So I just moved to some place called Elephant & Castle.. as an American full-time tourist. Its kind of exciting let me tell you. You really can’t go wrong with neighborhoods in London. They are all safe and scenic and green with some being more urban than others. So let me tell you about the hoods ive seen so far. You may have seen my videos on Youtube of city streetscapes, here you can find one i just uploaded of Notting Hill in the northwest section of London. its the same Notting Hill as in the movie with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
Transportation into London neighborhoods from Heathrow
About the best neighborhoods in London, let me tell you how i got here, first. I landed on a British Airways flight from Marrakesh, Morocco around 5pm 4 days ago at London Heathrow. The flight was smooth and it was a great experience with them. London has a lot of airports, let me tell you. I took the tube from Heathrow terminal 5 after passing through the E gates at immigration. This part was easy peasy, they asked no questions just scan your passport and your face.
I jumped onto the Tube which in comparison to NYC we call this the subway. I usually jump on city buses because they are cheaper but slower. The locals i met were kind enough to direct me to the Tube, however there is a bus from Terminal 5 that is cheaper but in this case i just decided to go with the flow. You pay by zones on the Tube so it can get pretty expensive versus the NYC subway. The charge was 3.5 GBP. I took the Tube to near Buckingham Palace then jumped on the 6 bus which is a bus that runs along the side of Hyde Park to north London to a place called Willesden, cost 1.65 GBP. This is a place I spent several nights in. Its a humble working class neighborhood that is about 2 miles north of Notting Hill. Its perfectly fine to stop by here… For transportation make sure to check out the details on the Oyster electronic card that you can use to pay for city buses and the Tube (they do not accept cash). I purchased one of these at the airport using my debit card.
Notting Hill and Hyde Park…
On one of my first few days in London I walked down about 2 miles south of Willesden to Notting Hill. Its as fabulous as they claim. Most of the building are whitewashed and older. There are a lot of trendy thrift stores there as well as places like coffee shops. Notting Hill is fabulous and id love to live there. One of the attractions i saw was the Portobello Road Market, which is a collection of outdoor vendors selling all kinds of things. The local restaurants are also selling things like Indian curry food.
Hyde Park is London’s answer to Central Park. its big open and green. it has some more open spaces and is less crowded than Central, much less. London seems to be a bit more spread out than NYC. Its green let me tell you, with a lot of grass. I walked south through Hydes Park to get to Central London and passed Kensington in the process. Just southeast of Hyde Park is Buckingham Palace which holds some royal and govt offices. Just south of this is the River Thames and if you go along the river youll find other parts of central London.
Elephant & Castle – my stop…
On to my stop on day #4 (today is actually day #5). I decided to take the 6 bus from Willesden to central London near Buckingham Palace, then began walking. I walked across one of the numerous bridges and because of a bike race I had to cut through a neighborhood Lambeth south of the Thames. This a nondescript suburban/urban green hood with a lot of complex streets. About 1.5 miles south of this I arrived at my new hotel at Elephant & Castle which is a fabulous hood that is very walkable, a bit on the grungy side and mostly for students, heres where im at…Ill post updates on other neighborhoods soon, stay tuned.. and check out some other related travel blogs here.