Area Guides

Best Areas to Live in South West London

Posted March 4, 2024
Best Areas to Live in South West London

The South West London area remains close to the city’s buzz, accommodating green parks, famous sites, and friendly neighbourhoods.

In this area guide, we will explore some of the best places to live in South West London. We’ll cover some of the most appealing spots, including popular areas like Wimbledon, Battersea, Clapham, and Tooting.

Join us to find out what makes South West London unique and discover an area for your ideal new home.

Balham

Postcodes: SW12, SW17
Population: 14,751 (Census 2011)

Balham has a reputation as “the Gateway to the South.” You’ll find great shops, cafes, and bars here. People enjoy the balance of quality living and strong community vibes.

Landmarks like The Bedford pub highlight its vibrant cultural scene.

Balham has plenty of parks like Tooting Bec Common. Offering a break from the busy city life with their greenery, perfect for relaxing or enjoying outdoor activities.

For food lovers and shopaholics, Balham offers markets like Hildreth Street Market and various independent stores. Boasting a selection of flavours for all taste buds.

Getting around is easy in Balham because of its excellent location. It’s well-connected by tube and rail, making travelling inside London or further away convenient.

Unique spots like the Balham Bowling Club and independent cinema add fun options for everyone.

Unique things about living in Balham

  • Built in the 1930s, Du Cane Court is a large art déco apartment building in Balham. This interesting landmark was one of the biggest private flat blocks in Europe when it finished. People know it for its unique design and rumoured WWII spy stories.
  • Balham Bowls Club Once a bowling club, is now a popular pub, hosting exciting community events. Maintaining its old charm and attracting people with its fun design, welcoming vibe and variety of events, this bowls club really shows off Balham’s community feel and creativity.
  • The Bedford is a famous music venue and pub where many comedians and musicians started their careers. It’s known for more than just music; there are comedy nights and dance classes too. The Bedford is key to Balham’s culture and nightlife.

Battersea

Battersea Power Station

Postcodes: SW11, SW8
Population: 73,345 (Census 2011)

Battersea has beautiful views of the river, big parks, and lots of places to eat, shop, and enjoy the culture. If you’re thinking about moving to London or just looking for a new place in the city, here’s why this area is worth considering.

Battersea Park is a big highlight. It’s right next to the River Thames and has something for everyone – from sports tracks and art galleries to a zoo and boating on the lake. It’s a place where people come together for sports, picnics, and events.

You’ll find beautiful Victorian houses alongside modern buildings near the famous Power Station. This aesthetic gives it a unique character. Styling the new with the old, Battersea becomes even more appealing, with a host of new flats, offices and leisure spaces.

Despite lacking its own Tube station, it is well-linked by buses and trains from several stations, like Battersea Park and Queenstown Road. The addition of tube stations at Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms and Clapham Junction Overground on Battersea’s doorstep has improved connections even further.

Northcote Road is a local favourite for market shopping, boasting an array of boutique shops and dining out pubs to enjoy the atmosphere Battersea offers?

Unique things about living in Battersea

  • Battersea Power Station was once a coal power station, now a famous landmark in London. Keeping the impressive, classic look the venue has been turned into a lively place with shops, restaurants, and venues. Take a break from all the shopping in and enjoy a cocktail whilst being immersed in the original Control Room now converted into a bar.
  • Battersea Park is a 200-acre park by the River Thames that has lots to do, including a kids’ zoo, boat lake, sports areas, and beautiful gardens. It’s a key spot for community activities and hanging out.
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home started in 1860, And having a well earned reputation of the most popular pet rescue in the UK. They’ve looked after over three million animals. It’s known for its loving care for animals and dedication to rehome thousands of pets.

Clapham

Clapham

Postcodes: SW4, SW9, SW12
Population: 40,850 (Census 2011)

Many people praise Clapham for its welcoming atmosphere. It mixes the new with the old, home to young professionals, families, and long-time locals alike. You’ll find Clapham splits into four parts: North, Common, Old Town, and Junction. Each has its own character but shares the same friendly spirit.

The big draw is Clapham Common, an enormous park used all year round. You can enjoy sports or community events here. It’s a focal point for both locals and visitors.

Food lovers and night owls will love the dining scene and bars. From cosy cafes to global cuisine restaurants, there’s plenty for everyone. Clapham Old Town offers a great evening out for those seeking a lively night scene.

Clapham Junction connects you across London and beyond. The Northern Line tubes and many buses also serve the area well.

It offers something different, like the diverse screenings at Clapham Picturehouse or getting involved with local causes like the Commons’ management.

Unique things about living in Clapham

  • Clapham Common is a large green space in the centre of the local community. It has 220 acres filled with plant life, three ponds and always something going on. From music festivals to outdoor cinemas, it’s a key spot that makes this part of inner London special.
  • Clapham Old Town is pretty, with an old-time charm. You’ll see Georgian and Victorian buildings, stone streets and time-honoured pubs around here. A social place with one-of-a-kind shops, snug cafes and places to eat nice food. It’s calm enough to take a break from busy city days.
  • Clapham’s LGBTQ+ scene is known for being welcoming and diverse. Some of London’s top LGBTQ+ bars and clubs are here, making it an enjoyable place for both the community and friends. This adds to the area’s eclectic and accepting vibe.

Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington

Postcode: SW10, SW5
Population: 143,940 (Census 2011)

Kensington and Chelsea shine as symbols of elegance in South West London. With grand buildings, clean streets, and high-end shops, it’s a place known for exclusivity. It attracts famous people, professionals, and anyone looking for a calm spot close to the city’s action.

This borough is rich with historical sites that tell tales of its glorious past. Kensington Palace, once home to Queen Victoria, and the Royal Albert Hall are just some spots that highlight its cultural depth. The Victoria and Albert Museum further shows off the borough’s commitment to culture and learning.

Also known for naturally beautiful parks like Kensington Gardens and Holland Park, this area hosts tranquil settings which particularly have a fun atmosphere during the Summer months.

From Kings Road to Knightsbridge, where Harrods calls home, shoppers find luxury at every turn. Dining here means experiencing world-class meals ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to cosy bistros.

Kensington and Chelsea take pride in their excellent schools, including top-tier prep schools and universities known worldwide. It’s a big reason families choose to live here – for the outstanding educational opportunities available.

Getting around is easy thanks to great transport links, including major underground lines. This makes the borough perfectly positioned for both local commuting or international travel; London’s attractions are never far away.

There’s always something happening here thanks to events like Notting Hill Carnival – one of the biggest street festivals globally – alongside art shows and markets that fill your social calendar with unique local flavour.

Unique things about Living in Chelsea and Kensington:

  • Leighton House Museum in Kensington was once Victorian artist Frederic Leighton’s home. It stands out for its Aesthetic Movement style interiors. The museum displays an Arab Hall with a golden dome, detailed mosaics, and Islamic tiles. These features show the rich and varied tastes of the Victorian era, which is still dominant in many of the homes in this area to this day.
  • Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest botanical garden, founded in 1673. It’s a green hideaway that focuses on the wide range of plants and their medicinal uses. The garden acts as a live museum and place for learning, showing how important plants are to humans with its historical collections.
  • Kensington and Chelsea are recognised as a Royal Borough, highlighting the area’s historic value and its connection to the royal family. This honour is shown in the borough’s emblem and contributes to its image as a prestigious and wealthy part of London.

Kingston upon Thames

Kingston Upon Thames

Postcode: KT1
Population: 43,013 (Census 2011)

Kingston upon Thames is a special spot in South West London. It’s got history, riverside walks, modern shops, and a rich culture. If you love being by the river and also enjoy a lively town vibe, Kingston will be perfect for you.

This town beautifully mixes its long history with today’s liveliness. You’ll find ancient markets selling everything from fresh food to handmade goods alongside the Bentall Centre with its modern stores and places to eat.

Kingston stands out for its excellent schools. The area has everything from primary schools to universities including Kingston University, known for injecting youthful energy into the town.

If you’re into outdoor fun, Kingston’s got you covered. The River Thames offers beautiful spots for walking or cycling. Places like Canbury Gardens and Richmond Park give you green space for relaxing or outdoor sports.

The Rose Theatre hosts plays, concerts, and comedy shows. Throughout the year, festivals like the Kingston Regatta and International Youth Arts Festival showcase the town’s commitment to arts and diversity.

Quick train rides can get you to London Waterloo in about 30 minutes. Plus, major roads like the A3 are close by for trips to the countryside or coast.

With a mix of restaurants, cafes, and pubs along its historic streets, Kingston offers dining options to suit all tastes. The nightlife here is vibrant but relaxed, with venues offering live music.

Unique things about living in Kingston upon Thames

  • Kingston upon Thames has one of England’s oldest markets, starting in the medieval era. Still popular to this day, here, you can find everything from fresh local produce to crafts, showing off Kingston’s history and community.
  • The Coronation Stone is another key piece of Kingston’s past. The Coronation Stone, found at the Guildhall, served as the location for the coronation of seven Anglo-Saxon kings in the 10th century. 
  • The Thames Path National Trail goes through here, offering beautiful walks and bike rides along the river. You can enjoy boat activities, rowing clubs, and scenic dining spots by the water. 

Richmond

Postcode: TW9 and TW10
Population: 195,200 (Census 2021 Richmond upon Thames)

It’s a part of South West London that attracts both individuals and families for its mix of city perks and quiet, rural feel. You get lovely views of the river Thames, lots of open spaces, and pretty buildings. 

Kings and queens shaped this place over hundreds of years. Landmarks like Hampton Court Palace and parks like Richmond Park are charming attractions for history enthusiasts. Local theatres keep the arts alive with shows for everyone. This mix of old tales and creativity gives Richmond its one-of-a-kind spirit.

Richmond Park boasts an impressive amount of greenery, and plays host to many wildlife including herds of deer – perfect for walks or sports in an impressive setting. Plus, there are spots like Richmond Green and pathways by the Thames river that offer some quiet in often-busy London life.

For shoppers or foodies, Richmond has it all – trendy boutiques, top-brand stores, vintage finds you won’t see anywhere else. Food-lovers have lots to choose from too: quaint coffee houses to fancy places with views will please anyone’s taste buds. There is also the beautiful gardens at Kew to visit.

Tube lines, trains, buses make getting into central London quick while major roads take you out to places like Heathrow Airport with little fuss.

Unique Things about Living in Richmond:

  • Richmond Park is London’s biggest Royal Park, with 2,500 acres of land. It’s a National Nature Reserve, a special scientific spot in London, and also protected by European conservation laws. The park is well-known for its beautiful deer, old trees, and open spaces. It’s the perfect place for people who love nature, enjoy taking photos, or want to spend time outdoors in the city.
  • The Richmond Theatre is a standout building from the Victorian era known for its design. Built in 1899 and listed as Grade II*, this theatre grabs your eye with its red-and-gold auditorium and charming front. It serves as an important cultural spot in Richmond, offering everything from plays and musicals to ballets and stand-up comedy shows. It draws talents from both near and far.
  • Even though it’s close to but technically outside the borders of Richmond upon Thames borough, Hampton Court Palace is a top attraction in the area. This was Henry VIII’s palace, known for its impressive design, stunning gardens, famous Maze, and well-preserved Tudor kitchens. Visitors have the chance to see luxurious rooms, wander through extensive gardens, and get a taste of what royal life was like.

Tooting

Tooting

Postcode: SW17
Population: 17,218 (Census 2021)

Tooting offers cultural diversity with fantastic food, markets, and festivals. The area boasts excellent South Asian restaurants thanks to its vibrant South Asian community. You’ll find Tooting Market and Broadway Market at the heart of it all, offering fresh produce, crafts, and dining from around the world.

Tooting Commons hosts Tooting Bec Lido – Britain’s oldest and biggest open-air pool. There are also sports facilities, a lake, and spaces for picnics and walks.

It has great transport connections to make getting around London easy. With two Northern Line Tube stations and several bus routes, travelling in the city is straightforward.

The area has a youthful atmosphere with a blend of residents that sparks its artistic scene, independent shops, and community events. Sports lovers will enjoy various options like gyms, yoga studios, and the lido.

You’ll find different housing types fitting many budgets. From Victorian terraces to modern flats, Tooting is a great affordable destination compared to many central London areas.

Unique Things about Living in Tooting:

  • Tooting Bec Lido stands out as one of the UK’s biggest freshwater pools. Recognisable for its rainbow doors by the water, this spot welcomes everyone in the warmer months. It’s not just a place to swim; it brings together people who love to soak up the sun and enjoy a good dip.
  • Graveney & Meadow serves up fresh bakery goods and coffee in the morning. When night falls, it turns into an active bar. This spot hosts events and food stalls, showing off the mix of old-school charm and new city life. It’s the go-to place for locals to gather.
  • The lively Tooting Market and Broadway Market are bursting with world flavours, fresh food, and hidden gems among vibrant stalls.

Wandsworth

Wandsworth

Postcodes: SW18, SW4, SW6, and SW11
Population: 327,500 (Census 2021)

Wandsworth lies on the Southside of the Thames River and blends city life with beautiful views. Known for its green spaces, river scenes, and lovely homes, it’s perfect for families and working professionals. You’ll find well-crafted old houses and new community developments that capture modern comfort.

Landmarks like the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building highlight its heritage. Local galleries and art venues keep adding to its culture.

You will find lush parks like Wandsworth Common and King George’s Park. These spots offer an abundance of room for fun, sports, or just chilling out.

Whether it’s local markets or fancy restaurants by the river, there’s something for everyone. The large Southside Shopping Centre adds even more options with brand stores and unique finds.

The borough commits to top-notch education with great schools for all ages. Parents pick Wandsworth because its schools lay stellar foundations for kids’ futures.

There’s easy travel in and around London thanks to trains, buses, and boats. Plus, being close to major roads and airports makes national or international trips stress-free.

Wandsworth is alive with events like local arts festivals or Battersea Park fireworks every year.

Unique things about Living in Wandsworth:

  • Wandsworth has a rich history that spans centuries, being along the River Thames. It is home to several conservation areas and historic buildings, including the Grade II* listed Royal Victoria Patriotic Building, which has a fascinating history dating back to its origins in the 1850s as an orphanage and later uses during both World Wars.
  • One of the borough’s significant green spaces, Wandsworth Common, offers a peaceful retreat from urban life. It spans over 175 acres and includes a variety of habitats like ponds, woodlands, and grassed areas, making it a popular spot for recreational activities, wildlife spotting, and community events.
  • Wandsworth has a longstanding association with the brewing industry, historically home to the Young’s Brewery, which was a central part of the community since its establishment in 1831 until brewing ceased on-site in 2006. Today, the area embraces its brewing heritage by being a hub for craft beer enthusiasts, with several microbreweries and beer festivals celebrating the local and broader London craft beer scene.

Wimbledon

Postcode: SW19
Population: 68,187 (Census 2011)

Wimbledon Common is great for outdoor fun like walking or cycling. Wimbledon Park offers sports facilities for a range of activities.

There is a mixture of both public and private schools that offer excellent education for kids.

Travel to other places is easy due to the train and tube connections at Wimbledon station. Buses also travel through, making it easy to get around.

There are events happening all year round—beyond the famous tennis championships. You will find a theatre with shows and music, and the Village area gives off a small-town feel with shops and eateries.

Unique things about Living in Wimbledon:

  • The area’s prestigious tennis tournament, known worldwide, attracts fans from everywhere. Held every June and July, it turns the area into a global sports hub, with an electric atmosphere.
  • Wimbledon Common is one of London’s largest open spaces with over 1,100 acres of woods, heaths, and ponds. It offers locals and visitors a beautiful spot for outdoor activities in suburban London. Here, you’ll also find the iconic Wimbledon Windmill.
  • The Polka Theatre is the UK’s first theatre designed for children. Since 1979, it has been creating engaging plays for kids aged 0–13. The theatre has become an iconic venue for families to enjoy.

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