London SW4. Lambeth. London Property Area Guide.
The Middle Class Playground
Clapham attracts a certain genre. Our friends living here are typical of the ‘Clapham set.’ Young (twenties/ early thirties) City workers or West End media staffers, renting their first property or getting onto the property ladder.
Comfort comes from living in a community surrounded by friends, focused on the common. Singles, couples and young families who are getting sensible and taking their first step onto the property ladder, or moving on from a flat to a house, are the second biggest group of residents.
These guys n’ gals spend weekend evenings working late, drinking in Moorgate or Soho then decamp to Clapham’s great mix of bars for the weekend. Soaking up the sun, music and fayres on the Common – Clapham’s adult playground and everyones favourite meeting place. If this is the kind of community you’d like to belong to – then move to SW4, the locals will welcome you.
Residents of SW4 commune on Clapham Common. This grassy expanse is more flat and open to the urban elements (criss-crossed by roads) than London’s other green spaces. That effect seems to magnetise more visitors, not less.
In summer the Common is everyones back garden – chock full of City boys reading the FT and Economist, West End girls flicking through Grazia and Vogue, lads playing football, antipodeans drinking, kids playing frisbee and families with picnic rugs out.
Fayres, music festivals and cultural events pop up every month from May through September. Winter months see plenty of joggers, dog-walkers and Sunday amateur football and rugby matches.
North of the Common you’ll find the Old Town, running upto Victoria Rise (bounded by Cedards Road and Rectory Grove). Georgian houses of a good size line these favoured streets appealing to familes. Singles and couples tend towards the flat conversions – more spacious and light filled than the rest of Clapham. City money (which funds alot of the purchases and rentals in this area) comes here first.
Smaller houses are in Clapham North, running off the high street, closer to central London, bounded by Wandsworth, Bedford and Stock Roads.
South Clapham or ‘Southside’ has gentrified fast in recent years as City couples who couldn’t afford property around the Common decamped to the roads known as ‘Abbeville Village’ where organic butchers and upcoming Chefs in chi-chi restaurants cater to international tastes. The village is popular with professional couples who like to buy and renovate the victorian terraces. You can still find homes in need of a full renovation, if you fancy some Grand Designs action, or equally many of the quality refurbishments come to the market each year.
Clapham High street is a long walk. Busy with useful shops to the South and fancier cafes and a few boutiques to the North. At night the road becomes a hotch-potch of trendy restaurants, a good mix of family eateries and very vibrant nightlife for the twenty-something crowd, which all end up at the disco mecca that is ‘Infernos.’ Property south of the High Street is cheaper than to the North.
Shopping areas are split between the High St, Old Town and Northcote Road, where you’ll find lovely deli’s, designer clothes amd a mixture of restaurants. If you must then Clapham Junction is surrounded by retail premises, the experience is rather tacky and you’d really only go here for convenience.
Market lovers have four to choose from in the area. Northcore road market lets Nappy Valley mothers buy flowers and cookies while organic produce pops up at Abbeville Farmers market on Sundays. Much of the produce makes its way here from Provence and Bordeaux and is lapped up by French residents who live in Clapham to be close the French Lycee school.
Despite the foreign influences Clapham is quite an English neighbourhood, contrasted against London’s diversity, a firm favourite with middle classes often moving south of the river to gain more value and bigger homes.
Statuesque Family Homes to Cosy Terraces
If large family houses are your interest then start hunting around the common where you will find a mix of Regency, Georgian and Queen Anne homes. The Chase and Macualay and Orlando Roads are good starting points. For smaller houses, favoured roads include: Ferdale Road, Cato Road and Aristotle Road.
Clapham Old Town plays host to Georgian and Victorian terrace properties and some lovely mews house. If the Chelsea and Kensington look is your taste (perhaps you’re moving from there for better value property) you will feel right at home in one of the white stucco fronted properties in Grafton Square.
Something to Fix Up?
In the mood for a bargain? A property to develop and make money from? Try the roads east of Clapham North tube station, Sibella, Gauden, Bromfelde and Chelsham Road are good starting points. We feel this area will gentrify in the next few years – this could make for a shrewd purchase.
Bargain hunters should be wary though – don’t get too close to the social housing estates. Crime has been on the rise considerably in these areas and the knock on effect has made housing closer to these sites more difficult to sell.
Renters, especially those hunting in groups usually head straight for the terraced houses off the high street. These are large and affordable when shared. Attractive period flats are also found here and convenience seems to rule for the rental crowd without children.
Standing Room Only
Clapham Junction train station is the choice of transport for the majority of residents. Northern line tubes can get very crowded and become unreliable in rush hour A very frequent service into central London (Waterloo) makes the train as popular as the tube and of course commuters going away from London are best served by the station.
+ Fun community feel
+ Good quality properties and lots of choice to rent or buy
+ Clapham Commons wide-range appeal
– The unreliable Northern Line for commuting into town
– Crime close to the large social housing estates
– Scruffy feel in parts of the high street and around Clapham Junction
Order up a scrumptious Cheeseburger and Fries at Hache (153 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7SS)
Time Outs pick of fancy Clapham dining: Trinity (4 The Polygon, London, SW4 0JG)
Delicious Deli by day, uber-cool restaurant by night: Abbeville Kitchen (47 Abbeville Road, London, SW4 9JX)
Drink rum cocktails while listening to Live Jazz: Bread & Roses (68 Clapham Manor Street, London, SW4 6DZ)
Film you wont find at the Odeon: Clapham Picture House (76 Venn Street, London, SW4 0AT)
Fresh Produce is best plucked from Abbeville farmers market (Bonneville primary school – off Abbeville road) – Sundays only.
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Clapham North (Northern line)
Clapham South (Northern line)
Clapham Common (Northern line)
Clapham High Street