What’s it all about?
Most people don't know this, but the All England Lawn Tennis Club is actually in Southfields. Each summer thousands of tennis fans pour through the station and the area buzzes to life. For much of the rest of the year Southfields has a sleepy village feel, despite being in Zone 3 and a short hop on the District Line to Earl's Court and beyond. And these aren’t the only reasons that this lovely residential enclave should grab your attention. With its desirable tree lined streets and spacious Edwardian houses, homes here nevertheless avoid the hefty price tags that come attached to property in its more famous neighbour. Situated in between Wimbledon Park, a favourite spot for summer BBQs, and the River Wandle, where there are lovely walks, cycle rides and pubs, there's plenty of open space here. On the high street it’s good to see butchers, grocers and other small businesses scattered among the usual high street chains, a sign of the strong community spirit here. Most properties are also within easy reach of libraries, art galleries, a theatre and leisure facilities.
- Southfields Tube station is thematically decorated every summer for the duration of the Wimbledon fortnight and past makeovers have included covering the platforms to look like grass courts.
- In 1926 Southfields became home to London’s first mosque. The Fazl Mosque was built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and now serves as its international headquarters.
- Nineteenth century novelist George Eliot moved to Southfields in 1859 with her lover George Lewes and wrote The Mill On The Floss while living in Wimbledon Park Road.
Architecture and property
The area started to develop when the railway reached Southfields in 1889. The main residential area of Southfields is ‘The Grid’, which is a series of parallel roads that cross at right angles. The Grid consists almost entirely of Edwardian terraced houses, some of which have been converted into flats (although conversions have now been restricted by the local council). In 1904 the Frame Foods baby food company opened a factory in Standen Road. The building is in a distinctive Art Nouveau style with green ceramic tiles, and the slogan ‘Nourish & Flourish!’ is still visible on the exterior, with the building now converted into flats. As well as Victorian and Edwardian terraces, there are larger detached and semi detached 1930s and 1950s houses. Many of the grander houses have been converted into flats and there are also some purpose built modern apartments on the market.
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Eating: The Italian Olive Garden is something of a Southfields institution and remains very popular, while Le P’tit Normand is a cosy bistro that could have been transplanted directly from France. If you want something a little spicier, try the Thai Girder for some pad Thai, or Namada for a smart Indian meal. Franco Manca serves pizzas acclaimed across the Capital.
Drinking: The Earl Spencer is a large gastropub that won the ‘Bib Gourmand’ award from the Michelin Guide in 2015 for its great value ambitious menu. The Park Tavern is a restored 19th century coaching inn with a charming landscaped garden and distinguished interior. For a traditional pint, maybe with fish and chips, try The Old Fields, close to Southfields Tube.
Culture: A short walk will take you to Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which has interactive exhibitions and films. Aspiring actors may want to join the Southfields Theatre Group, which puts on several amateur productions a year. The Cabin Gallery is an artist run gallery space specialising in solo shows for emerging artists. There is also the Southfields Gallery, which has a wide portfolio of contemporary art for sale.
- 243 Decorative Antiques is good for sourcing 19th and 20th century French furniture and textiles, and Villeroy & Boch and Chomette both have factory shops on Merton Road that are good for tableware bargains.
- Foodies are also well catered for. Chanteroy is a tiny specialised French delicatessen that also has a thriving online delivery business. The Village Butcher is a charming traditional shop with friendly service. Also check out the meat, dairy and fresh veg at the weekly farmers’ market, held in the grounds of Wimbledon Park Primary School.
- There are two Sainsbury’s Locals and a larger store further into Wandsworth. There is also a Waitrose in Wandsworth’s Southside Shopping Centre and an M&S simply food near to Southfields tube station.
- Southfields Library, Earlsfield Library and Wandsworth Town Library are all nearby and offer adult and kids’ reading classes, as well as activities for older people.
- There are several gyms in the area including The Gym London Southfields and Nuffield in Wandsworth’s Southside Shopping Centre. Alternatively, in nearby Earlsfield you can book into a CrossFit Bold workshop for a tough training session.
Nearby Wimbledon Common is the largest expanse of heathland in London at more than 1,000 acres and is a designated conservation area. It includes a windmill, several ponds and lakes, the remains of an Iron Age fort and two nature reserves. Go jogging, cycling or walking, or even join in with the park run held every Saturday morning, which usually sees more than 300 runners take on a 5km route. King George’s Park is a smaller space north of the area, but it encompasses an adventure playground, nature walks and a one o’clock club for children. Wimbledon Park has a cafe and tennis courts, as well as the Wimbledon Park Watersports Centre, which offers sailing, kayaking and windsurfing.
The old snooker hall on Wimbledon Park Road has been demolished and is now home to luxury apartments, with a convenient M&S simply food living beneath.
Tube: The area is served by Southfields Tube station on the District Line, with journey times to Victoria around 25 minutes.
Rail: Southfields does not have its own train station, but Earlsfield and Wandsworth Town are not far away, offering services to Waterloo every 10 minutes.
Bus: Several bus routes run through Southfields, including the 39 (Clapham Junction to Putney Bridge), 156 (Wimbledon) and 493 (Tooting). There is also the N87 night bus.
Cycle: The Southfields to Richmond cycle route takes in the sights of Wimbledon Common and the views from Putney Bridge.
Road: Southfields is conveniently located for quick access to the A3 motorway and with the M25 only a 30 minute drive away.
Getting away: Both Gatwick and Heathrow airports are under an hour away by car.
There is a good choice of schools in Southfields and the surrounding area. At primary level, there is Albemarle Primary, St Michael’s Cof E Primary, Sheringdale Primary School, Wimbledon Park Primary School and West Hill Primary, and for secondary age there is a choice of St Cecilia’s or Southfields Academy, as well as many other schools in neighbouring Wandsworth and Wimbledon. There are numerous private education options in Putney, Wimbledon and Richmond.
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