South West London and Surrey overview
The charm of the river meets urban convenience
From the collection of lively neighbourhoods that centre around Clapham Junction station to peaceful waterside settlements up river, South West London is a patchwork of friendly communities and expansive green space.
Stretching from the Thames to Tooting, this part of London ticks along at an upbeat pace and is characterised by acres of attractive period homes interspersed with some of London’s best loved commons – Clapham, Tooting, Streatham and Wandsworth all have one. Meanwhile, Battersea has its own park with a children’s zoo and boating lake. There’s a buzzing pub scene here and, particularly in Battersea, pavement cafes overflow with young professionals and young families. Those who like things with a bit more edge should head for Streatham, Stockwell and Brixton, where the Village Market is the latest addition to London’s foodie scene, although you don't have to venture far in any direction to find a farmers’ market or excellent local restaurant. Cultural highlights and amenities include Tooting Bec Lido and Brixton’s O2 Academy. The borough of Wandsworth has one of London’s lowest council tax bands and plenty of property developments along the river. The completion of the Overground has enhanced transport links here, although the area was already served by the Northern Line and London’s busiest train station, Clapham Junction.
Cross over Putney, Wandsworth or Battersea Bridges, and life on the north side of the river oozes cosmopolitan city appeal. It’s thoughtfully and spaciously laid out, with a property market including everything from iconic red brick houses built around private residential gardens, to white stucco-fronted homes, mansion blocks and contemporary riverside apartments. Some of London’s most iconic cultural attractions are here, including the V&A, Royal Albert Hall and Natural History Museum, as well as world famous shops including Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Chelsea is home of the legendary King's Road and the Grade II listed World’s End Pub – an iconic 1960s hangout. The bend of the river that includes West Brompton, Parsons Green and Fulham offers parkland and riverside pubs, and you’ll also happen upon an urban beach and even a polo field. There’s a huge international community made up of French, Italian, Filipino, Australian and New Zealander residents, served by several foreign language schools and lycées. The Earls Court Masterplan, designed to transform the old Earls Court Exhibition Centre, makes that area one to watch.
River and parks
Bordered to the north by the sweep of the Thames and dotted with expansive parkland that includes Putney and Wimbledon Commons and majestic Richmond Park, this part of South West London is a haven for families seeking a peaceful lifestyle. Spend a day in the area’s parks, horse riding, deer spotting or splashing on the river, and it's hard to believe that you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. The tennis comes once a year and takes over, but Wimbledon is an attraction in its own right with detached properties, open space and excellent schools. Nearby Raynes Park and Southfields come with all the benefits, and with a more reasonable price tag. Barnes and Kingston upon Thames are located on particularly pretty stretches of the river, with riverside restaurants, bars and cafes giving them a buzzy vibe – aided by the proximity of Kingston and Roehampton Universities and the students they bring to the area. Mortlake and Barnes, in particular, have a quintessential village feel.