Tower Hamlets Area Guide (Based on Actual 2023 Data)

Tower Hamlets Area Guide (Based on Actual 2023 Data)

Tower Hamlets is a diverse borough located in East London, encompassing areas such as Canary Wharf, Bethnal Green, and Brick Lane. It has a diverse population and is known for its cultural heritage, parks and open spaces, and food and drink scene. Tower Hamlets has good transport links, many schools, and a range of amenities, making it a popular place to live and explore. This guide will provide you with all the information you need, whether you’re living, visiting or investing in Tower Hamlets. It includes the latest data from official government sources.

What’s it like to live in Tower Hamlets?

Tower Hamlets is a borough where old meets new, offering residents a range of amenities.

One of the most notable features of Tower Hamlets is its abundance of green spaces. The borough boasts more than 100 parks and open spaces, including the famous Victoria Park, which is one of London’s largest and most popular parks, hosting events and festivals in the summer.

Tower Hamlets also has plenty of shopping options. As well as shopping areas in Canary Wharf and the nearby Westfield Stratford City in the borough of Newham, Tower Hamlets is home to several famous markets, including Brick Lane Market, Columbia Road Flower Market, and Chrisp Street Market. These markets offer residents a chance to buy fresh produce, artisanal goods, and unique gifts.

For cultural activities, Tower Hamlets has several museums and galleries, including the Museum of London Docklands and the Whitechapel Gallery. The borough is also home to numerous historic landmarks, such as the Tower of London and the Old Royal Naval College, which offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past.

The cost of living in Tower Hamlets can be extremely varied. Buying or renting a property in areas such as Canary Wharf or Shoreditch is typically expensive, and there are many new developments in the borough that demand higher prices. On the other hand, there are much more affordable options in areas such as Bow, which overall contributes to house prices in Tower Hamlet being below London’s average.

As a borough located in inner London, Tower Hamlets benefits from transport links via the tube (the District, Hammersmith and City, Central and Jubilee lines), the DLR, the Overground and numerous bus services. Liverpool Street station also borders the borough, providing connections to other parts of London and beyond.

This guide provides an overview of important statistics about the borough and how it compares to other boroughs in London.

How much does it cost to buy a house in Tower Hamlets?

Properties in Tower Hamlets on average cost £488,832.80, ranking the borough as the 13 most affordable borough in London, according to data from HM Land Registry

Generally, areas that are closer to the city of London tend to be more expensive, while those further out tend to be more affordable.

One of the most expensive areas in the borough is Canary Wharf, a major financial hub that boasts modern skyscrapers and luxury residential developments. Other high-end areas include Wapping, Limehouse, and parts of Shoreditch. These areas offer a mix of new build and period properties, with high-end apartments and townhouses commanding premium prices.

On the other hand, areas further east, such as Poplar and Bow, tend to be more affordable, with a mix of council and ex-council properties, as well as some new developments.

How much does it cost to rent in Tower Hamlets?

According to data from the ONS:

  • A studio costs on average £1,314 per month to rent which ranks 31 as the most affordable borough in London
  • A one bedroom property costs on average £1,442 per month to rent which ranks 25 as the most affordable borough in London
  • A two bedroom property costs on average £1,758 per month to rent which ranks 24 as the most affordable borough in London
  • A three bedroom property costs on average £2,182 per month to rent which ranks 22 as the most affordable borough in London
  • A four or more bedroom property costs on average £2,840 per month to rent which ranks 21 as the most affordable borough in London

How many people live in Tower Hamlets?

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Housing, it has 129000 in total, ranking 9 of London boroughs by number of dwellings.

According to data from the ONS:

  • 10.1% of households are owned outright
  • 20.1% of households are being bought with a mortgage
  • 35.6% of households are rented from the local authority of housing association
  • 35.6% of households are privately rented

Is Tower Hamlets a good place to live?

Although determining whether an area is a good place to live is subjective, we can use data on personal wellbeing collected by the ONS through the Annual Population Survey as an indicator to compare boroughs:

  • Tower Hamlets ranks 4 of 32 boroughs in terms of life satisfaction (i.e. ‘how satisfied are you with your life?’)
  • Tower Hamlets ranks 16 of 32 boroughs in terms of ‘worthwhile’ (i.e. ‘to what extent do you feel things you do in your life are worthwhile?’)
  • Tower Hamlets ranks 4 of 32 boroughs in terms of happiness (i.e. ‘how happy did you feel yesterday?’)
  • Tower Hamlets ranks 4 of 32 boroughs in terms of anxiousness (i.e. ‘how anxious did you feel yesterday?’)

What schools are there in Tower Hamlets and are they good?

In total Tower Hamlets has 119 schools, which are broken down into:

  • 70 state primary schools
  • 20 state secondary schools
  • 15 independent schools

Tower Hamlets is home to a wide range of schools, including primary schools, secondary schools and colleges.

The area boasts several highly-regarded primary schools, including St. Paul’s Way Trust School and Manorfield Primary School. For secondary education, the borough has several high-performing schools, such as Mulberry School for Girls and Bow School. Tower Hamlets College and New City College are two of the area’s main colleges, both of which offer a range of vocational and academic courses. Additionally, Queen Mary University of London, located in Tower Hamlets, is a leading research-intensive university and part of the Russell Group. 

For a breakdown of all schools in the area and their latest ratings, search Ofsted’s reports.

Is Tower Hamlets polluted?

According to data from the GLA and TFL Air Quality:

  • Tower Hamlets ranks 28 of 32 boroughs in terms of lowest NO2 concentration
  • Tower Hamlets ranks 28 of 32 boroughs in terms of lowest PM2 concentration
  • Tower Hamlets ranks 31 of 32 boroughs in terms of lowest PM10 concentration

What is the employment rate in Tower Hamlets?

The employment rate in Tower Hamlets is 72.6% which ranks 24 of 32 boroughs in terms of highest employment rate.

Employment rate is important to know for those considering moving to the area, as it can provide an indication of the job market and economic opportunities available in the borough.

Is Tower Hamlets a wealthy area?

The average income in Tower Hamlets is £50,100 according to data from HMRC. This ranks 12 of London’s boroughs (ranked by highest average income). 

The borough of Tower Hamlets is not generally considered a wealthy area, although it does contain some pockets of affluence such as the areas around Canary Wharf and Wapping. Overall, the borough has a diverse population with a range of socioeconomic backgrounds, including some areas that experience high levels of poverty and deprivation.

Is Tower Hamlets a religious area?

Like the rest of London, Tower Hamlets has a mix of cultures and religions. In particular, it has a large Muslim population. According to the ONS:

  • 27.5% of the resident population identifies as Christian
  • 39.4% of the resident population identifies as Muslim
  • 2.8% of the resident population identifies as Hindu
  • 0.0% of the resident population identifies as Sikh
  • 0.0% of the resident population identifies as Jewish
  • 3.5% of the resident population do not identify as religious

How large is Tower Hamlets?

Tower Hamlets is 19.8 km2, making it the 28th largest borough in London.

Its population is estimated as 334,834 according to data from the GLA, ranking it 10 as the most populous borough.

Its population per km2 is 16,927, ranking it 1 as the most populous per km2 borough.

Is Tower Hamlets safe?

According to data from the Metropolitan Police Service, in the last two years there were:

  • 21,892 total reported crimes and 65.38 total crimes per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 23 of boroughs with the least total number of crimes
  • 1,712 total reported burglaries and 5.11 total burglaries per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 28 of boroughs with the least number of burglaries
  • 1,629 total reported cases of criminal damage and 4.87 total cases of criminal damage per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 29 of boroughs with the least number of cases of criminal damage
  • 782 total reported drug related crimes and 2.34 total drug related crimes per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 17 of boroughs with the least number of drug related crimes
  • 853 total reported robberies and 2.55 total robberies per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 23 of boroughs with the least number of robberies
  • 502 total reported sexual offences and 1.50 total sexual offences per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 20 of boroughs with the least number of sexual offences
  • 10,182 total reported thefts and 30.41 total thefts per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 23 of boroughs with the least number of thefts
  • 5,924 total reported violent crimes and 17.69 total violent crimes per 1k of the population, ranking Tower Hamlets as 20 of boroughs with the least number of violent crimes

What public transport options does Tower Hamlets have?

Tower Hamlets is well-served by public transport, with a range of tube lines, overground services, rail services, and bus routes connecting the borough to other parts of London. Here are some of the main options:

Several London Underground lines serve the borough, including:

  • District Line: Stops at Aldgate East, Whitechapel, Stepney Green, Mile End, Bow Road, and Bromley-by-Bow stations.
  • Hammersmith & City Line: Stops at Aldgate East, Whitechapel, Stepney Green, Mile End Bow Road and Bromley-by-Bow stations.
  • Central Line: Stops at Mile End and Bethnal Green stations.
  • Jubilee Line: Stops at Canary Wharf, Westferry, and Canada Water stations.

In addition, Tower Hamlets is well-connected by the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which connects the borough to destinations in East London and the Docklands area.

In terms of London Overground connections, there are connections via Shoreditch High Street, Whitechapel, Shadwell and Wapping stations, as well as Bethnal Green and Cambridge Heath.

Liverpool Street Station, one of London’s large hub rail stations, is situated just outside of the borough in the City of London, providing access to several tube lines (including the Elizabeth line), the overground and rail services to destinations outside of the city.

A range of bus routes connect Tower Hamlets to other parts of London, including the 25, 205, 254, D3, D6, D7, and D8, among others. The 15, 115, and 135 routes also run through Canary Wharf, providing connections to the City and beyond.

What places are in Tower Hamlets?

There are several distinct areas in the borough of Tower Hamlets, each with their own unique characteristics and attractions. This includes:

  • Whitechapel: A historic neighbourhood with a vibrant multicultural community and a rich history of immigration and innovation.
  • Canary Wharf: A major financial district with some of the tallest skyscrapers in London and a bustling business scene.
  • Mile End: A lively neighbourhood with a large student population, a diverse range of shops and restaurants, and easy access to the city centre.
  • Bethnal Green: A trendy neighbourhood with a thriving arts and culture scene, a range of independent shops and cafes, and a vibrant nightlife.
  • Bow: A diverse neighbourhood with a mix of council estates and new developments, as well as good transport links to other parts of London.
  • Shoreditch: A fashionable neighbourhood split between Tower Hamlets and Hackney, with a lively nightlife, trendy bars and restaurants, and a thriving arts and creative scene.
  • Limehouse: A historic waterfront area with a rich maritime history and a range of attractive period properties.
  • Poplar: A rapidly developing neighbourhood with a mix of social housing, new developments, and green spaces.
  • Wapping: A waterfront area with a range of period properties, a thriving arts scene, and a rich history of maritime trade.
  • Stepney: A diverse neighbourhood with a mix of council estates and period properties.

What is Tower Hamlets famous for?

Tower Hamlets mixes the old with the new, and is known for several things, such as:

  1. The Tower of London: One of the most iconic landmarks in the world, the Tower of London is a historic castle that has served as a royal palace, a prison, and a fortress.
  2. Brick Lane: This street in the heart of Tower Hamlets is known for its vibrant street art, vintage shops, and diverse food scene.
  3. Canary Wharf: Tower Hamlets is home to Canary Wharf, one of the most important financial districts in the world. It’s a hub for business and commerce, with towering skyscrapers and some of the world’s largest corporations.
  4. Columbia Road Flower Market: Every Sunday, Columbia Road comes alive with a vibrant flower market that draws crowds from all over the city.
  5. The Museum of Childhood: Tower Hamlets is home to the Museum of Childhood, a museum that explores the history of childhood and the toys and games that have captured children’s imaginations over the years.
  6. Whitechapel Gallery: This gallery is a hub for contemporary art, with a programme of exhibitions, events, and education programmes that celebrate the best of modern art.
  7. St Katharine Docks: Once a bustling commercial port, St Katharine Docks is now a marina with a range of shops, restaurants, and bars.
  8. Jack the Ripper: Tower Hamlets is infamous for the Jack the Ripper murders, which took place in the late 1800s. The area is still a draw for those interested in the mystery and intrigue surrounding this dark chapter in London’s history.
  9. The Regent’s Canal: Tower Hamlets is home to a section of the Regent’s Canal, a peaceful waterway that runs through the heart of London.
  10. Troxy: An art deco venue has hosted some of the biggest names in music and entertainment, from Frank Sinatra to Kylie Minogue.
  11. Victoria Park: Tower Hamlets is home to Victoria Park, one of the largest and most popular parks in London.
  12. The East End Street Markets: Tower Hamlets is home to some of the most traditional street markets in London, including Petticoat Lane, Roman Road Market, and Chrisp Street Market.

What boroughs are next to Tower Hamlets?

Tower Hamlets is bordered by several other boroughs: