March 27, 2019
Much of the area south of the Thames has a history that’s closely tied to maritime endeavours. There’s evidence of life in Greenwich dating back to the Bronze Age, but it remained a small fishing village until the 15th century. It has long had historical connections, with Mary I and Elizabeth I both being born in the area, and it was granted Royal Borough status in 2010.
Peckham also has a long history, with a mention in the Domesday Book of 1086. Although the area enjoyed a period of prosperity during the 19th century, mass unemployment led to a decline in the fortunes of the area in the 1960s. However, since the 1990s, there has been European funding injected into Peckham which has transformed the area into the thriving cultural hub it is today.
Elsewhere in SE London, many areas started life as small villages and the expansion of the city has gradually led them to being incorporated as suburbs.
The suburbs have a completely different vibe to central London, and many people who live in the southeast describe their area as feeling like a village. You can really get to know your neighbours and participate in community events, but that doesn’t mean that SE London is lacking in culture.
Peckham is one of the city’s edgiest areas, well-known for its thriving arts and music scene. Camberwell College of Art has developed a booming artistic community in Brockley, and you might be surprised to know that Herne Hill has a vibrant street art scene.
Greenwich is home to the Royal Observatory, where you can learn all about Greenwich Mean Time, and you can also take a visit to the Cutty Sark, which is the only surviving tea clipper in the world and is permanently docked at Greenwich.
Restaurants and bars abound in the districts of south east London. Peckham was named the best place to live in London by the Sunday Times in 2018 and that accolade is in no small part thanks to the area’s eating and drinking scene. You’ll find good brews at the Brick Brewery, and rooftop cocktails at Frank’s.
There’s no need to go to chain restaurants when you live in SE London. Herne Hill is a great destination for foodies, with a huge variety of independent eateries to suit every tastebud, and East Dulwich also has a fantastic selection of cuisine from all over the world.
Don’t miss Greenwich Market, set in a World Heritage site. It’s open 7 days a week, and sells everything from food to antiques. You’ll find the arts and crafts market there on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends, whilst the antiques and collectables market runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The South Bank is another hotspot for independent shopping in the south east. Gabriel’s Wharf has a collection of small shops and stalls selling clothes, crafts and handiworks, or head a little further east to Oxo Tower Wharf, where you’ll find three floors of designer studios selling unique homewares.
The schools in SE London are a big draw for families who are looking to relocate. There’s a good selection of both state and independent schools in the area, so you’re sure to find one to suit your needs. In Herne Hill, St Jude’s CofE Primary, Rosendale Primary and Jessop Primary School are all rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. There are several ‘Good’-rated primary schools in Peckham, including Bellenden Primary, Camelot Primary and Harris Primary Academy.
The King’s College London Mathematics School is run in partnership with King’s College London to provide a high-quality maths education. It’s a free mixed school for children aged 11-18, and is rated by Ofsted as ‘Outstanding’. Other great options for secondary education include the Woolwich Polytechnic School, rated as ‘Good’, and James Allen’s Girls’ School in Dulwich, a fee-paying day school.
SE London is poorly covered by the tube, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in transport options. There are good bus routes south of the Thames, and most of the area is covered by overground trains. The DLR is particularly useful for those living in Greenwich and the Docklands, as it offers quick and easy transport to central London.
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March 27, 2019
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