Without a doubt, London is the UK’s key business hub. It generates 30 per cent of the whole of the UK’s GDP and is home to more than 70 per cent of the FTSE 100 companies, while 75 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have offices there. But which businesses end up where, and why?
The most iconic area must be the City of London, home to the Bank of England, Lloyds of London and the London Stock Exchange amongst other key business sites. For obvious reasons, this makes it London’s key financial district – if you can afford it, of course. It’s safe to say that along with a city office you’ll get a price tag to match its status.
This area is also home to Westminster, where you’ll find Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and any business that is connected to government services. Again, if you can afford it.
To the north you’ll arrive in Holborn, a hugely popular area for London businesses to locate themselves. It is close to everything central, so perfect for business service companies. It is a popular area for legal firms, as it is home to the Temples of London, while it also has Fleet Street. While this is no longer the media hub it once was, there are still publishing and media firms in the area.
Beyond Holborn to the west is Soho and to the north Clerkenwell. Both have become popular with media and publishing firms, with Soho in particular a key hub for post-production work. Both are central enough to be considered central London, while having enough distance to make them a little more affordable.
Just north of Clerkenwell is Islington, where you’ll find some key financial firms who want to distance themselves a little from the bustle, and price, of the city. You’ll find a similar clutch of finance firms in Southwark and Lambeth, just across the river to the east of Westminster. These areas are great for any business, having good transport links and a low mark-up compared to more fashionable areas.
Out a little further to the east you’ll find Canary Wharf and Stratford, home to the Docklands redevelopment and the new Olympic village. This huge development will be the key legacy left behind by the Olympics in 2012, but offices here are currently available at a relatively low mark up. Once completed, the transport links should also be top notch.
Finally, you’ve got Camden, London’s alternative capital. It’s just north of Euston and Kings Cross, so still very well connected, and perfect for a vibrant, young and alternative SME. In truth though, this is the tip of the iceberg. The tube, bus and rail mean most areas of London are well accessible and we haven’t even mentioned popular areas such as Victoria, Knightsbridge, Victoria.
If you do your homework, and really search around, you’re practically guaranteed to find your perfect office space in London.
About the author: Chris Marling writes on behalf of Office Genie, the UK’s first proper online marketplace for desk space and shared offices.