Throughout the years, many fiction books have made me fall in love with London a little more. From growing up with stories like Paddington and Mary Poppins in my life, reading classics like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Oliver Twist and later falling into the worlds of Bridget Jones and Harry Potter, London has always been right there in the backdrop to many of my favourite stories. Being one of my favourite cities in the world and a little bit of a home to me, any book set in London instantly feels special. I feel connected to the electric and vibrant city that these characters are residing in. London is a city bursting with so many different cultures and people that no one story set in it's expanding network is ever the same. Novels set in London are close to my heart, so, here are a few of my favourites.

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere is one of the first non-YA books I can remember ever reading, so for that reasons it's really stuck in my head in all of the years since I read it. Neverwhere tells the story of a young man who has moved from Scotland to London and is just starting to plan out his life there. One night, after helping a young girl he finds bleeding on the street, he suddenly finds that he's been erased from the world. He belongs to a new London now. An underground one for people who have fallen through the cracks. Neverwhere portrays London from a perspective like no other. It is vibrant and bright, but also dark and secretive. It merges reality with fantasy and turns the city into a caricature of itself. It's the perfect read for those who love alternate reality novels.

The Lesser Bohemians, Eimar McBride
If you're no stranger to my blog or even my Twitter, you'll know that I've become a little obsessed with The Lesser Bohemians over the last month or so. I couldn't not include it and it's vibrant portrait of mid-nineties London. The Lesser Bohemians tells the story of a young Irish girl who moves to London to become and actress. While there, she begins to fall in love with an older actor who is double her age. London is portrayed through the wide eyes of a student in love and it's a truly beautiful way to see the city. From the dingy pubs and clubs of Camden to the breeze that hits the top of Primrose Hill, everything is new and exciting and interesting. It's the best way to picture London.

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Of course, how could I write a blog post about books which make you feel a little bit in love with London, without mentioning Woolf's Mrs Dalloway? The book follows a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a London dweller who is going about her life preparing for a party which she will be hosting that evening. Her stream of consciousness narration brings readers headfirst into Post WW1 London. As she wanders through Bond Street, to Green Park, past Big Ben, in and out of flower markets and famous bookshops which still stand today, it feels like we're right there exploring the sights with her.

This Is London - Ben Judah
Judah's book is a non-fiction picture of London, but I couldn't not add it to the last. It caught my eye recently in an independent book store in Spitalfields and I just couldn't resist. This Is London is an epic account of modern day London and it's huge variety of inhabitants. It shares tales of migrants, the rich and poor, the happy residents and the sad dwellers. It shares accounts, not just of central and wealthy London, but of all of its sprawling boroughs and the minorities who reside in them. This Is London offers a really varied and interesting account of the city as a new multi-cultural hub.

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
For a while I used to refer to High Fidelity as my favourite book, and it still holds a special place in my heart. It tells the story of Rob, a record shop owner in London who has just been dumped. Through a serious of hilarious anecdotes, Rob takes us through his dating history by telling stories of the last 5 girls who he's dated. Rob lives in North London and the city's music scene is a big part of the plot. Reading it feels exciting and nostalgic and like a hilarious tribute to falling in and out of love in the city.

Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Brick Lane is another book to focus on one of London's invisible communities. The lesser known groups of people which the sprawling city seems to look over. It tells the story of a Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets. It is the story of Nazneen, a young girl who is thrown into the strange and new environment of London through arranged marriage and is forced to make a new life for herself as a wife in the city. Along with her new friends, she begins to adjust to this life in her new British home. I loved this book so much. Nazneen's journey through womanhood in London is a really special one.


  1. I recently moved to London so I really want to give all of these a go! I love Conrad's The Secret Agent - mostly because I'm not far from the Royal Observatory haha. Loved your recommendations!

    1. I hope you enjoy whichever you choose! And I'll have to look into that one - thanks for the rec!xx