Moving to Dulwich
Are you moving to Dulwich? Straddling the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, this green and leafy south London suburb has become popular with City workers for its easy commuting distance from London Bridge. With a thousand-year historic pedigree, top schools and some of south London’s most interesting residential architecture, its pre-eminence among residential areas south of the river is easy to understand.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Dulwich report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Dulwich on the Map
As a whole, Dulwich lies in what used to be a water-logged valley surrounded by hills – Tulse Hill, Denmark Hill, Forest Hill, Gipsy Hill, Herne Hill, Knights Hill and Sydenham Hill – and the name Dulwich even stems from the words ‘dill’ and ‘wihs’, meaning the damp meadow where dill grows. However, the land has long since been drained, and it boasts a royal pedigree dating back to 967AD when the village belonged to King Edgar. Subsequent owners have included Harold II, William I and Henry VIII. In 1605 the estate was bought by Edward Alleyn, who set up a charitable foundation and a college; the successor to this charity, the Dulwich Estate, still owns 1,500 acres of property and houses here today.
Modern Dulwich can be divided into three distinct districts: East Dulwich, West Dulwich and Dulwich Village. The whole area sustained a massive amount of bomb damage during World War II and because of this, along with the twee Georgian cottages of Dulwich Village, there is a wide variety of post-war architecture in both the residential and commercial districts.
- East Dulwich – Part of Edward Alleyn’s original estate, and developed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect responsible for the Houses of Parliament, this was one of the first parts of Dulwich to be gentrified. With good shops and restaurants along Lordship Lane and an overground railway station on Grove Vale, it has its own character that is quite distinct from the other parts of Dulwich.
- West Dulwich is a largely residential area that first became habitable when Edward Alleyn’s acquired what was Dulwich Common and drained it during the 17th century. This part of Dulwich is home to the renowned Dulwich College and it also offers a good range of shops, restaurants and amenities. There are trains from West Dulwich station to both Blackfriars for the City and Victoria for the West End. Its popularity is further enhanced by the green open spaces of Dulwich Wood, Dulwich Park and Brockwell Park.
- Dulwich Village – This is the centre of the original settlement and, despite the war damage elsewhere, Dulwich Village still retains a wealth of 18th and 19th century buildings. It is now a conservation zone, so its unique historic character is protected, and it contains some of the smartest houses in the area.
Who lives here and why?
As a part of London that can trace its ownership back to both Harold II and William I, it should come as no surprise that a roll-call of famous people have lived in the area.
- Children’s writer Enid Blyton
- Lie To Me actor Tim Roth was born here
- Comedians Ronnie Corbett and Jo Brand
- Borat funny man Sasha Baron Cohen used to live here
- Margaret Thatcher had a house here after her time as Prime Minister
- AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott died in East Dulwich
- PG Woodhouse attended Dulwich College
- Actor Peter Cushing lived in the area
So, regardless of whether you’re rich and famous, why should you come and live in Dulwich? Out of all the London suburbs that lie south of the river, Dulwich probably has the most character, the most eclectic mix of historic and modern, the best schools and the most interesting architecture.
It also ranks well in terms of convenience; it straddles the South Circular, one of London’s major ring roads and though south London is often congested for drivers, the area is well served with public transport. Overground railway stations at West Dulwich, East Dulwich, North Dulwich, Denmark Hill, Gypsy Hill, Herne Hill, Peckham Rye, Sydenham Hill and Tulse Hill offer 15 minute commutes to London Bridge, Blackfriars or Victoria stations. There is also a good network of buses for transport around the local area.
Local landmarks which give Dulwich its historic character include: Dulwich College; the old Grammar School designed by Charles Barry; Belair House, an 18th-century mansion that is now a restaurant; and College Road features a working tollgate that has been in operation since 1789. In the early 19th century the Dulwich Picture Gallery was built; it is still open to the public and contains works by the likes of Rembrandt, Rubens and Gainsborough.
The best bits
All three parts of Dulwich have a good range of residential property, from wonderful Georgian and Victorian gems to clapperboard houses that look like they have been transplanted from New England to a range of post-war modernist houses and apartment buildings. One notable piece of property in the area stands at 549 Lordships Lane – London’s only surviving early concrete house, built in 1873, though it is now close to being derelict. However you will find plenty more salubrious properties on offer!
The Dulwich Estate still controls 1,500 acres of property and demands the highest standards of upkeep from its residents. Although some find its rules overly restrictive, it does make the area highly desirable.
Herne Hill is the place to look for large Victorian and Edwardian villas, perfect for families.
Close to Dulwich Village and Dulwich College there are some fabulous 1920s period houses.
- Croxted and Rosendale Roads offer a selection of neat 1960s townhouses, built to infill bomb damage.
- East Dulwich offers a fine selection of Victorian properties.
- Dulwich Village is the most expensive part of the area, East Dulwich is more popular with young professionals while West Dulwich may be more suited to those who are watching their budget.
- The best streets include Court Lane, Alleyn Park, Frank Dixon Way, Woodyard Lane for stunning modernist architecture, Turney Road, Roseway, Pickwick Road, College Road, Calton Avenue, Aysgarth Road, Boxall Road and Burbage Road.
Bringing the Kids
It can easily be said that out of all South London’s suburbs Dulwich is surely the most family friendly. With its village-like feel and tree-lined streets it’s a pleasant environment to live in and there is a good choice of parks and open spaces. Dulwich Park dates back to the late 19th century and features a rowing pond, playgrounds, a bowling green, tennis courts, horse riding facilities and a café. And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there’s always Dulwich Wood. This area of wild and ancient woodlands was once part of the Great North Wood and can be accessed from Dulwich Common.
But of course, it’s not all running around in the forest. Your children will need to go to school and Dulwich has a good selection, including two of London’s leading independent schools.
- Dulwich College was established, as Alleyn’s College, by Edward Alleyn in 1619. It offers day and boarding places for boys between the ages of seven and 18 and – amazingly – has branches in China and South Korea. With more than 1,500 pupils it is one of the UK’s largest independent schools and it will celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2019.
- The James Allen Girls’ School, or JAGS as it is affectionately referred to, was founded in 1741 and is the oldest girls’ school in London. It offers excellent facilities and a range of scholarships, making its places some of the most sought-after in south London. It has large playing fields, a swimming pool and an excellent academic record. This is also a fee-paying school.
- The Charter School is brand-new in comparison to the previous two; it was founded in 2000 by local parents looking for excellence in state education. With 1,000 pupils, it is small for a state secondary school but it offers a disciplined and friendly environment to children from a wide range of backgrounds. Be warned, though, it is oversubscribed and only admits from a very small catchment area.
- Dulwich Village itself offers just five primary schools and five secondary schools locally but there are many, many more in the wider Dulwich, Southwark and Lambeth areas.
- There are approximately 80 primary schools in the London Borough of Southwark, nine of which are fee-paying and 28 of which are affiliated with either the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church.
- Southwark has 30 secondary schools, eight of which are fee-paying and nine of which have religious affiliations.
Relocating to Dulwich
Known for its first-rate schools and eclectic architecture, Dulwich remains one of South London’s most sought after residential suburbs. If you’re relocating to London and bringing your family, you will find that Dulwich is ideal for commuting either to the City or the West End – there are several overland railway stations and the journey to the centre takes approximately 15 minutes. It’s also a great place to settle your kids; as well as good schools, the area has a friendly village atmosphere, vibrant shopping and restaurants and a choice of traditional parks and ancient woodland. Young single professionals, on the other hand, will appreciate the modernist architecture, gastro pubs and excellent location for a London lifestyle. However, if you don’t know the area, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking for a property, and access to someone with good knowledge of the local rental market is virtually essential. Add to that further considerations such as convenience for work, access to suitable schools, transport links for trips back home… This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know London property inside out, we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of London and the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Dulwich is an area of South London that is very sought after by expats. Assignees relocating to London will find that Dulwich is ideal for commuting both to the City & the West End – approx. 15 minutes. It has good schools, a friendly village atmosphere, vibrant shopping & great restaurants and well known for its traditional parks & ancient woodland.
Average Monthly rents - Dulwich