Moving to South Bank, Southwark and Lambeth
Are you moving to South Bank, Southwark and Lambeth? As central London becomes ever more expensive, the South Bank’s proximity to the City and the West End is attracting new development and a wave of gentrification. It’s cool to live in the south these days!
Our free, in-depth Moving to South Bank, Southwark and Lambeth 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 the South Bank, Southwark and Lambeth on the map
Spanning the south bank of the River Thames from Vauxhall to Bermondsey and enclosed by a broad, sweeping curve of the river, the area this report is focusing on includes the South Bank, Southwark, Borough, Lambeth and Kennington. All these areas lie within easy reach and are well connected to central London and the City, as well as affording easy access, by rail at least, to Kent and south east England.
The patch contains two of London’s major rail terminals—Waterloo and London Bridge, serving the West End and the City respectively. Under development still, the new Thameslink Blackfriars station will have an entrance on the south side of the river, allowing residents and commuters access to the busy 68-station north-south route through London. In addition there are tube links on the Bakerloo, Northern, Victoria, Waterloo & City, and Jubilee underground lines. Nine bridges across the Thames, including the pedestrian only Millennium Bridge, mean that the Thames is not the north-south barrier it was in the early days of the city and residents who live near the river can easily commute across on foot.
Lying within the two London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, this part of London can further be sub-divided into the following areas:
- Southwark—home to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, industrialised, gentrified, deserted and war-damaged, this part of London has a checkered history. However, once again on an upswing, there are some major regeneration projects currently underway, not least the redevelopment of Elephant and Castle which will provide more than 3,000 new homes, 6,000 jobs and London’s largest new park for more than 70 years. The most desirable properties are to found along the riverfront, though gentrification is now moving inland at quite a pace. SoBo—short for ‘south of Bermondsey’ is popular with creative and hipsters, while City money prefers swanky Bankside—look out for Bankside Lofts, the Jam Factory, Horsleydown Square, Victor Wharf and Steedman Street.
- Borough—lying within Southwark, Borough is a small area best known for having London’s premier food market. Theatres, gastro pubs, art galleries and the Shard, Europe’s tallest building, have boosted its popularity exponentially in recent years. When it comes to property, there’s something for everyone—Georgian and Victorian houses, entire or converted into apartments, warehouse conversions, modern developments such as Neo-Bankside and, for those on a budget, ex-council properties that are now private. Worth a look: MyBaSE1 is a smart new block of one and two bedroom flats just off Great Suffolk Street; Atollo two-bedroom apartments in Pilgrimage Street; Lionsgate apartments in Long Lane; and Bermondsey Central on Maltby Street.
- Lambeth—lending the entire borough its name, colloquially Lambeth is actually the northern portion of the fourth most densely populated metropolitan area in the country. This north west corner of the river’s south bank is particularly popular with young professionals due to its proximity to central London, its legendary nightlife and the fact that accommodation here is much more affordable than north of the river. From marshland to industrialisation to urban hipsters! Popular apartment developments include: the Lilian Baylis Old School, comprising 149 homes including 30 loft-style apartments in a converted 1960s school; St George Wharf is a landmark development on the riverfront which will comprise more than 822 privately-owned apartments.
- Kennington – lying between Waterloo and Clapham, Kennington has stealthily become one of south London’s hottest property spots. Once again easy access to the centre of town combined with reasonable pricing seem to be the draw—but an additional attraction here is the number of Georgian and neo-Georgian properties that are available, making this part of the area better suited to families. This is the place for leafy tree-lined streets and the sound of cricket ball against bat at the Oval international cricket ground – what could be more quintessentially English? Look out for gorgeous Georgian houses around garden squares—Cleaver Square springs to mind—Victorian terraced houses, ex-council properties and converted industrial heritage buildings. Development along the Albert Embankment has resulted in a number of office buildings being converted to residential use and, due to its proximity to the Houses of Parliament, the area has always been popular with MPs.
- The South Bank—although technically all the above areas are on the south bank of the Thames, the South Bank is more specifically a narrow strip of riverfront stretching from Lambeth Bridge in the west to St Saviour’s Dock in the east. This is the most desirable part of the area, not least for its convenience for crossing the river but also, of course, for those river views. You’re unlikely to find a whole house in this strip of land—it’s always been used for docks and light industry. The choices here are between stunning converted warehouses and sophisticated riverside apartment blocks—and price rises here have been outstripping most of the rest of London since 2009. For urban cool, take a look at One Tower Bridge, a development of eight new apartment blocks with views of the iconic bridge and a 24-hour Harrods concierge. Or South Bank Tower—a development of approximately 170 apartments which will have the largest roof garden in London—due in 2015. Then there’s the ‘Boomerang’, One Blackfriars—a 550 foot tower which will feature winter gardens and changing colours beneath a glass skin. It’s certainly one of the most exciting quarters of London at the moment.
Who lives here and why?
Famous residents past and present have included Charles Dickens, the artist William Blake, Bounty captain William Bligh, Vincent Van Gogh, Bob Marley, Kevin Spacey, Dr Who assistant Karen Gillan, and Florence Welch of Florence & the Machine. In addition, because it’s a ten minute walk from the Houses of Parliament, there have been an extraordinary number of British politicians who have called the South Bank home at one time or another.
So why live here now? North of the river, anywhere as close to the centre as this comes with a formidable price tag. Naturally, the recent gentrification of the area and the whole-scale development of luxury riverside apartments has pushed prices up. But this is still a relatively cheap area, given its location. And furthermore, it’s one of the city’s great entertainment hotspots—the South Bank Centre comprises the Royal Festival Hall for concerts, the National Theatre with its three stages, the Hayward Gallery and the British Film Institute cinema. Nearby the giant IMAX screen, Tate Modern and the Old and Young Vic theatres complete the picture.
However, it remains probably more popular with young urban professionals than with families. It’s not as green and leafy was the boroughs out to the west of London and houses with gardens are scarce and so command a comparative premium.
The best bits
- The River Thames—for those lucky enough to snag an apartment or office overlooking the Thames and the London skyline to the north—wow! But even if you don’t own the view, it’s still hard to beat living in the vicinity of Old Man River.
- Convenience—if you want to live in London and dispense with the cost of running a car, there couldn’t be a better area. Trains, tubes and buses abound and if you’re really lucky you could be walking distance to your office across the water.
- Entertainment – the South Bank Centre draws famous names from all over the world, the Old Vic productions are truly extraordinary and you can catch international cricket at the Oval. Ride the London Eye, drop off for dinner and then head for the clubs – you’ll find some of London’s best nightlife down here.
- Warehouse living – if you’ve always hankered after the bare brick walls and open space of a converted warehouse, this is the place to head for. Shad Thames has some amazing conversions and the whole area has a wealth of industrial heritage that is now being offered up for sophisticated city living.
Bringing the kids
Although gentrification has transformed this part of London in recent years, there’s still a slightly gritty edge to it. That can be a positive if you’re young and single but may not be so appealing if you’re bringing the family. Furthermore, this is not an area blessed with lots of houses until you move further inland from the river. The waterfront has always been taken up by commercial and industrial concerns, so for a house with a garden you’ll need to look to the southern end of the quarter.
Those reservations notwithstanding, plenty of people do live here with families and children and there are a number of schools to choose from. Most professionals living in this area choose fee-paying schools, the best of which are a few miles south in Dulwich: Dulwich College, Alleyn’s School and Jane Allen’s Girls School. There is also one international school in Lambeth, the Schiller International School.
Relocating to the South Bank, Southwark or Lambeth
If you’re thinking about coming to live in the shadow of Europe’s tallest building, you’ve chosen a part of London with a long history and an exciting future. There’s so much going on here in this crowded quarter of the capital—from the Mayor’s office to a world-class entertainment centre, from bold industrial heritage like Tate Modern to ground-breaking architecture like the Shard. Furthermore, it couldn’t be easier to get to the City and the West End—you could even do your commute on foot.
Property around the South Bank offers an intriguing mix of converted warehouses and factories, brand new apartment towers and, further south, Victorian terraces and Georgian houses. Prices, although rising as the UK comes out of the recession, are favourable compared with those north of the river. There’s a gritty Victorian feel to this area and it might not be an obvious choice for expats with kids, but there are good schools in neighbouring Dulwich and some nice parks once you get away from the conurbation of the riverside. However, for transferees arriving from abroad, it’s not always obvious where to start looking and the South Bank covers a wide range of rental values. Knowing where to find the right property at the right price can be bewildering. 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. 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.
There’s so much going on here – from the Mayor’s office to world-class entertainment, from bold industrial heritage (like Tate Modern) to ground-breaking architecture like the Shard, Europe’s first “vertical city”. It couldn’t be easier to get to the City and the West End – you could even do your commute by foot or Boris Bike! Homes around the South Bank are an intriguing mix of converted warehouses, brand new apartment towers and, further south, Victorian terraces and Georgian houses. Rents are favourable compared with those north of the river.
Average monthly rents - Southwark
Average monthly rents - Borough
Average monthly rents - Lambeth
Average monthly rents - Kennington
Average monthly rents - South Bank