Discover All of East London’s Secrets
East London is an amazing urban centre success story. Following decades of recession and neglect, East London has risen from the ashes and is ready to be centre-stage and enjoy everyone’s attention. From the skyscraper-dominated business district of Canary Wharf to the modern riverside developments of Barking and Dagenham, East London is dynamic and enticing, while also remaining convenient.
In this post, our estate agents have put together a list of the 6 things you need to know about East London that are guaranteed to make you fall in love with it.
To really appreciate the charm and advantages East London offers, you first need to dive deeper into its atmosphere and understand its character. No longer is this part of London going to accept being judged for its past. Instead, it is more than ready to embrace its new future.
A dynamic community made up of young families and young professionals, an amazing world-renowned business district filled with financial companies and tech start-ups, vast areas of modern waterfront luxury high-rises. This is what East London is now. And it’s ready to be seen and loved by everyone.
The East London Regeneration
After the Docklands were shut down, East London was left in a state of disarray. Authorities struggled to find a solution to help the area develop and grow. In 1981, the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) took on affirmative plans to redevelop the area of East London and help revive its economy.
In 1982, the area was designated as an enterprise zone. This meant that businesses investing in East London were exempt from property taxes and received various incentives such as simplified planning procedures and capital allowances. Once these decisions were set in place, massive investments in the Docklands and the area’s property boom were not far away.
By 1998, control of the Docklands area was handed back to the local authorities that continued the massive development programs brought on by the LDDC.
As a result of all these regeneration schemes, the Docklands area was redeveloped into a residential, commercial, and industrial space, with the ambitious Canary Wharf project as its central focus. Canary Wharf has kept headlines since, hosting some of the tallest buildings in Britain, the offices of the largest companies in the UK and the world, and being the second major financial centre of London.
East London also hosted the 2012 Olympic games. To prepare for this large event, authorities continued large investments in the area’s transformation. East London was thus ready to finally leave its industrial past behind and transform into a bustling, trendy part of London.
Massive community and government efforts have translated into an influx of new business, residential developments, and a new wave of enthusiastic residents.
East London Transport
Historically, East London was not what you would call accessible as far as transport was concerned. However, since London hosted the 2012 Olympic games, everything changed. Plans had to include good transport links to serve all the guests and enthusiastic fans so East London had to be completely transformed. And so it was. It is now one of the best-connected areas in London.
The main London Underground route, the Central line, crosses East London and offers access to many areas including Bethnal Green, Leyton, Stratford, and Essex. The District or Hammersmith & City line offers great access to Whitechapel, Shoreditch, and West Ham.
The DLR offers accessible transport to Canning Town, the Excel Arena, and London City Airport.
East London is also included in the new Crossrail project, with the Elizabeth line running two eastern sections. One runs underground from Whitechapel to Stratford, with stops in Ilford, Romford, Gidea Park, and Shenfield. The second one goes from Whitechapel to Abbey Wood via Canary Wharf, Custom House, and Woolwich.
In addition, East London is home to the famous Emirates Cable Car, with rides from Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. It offers great views of the River Thames and the London skyline. London City Airport with flights to all major international destinations is also only a short drive away no matter where you are in East London.
East London Properties
As expected, the massive regeneration of the area, together with the large influx of new businesses and new residents have left their mark on property prices in East London. After all, you wouldn’t expect London’s Silicon Valley to stay cheap for too long.
While sale prices have significantly increased in the last 5-10 years, recording some of the most notable average property price rises in the UK, East London still manages to offer something for everyone. The housing market has properties in every style and size, fit for any budget. 1920s and 1930s homes, Victorian terrace houses, period homes, cottages, modern high-rises, luxury penthouses. You name it, East London has it.
With the area being home to East London University and therefore being popular with students, the rental market is very active. Again, East London manages to cater to any taste and offer affordable properties, as well as posher units. The lowest rental prices are around £250-300 in areas like Stratford, East Ham, and West Ham.
City Island is an especially appreciated property scene in East London, with its Manhattan-like skyline and amazing luxury high-rise buildings. The project sits on 4.68 ha of land and includes 1,706 new homes in flats and townhouses, plus modern amenities like a gym and a swimming pool, commercial spaces, and community spaces. City Island also hosts the English National Ballet and features a new footbridge providing access to the Crossrail and DLR lines and amazing views of the River Thames.
Great affordable properties for sale can be found in Plaistow, Bromley by Bow, Stratford, and Victoria Docks.
Shopping, Dining, and Entertainment
If you think East London is not making the most out of its transformation, you are wrong. There is no shortage of leisure, shopping, and dining opportunities almost everywhere you look.
For shopping enthusiasts, East London offers not only quaint boutiques and charming local shops or local shopping centres. It is also home to the largest shopping centre in Europe. The Westfield Stratford City shopping centre offers no less than 250 shops, bars, and restaurants. It has become an East London destination in itself.
For great bargains, you can check out Spitalfields Market, which also hosts a flea market on Thursdays.
If you enjoy food shopping rather than looking for new outfits, East London will deliver. Billingsgate Market in Canary Wharf is London’s oldest wholesale market and offers visitors fresh fish and seafood at amazing prices. Borough Market is also a popular destination for foodies. Regulars say it offers some of the most high-quality products you can find in London and it’s actually the place many restauranteurs shop for their own menus.
If your weakness is being served food and drink, get ready to taste the best curry you’ve ever had. East London is home to some of the most delicious curry houses, most of them located around Brick Lane. But curry is not everything East London offers in terms of food. The area’s ethnic diversity translates into some of the most diverse dining experiences, with cuisine ranging from Asian to African, Turkish, or Eastern European.
East London Has Some of the Best Schools
Education is an important factor and young families have good schools high on their priority list when they decide to relocate to a new area.
Fortunately, East London scores very high for good educational facilities, too. Apart from being the home of two University of East London campuses and Newham College, it also hosts the University Square – a major university campus developed in partnership by Birkbeck, University of London, and the University of East London.
As far as rankings are concerned, the most notable school is the London Academy of Excellence in Stratford. Another best-ranked school in East London is Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre, followed closely by Brampton Manor Academy. Ilford County High School is also on the list of the top 5 schools in East London.
The private schools in Chigwell are also top-rated. Chigwell School dates back to 1629 and features great amenities for students, including a 100-acre site, sports facilities, a medical centre, libraries and a chapel. Bancroft School, also located in Chigwell, is an independent HMC day school for children aged 7 to 18 dating back to 1737 set on the outskirts of Epping Forest.
Upcoming East London Projects
Since it’s not about to stop here with its development, East London is preparing to welcome even more new developments, such as:
- A Hollywood-style film studio in Dagenham, a £110 million investment that is scheduled to create 1,200 new jobs and include production offices, sound stages, dressing rooms and workshops on a 22-acre former pharmaceutical factory site on Yewtree Avenue;
- The London Resort, a theme park and resort project in Swanscombe, Kent which will rival Disneyland Paris and eventually comprise two parks – one to be inaugurated in 2024, followed by the second in 2029;
- The Barking Riverside, a new 10,000-home project in Barking to be built on the former site of 3 power stations. The first stage with 734 new homes is already delivered and the Mayor has approved the plans for an additional 9,652 homes and other facilities, such as a new train station and transport interchange, a £263 million extension to the existing Gospel Oak to Barking London Overground line, shops, restaurants, community and leisure facilities, public squares, healthcare and schools.