Forget the old clichés. 21st century East London is so much more than a collection of outdated stereotypes.
Yes, it’s still where you’re most likely to hear classic Cockney rhyming slang and see pots of jellied eels for sale but it’s also now a thriving part of the city that attracts thousands of professional creatives and young families.
Here we explore five areas of East London where culture, history and increasingly high rental prices collide.
This bright, buzzy slice of London is located in the Borough of Hackney, just minutes away from the heart of the city.
Once a working-class enclave, it’s rapidly become one of the most popular and fashionable places to spend your twenties and thirties. Call it gentrification, hipsterfication or even Shoreditchifaction, this transformation has seen property prices skyrocket.
It’s most closely associated with the creative industries which can be found nestled in beautifully converted former industrial buildings. Some of these old warehouses and quirky sites also now house apartments, creating many unique choices of places to call home.
In the south of the area, you’ll find dazzling residential skyscrapers with dazzling prices to match. It’s this juxtaposition between the ultra-modern and an old-school atmosphere that makes Shoreditch such a diverse place.
The area is alive with bars, clubs, restaurants and galleries. You’ll find up and coming pop-up shops alongside well-established curry houses and Michelin-starred eateries. You can even explore a shopping mall made up entirely of shipping containers at Box Park.
And when you need a brief escape from the hustle and bustle, enjoy a moment of calm in Victoria Park. It’s one of the city’s oldest with beautiful English gardens and fountains to enjoy.
Apartments are the name of the property game here. There are very few houses so if it’s a garden you’re hankering after, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Instead, think interesting commercial building conversions and new-build flats ranging from the reasonably modest to the wildly luxurious. If you dream of living in a New York-style warehouse loft, this is where you’ll find them.
If the buzz of Shoreditch ticks your rental boxes, expect to pay the following typical prices:
Studio flat £1400 pcm
1-bed flat £1800 pcm
2-bed flat £2300 pcm
3-bed flat £3900 pcm
Choose Shoreditch and you’ll be connected to the whole of the city thanks to the huge Liverpool Street station. Access the Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City, and Metropolitan tube lines to take you in any direction you desire. Or hop on a train to Cambridge, Norwich or Southend.
Shoreditch High Street overground station will take you to most places in the south and east of London. Or if you work in the city, you could be tempted to just use your feet: Liverpool Street to Bank is just a 10-minute walk.
Just down the road from Shoreditch and a little further out from the city, lies Hackney. Another trendy area of East London, it’s seen house prices rise by an eye-watering 568% over the last 20 years.
Home to the famous Hackney Empire theatre, the colourful Broadway Market and the London Fields Lido, it boasts something for everyone.
Just four miles from Charing Cross, it’s fast becoming one of the most sought-after postcodes in the city. Ideal for young families who aren’t ready – or willing - to move to the leafier suburbs, it’s another corner of the city to tempt you.
Much of the property in Hackney is post-war after the original Georgian and Victorian buildings were lost during the Second World War. If you do find any, they come with the expected high price tag.
It may no longer be an affordable place to rent, but that doesn’t put off the many tenants who choose its lively streets and atmosphere.
If you fancy joining them, renting a Hackney home will cost you something like this:
Studio flat £1150 pcm
1-bed flat £1750 pcm
2-bed flat £1950 pcm
3-bed flat £3700 pcm
There’s no tube station in Hackney – you have to trek south to Liverpool Street to reach the nearest one - but Hackney Central station links to the London Overground line. And Hackney Downs station has frequent trains to Liverpool Street.
Stratford is unrecognisable from its pre-Olympic incarnation.
If you like your shopping centres big and your rental property new and shiny, Stratford’s redeveloped streets could be for you.
Located in the borough of Newham, it’s home to the vast Westfield and the even vaster Olympic Park. If it’s tradition you’re after, give this place a swerve. But if you’re hunting for a relatively affordable and dynamic place to live, Stratford ticks the 21st century living boxes.
The area around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park boasts world-class sports facilities, plenty of green space, waterways and playgrounds. Add in excellent schools nearby and Stratford is an exciting choice for families looking to rent.
One of the 2012 Olympics’ greatest legacies is the amount of high-quality homes available in Stratford. Most of the properties consist of new-build apartments including those in East Village, formerly the Athletes’ Village. This is where you’ll find 3,000 homes within 75 acres of landscaped parkland.
Then there’s Chobham Manor, the first of five new developments in the park which offer not just residential space but community facilities, nurseries and health centres to appeal to a broad range of people.
Move into the area where sporting history was made and you’ll be paying these average prices:
Studio flat £1600 pcm
1-bed flat £1750 pcm
2-bed flat £1950 pcm
3-bed flat £2700 pcm
Set up home in Stratford and you’ll be spoilt for choice with transport. The tube station links you to the Central and Jubilee lines, getting you to Oxford Circus in a speedy 20 minutes. There are also direct links to Bank, St Paul’s and Liverpool Street.
High-speed trains will take you to St Pancras, the DLR will carry you to Canary Wharf and the overground trains head for Highbury and Islington.
Isle of Dogs
An unlikely candidate and even more unlikely winner maybe, but the Isle of Dogs has been crowned the Best Place to Live in London by the Sunday Times.
A long-overlooked riverside location, it’s seen a flurry of redevelopment as its business centre continues to grow. Traditionally home to a busy docking and maritime industry, it’s now HQ for many thriving companies.
And while it’s busy with workers during the week, including those from the city’s second tallest building, One Canada Square, at the weekends it’s a much quieter spot for residents to enjoy.
Located in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, it’s home to the former Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena, and the popular Mudchute Park and Farm that feels worlds away from the City.
There’s also easy access to the Thames Path, plus the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to conveniently get across the river.
The Isle of Dogs is home to a range of different people, from former docker families to bankers who spend their working hours in Canary Wharf.
And the property choices reflect that with everything from social housing to luxury high-rise towers and all the types in between.
Set up home near the river in this corner of Docklands and you’ll be paying the following typical prices:
Studio flat £1850 pcm
1-bed flat £1950 pcm
2-bed flat £2400 pcm
3-bed flat £3800 pcm
One of the main reasons this hidden riverside location won its latest accolade is because of its great transport links.
As well as being walking distance from Canary Wharf, it’s served by the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) which will get you into the City in just 15 minutes. The nearest tube stop is at Canary Wharf to the north.
On the opposite side of the river to the south, you’ll find historic, leafy Greenwich, one of just four Royal Boroughs in London.
The pace is a little slower here with the focus on history and culture, although you’ll still have plenty of great pubs, bars and restaurants to choose from. As well as the famous Greenwich food and crafts market to browse around.
You’ll be close to the city but have wide expanses of green space on your doorstep and riverside walks to help you unwind. Greenwich Park isn’t just a place to have a picnic or simply watch the world go by. You’ll also find the magnificent Royal Observatory, fascinating Maritime Museum and the beautiful Cutty Sark ship nearby alongside the Thames.
These obviously draw large crowds of tourists but Greenwich manages to retain its market-town feel with a tight-knit community.
You’ll find Greenwich to be less densely populated than other places this close to the City. And rental prices are surprisingly affordable.
From grand Georgian houses and Victorian terraces to new-build apartments and even flats created in the old Greenwich District Hospital, there’s a style for all.
Settle in Greenwich and you’ll be paying something like these prices:
Studio flat £1100 pcm
1-bed flat £1400 pcm
2-bed flat £1750 pcm
3-bed flat £2200 pcm
You won’t find a tube station in Greenwich but there are plenty of buses and the DLR will get you to Bank in just 22 minutes. Or be in Charing Cross via the overground in just half an hour.
Looking for a great place to rent in East London? Check out the latest properties at MakeUrMove.