Thinking of moving to the area in the southern third of the Northern line, between Clapham North to Tooting Broadway? Rachel Smith recently made the move to this area (Tooting Bec) from Watford. In this post she shares her observations about how awesome Southwest London is!
I moved to the area earlier this year. I was initially looking anywhere between Clapham North and Tooting Broadway. All of these stations are on the Northern Line; which follows a pretty straight road all the way from Elephant and Castle down to Morden. The area itself is green (more on that later); feels safe and has a pretty relaxed graduate-y feel to it.
Wimbledon, Putney, Wandsworth, Streatham and Richmond are all within a short train ride – either directly from Balham or via Clapham Junction.
One of the biggest attractions of this area are the big green-spaces of the commons. Tooting Bec Common (which also boasts a lido), Wandsworth Common and Clapham Common are all nearby and very popular. They give the area more of a spacious feeling and nice added greenery.
This area is served by the Northern Line. As someone who regularly commutes up to Angel, I have no problems getting on to the Tube at Tooting Bec in the morning; it gets a bit intimate (squashed?!) by the time you reach Clapham Common and then gets better again after Stockwell. It is a reliable service and having access to both branches of the Northern Line via Charing Cross and also Bank is really helpful for getting into Central London.
Not only is there the Underground, there is also a comprehensive train service. Balham is four minutes from Clapham Junction and 15 minutes to Victoria.
This is where Find Properly can help!
Couple of things to bear in mind; rental rates are higher to the north of Clapham, despite being less convenient for the Underground. This is offset by the area (more to follow) but just something to think about. Also, Wandsworth Council Tax is amongst the lowest in the UK; significantly less than Lambeth which covers Clapham South up to Elephant and Castle (~£700 vs £1200 a year for the ‘average’ property). Minimise your council tax by choosing a property within Wandsworth Council boundaries, or you can filter areas by council tax on Find Properly. You are likely to find lots of terraced houses converted into flats on quiet residential roads, particularly in Balham.
What’s Going On?
So, apart from the green spaces and the excellent transport connections to enable you to leave, what is there actually to do in the Southwest of London?! If nights out are your thing, head to Clapham – enough bars, clubs and chlamydia to keep you busy. Depending on your view of the nightlife in your student days, head to/avoid Infernos!
For the health-conscious, there are gyms in Clapham (Virgin Active) and Balham (Fitness First). I see lots of people out running too (lots of Lycra!); particularly around the Commons, so if that is your thing, you will be in good company! Balham has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning and there is a Shisha place a short walk from Tooting Bec Underground Station.
Eating and Drinking
There is lots of culinary variety as you would expect; anything from chain Belgian restaurants and steak grills in Clapham to a couple of good local produce British restaurants in Balham and the curry houses of Tooting.
There are also lots of pubs around Clapham Common and on Clapham High Street and Balham High Street.
Each of the three main areas (Clapham, Balham and Tooting) have their own High Streets. Clapham’s is the biggest and has a wide range of shops. Each high street is self-contained and has more than enough to satisfy your day to day shopping needs. Both Westfield shopping centres are a short train-ride away for more hardcore shopping needs.
Sorry, this is the third transport category but I have so far neglected drivers, cyclists and bus-users! As a driver, I like the idea of driving around London and the area isn’t bad for roads; the A3 runs parallel to the Northern Line and the South Circular A205 gets you over to the Southeast of London relatively quickly. However, add in the cyclists, other drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, lorry drivers and the buses and the reality of driving is somewhat stressful! If you have a car, check for parking restrictions, as in most areas you need a permit from the council which costs extra. New developments are often car-free, which means you won’t be able to get a parking permit, so be sure to check!
As the area is basically on one long road, cyclists get to use the CS7 (cycle super-highway) which runs from Morden all the way up to the City. Bus users get the 155 which runs from Elephant and Castle to St. George’s Hospital in Tooting. This is a 24 hour service so is valuable at night when the tube stops running! There are loads of bus services in the area so it’s well connected.
So, that’s my guide to the Southwest (see what I did there with the titles of the paragraphs!). Find Properly can now help you find your ideal place to live in this green, spacious part of London.
Thanks for reading!