Relocating to London can be quite daunting given its size, so often the question is where do I begin? Why not try, Southwark? One of London’s inner boroughs that encases some of the city’s well-known sights, like Tower Bridge, Borough Market, the London Eye, there’s a lot more to the borough than tourist spots though, with an eclectic bunch of neighbourhoods to choose from if you’re looking for somewhere to live, around 310,000 people call Southwark home, so maybe you could too!
Thinking about what you want out of your home, about transport concerns, budgets, schooling… is hard, so we have pulled together the following guide to give you an insight in to the borough. Cornerstone can help you with your move so why not take advantage of our knowledgeable staff and time saving tech who can guide you the rest of the way to your ideal home.
Where do I begin?
Geography of Southwark
The borough of Southwark (pronounced “Suth-erk”) lies in the centre of London to the south of the river Thames. It covers large parts of Central London that you might already recognise. The northern parts of Southwark are within easy walking distance from the City and the West End. The borough has become a big business centre for many national and international establishments.
Although most of the more recognisable parts of the borough are in the heart of London, further from the centre there are some lovely neighbourhoods, each with their own character and charm. At the time of the 2021 Census, just under 310,000 people lived in Southwark having made their home in some of London’s lesser well-known neighbourhoods in family towns and in cool, up and coming areas.
Housing is certainly eclectic across the borough. There are an awful lot of Victorian period properties across most of the borough, but places that have undergone recent regeneration, such as Elephant and Castle, Bermondsey and Canada Water, will also have many more modern properties for you to choose form. Pricing is variable, but some areas will be more expensive than others, such as Dulwich. Ultimately, whatever your budget and whatever your preferences, there is going to be a great property for you in the borough of Southwark.
The parts of the borough closer to the Thames have access to the Tube network. There are tube stations at Canada Water, Bermondsey, London Bridge, Borough, Elephant and Castle and Southwark, where lines like the Jubilee, Bakerloo and Northern stop by. Overground services can also be found at Canada Water, Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham, which gives you access to the East London section of the Overground, opening up trips to destinations like Shoreditch and Hoxton. National Rail services also operate across Southwark with stations in Dulwich, Sydenham, Peckham and Nunhead. In Southwark, there are trains that can take you across London and beyond!
Areas of Southwark
With parts of Southwark in very central London, including the Southbank, London Bridge and Borough, there’s an awful lot to do there. There are some great places to live in the borough outside of Central London too.
Peckham has changed a lot in the last few years. Gentrification has started to take hold, but the area still has plenty of character. In and around the busy high street, you’ll find shops, pubs and restaurants. There are also rooftop bars where you can sip your drinks whilst enjoying fantastic views of London. Take in a film at The Peckhamplex, a fantastic independent cinema where, for a low cost, you can see all the latest releases.
The Rotherhithe, Canada Water, Surrey Quays area, which were formerly docks, is close to the centre of town and has great transport links via the London Overground and the tube. Canada Water takes its name from the vast freshwater lake around which it is built. With a shopping centre at Surrey Quays and over 160 acres of parks and woodland, there’s plenty to explore.
Elephant and Castle area has been transformed in recent years, with plenty of modern developments sprouting up. Ministry of Sound is based there as is the Mercato Metropolitano food hall. A new shopping centre and 100 homes are due to be built here soon, too.
Before regeneration, Bermondsey was a very industrial area, lots of its streets were lined with many old and empty warehouses. Today, they have been converted into apartments, with some offering the sought after ‘lofty apartment’ style of living with fantastic riverside views. It has plenty of shops, markets, pubs, coffeeshops and restaurants to explore too. There’s also the 52 seat Kino Cinema where you can watch Independent, arthouse and mainstream films. It’s also easy to get to the centre of London and to Canary Wharf via the Jubilee Line.
Camberwell is a wonderful multicultural area and the home to a University of the Arts campus. It has several parks and pubs aplenty. Unsurprisingly, the area has something of an artsy vibe to it, all of which goes well with the Victorian housing. It’s good for families too as there are several well-rated schools there. On the subject of schools, Dulwich is probably most famous for the private school located there, Dulwich College. It’s one of the more affluent areas of Southwark, and, as you’d expect, the housing is lovely, though extremely expensive. If you have the budget and are looking for a sedate and pleasant place to live that feels like a village rather than a part of London, Dulwich could well be the area for you!
Things to do in Southwark
Southwark has a lot of attractions that you may already have heard of, or visited, due to their popularity with tourists. Take a spin on the London Eye, with its spectacular views across London. Fans of the arts can take a stroll around the Tate Modern and marvel the latest exhibitions. History buffs can check out the Imperial War Museum London. It has exhibits that tell the story of people’s experiences of war from World War One right up until the present day. Moored between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, you can also find the HMS Belfast, a warship which now serves as a museum.
There’s a lot of interesting architecture in Southwark. The borough is home to one of the most striking skyscrapers in London, The Shard, which offers spectacular views of the capital, as well as bars and restaurants. London Bridge and Tower Bridge are in the borough, but you’ll want to see the latter, not the former. On the Southbank there’s Shakespeare’s Globe, an open-air theatre that puts on plays by Shakespeare, as well as other playwrights. It’s a replica of the original Globe Theatre from the time of Shakespeare.
At Borough Market, you can sample all sorts of culinary delights. Whether you’re there to pick up ingredients for a special recipe or to dine on exquisite street food, you should find something you’ll like.
There are also literally hundreds of bars, pubs and restaurants all across the borough. Towards the centre of town, they tend to be a bit more expensive, so it pays to explore further to the south, away from the tourist spots.
Southwark has a lot to offer if you like the outdoors. Burgess Park, Southwark Park and Stave Hill Ecological Park are in the centre. Head south and visit Peckham Rye Park and Common, Dulwich Park or Ruskin Park. There’s also Sydenham Hill Wood to explore.