The various and diverse "villages" of London reflect the full spectrum of the city's residents. From exclusive, elite establishments to downright dingy dives, tourist-drenched terrain to homegrown habitations, there's something for every visitor. As Dr. Johnson said back in the 18th Century, "If you're tired of London, you're tired of life."
Battersea & Clapham
Home to hoards of trendy young things, this is the place to go for fun and funky bars and restaurants outside of central London.
Bayswater & Paddington
Famous for its train station and the Peruvian bear named after it (the marmalade sandwich-munching Paddington Bear), this area is a good bet for affordable accommodation that's close to the tranquility of
Bloomsbury, Euston & Fitzrovia
Bloomsbury is London's literary capital and a walking tour is the best way to discover the haunts of the city's verbose geniuses. A visit to the area is not complete without a wander through the hallowed halls of London's biggest tourist lure – the
Reggae beats and spicy treats prevail in London's largest Afro-Caribbean community. Once a shabby, no-go area, it is now frequented by all kinds of people, including trendy, affluent types who hang out in the myriad of cool bars and happening clubs. The wonderful cultural diversity is visible in the bustling, popular market, and the famous
Crowded streets spill over with shoppers and people-watchers who flock from far and wide to relax, rather than haggle, at the
Chelsea & Fulham
Darling! Chic boutiques, expensive restaurants, snooty aristocrats and models in slick sports cars haunt Brompton Cross, King's Road and Kensington High Street. The Earl's Court Exhibition Centre is always a hub of activity, and it's always a pleasure to cruise across the delightful Albert Bridge at night when it's all lit up.
The City of London & Square Mile
England's coffers are in the Square Mile; one of the few places where the streets might as well be paved with gold. Modern structures like the
Clerkenwell & Shoreditch
This trendy area is flush with hip, sofa-laden hangouts, swanky restaurants and sleek galleries. Most of the action revolves around
Covent Garden & Holborn
There's been a clamp down on street performers, but the open-air party atmosphere still pervades in
Docklands & Wapping
Heavily bombed during World War II, this area has become the incarnation of 1980s prosperity.
This is home to a beautiful active Benedictine Abbey, a large Polish community and the famous Ealing Studios where films like Shaun of the Dead and Doctor Who have been produced. Check out
Otherwise known as zero degrees longitude, Greenwich is the home of the term, "Greenwich Mean Time." Take a boat trip down the Thames for a romantic day out or visit the
Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush & Chiswick
Hammersmith and "Da Bush," as the area is sometimes more affectionately known, is a great place to come for a meal or night out away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. A popular place for theater, you can choose from the cozy
This neighborhood is a leafy suburbia with a charming village ambiance. Steeped in literary history, the homes of poets, playwrights and actors (past and present) are marked by endless blue plaques. An afternoon in
Hoxton & Shoreditch
This area is considered the base of London's hippie scene for the artistic and those interested in media. East London has seen a significant boom thanks to its proximity to the city. Specialty bars and pubs dominate this district.
Tony Blair's home ground and a yuppie playground, Upper Street is one long stretch of restaurants and bars. Seek out antiques in
Knightsbridge & Belgravia
The two reasons to shop in this area have to be
Leicester Square & Piccadilly
Full of tourist frenzy, the
Maida Vale & St John's Wood
An intriguing juxtaposition of massive houses and council estates gives this area a diverse ethnic and economic feel. It's worth a visit if you'd like to see the canals and cafés of Little Venice. The venerable cricketing institute,
Marylebone & Regent's Park
Harley Street is renowned worldwide for its medical consultants and cosmetic surgeons. A stone's throw from Baker Street is
This district is full of refined hotels where affluent foreigners stay. The impressive 18th-century edifices of Mayfair are inhabited by people of fabulous wealth. First-class shopping can be found along Bond Street and you can pick up a gem or two at
Notting Hill & Ladbroke Grove
This supremely hip district offers designer boutiques, retro shops, heavenly delicatessens, and the antique stalls of
This district consists of riverside pubs, rowing clubs, and wealthy stockbrokers. Nearby Barnes is a similarly bucolic, quiet and upscale residential neighborhood.
Soho & West End
This area is a vibrant combination of trendy and tacky. It leads a promiscuous triple life: a red light district, gay and lesbian nightlife hot-spot and a respectable drinking and dining area.
Southwark, Lambeth & Waterloo
In this district, visitors can watch Shakespearean actors pace the boards at the marvelous
Westminster & St James's
The British Empire was ruled from
There's more to the Village than the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, although it does tend to dominate the summer months. There's a huge