Clerkenwell: overall, this neighbourhood had an 'up and coming' sort of vibe to it. It was fairly quiet, but there were plenty of people walking about, especially near the City University of London. It is just north of the financial center, so one of the closest neighbourhoods we could potentially live in.
Islington: Islington's High Street (aka Main Street) is called Upper St., which reminded us a lot of Halsted in Lincoln Park in Chicago. It has plenty of different restaurants, pubs, shops, optometrists, dentists, and even a Chipotle! The street runs all the way from the Angel tube stop to the Highbury and Islington stop, with the former being much busier. There were many residential streets leading off from this main drag.
Covent Garden: this was a very interesting place. We will definitely be recommending it as a place for friends and family to visit, but we aren't sure we want to live here. There are numerous places to go shopping here, including a very well known market. There is also a transportation museum and various theatres nearby. It felt quite touristy on a Saturday morning, which is fine for visiting, but not for living.
Soho: located right next door to Covent Garden, this neighbourhood feels a bit touristy as well. It contains Chinatown and a good part of the theatre district. Again, a good place to visit, but not so much to live.
South Kensington: this place definitely has a more residential feel to it. The tube stop was crowded, likely because of the many various museums that are located here. There is the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Science Museum all right next to each other. The corner by the tube stop had various shops and restaurants, and overall seemed fairly pleasant.
Pimlico: located just southwest of Buckingham Palace, this neighbourhood was insanely quiet for being located in the heart of the city. We walked up and down two streets that were completely lined with hotels, but also saw a few restaurants and corner pubs along the way.
Notting Hill: if you've seen the movie, you might have a small idea of what is in store in this neighbourhood. There is again quite a bit of shopping here, with both high end boutiques and a market that stretches the entire distance of Portobello Road. There are many side streets with large houses and many private garden areas.
Marylebone: the Bond Street tube stop drops you off right in the middle of a large shopping area (think Michigan Ave) but just a few hundred yards up the road is the High Street in Marylebone. This will take you past pubs, shops, restaurants, and the grocery on your way up to Regent's Park, which is a huge public park that apparently used to be royal hunting grounds. Also on Baker Street is everything Sherlock Holmes-related.
If you haven't guessed it already, our two favorites are Islington and Marylebone, which we will be touring Thursday and Friday in hopes of finding a flat.