Moving to Bermondsey
Are you moving to Bermondsey? Closer to the City of London you cannot get. This previously run-down industrial area has undergone rapid regeneration, cleaned up its act and is now an investor’s paradise. With all the amenities that London has to offer and excellent transport links for commuters, Bermondsey has maintained a village feel within the historic, tightly crammed streets that lead to the modern and up-market quayside developments. It has recently been named one of the best places to live in London. It was first mentioned in the Domesday Book as Bermondseye in 1086.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Bermondsey 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 Bermondsey on the Map
Bermondsey, in the borough of Southwark, South East London, includes the postal codes SE1 and SE16. Two and a half miles south-east of Charing Cross, it has Southwark to the west, Deptford and Rotherhithe to the east, Peckham and Walworth are south, and the City of London is to the north, just over the river Thames. London Bridge is in the northern section.
- Bermondsey Street Underground Station, on the Jubilee Line in Zone 1, is under 10 minutes away from Canary Wharf and 12 minutes from Bond Street.
- South Bermondsey Railway Station in Zone 2 is on the rail network, just a few minutes from London Bridge.
- There are seven bus routes from Bermondsey, some operating during the day, some at night, and two offering a 24-hour service.
- Cycling has become extremely popular, taking just 24 minutes to the city, with the first Quietway route running five and a half miles along quiet backstreets and traffic-free paths. There is a new half-mile cycle and pedestrian link connecting South Bermondsey station and Surrey Canal Road, utilising unused Network Rail land.
- Walking to the city will take around an hour.
- Heathrow Airport is about an hour’s drive from Bermondsey. The airport handles over 77 million passengers per annum. Gatwick Airport is around an hour and fifteen minutes away, handling around 40.5 million passengers per year.
The metamorphic transformation of Bermondsey, from a neglected area with a host of unused warehouses to a sophisticated urban area, has taken just a few decades. The locals are mainly younger professionals working in the city, who welcome the quick commute, the fantastic restaurants and the warehouse apartments. Back in the day, such old favourites as Sarson’s Vinegar, Courage Breweries, Peak Frean’s Biscuits and Hartley’s Jam built their factories here, earning the area the nickname of the Larder of London. These old industrial buildings are now high-end apartment blocks, galleries and art studio.
ST SAVIOURS ESTATE
Located just off Tower Bridge Road and within walking distance to Southwark, London Bridge and Bermondsey Tubes, the demographics here show that the residents are mainly in junior and senior management, aged between 20 and 59 years of age, 50% are in full time employment and around 35% are single. The residents are mostly white, followed by mixed ethnicity and Indian. The accommodation is entirely apartments, the majority of which are rented from the council.
The only freshwater lake in Docklands, Canada Water once formed part of Canada Dock. There are still some Victorian streets and 19th century warehouse conversions, but redevelopment in the ‘80s gives the area a modern feel. With lovely cycle routes and walks along the river, the two Thames Clipper docking points enable those employed in Canary Wharf a refreshing commute by boat. Accommodation is mainly in apartments, but there are a few terraced houses too.
This stretch of riverbank was the core of the Larder of London. Butler’s Wharf was dominated by dried fruit, spices and tea and coffee warehouses, dating back to 1873. The lifespan of the warehouses was a century before they closed up. In the 80s – along with the regeneration of what is Canary Wharf – the industrial buildings and surrounds were redeveloped into the commercial paradise it is now. The overhead goods gantries, linking the warehouses, still criss-cross the streets. The area was once a riverside street but has earned its place as a district in its own right. Running along the Thames from Tower Bridge to Bermondsey, the cobbled streets and warehouse conversions have something that appeals to all, both modern and traditional. Incorporating Butler’s Wharf and St Saviour’s Dock, and including Tower Bridge Road and some of Tooley Street, this premium address, once an important industrial centre in Victorian times, now is solely for residential, retail, luxury and leisure purposes.
The converted warehouses are the major draw, housing flats, apartments, restaurants and bars. The flats have maintained many period features, with the cream of the crop having balconies overlooking the Thames. Shad Thames is amongst the most coveted London areas, for those who can afford it.
Mainly lofts and Georgiana, these are the old city, which was not bombed in WWII or redeveloped since the ‘40s. With a plethora of cafes, bars, restaurants, and the food and antiques markets, it’s difficult to imagine that this area was ever derelict. Young professionals, looking for a characterful conversion property in a quaint villagey area, are in the right place. This is true urban living for, despite Southwark Park, there is very little green space.
GRANGE WALK, BERMONDSEY SPA
As part of the plan to regenerate the Bermondsey Spa area, Grange Walk, with 56 new homes, is a new development. 22 of the apartments will be for shared ownership, with 34 for social rent. Complying with the London Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, this up-market development is at the highest level possible currently and provides 44 car parking spaces, 205 bike spaces and 6 spaces for mobility scooters.
THE MOROCCO STORE
A converted spice warehouse, from the Victorian era, along with a new building on Leathermark Street, make up 12 luxury apartments with some of the original features. The new building won the Brick Design Award and is moments away from Bermondsey Street and Borough Market. All care was taken that the original building retained its historical charm.
THE GUINNESS TRUST BUILDING
This Victorian building called Snowfields is close to London Bridge station and was built in 1897 to house the influx of industry workers. There were four such estates, one was demolished and rebuilt to house the Guinness Trust, one was demolished completely, one still exists in Kennington and Snowfields in Southwark completes the four, built by the philanthropic Sir Edward Guinness, of the famous brewing family. 30 more flats are being added to this huge estate to replace two storeys that were removed in the ‘70s. The buildings have maintained their historic appearance, complete with heavy industrial signage that dates back to the 1800s.
Who Lives and Works in Bermondsey
The population of Bermondsey and Old Southward stood at 128,807 in 2015. 57.3% were born in England, with 4% born in Nigeria and 4.7% in South America. 76% of the population speak English. 18% of the working residents are professionals, followed by elementary, elementary admin and service, and associate professional and technical.
This is not a typical family area, and many of the flats are rented by young professionals who want to live an urbanised life in an area with bars, pubs and restaurants, close to the City of London. These include people from all walks of life such as lawyers, bankers, technical and IT personnel, tourism and sales people.
The Best Bits
Voted in the top 10 of places to live in London, based on factors such as the crime rate and school performance, to the vibrant nightlife, Bermondsey has transformed from the criminal underground of the ‘60s and ‘70s to a creative hub, with stunning accommodation, great views, and a quick train ride under the Thames to get to work.
- Bermondsey Street is a veritable food-lover’s paradise, with delis, bakeries, and gourmet markets close by. This ancient street hosts the Bermondsey Antiques Market on Fridays and the Bermondsey Street Festival.
- Wedged between Borough Market and London Bridge, the area is surrounded by the tourist destinations in London, while retaining its small-town community spirit.
- The ancient Bermondsey Street, which was virtually burnt down in 1666 during the Great Fire of London, still retains St Mary Magdalen Church built over 700 years ago, which survived the flames. The tranquil and charming green spaces surrounding the church, with memorials and tombs, provides a peaceful environment to relax and escape.
- Southwark Park, has a lake, wild turtles and pedalos, a bowls club and a massive sports area looking over Canary Wharf. The impressive bandstand in the centre has monumental columns and is probably the most impressive of its kind in London.
- Bermondsey Spa Gardens offers picnic areas and kids playgrounds. The proud recipient of the Green Flag award, its complex circular design is both sophisticated and intricate.
- Jacob’s Island is a former rookery which was immortalised as a ‘repulsive lineament of poverty’ in Charles Dickens Oliver Twist.
- Close by, the Stave Hill Ecological Park on the Rotherhithe Peninsula, has ponds and streams, meadows and woodland areas. The park attracts a stunning variety of birds, bats, dragonflies and butterflies. Run by conservationists, the views across the meadows to the city backdrop is spectacular.
- The 200-year old Downings Roads Floating Gardens, located at the Tower Bridge mooring space, is a catwalk made up of overgrown barges, covered with trees and flowers.
- The 19th century Leather Exchange buildings were built as a tannery, which flourished due to cheap labour and constant water supply, animal hides from London’s butchers and a constant market of the wealthy looking for the latest leather goods. In this poor area of that time, the Leather Exchange boosted the local economy. Unfortunately, the clock tower and the slaughterhouse and other buildings were destroyed by the WWII bombings. But much of it still remains and it is now a fashionable area for small businesses to thrive in.
- Britain’s first tinned food is said to have been canned here in 1811.
- The Friday Antiques Market in Bermondsey Square, frequented by experts and dealers, and the Saturday Borough Market, popular with avid foodies, attract visitors from near and far. Maltby Street Market is handy for fresh produce and some amazing and famous chocolate brownies and salt beef sandwiches.
- The Menier Chocolate Factory is a theatre located in the original factory. It is less than a mile from the West End and showcases musicals, stand-up comedy and plays.
- The UK’s best small nightclub is in the Burmondsey/Southwark area.
- The Unicorn Theatre, first founded in 1947, is an invaluable experience for children and adults.
- Ugly Duck opened its first project in Bermondsey in 2012. It adopts the philosophy of revitalising unused space and using them for creative projects, connecting the public to these public areas. 47/49 Tanner Street unlocked accessibility of a 19th century warehouse to emerging artists.
- The Finnish Church Sauna is in Canada Water.
Bringing the Kids
With its proximity to the capital and its wealth of history and culture, London has a great reputation for some of the best schools in the country.
- There are 77 state primary schools in the Bermondsey/Southwark area. All state schools run on the catchment system, so it is imperative that you choose accommodation in the right area for the school of your choice. Some of these schools, such as the Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overy, and the Charles Dickens Primary School, have be rated as outstanding by Ofsted.
- 30 state secondary schools, including Ofsted’s outstanding St Saviours and St Olave’s CofE, and Harris Academy, are local to Bermondsey.
- The 17 independent, or private, schools in the Southwark area charge fees. They do not necessarily follow the National Curriculum, and they do offer a wider range of subjects than state schools. The International Baccalaureate is being offered by more and more independent, or private, schools.
- There are a number International Schools in London, catering to the large number of expats in this popular destination. These schools allow expat students to continue with the same syllabus as they were previously studying. The schools are expensive but are good for short-term postings.
- There are many universities in London, catering for a wide variety of courses.
Relocating to Bermondsey
This vibrant, historical centre is a mere 10-minute tube ride to the capital city, along with all it has to offer. With a wide variety of accommodation, from trendy bachelor pads to multi-roomed luxury apartments, this vibrant area attracts both young professionals and established families. The wealth of culture on the doorstep and some of the best educational facilities in the country make this a popular destination for expats and their families. The complicated UK rental system and enrolment to schools based on residential areas may see daunting at first. Ease your way into the city with the aid of a relocation specialist and avoid the headaches of property negotiations and red tape.
Average Monthly Rents in Bermondsey