Moving to Tooting
Tooting, or Tooting Bec, was named after Bec Abbey in Normandy when the land was bequeathed to the abbey after the Norman conquest. An up-and-coming district, it has new-found popularity with younger professionals and families. Part of the Wandsworth borough of London, south of the city, the suburb maintains its gritty charm whilst undergoing its transformation into a uber-cool area. It is a mere 12 minutes from London by car or taxi.
Putting Tooting on the Map
Five miles south-west of Charing Cross and to the east of Wimbledon, Tooting has recently been voted the tenth best place in the world to live by Lonely Planet so it is a far cry from its ordinariness of ten years ago, with the added advantage of benefitting from London’s efficient public transport system. The average price of a semi-detached house in Tooting has recently reached the £1million mark. The two Northern Line stations have created the Northern-line effect, attracting more and more families and professionals who need easy access into the City. Tooting benefits from London’s excellent public transport system as follows.
- The underground, with Tooting Broadway and Tooting Bec stations on the Northern Line, links to London Bridge and Waterloo in around 20 minutes, 25 minutes to Moorgate.
- Thameslink rail services pass through Tooting Station, running through Blackfriars to St Alban’s northwards and through Wimbledon to Sutton southwards.
- Five main bus routes pass through Tooting during daylight hours, and there is also one-night bus service.
- Tooting is on the CS7, a cycle superhighway which runs from Wimbledon to Tooting on its way to the capital.
- Tooting’s London Road connects with the south coast via the A23, which in turn connects to the M25, offering easy access to the whole of England.
Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports can be reached in around an hour, either by road or public transport.
Tooting’s newly found popularity can be put down to it being an affordable option, benefitting from the overspill from areas such as Clapham and Balham, and for newcomers wanting more house for their money than either of these areas can supply. It is neither the most expensive nor the cheapest district south-west of London, and it offers a variety of rental choices, from newly-built apartments close to Wimbledon to flats situated above ground level shops. This area, with a strong sense of community, along with the 200 plus acres of green space, gives it an open, country feel without losing its proximity to the capital.
The majority of the single-family houses are Edwardian and Victorian terraces, maisonettes, new build apartments and 1920s cottages. There is a vast variety of converted flats available for rental, along with purpose-built apartments.
THE HEAVER ESTATE
Particularly good for large period houses, this conservation area suits families needing bigger houses with gardens. Part of the estate overlooks Tooting Bec Common and the Lido swimming pool. Located on the edge of Balham, there is easy access to cafes, restaurants and bars and notable shopping facilities.
With purpose-built and converted flats dominating the suburb there are very few houses of any kind and the majority of residences are rentals. This is the least expensive area of Tooting and the majority of the working residents are in supervisory or junior management positions.
This modern development, opposite Tooting Bec Common on Massingberd Way, was built in the late ‘90s and is a mix of flats and houses. It is popular with families and with professionals. There is plenty of parking, lovely communal gardens, a nursery and a medical centre. Tooting Bec underground station is nearby, as are a number of bus routes.
BALHAM HIGH ROAD
Balham High Road has low-priced, for London, rentals above the shops, although these flats have a reputation for being noisy. The area is a mix of apartment blocks, converted flats and terraced and semi-detached houses. In the main, the employed residents hold positions such as higher and intermediate managerial or professional positions.
This is the most expensive of the surrounding areas, and Tooting Bec Road is mainly dedicated to purpose-built flats, with almost no houses. Again, those employed are mostly in higher managerial or professional positions.
Its postcode is within the Graveney ward, in the constituency of Tooting. The accommodation is mainly terraced houses and flats, with most of those employed being in supervisory positions. 53% of residents were born in England, which is well below the English average.
A typically residential family area, there are few of London’s pubs and clubs here. However, there are great schools and property types. Built around Furzedown House, which dates back to the 1700s, and where it got its name, the area surrounds the central Moyser Road with small local businesses such as florists and hairdressers. Early Edwardian and Victorian properties with between two and five bedrooms are found here, along with a recreation ground for the kids. Furzedown Recreation Ground has tennis courts, a playground and bowling green.
Who Lives and Works in Tooting
The total population is around 17,000 people, most of whom are in senior management and supervisory positions, so a well-educated bunch. IT professionals, lawyers, bankers and the like work in the City of London but live in relative peace and quiet in this growing neighbourhood. Its proximity to London, along with a strong community spirit and excellent public transport attracts many families and young professionals looking for reasonably priced accommodation.
This is probably one of the most diverse area of London, with a mix of English-born and Asian people and others, living in harmony. Tooting’s outlying, more suburban areas are quieter than Streatham and Balham, and less expensive than most of the nearby London neighbourhoods.
The Best Bits
Tooting town centre may have a higher crime rate than its surrounding suburban areas, but it was still rated the 10th best place to live in the world.
- Tooting Common, which dates back to medieval times, is located in Tooting Bec and is a huge expanse of trees and grassland situated centrally between Streatham, Balham and Tooting. Quite busy during the summer, the park is frequented by horse riders, dog walkers, footballers, and fishermen. Large oak trees and wide avenues, along with stretches of acid grassland contribute to the common being a Site of Metropolitan Importance.
- Tooting Bec Common lake is alive with terrapins. These should not be handled as they may carry salmonella.
- Figges Marsh is ten hectares of parkland close to Tooting railway station. Named after the owner, William Figge, the land belonged to him way back in 1357.
- The Grade 1-listed, 1931 Gala Bingo Hall is a local treasure. Formerly it was the Granada Theatre and hosted performers such as The Beatles and Frank Sinatra.
- Tooting Market, with its multicultural stalls, and the indoor Broadway Market are open from Monday to Saturday.
- Hanoi Rocks, a Finnish band, wrote of their experiences in Tooting in the ‘80s. The song was called ‘Tooting Bec Wreck’.
- A great area for fitness fanatics, Tooting Leisure Centre has an indoor sports hall, a gym and a swimming pool. Tooting Bec Lido is England’s biggest freshwater outdoor swimming pool. Anytime Fitness and The Gym are both open 24-hours a day.
- Tooting Library is open 7 days a week. It offers kids chess clubs and reading groups.
- On the surface of the planet Mars is a 28km crater called Tooting, named after its discoverer who was born here.
- One of the best curry corridors in the UK, the high street has some incredible Asian restaurants.
- Restaurants here have strange names, such as Plot, Mud, Panda and Tota.
- Tesco Express, TK Maxx, Primark and Boots, along with a large Sainsbury’s are all present in the town centre, as well as ample parking.
- Tooting is the hometown of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahan.
- The Big London Bake takes place in summer, with guests being set challenges by talented professional bakers.
- The area hosts plenty of gastropubs.
- There are a number of family-owned fabric and haberdashery outlets in the markets and on the high street, making this a popular haunt for amateur and professional seamstresses.
- A 25-minute trip to London offers all the best in theatres and museums for the culture-vultures and parks and recreational facilities for the family.
Bringing the Kids
Tooting is in a family-centric neighbourhood, with lovely open green spaces, making it ideal for kids. There are 13 state primary schools, three secondary, seven independent and two higher education facilities.
- The UK works on a catchment system for state schools, so it is imperative that you live in the same area as your school of choice.
- St Boniface Roman Catholic School and St Anselm’s Catholic Primary School are both rated ‘outstanding’ primary schools by Ofsted, along with Tooting Primary School. Graveney School and Ernest Bevin School (for boys) are ‘outstanding’ secondary schools.
- Hillbrook School, Gatton Primary (Muslim) and Broadwater Primary schools are highly rated for younger children, with Burntwood School recommended for older girls.
- Furzedown is known for its great state schools.
- There are a number of nursery schools in the area.
- Independent and private schools charge quite hefty fees but come with an excellent standard of education.
- London boasts many International Schools. These are expensive but are especially good for students on short-stay. They have long waiting lists so it is important to get the kids on the list.
- Nearby universities include South Thames College Wandsworth, St Georges University of London and South Thames College Merton. However, there are numerous universities in the London area.
Relocating to Tooting
A good family area, with all that London has to offer in terms of nightlife and culture on the underground, train and bus routes, a variety of great accommodation from large Victorian to modern apartments and lovely open areas make this the ideal neighbourhood for both families and young professionals. Earning its 10th place in the world to live puts Tooting high in the London stratosphere of desirable areas and that is something to take into consideration! However, the complicated school admission policy may be hard to tackle, along with rental lease negotiations and finding the right accommodation. Leave this to an experienced relocation specialist to allay all your fears and make your move exciting and enjoyable.
Average Monthly Rental - Tooting