South West London
South West London
AREA GUIDE TO SOUTH WEST LONDON
The suburbs of south west London are an attractive and popular place to live. The leafy residential neighbourhoods are lined with Victorian housing and plenty of green space to enjoy. The area of south west London has a strong appeal to those who love the bustle of London but also enjoy a quieter home life. Many commuters work in central London and reside in these wealthy suburbs. The River Thames winds its way from its origins in Oxford, through Kingston up to Battersea on its way to central London and out to sea. The relaxed vibe of south west London in close proximity to central London is the reason it is often described as being where town meets country.
WELL CONNECTED TRANSPORT
A comprehensive network of train lines connect the local neighbourhoods taking passengers swiftly into Waterloo, central London. It is also well served by two tube lines, the Northern Line and the District Line. There is also a tramline which connects some towns east and west.
South west London is made up of a series of towns. Historically these areas such as Clapham, Wandsworth and Wimbledon were small villages outside of London. As the villages grew they became towns and eventually merged into one urban area. Over the last 50 years they have become a part of Greater London and more recently have included the postcodes of Kingston Upon Thames and Sutton. The towns offer regional shopping areas and centres for local residents served by national stores and local independent shops.
The area is rich in history. One of the biggest attractions is Hampton Court Palace. Henry VIII built his residential ‘holiday’ home and hunted deer in the surrounding land. You can visit the palace and grounds or take a stroll in nearby Bushy Park to learn more about Henry VII. Lord Nelson built his home in Morden where he lived with Emma Hamilton and is now a National Trust park.
Famed for its open green spaces, south west London is home to the large common land of Wimbledon, Putney, Wandsworth and Tooting. There are also many popular parks, playgrounds and gardens that make this an attractive place for many families to reside.
The open space and residential vibe makes it ideal for various leisure and sporting pursuits. Horse-riding takes place on Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park, there are a number of nearby stables. Ride London follows a path through south west London and out to Surrey. Boating and rowing takes place on the river Thames all through the year as well as stand-up paddling and canoeing for the more adventurous. Tennis is a popular sport with many courts available to book in the many public parks and private tennis clubs.
Two major international sporting fixtures bring a spotlight on south west London from all over the world. Putney Boat race sees Cambridge and Oxford battle it out once a year to see who will win the prestigious cup. The race sets off from Putney Bridge as is a tightly fought contest that draws attention from all over the world. The banks of the River Thames are lined with spectators who enjoy a sociable afternoon eager to get a glimpse of the crews as they row down the River Thames to the finish line.
Wimbledon Tennis Championships attracts an international crowd from all over the world for this fortnightly of world-class tennis. Local residents rent out their homes to top seeded tennis players who can often be seen enjoying the restaurants and shops in Wimbledon Village.
There is a vibrant social scene and night life on offer. A range of local and chain restaurants and bars can be found across all of the town centres in south west London. Time & Leisure food and drink awards recognises the many excellent independent neighbourhood restaurants and bar. The awards are voted for by local residents who are fiercely proud of their favourites bars and restaurants.
There is a strong arts scene in the towns across south west London. Some highly recognised and well established literary book festivals include Wimbledon Book fest and Clapham Book festival. Wandsworth offers an annual arts fringe that takes place in May, encompassing theatre, dance and contemporary experiences.
Open arts studios take place in Wandsworth and Wimbledon every year, a chance to see the home studios of artists practicing in the area. High on the cultural calendar is the International Wimbledon Music Festival with its famed line-up of prestigious musicians. Less high brow and attracting a younger party crowd are the music festivals and live DJs on Clapham Common.
There are some top theatres including New Wimbledon Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and Rose Theatre as well as many smaller theatres that serve these area. You can see everything from West End musicals to fringe arts shows and top rated comedy.
TIME & LEISURE MAGAZINE
Time & Leisure magazine features all these arts, music and theatre events in south west London in our monthly print magazines, on our website and social media channels.
We often say our readers meet and date in Battersea and Clapham, they move out to Wimbledon and Kingston to raise families and retire in Surrey! There is a more urban and vibrant social scene with lots of young professionals and wealthy urbanites living in Clapham, Battersea and Fulham. There are some strong family communities around Wandsworth Common, Northcote Road and Abbeville Road.
As you move out of London the number of families increases as the houses increase in size and so do the gardens. There are lots of highly rated schools in the boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton, Kingston Upon Thames and Sutton. Even Simon Cowell moved to Wimbledon so that his son could attend one of the best schools in the country located in Wimbledon Village.
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Home to the infamous Battersea Power Station featured on Pink Floyds album cover. This area of Battersea has been regenerated and is becoming a go to destination. However, the beating heart of Battersea, SW11, lies further south near the busy hub of Clapham Junction railway station. This is where the main shopping area is.
The bars and restaurants line the trendy shopping area of Northcote Road. A stroll along this road will take you past the many independent shops, hairdressers, salons and growing number of chain stores. Northcote Road leads you into the beautiful residential area known as ‘between the commons’.
You can find almost every type of International food here. Battersea has many smaller shopping areas within its boundary. From Battersea Village with its pretty square near the riverside to Battersea Rise. It houses a plethora of independent home and design shops and businesses. You’ll find a hip crowd hanging out in the many bars, pubs and micro-breweries in Battersea. Not to mention the Clapham Grand with party nights, live music and DJs.
Image by Clare Halifax
With the large open space of the common, nights out and great restaurants, Clapham is a mecca for professional urbanites. Clapham Common is at the heart of this popular part of SW London. It offers a host of leisure and recreation for residents. You’ll find basketball courts, a skate park, tennis courts, childrens paddling pool, cycle and running paths. The Windmill pub is a big attraction, serving pub grub and drinks in the beer garden. Music festivals and DJs attract more crowds over the summer months. On a sunny day, Clapham Common is packed with groups enjoying the outdoor space.
Just off the common is Omnibus Theatre, bringing fringe shows to local community. The arts scene is continued with an annual Clapham book festival. Lovers of visual arts can enjoy shows at Studio Voltaire art gallery. Plus there is live music at Venn Street Records bar/restaurant and the Bread and Roses pub.
There is a weekly market on Venn Street, offering fruit and veg, street food, flowers, bakery and cakes. From here you can take a stroll down The Pavement passing some culinary delights; Robin Gill’s The Dairy and Counter Culture restaurants, St Clairs french cafe and Moen and Sons butchers. Adam Byatt’s Michelin star restaurant Trinity is at the top of Clapham Old Town. This area has village vibe with a choice of four reknowned pubs, cafes and a parade of shops including designer gift and furniture shops.
Photo by Andrew Wilson
Set between Tooting Common and Wandsworth Common, Balham has a strong appeal for affluent families and young professionals. With a bustling high street and pedestrian zones, there is a village feel with all the vibes London has to offer. Balham architecture is unique to the area, highly desirable and characterised by the red brickwork, ironwork and tiled pathways. The Victorian and Edwardian properties are semi-detached and detached houses offering plenty of space for growing families.
There are lots of independent retail outlets in Balham, south west London. You’ll find independent wine stores, hair salons, fashion boutiques and a thriving flower market stall. There are two large supermarkets as well as an organic supermarket on the high street. You’ll also find plenty of independent coffee shops, bakeries and places for lunch. Come night time, there is a lively social scene. You’ll find traditional pubs, late night bars, venues, the infamous Balham Bowls Club and the independent Electric cinema. Top restaurants include Megan’s, Arlo’s and Milk cafe for a destination brunch. It has long been home to Banana cabaret at the Bedford pub. Many top comedians have walked its boards and performed here.
Famous people who have lived in Balham include comedian Jack Dee, TV presenter and property developer Sarah Beeney and screenwriter Peter Baynham.
Home to Youngs Rams Brewery for over a century, Wandsworth Town Centre has been shaped by the presence of a brewery since 1550. In recent years it has been significantly regenerated and the industry has been replaced with desirable warehouse apartments and town houses. The river Wandle runs right through the centre of town. Uniquely it flows underneath the shopping centre and into the river Thames.
Southside shopping centre is a dominant feature of the town centre with high street stores and a Waitrose. More independent retailers can be found on the roads surrounding the shopping centre. A few minutes walk away in the Tonsley area is York Road. Away from the bustle of the town centre in this local neighbourhood, you’ll find top local restaurants and pubs, coffee shops, independent retailers and boutiques, some great deli’s and butchers.
Attractive Victorian terraces make up much of the properties in Wandsworth, typical of houses in south west London. There are two large green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy; King Georges Park and Wandsworth Park. Wandsworth gives its name to the borough of Wandsworth which includes: Putney, Tooting, Earlsfield, Southfields, Balham, Earlsfield, Clapham and Battersea.
On the banks of the River Thames, Putney is an affluent neighbourhood in south west London. Not far from central London, it has a bustling high street and laid back residential streets. Once a year, the spotlight of the world turns to Putney for the international sporting fixture, the Oxford – Cambridge boat race. Crowds line the banks as the race sets off from Putney Bridge. There are many rowing clubs along the Putney river banks. You can walk along the Putney Embankment and enjoy the serenity of the Thames, pop into some riverside pubs and bard or take in the Putney sculpture trail.
There is a lively music scene in Putney, including the notorius Half Moon Pub has seen many famous bands in their early years such as U2. Putney is bordered by the green spaces of Putney Common and Richmond Park as well as a number of local parks such as Wandsworth Park on the banks of the River Thames.
Far from the madding crowd but only twenty minutes into Waterloo by Train, Barnes is an oasis in south west London. Barnes Common and Barnes Green make up one of the largest green spaces in London with nearly 50 hectares of land. Situated on the banks of the river Thames and next to Barnes common, nature is in abundance here. There is an iconic duck pond on the Green much admired by local residents and artists. The WWT London Wetland Centre, set on old Victorian reservoirs is home to many wild fowl and birds. Barnes is a thriving neighbourhood with a relaxed and leisurely atmosphere.
Barnes high street shopping offers lots of independent retail and some exceptional restaurants. Rick Stein chose to open his London seafood restaurant Tideway Yard here in 2017. There is a host of great restaurants to enjoy including great riverside pubs too. Enjoy meals out or sun down cocktails overlooking the river Thames in Barnes.
There is a strong sense of community in Barnes and a thriving arts scene. Barnes Green plays host to a variety of village fairs, food fairs and literary festivals. The community run arts theatre OSO has a great reputation and has a packed fringe programme. The Olympic Cinema at the Olympic studios offers a boutique cinema experience and current box office films. It’s rich history has seen the Rolling Stones and U2 recording albums here. The Bulls Head has a gig nearly every day of the week and Mick Jagger even performed there.
It has always been a mecca for celebrities and famous people who can enjoy discretion from their neighbours. Famous faces (among a long list) include: Giles Brandreth, Jean Boot, John Snow, Chris Pattern. Marc Bolan died on Barnes common when he crashed his car into a tree.
The trendy bars and pubs of Earlsfield attracts a young professional crowd to this SW London neighbourhood. Sitting between Wimbledon and Clapham on the train line to London Waterloo, this area is well catered for transport. Periods Victorian houses attract families to the area, creating a strong community. There is also a arts vibe to enjoy here with Tara arts theatre in the heart of the town.
Southfields was built on the land of a church and so for many years it was an ‘dry’ neighbourhood. Pubs weren’t allowed to open until recent years but public houses had to operate under much tighter restrictions. Today it is a strong community area. Attractive Victorian terraced houses and pleasant leafy streets offer homes to many families in the area. These form the area known as ‘The Grid’ which has an active residents group.
On the doorstep is the green open space Wimbledon Park. It is also the destination stop for Wimbledon tennis fans which is only a short ten minute walk from here. The main parade of shops is on Replingham Road with an excellent butchers, bakers and an array of coffee shops and deli’s.
The famous London surburb of Wimbledon attracts thousands of visitors during the Wimbledon Tennis Championship fortnight. Tennis players can be spotted shopping and dining out in Wimbledon Village. For the two weeks of the tournament the area is a buzz with media and gains worldwide attention.
Wimbledon, SW19, is a highly desirable location to live and work. There are easy links into London, just 20 minutes to Waterloo by train. Trains head out SW to commuter suburbs in Surrey and down to the coast. The District line goes into Earls Court and links up to the circle line and the Northern tube line travels into London Bridge and connections to East London.
There are plenty of large green spaces to enjoy; Wimbledon Common, Cannizaro Park, Wimbledon Park and three golf courses. Plus there are the many smaller neighbourhood parks to enjoy. There are lots of sports facilities in the area including; tennis clubs, golf clubs, gyms, yoga and pilates clubs, and running clubs.
Wimbledon Village is a ten minute walk from Wimbledon train station. It offers a high street filled with boutique shops, restaurants and top pubs. A number of celebrities enjoy a peaceful life here including Simon Cowell. There are some top addresses to be found surrounding Wimbledon Common on Parkside. House prices in Wimbledon have topped £26 million for the most exclusive property.
RAYNES PARK, SW20
The local neighbourhood of Raynes Park was first developed in 1838. Beautiful Victorian houses line the residential streets. Larger detached and semi detached houses can be found north of the railway. East of Raynes Park is the are developed in the 1870s known as Cottenham Park. The Apostles are a series of parallel roads of terraced houses developed in 1890.
The town centre has some lovely independent shops, estate agents, coffee shops, supermarkets and a pub. It shares many facilites with the Wimbledon area including Wimbledon Common. There are some great schools and it attracts many families to it’s leafy neighbourhoods.
There are excellent train links into London Waterloo and out to Kingston, Surrey and beyond.
NEW MALDEN, KT3
New Malden was established when the railway arrived in December 1846 on the main line from London Waterloo. The town centre is full of interesting Korean businesses, thanks to the large Korean population who have settled here. Customers come from far and wide to sample the renowned Korean restaurants. There are also Korean supermarkets, travel agents and hair & beauty salons. A number of reasons likely contributed to this community settling in New Malden, including the fact that Samsung first made New Malden its European headquarters. Other attractions in New Malden include gold and cricket clubs and a large leisure centre.
Kingston town centre sits at the heart of the Royal Borough of Kingston. A thriving university town, it is a buzzing place with a vibrant arts and culture scene. The Rose theatre takes centre stage, and, along with Banquet Records, they attract a steady stream of big names to perform here, with everyone from Dame Judi Dench to Stormzy.
The Thames runs alongside Kingston and you can see the remains of the old Medieval Bridge and undercroft beneath John Lewis department store. The town has impressive royal connections, dating back over a thousand years and its is believed that as many as seven Saxon Kings may have been crowned here. You can see the Coronation Stone outside Guildhall. You can also see Clattern Bridge, the oldest surviving bridge in London, dating back to the 12th Century.
More modern sights include David Mach’s Out of Order – or the ‘tumbling telephone boxes’. The town centre’s roundabout also features a sculpture of paper aeroplanes to mark the town’s role in the aviation industry, with many famous planes either built or designed here, including the Sopwith Camel and Hawker Hurricane.
Kingston is a shopping Mecca with the likes of the Bentall Centre shopping mall and a fantastic food market, plus a fascinating selection of independent shops among the big name high street brands.
Sutton has a strong reputation for excellent schools. It is a top performing borough for education, offering a selection of grammar, prep and private schools. It is an outer borough of London, located on the edge of the North Downs. The nearby open spaces of Surrey are just a short distance away. Sutton parks and green spaces include Manor Park, Sutton Green and the grounds of St Nicholas Church plus many more across the area. Notable historic places include Nonsuch Park, the manor house and a coffee shop which is open to visitors.
There is a large retail centre in the heart of Sutton housing two shopping centres. The high street stretches a mile long and is home to many high street retail shops.
The arts, music and theatre are well supported in Sutton with six pieces of public art on display. Secombe theatre offers a a regular programme of shows, the Rolling Stones were first spotted playing in a pub on the high street.
Time & Leisure magazine, south west London
Time & Leisure magazine began life in Wimbledon in 1997 and is owned and managed by the publisher Lucy Kane. Originally it started life as a bi-monthly ‘Arts in Wimbledon’ title, founded by Tony Kane which soon became a flourishing family business. In 2002 his daughter Lucy Kane revamped the title into a monthly local lifestyle magazine for Wimbledon, Putney and Wandsworth. She created the brand we are familiar with today and expanded the portfolio. She launched new editions in Clapham, Battersea, Fulham, Kingston and Surrey. Lucy and her team then launched a magazine website for south west London and Surrey. Time & Leisure remains the number one lifestyle magazine for SW London and Surrey, delivered to high net worth residential homes every month.