the many rowers training on the river. Trendy restaurants line the streets, and many a leafy avenue exists where it’s entirely possible to live and forget that you’re only 30 minutes from Waterloo Station in the centre of London by train.
Staying with South-West London, the sleepy(ish) suburb of Sutton scores well in the low crime stakes, and has some great open areas to explore as well. The town centre is packed with all the shops you could wish for, as well as some great entertainment venues as well. Rental and property prices are also much lower than the above two locations, making it a great choice for good value living accommodation.
Bexley also scores highly in the safest areas to live in London stakes. This South-East London borough has a village feel to it, and also is home to Bexley Heath – a wide open area where festivals, concerts and various events are held during the summer months. Savvy business owners have realized the potential of such an up and coming area, and the town centre now teems with great cafes, bars and eateries. There’s also a long-standing butchers shop in the middle of town, where they sell top quality meats in the traditional British manner.
Moving to the North-West, the borough of Harrow is a great choice in which to live. Located on the underground tube system, Harrow is a multi-cultural area that’s only minutes from the centre of the city. The area is famous for the private Harrow School, where wartime Prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill, was educated. Add in the fact that it’s easy to get to the wide open areas of Hertfordshire and beyond if you fancy a bit of rural life, along with a wonderfully low crime rate, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular area to live
To the South-East of London is Bromley, a delightful area with Victorian streets and a real community spirit. With good schools and an enviably low crime rate, this is a very popular location with families. Another great thing about Bromley is that you can be in central London in a mere 13 minutes by train, ideal for those who dread the daily commute.
Merton, close to Wimbledon of tennis fame, is also served by London’s underground tube system. In addition to this, it’s also served by trams and national rail, making it the only borough in London to have all three transport options. A safe place to live, according to the Metropolitan Police crime statistics, Merton has excellent shopping, a thriving theatre and schools that regularly top the best schools lists in the country.
As you’ve probably noticed, most of these areas are on the outskirts of London, rather than right in the centre. Central London itself has almost priced itself out of the market for most people to afford to live. And as with any city, the epicentre is bound to be the place where crime figures area higher, even if most of these are down to petty crime, rather than anything more sinister.
Compared to other areas of the world, there’s nowhere in London that’s particularly dangerous – and there’s certainly not any ‘no-go’ areas. Even regions that a few decades ago were considered slightly down market, such as Brixton, Shadwell and Tower Hamlets are now much more desirable.
Surprisingly, the area of London that has the highest rate of crime is Westminster. In fact, not only is it the most ‘dangerous’ area of London, but the highest crime rate in the whole of the UK. But when you reason that thanks to the fact that it’s a tourist magnet, and will therefore have more people per square kilometre, then this begins to make more sense.
In summary, London really is a safe city in which to live. So pick your area, move in and enjoy. Because the city doesn’t enjoy its enviable reputation for nothing – it honestly is one of the best places in the world to live.