The London Borough of Wandsworth
“Stretching from edge of Richmond Park to the border of Lambeth, Wandsworth is the largest Central London borough, with a population just over 300,000”
Moving to Wandsworth
Stretching from edge of Richmond Park to the border of Lambeth, Wandsworth is the largest Central London borough, with a population just over 300,000. The name stems from the River Wandle, which passes through the area and joins up with the River Thames in the north of the region. Mostly residential and hugely popular with families, the area between Wandsworth Common and Clapham Common has earned the nickname ‘Nappy Valley’ due to the concentration of affluent families flocking to the neighbourhood for the good schools, array of huge parks and proximity to Central London.
Wander around various areas in the borough such as Balham, Battersea and Putney and it soon becomes clear that Wandsworth is a relatively wealthy area, with much of this prosperity invested in sleek properties, boutique shopping outlets, and attractive restaurants. Child poverty rates are low here compared to the London average, as are crime rates, and the borough also boasts a number of highly recommended independent schools.
Active regeneration projects are taking place throughout Wandsworth, particularly in Battersea and Tooting. Nine Elms is currently undergoing a multi-billion-pound investment to transform this industrial quarter into a sparkling business and residential district, whilst the former Battersea Power Station has been brought back to life as a mixed-use neighbourhood.
As well as families, Wandsworth is increasingly beginning to draw in large numbers of working professionals who are noticing the advantages of living in this leafy borough. Far from the glass and concrete of the city, the area has many picturesque, tree-lined streets and was voted as one of the best places for young professionals to live in the UK in 2013. Restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce, an array of welcoming cafes and traditional pubs provide young locals with plenty to do in the evenings, whilst Central London is just across the river for a big night out.
House prices in Wandsworth
All these amenities come at a price, however – Wandsworth is one of the most expensive borough in London, with an average house price of £788,000 as of 2020, although as a slight silver lining, council tax rates here are some of the lowest in London. The detached properties of Balham and prime riverside apartments of Battersea are among the most expensive, while more affordable areas in the borough include Earlsfield, Roehampton, and Tooting.
“Film fans will enjoy the Cineworld, Odeon Putney and independent Exhibit Bar, Restaurant & Cinema, while for something more unusual, budding tailors will enjoy the unique London Sewing Machine Museum in Tooting”
Surprisingly for such a well-positioned borough, Wandsworth lacks the good Underground connections of its Northern neighbours. Three stations (Tooting Broadway, Tooting Bec and Clapham South) are on the Northern Line, and just two stations (East Putney and Southfields) are on the District Line, meaning the rest of the borough is connected by stations with Overground, Southern Rail and South West Trains services.
Whilst all of the stations in the borough offer regular, fast connections to major train stations such as Waterloo and Victoria, it can make commuting to certain parts of London a bit more troublesome. Getting out of London is much easier, with Clapham Junction connecting routes all over the south, whilst the Northern Line is set to arrive in Battersea in 2020 to add some relief for frustrated commuters.
Good restaurants, charming pubs and cosy cafes are scattered across the various neighbourhoods of Wandsworth, giving residents a varied choice of dining options wherever they are. For special occasions (or big spenders), Chez Bruce and Trinity both hold Michelin stars, while on the other end of the spectrum, Soho House group’s cult street food eateries Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger can both be found near Tooting Broadway.
While the borough isn’t renowned for its retail offerings, an array of high-street brands can be found at Southside Shopping Centre or in the streets surrounding Clapham Junction, ranging from Topshop and Pandora, through to Primark and Robert Dyas. Alternatively, for a more boutique shopping experience Northcote Road is lined with independent outlets, specialist shops and high-end brands such as Philglas & Swiggot, Neal’s Yard Remedies, and Whistles.
All manner of supermarkets and grocers are to be found in Wandsworth, ranging from big-name chains such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose to specialist Asian supermarket Cheung Oriental. Meanwhile, for those seeking organic produce or luxury ingredients, the large Whole Foods at Clapham Junction has a wide range of products.
Health and sport
Wandsworth is well-equipped with a range of excellent fitness facilities. Branches of popular gym chains such as Fitness First and Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing are located throughout the area, as are high quality council venues including Balham Leisure Centre and Putney Leisure Centre. Individual studious for activities such as Crossfit, Yoga and Pilates can also be found in Wandsworth, as well as the National Tennis Centre, Central London Golf Centre, Tooting Bec Lido and a number of outdoor gyms on Clapham Common.
While the delights of the West End and the Southbank are only a short journey away, Wandsworth also boasts a vibrant cultural life of its own, with quality venues including Battersea Arts Centre, Pump House Gallery and Putney Arts Theatre. Film fans will enjoy the Cineworld, Odeon Putney and independent Exhibit Bar, Restaurant & Cinema, while for something more unusual, budding tailors will enjoy the unique London Sewing Machine Museum in Tooting.
“Wandsworth is statistically the safest Central London borough, with an average of 72 crimes per 1000 people as of 2012, much lower than the London average”
Schools and education
As is typical in family friendly boroughs, Wandsworth boasts a superb selection of schools in both the state and independent sector. For younger children, Our Lady of Victories Catholic Primary School, All Saints’ CofE Primary School and St Mary’s RC Primary School are among the best in the borough with 100% of pupils achieving expected levels in English and Maths. The best state secondary schools in Wandsworth include Graveness School and Burntwood School, while Putney High School, Ibstock Place School and Emanuel School are all sought-after independent options.
Statistically, Wandsworth is the safest Central London borough, with an average of 72 crimes per 1000 people as of 2012, much lower than the London average. Crime levels continue to fall annually throughout the borough.
Incredibly verdant considering its inner London location, Wandsworth contains a staggering 1,700 acres of green space. The largest are the Tooting Commons in the south, home to a colourful lido, while Battersea Park is considered to be one of the capital’s finest with unique features including a children’s zoo and a peace pagoda. Clapham Common, Putney Common and Wimbledon Common are other renowned green spaces in the borough, whilst the long stretch of riverside also provides plenty opportunities for scenic walks.
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