What’s it all about?
Southgate’s history dates back to 1370, when a medieval settlement clustered around the South Gate of the King's hunting grounds of Enfield Chase. Life remained quiet until the Piccadilly Line reached here in 1933. Within just a few years, new housing was built, parades of shops appeared and Londoners headed north in their droves. The Tube station itself is a circular architectural delight, designed by the modernist architect Charles Holden, and looks rather like a spaceship. The town centre is filled with restaurants, bars and shops, all surrounded by a wealth of green space. With a variety of housing, often on wide tree lined streets, Southgate has become popular with families, professional couples and those looking to upgrade. While the journey to Central London takes only about 30 minutes, Southgate feels like a separate town, with everything you need on your doorstep.
- In Waterfall Road is the Minchenden Oak, said to be the largest oak tree in England, at around 800 years old.
- The Royalty Ballroom (now LA Fitness) on Winchmore Hill Road was used as one of the locations for the filming of cult classic movie Quadrophenia (1979).
- Growing up in the area, singer Amy Winehouse attended Ashmole School, now converted into a successful academy specialising in music and science.
Architecture and property
In 1881 Southgate separated from Edmonton and had a population of around 11,000. However, with access to the rail network in nearby Palmers Green, the population of Southgate trebled in 30 years. The majority of development, however, was during the interwar period when the hilly former estates were converted into rows of large semi detached housing. In 1933 Southgate’s transport links developed to provide easy access to the whole of London. The North Circular was completed through Southgate and the Piccadilly Line was extended from Arnos Grove. This spurred a building boom, and by the 1940s the neighbourhood was transformed.
The area has a predominance of 1930s houses in all shapes and sizes, from grand detached mansions to mock Tudor semis and modest terraces. There are fine Georgian houses on The Green, which is south of Southgate town centre, and scattered about are two bedroom Victorian and Georgian cottages and three bedroom Edwardian houses. There are also purpose built blocks of low rise flats and some modern housing estates.
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Eating: La Paella on The Broadway is the place for tapas, where you might even spot a famous face or two, and almost next door you’ll find Warda, which offers a modern twist on traditional Lebanese cuisine. Green’s Steakhouse & Grill is a perennial favourite and garners consistently good reviews, while for a taste of Italy, head to Fantozzi on Chase Side. Thalassa on Chase Side serves up delicious seafood and cocktails.
Drinking: Ye Olde Cherry Tree has evolved from a 17th century coaching inn and offers a large restaurant space, as well as a bar serving real ales. The Woodman, on Bourne Hill, is very much like a country pub and prides itself on being family friendly.
Culture: The Chicken Shed Theatre is a fully inclusive theatre company for adults and children of all abilities. With a full calendar of events including theatre, comedy, music and workshops, there’s bound to be something to your taste. The Southgate Symphony Orchestra is a local group formed from enthusiasts who play regularly in and around Southgate. A short distance away in Enfield is the Whitewebbs Museum of Transport – based in an old pumping station, it’s a must for anyone interested in vintage vehicles.
- Retail shops are predominantly based in and around The Green and The Broadway. There is a wide range of establishments, from the specialist, such as The Balloon Shop and Just Bridesmaids, to staples such as Marks & Spencer and Boots.
- When you’ve finished shopping, pop into Harris and Hoole for a coffee and a snack while watching the world go by. Cook, on Cannon Hill, offers a range of frozen home cooked ready meals, and they also deliver.
- For supermarket shopping, locals head to the large Asda on Chase Side, or one of two smaller Tesco stores close by.
- There are two libraries to choose from: Southgate Circus Library, which also hosts a Citizens Advice Bureau, and Oakwood Library.
- Southgate Leisure Centre offers a gym, swimming pool and indoor cycle studio, as well as creche facilities. There is also a branch of LA Fitness that offers personal training. Saracens Amateur RFC is also based in Southgate and the teams span under sevens to adult, for both sexes.
Southgate and the surrounding areas are blessed with an abundance of green space. Grovelands Park, with its mansion house designed by John Nash, is a vast expanse boasting a nine hole pitch and putt course, cafe, bowling green, basketball courts and more. Broomfield Park spans 54 acres and features a baroque water garden, model boating pond and community orchard. A short way away in Cockfosters lies Trent Country Park, which consists of more than 400 acres of meadows and countryside. It also plays host to concerts and festivals in the summer, and offers equestrian and hockey centres open to the public.
The developer L&Q has won outline consent for its proposed redevelopment of the former Middlesex University campus at Cat Hill, just north of Southgate, to build 232 new homes, which will bring an influx of new residents to the area.
Tube: Southgate and Arnos Grove are both served by the Piccadilly Line.
Rail: To the south lie New Southgate and Palmers Green railway stations, which provide services to Moorgate in one direction and Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage in the other.
Bus: There are a range of buses on mainly local routes, including the 121, 125 and 298, as well as the N91 from Central London.
Road: It’s a short hop to the M25 and the nearest junction of the M1, so getting out of the Capital for a break is quick and easy.
Getting away: Heathrow is 45 minutes away by car, or head north to reach Luton Airport in only 35 minutes.
There are a number of primaries in Southgate and the surrounding areas, including Walker Primary, Osidge Primary and Brunswick Primary School for younger children, the local Ashmole Academy and Southgate School in neighbouring Cockfosters, for 11 and upwards; and for girls the independent Palmers Green High School.
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