Home to Abbey Road, Harrods and The London Bridge, Londoners and globetrotters take in more than just fabulous music, fashion and culture─they entertain a new lease on life. Covering 32 boroughs across four quadrants, each section tells its own unique story rich in history, architecture and customs, making it one of the most alluring cities to live in.
Where to Live
“London is the financial hub of Europe and one of the pillars of the global financial industry,” says Kevin Davies, a Canadian expat living in London, explaining the international appeal and driving force behind international workers in Jolly Old England. With over 550 banks operating with the city limits and its Docklands, (a section within London that replicates a North American city) this financial sector is seen as a lifeline to the world. And it’s London’s West End, a suburb of central London and the city’s hub for frolic and fun, where expats prefer to call home across the pond. As one of the most desired relocation grids in the city, the West End comprises such elite neighborhoods as Mayfair, Westminster, Knightsbridge and Notting Hill, as well as, prominent business, financial and government sectors. Some of the area’s most beloved attractions are Bond Street’s exclusive shopping district and Leicester Square, and come August, Notting Hill’s two-day annual street carnival is the second largest in the world, next to Rio de Janeiro.
Notting Hill is an exclusive enclave of striking architecture, character and charm, and where most American and Canadian newbie’s flock to, accorrding to Davies, though he admits that “the expats who have been here a while (or who have insider information) tend to live in areas like Islington or Clerkenwell.” Best known for its romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, Notting Hill welcomes professional expatriates and retires with a true home away from home feel. Today the streets are lined with quant coffee shops, bistros and boutiques, and residents reside in old Victorian homes since converted into lush flats.
Next door to Notting Hill is Knightsbridge, an affluent area overlooking historic Hyde Park. Home to world renowned London-based shoe designer, Jimmy Choo and Harrods, the district anxiously awaits the 2011 unveiling of One Hyde Park, a lavish upscale residential community. Architectural firm Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners, in conjunction with, Candy & Candy, the interior designer firm, are building One Hyde Park on the site of 1950’s Bowater House—an unsightly post war building. This new development will feature 80 plush pied-à-terries and three fashionable boutiques. In addition to its new urban design, the architects hope to streamline Hyde Park into the Knightsbridge area using the buildings glass construction, allowing sunlight into areas once overshadowed by soaring buildings.
Where to Visit
At night sleep soundly at the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, London Park Lane located in Mayfair─London’s exclusive West End. This elegant oasis overlooks England’s most prized real estate, Buckingham Palace. Amenities include a morning buffet, mid afternoon cocktail hour and nightly turndown service. Other onsite indulgences include the Spa InterContinental’s therapeutic steam temple and 24-hour fitness center. Downstairs, the Lobby Lounge, (which has partnered with Notting Hill’s Melt, a premiere chocolate shop and Tea Palace, supplier of varietal teas) spoils guests before dining at the hotel’s causal-chic Theo Randall at The InterContinental─the hotel’s premier restaurant.
For more information, visit www.visitlondon.com.