Best Places to Live in South West London
South West is not the name of Kimye’s new baby, worry not.
London’s SW postcode area is made up of nine boroughs including the London Borough of Wandsworth, the westerly parts of the London Borough of Lambeth, parts of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, the southern half of the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the southern portion of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames’s north-eastern portion and the northern sections of the London Borough of Merton and London Borough of Croydon. Out of this great mass of London, there are winners and losers – just as in life.
Fast becoming one of the coolest places to live, Clapham is generally divided into four areas – Clapham North, Clapham South, Clapham Old Town and Clapham Junction (which is technically a part of Battersea but as Shakespeare himself said “what’s in a name?”). What is great about Clapham is each quadrant seems to have a personality all of its own, meaning Clapham residents are a varied, versatile bunch who bring a lot of vivacity to SW London.
Clapham North is the less gentrified of the four, but that does not have to be a bad thing. A walkable distance to all the clubs and restaurants on the High Street but with rents far cheaper, this has become a common nesting ground for the young-and-hungry graduates ready to conquer London on a budget. Clapham North has the advantage of two great transport links also; a Northern Line underground and an overground platform.
Clapham South is one of the more grown-up contingents of Clapham. With good-sized homes, farmers markets and antique shops in the nearby Abbeville Village, this is the suburban neighbour of its loud-and-proud surroundings. Popular with families and those considered middle-class, this is a perfect spot for those looking to be near the action without having to be in the centre of it.
Clapham Old Town is much like Clapham South, only with bigger Victorian and Georgian terraced houses. Quieter than other parts of Clapham so ideal for families.
Clapham Junction is popular with young professionals who have found their feet and are looking to enjoy the best pubs, clubs and grubs London has to offer a young, employed individual. Clapham Junction is also a thriving hotspot for the LGBT community, as well as the artistically-minded and the music lovers.
We like to think of Battersea as the dark horse of London; so long counted out and neglected that rents were cheap, but now it’s on the up and up with booming properties and a planned Northern Line underground construction. London is the best for constant change and renewal, and this renaissance is a true piece of poetry – left abandoned but facing Chelsea just across the Thames, it’s coming back stronger than ever. Perfect for families or young professionals, we advise getting in quick.
Home to Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the love-it-or-hate-it Made in Chelsea reality show cast, this area has become synonymous with excess. Expensive rents, expensive taxes (most expensive council tax in the city; a badge of pride?) and expensive shopping, rents here will take a chunk out of change. With the lower averages costing around £2000pcm if you can afford it, you can expect to live what many would consider the postcard London life; shopping on the King’s Road, walking along Sloane Square, getting lost in your thoughts at the Chelsea Farmers Market.
A suburban-esque reprieve from the constant activity of Central London, Surbiton is ideal for wealthier families. There are larger properties, open green spaces and charming pubs and restaurants along the river walk heading to Kingston. With a fast train to Waterloo taking only twenty-thirty minutes, it is a perfect location for Londoners who want a bit less London. Areas of interest include one of London’s most popular, authentic Japanese Buddhist Centres.
Anyone for tennis? This part of London is ubiquitous around the globe thanks to the associations of some athletic men and women in white showing off their best serve. Wimbledon is going through a slight facelift lately, with more and more young couples choosing to move into areas just outside the main, expensive Wimbledon Village. Areas like Wimbledon Park and Merton offer more affordable options with the same great amenities of Wimbledon, including the likes of Wimbledon Common.
If you can afford the higher price tag of renting in Richmond, consider us envious. Richmond is home to stunning, large detached homes, two theatres, a plethora of award-winning restaurants and arguably London’s best park. Richmond park is one of the biggest factors in making Richmond residents some of the happiest in the UK, offering wonderful walks, a protected vista of the city at King Henry’s Mound, a protected plantation spot, cycle routes, wild deer and a ballet school. All that and you’re only eight miles out of Central London – no wonder Richmond has been home to the likes of David Attenborough and Jerry Hall. Much like the chicken and the egg, it’s unsure if the prosperous residents made it so or if this is the reason so many wealthy residents moved there to begin with but it is also one of the safest places to live in London.
Ignore the colloquialisms, things heading south don’t have to be a bad thing – in London you get some of the best parks, restaurants and shopping.
If your compass points directions other than South-West check out some of our other area guides: