London is home to nearly nine million people. The city is always alive with energy and action. And for some, the hustle and bustle of London is irresistible. They have to live there. But where is the best place to live? And if you’re an immigrant, are there areas of London that would suit you better than others?
There are a lot of decisions to make: east or west, north or south? Even when you think you know what side of the river you’d like to live on there are still many more factors to consider. Which borough? Which neighbourhood? Close to what tube line? Which street? Your experience of London could even be influenced by which side of the street you choose to live on.
Immigrant communities are a significant part of London’s culture.
Around 37% of people living in London were born outside the UK. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the top immigrant areas in London and learn what makes them so attractive to immigrants.
Top areas in London for immigrants
Immigrants have been coming to work and live in London for so many years that you can now identify certain areas of London with certain immigrant populations.
For example, Southall in West London is also known as ‘Little Punjab’ because it has been a hub of South Asian immigration since the 1950s. Similarly, Peckham is sometimes referred to as ‘Little Lagos’ because of its thriving Nigerian community.
So let’s explore some London city districts and try to understand why they have become top areas for immigrants.
Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea
Notting Hill has had an interesting history of immigration. It is a place where many Caribbean immigrants first took up residence in the 50s. The legacy of their presence is felt in the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival every year, which celebrates Caribbean culture, food and music. If you’re interested in Notting Hill Carnival or other cultural events in the UK, check out this blog.
As a result of gentrification, the cultural makeup of the district has changed in recent years. It is still a top area for immigrants but the cost of living has increased dramatically. Today you are more likely to find wealthy expats from the United States, Australia and France enjoying the bohemian lifestyle in quaint eateries.
Peckham in South London is home to the largest overseas Nigerian community in the whole of the UK. Nigerian immigrants have transformed the culture of the area. It is the best place in London to get great Nigerian food and experience a thriving Nigerian immigrant community.
If you wander down Rye Lane in Peckham you will truly get to experience why it is one of the top immigrant areas in London. Throughout Peckham there is a historic appreciation of immigrants from all over the world.
The largest Punjabi community outside of Indian is right here in Southall in the London Borough of Ealing. The area, also known as ‘Little Punjab’, is home to one of the most thriving immigrant communities in London. It is a top area to live in especially if you are emigrating from India or Pakistan.
Over 39% of people living in Southall are of British Asian origin. Immigrant culture is ingrained in the area. This can be seen in the shops and the diverse range of South Asian restaurants and food trucks. Many people across London come to Southall to experience authentic Indian culture.
Southall is one of the most immigrant-friendly areas in all of London. Immigrants from all countries are welcomed with open arms. There is a strong sense of community and immigrant solidarity throughout the area.
Chinatown, City of Westminster
Chinatown is in the heart of London and is an area famous for it’s Chinese immigrant population. The concentration of Chinese immigrants has moved around London over the years. In the 1970s the Chinatown we know today began to form just off Shaftesbury avenue and bordering Soho.
By its name alone it is clear to everyone that it is the top immigrant area for Chinese people in London. Chinese-run businesses, from restaurants to supermarkets, have been successful in this area for many years. Although Chinese immigrants have settled in boroughs across London, Chinatown is where you can find the densest concentration of authentic Chinese culture.
On the most famous London neighborhoods map, Camden would be somewhere towards the top. Camden is one of the busiest and most culturally diverse places in London. It is home to the famous Camden Market, where you can probably see and buy anything you can imagine.
Camden is also a hotspot for music and has been for many years. It is a haven of counter culture and as a result has attracted many immigrants over the years. Camden has an exciting nightlife and restaurants selling food from all over the world. Greek, Italian, Japanese, Turkish and Brazilian restaurants can all be found within a mile radius!
When you visit Camden the multicultural impact is visible. The walls are bathed in vibrant colours, the streets are full of food trucks and racks of exotic clothes for sale, and musicians are busking on street corners singing Bob Marley, Fela Kuti or Joni Mitchell. It continues to be one of the top immigrant areas in London and is a great example of a mixing of cultures from around the world.
These are just a few of the top immigrant areas in London. The city is so big and as a result there are so many places in London that have wonderful immigrant communities. See here for a map detailing where immigrants have settled throughout London.
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We take pride in the contributions immigrants have made to life in London. Part of the reason some of these immigrant areas are so successful is because people are working hard to send money home. Small World wants to make this process as easy as possible.
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