CocoonSync London Renters Guide: An intro to Clapham
It’s no wonder Clapham is regularly voted the best place to live in London
With its glorious 220 acre Common, beautiful Victorian-era terraced houses and amazing transport links, Clapham is a hugely popular neighbourhood for Londoners of all shapes and sizes.
Where is Clapham?
Intriguingly, Clapham is a district that extends into two London boroughs, with the dividing line between Lambeth and Wandsworth cutting across the Common. Most of the neighbourhood is part of the London Borough of Lambeth, but some areas around the Common belong to Wandsworth, which can make council tax confusing.
Located in South West London, Clapham is about 3 miles from central London and can be divided into four areas: Clapham Old Town, Clapham Junction, Clapham North and Clapham South.
It borders Battersea to the north, Brixton to the east, Balham and Streatham to the south and Wandsworth to the west.
What about transport in Clapham?
Clapham’s excellent transport links are one of the reasons it is such a desirable place to live. Clapham Junction is one of the biggest rail transport hubs in the whole country and is also one of the busiest. With trains to central London taking around 10 minutes, you can also travel further afield with trains to Gatwick Airport, Hastings and Portsmouth.
From Clapham High Street Station, Overground services link directly to Canary Wharf, Shoreditch and Shepherd’s Bush. There are also three tube stations in the neighbourhood: Clapham North, Clapham Common and Clapham South, all on the Northern line, meaning there are quick connections to Victoria and Waterloo as well as Oxford Circus.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s an extensive bus network and connection to the Cycle Superhighway 7 for those who like to cycle.
A little of Clapham’s history
Fun fact: What is now Clapham High Street was an ancient Roman road built in the 1st century; you can see a stone in the Old Town with an inscription from Vitus Ticinius Ascanius.
In the 18th century, the upper classes began to build property in Clapham, attracting such residents as Samuel Pepys and Captain Cook’s widow Elizabeth, and the neighbourhood began to rise in popularity, particularly the area around Clapham Common. However, the arrival of the railway brought with it an influx of middle class families and commuters, which made it fall out of favour with the aristocracy by the beginning of the 20th century. It kept its reputation as an ordinary commuter suburb until the late 1980s, which is when a huge regeneration program began and it became significantly more affluent. Today’s famous residents include Chris O’Dowd, Vivienne Westwood and Margot Robbie!
What’s renting in Clapham like?
Although many of the grand houses built by the upper classes were demolished in the mid-1900s, a number of them still remain in the Old Town and around the Common. You’ll also find several beautiful late 18th and 19th century houses as well as Victoria and Georgian era homes in the Old Town, many of which have been transformed into flats. Clapham also has a fair amount of social housing as well as some new developments.
Clapham North is slightly cheaper than the rest of the district and is home to students and young professionals while families tend to gather in Clapham South, which is quieter.
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Living in Clapham
Clapham is frequently voted the best neighbourhood in London to live in, mainly thanks to the sprawling Common, with its rambling paths and magnificent bandstand. Adding to this, there’s a great mix of retail options from small, independent boutiques to high street chains as well as an excellent variety of dining spots. Basically, there’s no shortage of things to do in Clapham, from live music bars along Northcote Road to Michelin-starred restaurants and plenty of cosy, traditional pubs fringing the Common.
Culture vultures can get their fix at Clapham Picturehouse or Studio Voltaire, a non-profit gallery showcasing emerging artists. Another unmissable Clapham staple is the Venn Street Market, which takes place every Saturday and is where you’ll find sumptuous local produce direct from the source.
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23 February 2021