Where Is The Heart Of London?

By M@

Last Updated 19 March 2024

Where Is The Heart Of London?

Where is the "heart of London"? We did a bit of googling to find out, first in 2013 and now updated in 2024.

It's a sentence you often read: "the hotel is in the heart of London". Businesses and attractions naturally want to make themselves sound like they're centrally located; using the words 'in the heart of London' is a favoured and search-engine-focused way to do so.

But where is the heart of London? We investigated in the only way we know: by googling "in the heart of London" and plotting the first 50 results onto a map. Here's how that search looked in January 2024:

The small hearts each indicate one search result — a hotel, property or attraction, claiming to be at the heart of London. Results include many uncontentious examples. Few would argue that a hotel in Soho or near St Paul's could be considered 'at the heart'.

But just look at the outliers. Cheekiest of the bunch has to be the Old Hat pub in Ealing which, despite being 7.5 miles out of the centre purports to be at London's heart. Ealing wasn't even considered part of London until 1965. It's not alone, though. To the north a garden centre in Bounds Green (about 6.5 miles from centre) is also at the heart of London. Meanwhile, the Three Waters residential development at Bow Creek would have you believe that it's right at the heart of things.

South London is above this kind of thing. Only three contenders lie on that side of the river, and not by much. Still, the furthest down the map is in Vauxhall, which seems a bit, you know, not really the heart of London.

London's heart has got bigger

We first tried this exercise in cardiocartography back in 2013, which is 11 years or six health secretaries ago. Back then, nowhere east of Aldgate was claiming to be at the heart of things, and all but one of the 50 top hits were south of the Euston Road. In fact, London's heart is around three times wider in 2024 than it was in 2013. Doesn't that make you feel proud? Still, back then you could draw a satisfyingly heart-shaped perimeter around the results ⬇️. I tried that for the current map and it looked a bit like a clownfish, which is also cool I guess, but not relevant.

View Heart of London in a larger map

Interestingly, the 2013 map, while still having a paucity of southern hearts, does go as deep as Brixton Windmill — significantly further south than the 2024 map. You can still find websites describing the relic as "in the heart of London" but none of them now ranks in the top 50 for the search I did.

This whole whimsical exercise raises further questions: which bits of London represent other organs of the body? A bit of searching offers the following top results:

- The lungs of London: the parks, as first coined by William Pitt (the elder).

- The liver of London: Leicester Square

- The kidney of London: Shepherd's Bush (according to Richard Herring)

- The penis of London: Kingston (due to its shape)

- The bowels of London: the sewers, naturally

- The anus of London: Oxford Street, according to Jeremy Clarkson