London Districts

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment

London District Map

 Click here to go to Google Maps London Districts

London Districts Explained

Every visitor to London and even Londoners themselves are sometimes confused by the London District descriptions for this proud city. We all know where the West End is-its where we shop and go to the theatre. But do we know where it's borders are? And the City is where all those bankers go about their business. What about Docklands and South Bank? And the East End where the Cockney barrow boys flog their stuff in Petticoat Lane? Have you ever wondered where the boundaries of these well-known London Districts are?

There are no comprehensive "official" descriptions of the boundaries to these areas. These titles have have been in use for many years but their delineation is obscure and different guides and maps have different interpretations. So here is a more definitive London Districts map-by no means authoritative-and it could well be challenged by those who will argue that it is too wide. Where is Knightsbridge, Covent Garden or Bloomsbury for example? But never mind-it's a genuine attempt to put some order into the confusion-particularly for those visitors who just want to get a fix on where their hotel is in relation to London's many delights. The real pleasures to be enjoyed range from from first class restaurants to vibrant theatre art galleries and museums and of course the tourist attractions of Big Ben, the Tower, Buckingham Palace and the shops in Oxford Street. Each London District has it's own character and we have attempted to give a small sample in the descriptions below.

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West End

This area is a combination of trendy and tacky. From the bars and nightclubs of Soho, theatre-land and the Red Light district, gay and lesbian nightlife hot-spot and a respectable drinking and dining area. Chinatown is vibrant and the area also offers a host of other cuisines: British, vegetarian, French and Thai. Browse the shops and boutiques of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street for those bargains or unique designer outfits. Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square are famous landmarks for the tourist.

Soho Nightlife
Soho Nightlife
Bond Street Arcade
Bond Street Arcade

The City

England's Bankers are at home in the City or the "Square Mile"; one of the few places where the streets might as well be paved with gold until the current financial turmoil. Modern structures like the Lloyd's Building and the infamous "Gherkin" outnumber the more ancient edifices of the Bank of England. The City is also home to superb churches, St. Paul's Cathedral of course but also the lesser-known St Mary leBow Church, both built by Sir Christopher Wren. If you are a true cockney you would have been born within the sound of Bow Bells. The Tower of London was a 16th century prison where some of Henry VIII's unlucky wives were beheaded. No longer so unfriendly, visitors are now able to view the fabulous Crown Jewels. Then take a stroll beside the Thames and take in the stunning Tower Bridge.

City Buildings

St Pauls Cathedral
St Pauls Cathedral
St Mary le Bow Church
St Mary le Bow Church
The Gherkin
The Gherkin

Tower Bridge

Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf

Docklands

This was the site of London's docks and warehouses where for hundreds of years proud ships loaded and unloaded cargoes to and from every corner of the globe. Britain's wealth and prosperity were founded on trade, and much of it was though the London Docks.. Heavily bombed during World War II, and then abandoned soon after with the introduction af larger ships and containerisation during the 60's and 70's, this area lay derelict for many years. Now the area has become the incarnation of 1980s prosperity. Canary Wharf Tower dominates the skyline and the Canary Wharf area is one of the capital's greatest economic powerhouses.

London Eye
London Eye

Southbank

Southbank is one of the areas London that is equally popular with both tourists and locals due to the amazing number of varied venues and entertainments available along this scenic stretch of the south bank of the river Thames. From the London Eye to the Tate Modern, the area is an eclectic mix of exciting destinations. Southbank becomes most popular when the warm weather arrives as visitors throng the wide walkways along the river to admire the view, watch street performers and enjoy the pubs, shops and restaurants along the side of the walk. There are also excellent art galleries on the side streets along the main Southbank walk. Things to do and see include The Young Vic and the National and the Globe Shakespeare theatres, The Tate Modern and the Hayward Gallery and the London Eye, one of Londons' newer iconic attractions a huge observation wheel from where spectacular views over London and it's surrounds can be enjoyed.

Olympic Stadium

Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields Market
Petticote Lane
Petticote Lane
Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium

East End

Home to the Pearly Kings and Queens, the East End is a vibrant and exciting area and is one of the fastest growing destination in London. There are lots of interesting and historical places to explore, many off the normal tourist trail. Hunt for bargains and banter in Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane. Discover urban regeneration and visit Stratford to see how work on the new Olympic Park is coming along.Try a show at a theatre in Hackney or visit Deptford with its large artists community and fantastic festivals. See the video link below for a taste of East End culture!

The regeneration of parts of the East End is now well under way. This will be the home of the London Olympics in 2012. This will provide the areas around Stratford with new sporting stadiums and venues. The Olympic Village will be home to the Olympic athletes and form long-term housing regeneration once the Olympics are over. At long last the East End will have affordable housing for those younger cockney kids who have been locked out of the property market for so long.

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