Southwark is one of the oldest boroughs of London, spanning from the River Thames south down to suburban Sydenham and packs so much in between, from cultural hotspots, arts events, theatre and music opportunities popping up seemingly every day. Just one and a half miles south-east of Central London, Southwark or ‘the Borough’ is located immediately south of London Bridge. Southwark is home to various cultures and lifestyles, a highly diverse borough, mainly due to a mammoth regeneration programme.
Today, the borough is a well-connected, cosmopolitan district of South London with an authentic and culturally diverse vibe. New redevelopment programmes have created a residential hub for its younger than average population of predominantly city professionals seeking short commutes and a plethora of trendy modern cafes, unique bars and buzzing restaurants on their doorstep.
Iconic sites from the Globe Theatre, and the Old Vic to the Tate Modern and Europe’s tallest newest building, The Shard, dot the neighbourhood. Southwark is known, too, for the 1,000 year-old Borough Market: foodie heaven, with its stalls of everything from artisan olive oil to hot salt beef bagels. The National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Purcell Room are all Southwark.
The borough is also famed for the creative rejuvenation of its railway arches between Waterloo and London Bridge which now offers a truly unique experience, including Flat Iron Square’s buzzy food and drink hub. This borough’s dining scene is amongst the best in London, with a vibrant mix of every cuisine imaginable, from fine dining to street food pop-ups to high-end restaurants.
It’s hard to beat the OXO Tower with its river views to the always-busy Paladar for its exceptional Latin American cuisine. The Bellenden Road area in Peckham and Lordship Lane in East Dulwich offers many choices with every cuisine, gastropub, trendy bar, artisan food, high-end dining, and endless people-watching opportunities. For riverside pints, The Mayflower in Rotherhithe is the oldest pub on the Thames.
Gentrification in Southwark has seen different parts of the borough updated. The old converted warehouses of Shad Thames are now modern apartments and perfect for those with a larger budget wanting a view overlooking the River Thames and, for an even bigger price tag, a picture of Tower Bridge.
The regeneration of pockets of Peckham has made it very popular with the younger generation of Londoners looking to buy in a trendy up and coming area. With bespoke bars and world cuisine. Elephant and Castle is notable for large-scale regeneration projects and new-build housing. But there’s a wide range of accommodation, from handsome Georgian townhouses to luxury apartments and riverside warehouse conversions to pockets of solid Victorian terraces in Camberwell and Peckham. The further south, the larger the property and garden.
Southwark offers plenty of green spaces and parks away from the hustle-bustle. Brunswick Park is the largest of the borough’s recreational areas, with a BMX track, playgrounds and community gardens. There’s also Dulwich Park to the south, along with Peckham Rye to the south-east.
The spacious Southwark Park in Bermondsey – the biggest of over 100 parks, has the most facilities, including a boating lake. For public schools, the prestigious Dulwich College and Alleyns are famous. Still, some 34 OFSTED rated outstanding primary schools and secondary schools, state and private, throughout Southwark to consider.
Southwark’s transport links are second-to-none. Southwark Station is on the Jubilee Line (Zone 1); Waterloo is on the Northern, Bakerloo, and Jubilee Lines and the DLR and offers mainline rail services. Waterloo East offers mainline rail services and London Bridge Railway Station. There are buses galore, day and night, many taxis and cycle routes.