The London Borough of Southwark
“Southwark is known for being home to some of London’s best attractions, allowing both residents and visitors access to world-renowned venues including the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and The Shard”
Moving to Southwark
Stretching from the banks of the river Thames in central London to the suburban quiet of East Dulwich (named one of ‘Britain’s Best Places to Live’ by The Sunday Times in 2014), this hugely diverse borough offers something for everyone, regardless of lifestyle or situation, due to its array of unique neighbourhoods.
Southwark is also known for being home to some of London’s best attractions, allowing both residents and visitors access to world-renowned venues including the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and The Shard, as well as a fascinating range of architectural styles. The borough also has a number of high-achieving independent and state schools adding to its popularity with families, and commuters in the north of the borough benefit from Underground stations on the Northern and Jubilee lines for easy travel throughout the capital.
Regeneration and gentrification over the last few decades has seen swathes of the borough transformed to suit the modern needs of the city, with the warehouses of Shad Thames converted into slick apartments, and notoriously deprived areas such as Peckham becoming hugely popular with young Londoners looking for the latest cool spot to live. In general, the population of Southwark is largely young and ethnically diverse, with a strong European presence and a high proportion of residents born outside of the UK.
House prices in Southwark
Housing in Southwark is extremely varied, with young professionals flocking to London Bridge, Borough and Peckham for sleek apartments and colourful nightlife, while families tend to congregate in the southern end of the borough, where they’ll find more space, detached housing, and friendly communities. The average property price in Southwark is around £650,000 as of April 2020, making it one of the most expensive borough in London, although prices do vary by area.
“Here the Jubilee Line and Northern Line transports residents swiftly towards West London or Canary Wharf, while London Bridge is a key transport hub for the both the Underground and National Rail connections”
Southwark is dominated by National Rail and Overground links, with Underground stations only found in locations along the northern edge of the Borough. Here the Jubilee Line and Northern Line transports residents swiftly towards West London or Canary Wharf, while London Bridge is a key transport hub for both the Underground and National Rail connections. Further south, Peckham, Dulwich, and Camberwell are connected by a range of rail services, including the Overground, Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern.
Home to two of London’s best food markets, the vibrant dining scene in Southwark is among the most varied in London, with eateries to suit every palate and budget. For many, the area of Borough is synonymous with Borough Market (and its offshoot, Maltby Street Market), a food market which has existed in some form for over 1,000 years and today offers a mix of produce, products, and street food. The surrounding streets are also home to a vast array of restaurants, including Rabot 1745, Lobos Meat and Tapas and Padella, as well as famous coffee emporium Monmouth, while along the banks of the Thames there’s a wide selection of high-street favourites. High-end dining can also be found nearby, particularly at one of the two restaurants housed in The Shard or along Shad Thames, where famed eateries such as Le Pont de la Tour or Butler’s Wharf Chop House are located.
Further south towards Peckham, a whole new restaurant scene emerges with a spate of openings in recent years transforming the area’s dining options. Great brunch spots include Pedler and Anderson & Co., while for dinner Mr Bao’s steamed buns or pasta dishes from Forza Win are a must-try delight. Nightlife is also a strong part of Peckham’s appeal for young residents, with top spots including Frank’s Cafe which offers panoramic views across London from the top of the Peckham Multi-Storey car park, and the Bussey Building, which regularly hosts club nights, small acts and big name DJs.
Shopping in the borough is much less varied than dining, with most residents choosing to cross the river into central London for a proper session of retail therapy. Dulwich has a strong selection of charming boutiques and independent shops, while Elephant & Castle’s iconic, brutalist shopping centre offers high-street brands such as WHSmith, Boots, and Superdrug alongside an array of Polish, Caribbean, and Latin American stores.
Both large and small branches of major supermarket brands including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons can be found across Southwark, as well as international supermarkets such as the Kim Lien Mini Market in Peckham for Vietnamese specialities, and Bims African Food Store on Rye Lane. For independent grocers, butchers and cheese shops, Dulwich has a particularly good selection on Lordship Lane, and for a selection of top-quality produce Borough Market is always a safe choice.
Health and sport
The London Borough of Southwark offers a good variety of gyms and fitness facilities across the borough, ranging from national chains such as Fit4Less, Soho Gyms, and Fitness First to council-run leisure centres such as Dulwich Leisure Centre, The Castle Centre, and Camberwell Leisure Centre. Local fitness initiatives include the Free Swim & Gym scheme for residents in six of the borough’s leisure centres, while there are also 25 outdoor gyms throughout the area for those looking for free outdoor activities.
For residents seeking an active cultural life, Southwark is absolutely teeming with venues, events and exhibitions for discerning residents and visitors. Along the Southwark portion of the Southbank you’ll find attractions including Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, The Tate Modern, and The Shard, while further highlights await away from the river such as the historic Borough Market, the Old Operating Theatre Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery and more.
The borough is also home to an array of superb cinemas, ranging from the art-house Curzon Mondrian London to the blockbuster-favourite Peckhamplex.
“Despite its inner-London location, Southwark is one of the capital’s greenest boroughs with 130 parks and open spaces”
Schools and education
Southwark offers an excellent selection of schools, with many achieving far beyond the government targets in assessments and exams. For families with young children, five primary schools in the borough including Riverside Primary School, Peter Hills with St Mary’s and St Paul’s CofE Primary School and St John’s RC Primary School boast 100% of pupils achieving expected levels in English and Maths, while a further six had over 95%. For older children, The Charter School, Sacred Heart RC Secondary School and St Michael’s Catholic College are among the best schools in Southwark, whilst independent options such as Dulwich College and James Allen’s Girls’ School are very highly rated.
In terms of further education, a number of very good institutions can also be found in Southwark including London Southbank University, Camberwell College of the Arts, and the London College of Communication.
Despite some isolated pockets of crime such as Old Kent Road, the majority of Southward is considered to be a safe area to live. For information on safety in Southwark, click this link.
Despite its inner London location, Southwark is one of the capital’s greenest boroughs with 130 parks and open spaces. Burgess Park, Peckham Rye Park and Common and the Grade II listed Dulwich Park are among the most popular green spaces in the borough, with the latter offering a boating lake, café, sculptures and sports facilities among 76 acres.
One of London’s most historic boroughs and a significant settlement for over 1000 years, the London Borough of Southwark has seen it all – the fall of London Bridge, the evolution of Bermondsey from garden suburb to slum and back again, and the thriving warehouses and wharves of Shad Thames that once propped up London’s river trade.
How can OneDome help me move to Southwark?
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