The Best 5 Books About London

Best Books of London

London is a fascinating city and as such, has inspired countless books. Whether it’s a piece of fiction or nonfiction, there is something for everyone. Here we list the best books about London, and some of these are great for someone looking to travel to the city or perhaps considering a move to London. If you are trying to find accommodation in London, these books might shed light on a particular part of this vibrant city that you might the decide to explore further in the real world.

London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd (2001)

Considered the most expansive history of the city, this is the non-fiction equivalent of an encyclopaedia that anyone who wants to understand the history behind London must read. Even if you’ve been living in the city for several years, this book might surprise you with the sheer wealth of information that it brings.

London Under by Peter Ackroyd (2012)

If you are someone who is not satisfied by knowing just the surface level facts about everything, then this is the book for you. It explores everything that happens beneath London, from the springs that have existed since Roman times, to the sewers that date back to Victorian times and even hideouts used by bandits. Explore the weird and wonderful subterranean world which features a bronze-age trackway under the Isle of Dogs in the East and Anglo-Saxon graves under St. Paul’s in central London. Discover shocking aspects of London you never knew existed, including a door in the plinth of the statue of Boadicea on Westminster Bridge which opens onto a massive tunnel.

Do Not Pass Go: From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair by Tim Moore (2004)

This fun book takes a look at London from the 1930s, exploring the city via the 26 stations on the Monopoly board. Written by comic Tim Moore, this book will take you through all the major parts of London.  The book shows you the prisons, the fanciest hotels, the pubs and much more. This is a highly entertaining and thoroughly researched book that takes the reader over the real-life version of the Monopoly board.

The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon (1956)

This is a book that focuses on a different type of London than you would find in any tourist guide book. It is a work of fiction that explores the lives of West Indian immigrants who have just moved to London. The structure is a series of short, episodic stories which are written in the type of English that is spoken in Trinidad. The book explores the journey of an immigrant who has newly arrived in London, the uncertainty that is faced by them and how different aspects of life in their new surroundings affect them, including labour unions, landlords, and other social structures.

London Fields by Martin Amis (1989)

Another work of fiction on this list, this is a murder mystery that gradually increases in tension as the plot progresses. The novel starts is the story of an American writer Samson Young who is living in London and is currently suffering from writer’s block. He also happens to be terminally ill and is one of the first ‘unreliable narrators’ in crime fiction. The book involves several twists and leaves the reader hanging right up until the shocking end.

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

Nina Stibbe moved to London in 1982, hired as a nanny to the sons of London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers and her ex-husband, director Stephan Frears. Cue candid encounters with some of London's literary elite, as neighbours such as Alan Bennett popped round for dinner.

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