Updated: Apr 15, 2020
There are a lot of opinions floating around the internet about the “Best” places to live in London. The usual suspects are easy to rattle off: Shoreditch, Notting Hill, Battersea, Chelsea. Places like Peckham and Clapton have started to crop up in the lists recently. But we wondered why Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays always seem to get overlooked in the options.
The price range of housing options in the area and spectrum from new-builds to warehouse conversions to terraced houses already makes it accessible to many renting and buying tastes. But if you follow Alex & Matteo, you know we’re big fans of our local area, beyond just the opportunities in the housing market. We’re not shy to say that we’re on a mission to let other people in on the parts of the neighbourhood that we think are so special.
So let’s dissect the idea of “Best Places to Live” a little bit, to see if Rotherhithe does actually have what it takes to make the list…
Transport links are always a big issue. Is it well connected? There are four stations in the area, so depending where you live, chance are the answer is: Yes. The Overground snakes through Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Surrey Quays stations, with the Jubilee line connected at Canada Water and Bermondsey, bringing you into Green Park in under 15 minutes. There are bus routes aplenty, and let’s not forget about the upcoming Cycle Superhighway and Rotherhithe Ferry. Boat, bus, train, bike, and a 15 minute commute to City Airport – we think you’re covered!
Does it have a food scene? Actually it does, and I’m not talking about the Frankie & Benny’s tucked away in the Surrey Quays Leisure Park. You’ll find great Vietnamese food at either Café East or Mama Pho. Simplicity serves up a seasonal menu for a quiet dinner. The owners of Canada Water Café and Plough Way Café have worked hard to create a friendly atmosphere with a delicious home-made menu that will surely not disappoint. And if you’re not satisfied yet, a ten-minute bus ride will have you on Bermondsey Street for Jose Pizarro, Casse Crout, or pizza and a Spritz around the corner at Café Amisha.
Nightlife? Okay, maybe you’ve got us here. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend Rotherhithe for a Friday night rager. That said, there are some amazing pubs. You may not be able to dance til 3am, but we can’t think of a better Saturday afternoon day-drink than a pub crawl around the peninsula, along the river.
If you prefer sport to boozing (us, we like a little of both!), the Surrey Docks Fitness and Water Sport Centre offers sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and a full gym. Canada Water Studios has a regular schedule of fitness, dance, and mind & body courses for a wide range of age groups. Or if you prefer a little less structure there are great walks and jogs to be had in the tree lined Southwark Park, The Stave Hill Ecological Park, The Surrey Dock City Farm and of course the Thames Path.
How does the area fare for cultural offerings? Well, it’s not the Museum Mile I suppose, but there are some quirky gems in the area that should not be overlooked. Sands Films & The Rotherhithe Picture Library is well worth a visit.
Their Cinema Club shows free films every Tuesday night, but be sure to go early to have a nose around the Picture Library stacks.
While not everyone would think a museum dedicated to the first ever tunnel under the Thames would pack a punch, The Brunel Museum is definitely worth dropping by, and they have a packed schedule of both day and nighttime events. Of course there’s the Surrey Quays Leisure Park… it may not be the most beautiful or trendy setting you can think of, but it hosts an Odeon Cinema and Hollywood Bowl. There’s also a Buzz Bingo, if bingo is considered cool?
We’ll dig a little deeper into some of these places and things to do in upcoming dedicated blog posts, but for now we think that’s enough to at least put the area into the running!
Alex Smith & Matteo Donna