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What's it like to live in Battersea with small children?

We are thinking of moving from NY to London and have two small children. New York is very convenient with groceries, play areas, parks, pre-schools, transport, restaurants all close by. I've heard that London is not so convenient. We are thinking of Battersea because it seems like it is family oriented and is close to a park but don't know what to make of the lack of a tube. It would be great to hear from those who live there and also hear about recommended nurseries and schools.

Asked on Feb 6 2010, General in London | Report content

Answers (1)

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  • I don't have children but have lived around this area for thirty years, so I know it well. Battersea is pretty close to central London, and so space is at a premium. The park is a wonderful resource for children with lots of space for them to let off steam as well as a children’s adventure playground, a small zoo, tennis courts, boating lake and the occasional visiting fairground. If you are living close to the park, Sloane Square tube station comes into play across the river. Different areas of Battersea have very different "feels" to them. As you get closer to Clapham Junction Railway station things get more vibrant, the area around the park is calmer. Not having a tube link is a downside but there are quite a few very good regular bus routes, as well as regular overground train services from a number of stations in the area. Stepping further away from the river, Clapham has a good community feel to it (although it's still very much part of London, so don't expect village life!) as well as a tube link. The area "between the commons" (Clapham Common and Wandsworth Common) has a very good reputation for families with small children, and Northcote Road is very nice indeed with a weekend market and lots of independent shops. There are some very busy roads in Battersea that carry large amounts of traffic, but also some quite peaceful areas too, if you are buying I'd suggest spending as much time as you can walking around the various places to get to know what you are getting into. Also worth keeping in mind that quite a lot of the flights into Heathrow come over this area, so plane noise is something you may have to get used to. The American Embassy is moving to the area, to an area south of the old Battersea Power Station that is going to be developed from the current industrial area it is now. Known as "Embassy Quarter" it's going to be quite something with lots of plans for upgraded transport links. There is more information on the Wandsworth Council Website - however, this is all long term planning, and so might not have much impact on your life depending on when you are planning to come and how long your are planning to stay. The area around the Battersea Powerstation itself, to the east of the park, is supposed to be being developed into a massive housing and entertainment area but this has been in progress both planning and building for the last thirty years to my knowledge and surprisingly little seems to get done despite lots of promises and press interest. The Battersea Arts Centre is a dynamic place with a particular strength in modern theatre, and there is also the Royal Court Theatre across the river near Sloane Square and a few smaller fringe theatres around the place. The original Tate Gallery is pretty close too, in fact, one of Battersea's greatest assets is how central it is to many central London places. I live between Battersea Park and Clapham Common and can cycle to Westminster in 15 minutes or so. Grocery shopping is dominated by the big supermarkets, but there are areas of more interesting places if you have an interest in hunting things out. There are a couple of regular farmers markets in the area. Other shopping areas nearby include the Kings Road for fashion and food across the river in Chelsea and Borough Market at London Bridge. Battersea is outside of the congestion zone, so you would not have to pay the daily charge, but parking is charged on an annual basis, depending on the size of the car. I have a (large for London) Volvo, and it costs about £200 a year. Second cars are more expensive. More information on either the Wandsworth Borough/Council website, or Lambeth, depending on where you end up. Bars and Restaurants are well catered for although mostly catering for the young crowd. However there are enough of most types to satisfy you, I'd have thought. Sorry I can't help you with the schools. I have friends who have children, and they seem happy enough, although it does always seem to be an issue. Some of the children are privately educated.

    Answered on Mar 4 2011, Report content

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