The south of London is a melting pot of cultures so it’s little wonder that it attracts a broad spectrum of buyers.
Our guide on south London covers the neighbourhoods that lie south of the River Thames, including Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton, Wandsworth, Tooting, Balham and Battersea.
Average house prices currently hover around the £740,000 market but they remain considerably lower than in central London. You can look at the most recent figures here.
Living in south London: what to expect
South London is home to urban villages, miles of riverside walks and some of the city’s most attractive green spaces and parks, including Battersea Park, Clapham Common and of course, Richmond Park.
The sprawling area is a melting pot of cultures, where street markets, museums, galleries, historical and religious landmarks, pubs, shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and a myriad of housing all sit cheek by jowl.
In recent years, large regeneration projects delivering new homes, shops, cafes, schools, transport and parks have given many parts of south London, particularly along the riverfront, a new lease of life.
Where to start your property search
To make things easier for you, we’ve given a brief rundown of what to expect in the different pockets of south London.
Battersea: This is the home of Battersea Park so it’s an ideal location if you crave nature and the outdoors. Properties in the neighbourhood range from flats in contemporary gated developments and period red brick mansion blocks overlooking the park and river, to row upon row of handsome period terraced housing. And, for more modest budgets, there are also flats in ex-local authority blocks, such as Morgan Court.
Brixton: This neighbourhood has a strong community of young professionals and families who benefit from its position on the Victoria tube line. Snap up a stylish flat with exposed brickwork in a factory conversion in Blenheim Gardens or a palatial terraced house on Sudbourne Road. More modest flats can be found in the 1930s apartment blocks on Brixton Hill Court, while studio flats are available on Acre Lane.
Croydon: This district is currently undergoing a major regeneration – and at its heart will be a brand new Westfield shopping centre and new homes. There’s already a good range of property available, from listed houses on Boundary Way to two- and three-bedroom Victorian terraced homes and cottages on Purley Road and St Peter’s Road. More modern detached homes can be found on Birch Hill and Sprucedale Gardens.
Crystal Palace: Recent regeneration and more affordable house prices than other parts of south London, such as Clapham, are luring young professionals and families to this neighbourhood. Property is mainly Victorian. Opt for a large double-fronted home on Highfield Hill or a smaller 1930s terraced house with bay windows on Patterson Road. For a smaller budget, look at the studio flats on Gipsy Hill and Church Road.
Clapham: This very desirable corner of south London has a bustling high street lined with high-end and independent shops, bars and restaurants. Eight-bedroom Georgian villas with sweeping staircases and the occasional swimming pool surround Clapham Common, while new-build townhouses on Macaulay Road boast views over the city. There are also flats in converted period buildings on roads such as Clarence Avenue.
Nine Elms: If you’re looking for a new-build flat, preferably one that is high-end and boasts riverside views, Nine Elms is the place to hunt. Battersea Power Station is currently being transformed into contemporary flats that will come with concierge service, private pool, spa and library as well as a roof terrace. It’s just one of a number of new housing developments in the area.
West Norwood: It may not have any major stand-out features but West Norwood does boast handy transport connections and a wide range of housing. Grand Victorian semis with large gardens line Idmiston Road and Chatsworth Way, whereas less roomy three-bedroom terraces are available on Lavengro Road.
Richmond: Sought-after Richmond is home to Richmond Park, Riverside Meadows and a particularly picturesque riverfront – not to mention some of the country’s top schools. It’s littered with elegant mansions: look for six- and seven-bedroom family homes in areas such as Montague Road and Carlile Place and three-bedroom Georgian property on Cholmondeley Walk, some of which are listed. Flats in historic converted buildings are also on offer on Old Palace Lane.
Getting around south London
By rail: South London is only served by a small section of the Underground, which includes the Northern, Victoria and District lines. However, two new Northern line stations are being built at Battersea and Nine Elms, which will open in 2020.
South London has a more extensive suburban railway system than north London and is also the location of all of London’s tram services. Frequent trams run from Croydon to Wimbledon, Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington. You can travel from 39 stops, including seven National Rail stations and more than 50 bus routes.
Gatwick Express trains also run from stations including Clapham Junction.
By car: The south of London is served by a host of ‘A’ roads. The South Circular road stretches all the way from Richmond to Woolwich, whereas the A3 tracks westwards from Southwark through to Wimbledon. It then heads south west and links onto the M25.
By air: Gatwick Airport is most convenient. You can choose from 220 destinations, including Edinburgh, Rome and Los Angeles. Flight providers include easyJet, Ryanair and Flybe.
Things to do in south London
There’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do in south London. The only problem you’ll have is deciding what to do first. We’ve highlighted just a few of the many attractions below.
History: The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill has more than 350,000 objects, including displays on anthropology, natural history and music. Its aquarium is also home to jellyfish, tropical butterflies and South American fish. On a nice day, enjoy the nature and animal trails around its gardens.
Hampton Court Palace in Richmond was one of Henry VIII’s palaces, which he seized after Cardinal Wolsey’s fall from grace. Visit the Tudor kitchens (the largest of Tudor England) and Young Henry VIII exhibition, and go on a tour of William III’s state apartments and private rooms. Royal tennis courts, a chocolate kitchen plus a maze and gardens complete the attractions.
Visit the Wimbledon Tennis Museum and learn about the history of tennis and one of the most famous tennis clubs in the world. Tours around the famous court are also available.
Cultural: If you’re a fan of contemporary art, head to the South London Gallery on Peckham Road. It showcases new work by both British and international artists as well as hosting a lively programme of talks and films for free.
Check out the South London Theatre, a non-professional operation. It offers a varied season including Shakespeare plays, modern comedies, pantomimes and new writing.
Try the Four Thieves in Battersea to see comedy gigs, rock n roll, soul and funk performers. Swing dance nights, quizzes and a retro games room complete the events line-up. And for live music and jazz, opt for The Bulls Head in Barnes.
Outdoors: Battersea Park, which has a Grade II listing, is packed with wildlife, including exotic animals in its zoo. You can take a banana bike for a spin along the paths or hire a boat to row across the lake.
Richmond is the largest of London’s eight royal parks. It is also the largest Site of Special Scientific Interest in London and a European Special Area of Conservation. Spot herds of red and fallow deer and explore the ornamental woodland garden, home to exotic plants.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is another popular attraction, offering glasshouses full of unusual plants, galleries, large grounds and a treetop walkway. Hidden in the woods are its “Old Lion” trees, which date back to 1762 and are the oldest trees with known dates in the gardens.
Shopping: Choose from the many markets throughout the area. Tooting’s indoor market is open seven days a week and has a medley of stalls ranging from a butchers to Graveney Gin. Alternatively, New Covent Garden Market, thought to be the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable, and flower market in the UK, is open every Saturday on Nine Elms Lane.
One of the best known markets is Brixton Market on Station Road. Different markets are held throughout the week, including a farmers’ market, retro and vintage clothes market and a flea market.
There are local grocers, delis and bookshops in charming Thames-side villages such as Barnes. And at the other end of the spectrum, there are also major shopping centres including Lewisham Shopping Centre in Lewisham and Southside in Wandsworth, the largest in south west London.
Food and drink: The ‘curry corridor’ of Tooting runs between Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway Tube stations. Try a dosa with a sambar dip from Dosa n Chutny. Or over in Balham, head to Milk on Bedford Hill for speciality coffee and dishes such as ‘fillet o fish’, which is made with red snapper, baked eggs and nut milk.
Hidden south London
During the summer, visit the top of the multi-storey car park on Rye Lane in Peckham. Here you will find Franks Café, a hip summertime rooftop bar that serves drinks to those who come to admire uninterrupted views over the city.
4 reasons to live in south London
New luxury apartments and regeneration projects
Handy transport links, including an extensive suburban railway
Home to plenty of green space, including Richmond Park – the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks
Do you have a favourite place in south London? Tell us by posting a comment below...