London Geography

There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
And the vermin of the world inhabit it
And it's morals aren't worth what a pig could spit
And it goes by the name of London...

--Sweeney Todd, "There's No Place Like London"

When people speak of London, they are generally referring to the Greater London Area (or just Greater London), which contains the original city of London, plus over 30 neighboring boroughs. This is a large, sprawling city, with lots of people and lots of room--and yet, it is inevitable that the Kindred and other creatures will fight over the choicest bits. Please note that there is no way I can do the city justice with a short web page--whole books have been written on the subject. I'll just provide a brief overview of the different areas of the city, along with a few notes of interest to World of Darkness residents (Marked in red).

Central London:

The heart of the Greater London area, and home to some of its most famous landmarks.

The city of London: principal financial district of the United Kingdom, in addition to being one of the most important financial capitals in the world. It is governed by the Corporation of London, an ancient body headed by the Lord Mayor. The City also has its own police force, the City of London police.

The City of Westminster: situated to the west of the City of London and north of the River Thames. The city contains most of London's West End, as well as the permanent headquarters of the United Kingdom's government, with Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, Whitehall, and the Royal Courts of Justice.

Other Central London landmarks:

East London:

This section saw the bulk of London's early industrial development, and much of it now is being extensively redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway. It was also key to London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics, and is now scheduled to undergo extensive regeneration in the run-up to the games. This is the second time in modern history that East London has seen large-scale rebuilding: it took the full force of the Blitz in World War Two, with post-war reconstruction leaving a legacy of bleak housing estates and tower blocks in several areas.

The East End: The East End of London is closest to the original Port of London, and tended for that reason to be the area of the city where immigrants arriving into the port would settle first. The East End extends from the eastern side of the City of London and includes areas such as Whitechapel, Mile End, Bethnal Green, Hackney, Bow and Poplar. This part of the city of London is an area of uncertain delimitations, and abounds with legend, sentimentality and cockneys. It has a somewhat romanticised history of working class cheer, resilience, organised crime and gangsters such as the Kray Twins, and poverty, ameliorated by a spirit of British toughness. The somewhat harsher truth is that the East End contains some of the poorest areas in the United Kingdom, with all of the problems this entails.

West London:

The polar opposite of East London, this area includes many of the traditionally fashionable and expensive residential areas such as Notting Hill. Within the district is the famous antique market at Portobello Road. Kensington and Chelsea are the most expensive places to live in the country. The area is also famous for the Kings Road, a distinguished and attractive shopping street and thoroughfare. Further to the west, at White City, near Shepherd's Bush, is the principal operating centre for the BBC, while in the extreme west, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, lies Heathrow Airport. Considered more south-west than West London on account of its being the only London borough to straddle the River Thames, Richmond upon Thames includes the attractive riverside districts of Richmond and Twickenham. This corner of London is home to Richmond Park, London's largest, and Twickenham, the home of English rugby union.

South London:

Contains such diverse districts as Wimbledon (famous as the home of the major tennis Wimbledon Championships), Bermondsey, and Dulwich. Greenwich is on the banks of the Thames where the river broadens into a wide meandering reach of muddy water. It is an historic neighbourhood and boasts a fine park and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Brixton, Camberwell and Peckham are home to many families (and their descendants) who immigrated to London from the West Indies during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, sometimes known as Afro-Caribbeans.

North London:

includes suburbs such as Hampstead and Highgate, which retain a village atmosphere. North London is more hilly than the south, and many of the hills give excellent views across the city. Large parks include Hampstead Heath, which includes Parliament Hill, noted for its fine views over the city, and the Hampstead bathing ponds; and Alexandra Park, site of Alexandra Palace. Many areas have significant minority populations including Stamford Hill, home to a significant community of Orthodox Jews, and the Green Lanes area of Harringay which has large Turkish and Greek communities. Islington is considered one of the more affluent areas in London, due to large scale gentrification, although it is in fact one of the most deprived boroughs in the country; it is also home to Arsenal football club. North London's other world-famous football team, Tottenham Hotspur, play in nearby Tottenham.

Other areas of interest

City Parks: London is well endowed with open spaces. The eight Royal Parks of London are former royal hunting grounds that are now open to the public. Green Park, St James Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens form a green strand through the West End. Regents Park is on the northern edge of central London, while Greenwich Park, Bushy Park, and Richmond Park are in the suburbs. Many of the smaller green spaces in central London are garden squares which were built for the private use of the residents of the fashionable districts, but in some cases are now open to the public. Most of London's council-owned parks were developed between the mid 19th century and the Second World War. Examples include Victoria Park, Alexandra Park and Battersea Park. Some of the other major open spaces in the suburbs, such as Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common and Epping Forest have a more informal, semi-natural character. The leading paid entrance garden in London is the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. Hampton Court Palace also has a celebrated garden.