SE1. Southwark. Shad Thames, London Property Area Guide.
Feel like you’ve stepped on to a movie set!
I first discovered the streets of Shad Thames as a photography student in the 90’s and have been captivated ever since. Shad Thames is a rather small area, filled with beautifully renovated warehouses and situated just to the South East of Tower Bridge. Residents and visitors often refer to the area as ‘Tower Bridge.’
Shad Thames actually takes it’s name from the street that runs parallel to the river. Much of the street is cobbled and could be mistaken for part of the film set for Oliver Twist, albeit now spruced up and glossy! A network of intricate iron walkways float between the warehouses on each side of the atmospheric street – criss-crossing the narrow view of the skyline. Workers used to roll barrels between the warehouses on opposite sides of the street, now they just look good.
These warehouse buildings which give the area it’s striking architectural brand. All of of which are now trendy apartments, many boasting fabulous views across the river and large balconies. The nature of the warehouses also meant that some of the windows are particularly small so there is a premium for river-side apartments in more ways than one!
Exposed Brick, natural charm
Residents love the characteristc exposed brick walls in these warehouse apartments. Old winches and faded signs adorn the outside walls – we’re told that faint scents of spices have infused into the brick walls of buildings that were originally built to store store spices, silks and grain. Thankfully with names such as Cinnamon, Ginger, Vanilla & Sesame court, the aromas are rather pleasant! In addition to the renovated warehouses, many new developments were built in the 1980’s and 1990’s -providing the majority of housing for buyers and renters. Some of the traditional warehouse buildings are actually recent developments, styled to fit into the historic surroundings. They offer the warm feeling of apartments with exposed brick, balconies and rustic charm, with the convenience of modern kitchens, courtyards and car parking.
Speaking of parking, there’s very little on street parking for residents, so many flats come with car park spaces that are owned or rented. Some of these are housed in buildings a couple of blocks back from the apartments themselves, so you may have a short walk with your shopping.
Legal Beagles and City Boys
Proximity to the City of London and Docklands makes the area particularly popular with workers in the financial and legal sectors. Striking properties, prized views and trendy restaurants make it a highly desireable address and properties are at a premium. In recent years new office developments have been built Westwards from Tower Bridge, starting the London Mayors headquarters and then various glass boxes housing accountants, more lawyers and support service businesses. Many of the workers commute out to the suburbs and home counties through the insanely busy London Bridge station. Recently though, Partners and Directors have started buying pied-a-terres in Shad Thames, to cater for those working days that stretch until midnight.
A number of years ago, the Terrance Conran empire changed the dynamic of the area and set the scene for hip Shad Thames. With three of his restaurants; Pont de la Tour, The Blueprint Café and Butler’s Wharf Chop House, commanding prime riverside positions and taking maximum advantage of the al-fresco atmosphere, Conran finally put Shad Thames on Londoners radar. The restaurants have brought style, sizzling dishes and warm atmosphere to the water front.
Delicious D e s i g n
A big draw to the area for designers, tourists and Londoners is the Design Museum – although there are rumours this is set to relocate to West London in 2014. Opened almost 25 years ago, the museum is a haven for those in the design industry and frequently changes it exhibitions, covering everything from product, industrial, fashion and architectural design. The Museum bookshop is a great hunting ground for fun presents and artistic books, while the integrated Cafe offers smooth Lattes and cupcakes indoors and outdoors.
In recent years the area to the South Western corner of Tower Bridge has seen a massive makeover with landscaping, new restaurants, shops and building developments. Although just a stones through from Shad Thames this side of the bridge feels far more touristy and less rustic – boasting views of The Tower of London, The new Shard building and of course Tower Bridge.
– Authentic London ‘movie’ quality to the streets.
– Restaurants and bars to cater for every occasion and wallet.
– Proximity to The City and Docklands.
– Splendid river walks to Borough Market and beyond.
– Proximity to London Bridge mainline stations with connections to Gatwick and Luton airports.
– World famous landmarks on the doorstep.
– Bermondsey just a short walk for a more ‘real London’ vibe.
– If you consider a move to the area be prepared for hoards of tourists especially around the bridge.
– Everyone knows that London has a problem with vermin – consider this when buying a luxury property right on the river!
– It’s not the most family centric area – something to consider if you’re setting up a home for the future.
– Lack of a real high street with useful shops (especially clothes stores).
Shad Thames Insiders Guide:
Fine dining al-fresco, with a view of the River and Tower Bridge: Le Pont de la Tour: 36D Shad Thames, SE1 2YE. 020 7403 8403
Fun Friday drinks – head to Most Café Bar in the vault under Tower Bridge (looks straight onto the water). Horace Jones Vault, Tower Bridge, Shad Thames, SE1 2DA. 020 7403 6030
Take in an exhibition, buy a cool book and sip coffee at The Design Museum: 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD. 020 74036933
Pick up a beautiful bag or a gift wallet, purse or phone case from HideAll, 43 Shad Thames, Tower Bridge. 020 7403 2600
Casual drinks with views of Tower Bridge: All Bar One, 34 Shad Thames, Butler’s Wharf, Spice Quays, SE1 2YG. 020 7940 9771
Shad Thames Location
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London Bridge is a short walk or bus ride away
Fenchurch Street is a short walk or bus ride away
Tower Hill: Circle and District lines. Zone 1
Tower Gateway: DLR line
London Bridge: Jubilee and Northern Lines
Bermondsey: Jubilee Line
Monument: Circle and District Lines
42 Denmark Hill to Liverpool Street
47 Catford to Shorditch
78 Shoreditch to Nunhead
188 North Greenwich to Euston
381 County Hall to Peckham
343 City Hall to New Cross
381 Peckham to City Hall
RV1 Covent Garden to Tower Gateway
TFL River boat and River tours along the Thames stop at Tower Millennium Pier and St Katherines Dock
Tower Bridge Primary School, Fair Street, London SE1 2AE
Snowsfields Primary School, Kirby Grove, SE1 3TD
St Joseph’s RC Primary School, George Row, SE16 4UP
Hermitage Primary School, Vaughan Way, London E1W 2PT
St James’ CofE Primary School, Old Jamaica Road, London SE16 4SU
St Michael’s Catholic College, Llewellyn Street, SE16 4UN
Chrysolyte Independent Christial School, Bethel House, London SE1 4XH
Harris Academy Bermondsey, 55 Southwark Park Road, SE16 3TZ
St Saviour’s and St Olave’s CofE School, New Kent Road, SE1 4AN
ARK Globe Academy, Harper Road, SE1 6AG