What is it with London and postcodes? No other country or city places such an importance on them and if you are going to be living in London you’ll have to learn how to understand them and use them. If you are looking for a rental and are browsing through adverts and estate agent listings, oftentimes the location of the apartment will just be indicated by the postcode, so learning how to identify postcodes will help you immensely in your day to day life in London.

For the most part, the postcodes refer to the compass direction points N refers to north, E refers to east, S refers to south and W refers to west. EXCEPT, and there are always exceptions to every rule in England.  EC  (East Central) refers to the area that is in the very centre of London and covers the ‘City’ which is the financial district and heart of the business area. WC, or West Central, refers to the areas of Bloomsbury and the Strand.

The postcodes are further divided into NW for northwest and SW for southwest, and finally, SE for southeast. It can get confusing; don’t expect to understand all of them in a day. Each area is covered by the compass point reference and then a number. For example, a W11 postcode refers to the suburbs of Notting Hill and Holland Park, a W8 postcode means that you are in Kensington, but a W14 postcode means that you are slightly west of Kensington, but still in Kensington. Confused yet?

Your postcode will be the reference for your council taxes, so be careful when you rent or purchase a property in one of the higher value postcodes. You could find something just a street away that is in a different postcode and valued much less in terms of council tax. When you are moving and looking for property, you need to bear these things in mind and ask your estate agent to explain about the different council tax bands.

It is a point of some pride among the up and coming folks to show off their address, by simply telling you the postcode, and of course everyone who is anyone who is living here is living in W1, darling!