Just across the Thames from the popular South-West London area of Fulham, the leafy streets of Putney have been renowned as one of London’s loveliest spots for more than a century, with J.C.Gelkie describing the area as ‘one of the pleasantest of the London suburbs, as well as the most accessible’ in 1903.
One hundred and twelve years later and Putney remains much the same, although with many more amenities and better connections than it boasted at the turn of the century. Pretty and peaceful, Putney is characterised by relaxed pubs, good restaurants, and cosy coffee shops rather than the clubs and cutting-edge pop-ups of many East and South London areas.
There’s a wholesome, countryside atmosphere to Putney that’s rather rare in London, making it the ideal area for renters looking for somewhere with a combination of urban amenities and a rural lifestyle. It’s the sort of place where locals spend the weekend jogging by the riverside, rowing on the Thames, or exploring the Heath before nursing a pint and tucking into a gourmet steak pie in a warm, historic gastropub.
Image credit: George Rex
This sense of safety and serenity means its very popular with affluent families, many of whom work in the City and send their children to nearby independent schools such as Putney High School for Girls. Young professionals are also increasingly drawn to the area by the chic new apartment buildings, relaxed pace and easy links to Central London.
On a Map
Part of Zone 2 and bordered by Wandsworth, Barnes and Wimbledon, Putney sits firmly in South-West London with a postcode of SW15.
History of Putney London
The first mention of Putney was in the Domesday Book in 1086, when it was known as Putelei and was noted for having a river crossing although the earliest proper bridge didn’t appear here until 1642. It grew from a small hamlet into a village during the Medieval period, and by the 1700s there was a church as well as various schools and almshouses, although it still remained a partly agricultural, working-class area. The 400 acre Putney Heath has was a popular spot for Londoners seeking some fresh air and leisure pursuits since the time of Elizabeth I, and was also the site of some fatal duels over the years, including the death of Colonel Henry Compton during a duel with George Lord Chandos in 1652.
Beautiful homes began to be erected for members of the gentry on Putney Hill around this time, such as Grantham House and Dover House, and as transport routes improved in the 1800s many wealthy, middle class Londoners and their families began to flock to Putney, a trend which continues today. It officially became part of London in 1889.
Transport from Putney London
If you’re looking for an swift commute to work, Putney offers some of the best transport links in South West London. Putney Bridge and East Putney and both on the District Line, which takes around 10 minutes to Earls Court and around 22 minutes to Piccadilly Circus following a speedy change.
Meanwhile Putney Station is just 6 minutes by train from Clapham Junction and 15 minutes from Waterloo, giving you easy access to both London and beyond. Putney is also served by numerous buses into South, West and Central London, while the River Bus from Putney Pier to Canary Wharf Pier takes a scenic hour or so along the Thames.
Cost of Living in Putney London
Like the majority of London, prices in Putney have risen sharply over the last decade, with an increase of 12% on property prices here in the last year alone. However, Putney is still cheaper to rent in than nearby, similar areas such as Fulham and Wandsworth. Being in the Borough of Wandsworth, Putney also benefits from some of the cheapest council tax in London – around 50% cheaper than most other parts of the city!
Most available properties in the area are traditionally Victorian terraces and detached period houses which have been converted into apartments or kept as single properties, but in the last few years many new developments have sprung up offering sleek, modern apartments in the heart of Putney.
As of October 2015 the average rental price for a two bedroom flat in Putney is around £1960, although properties of this size can be found from around £1400 per month.
Restaurants in Putney
Putney is awash with good gastropubs, but few have reached the esteem of The Ship, perched on the riverside by Wandsworth bridge. During the summer the private garden is packed with bright young things and local families enjoying burgers from the outdoor grill, but it’s the winter menu which really shines with delicious British dishes such as roast pork belly, Sunday roasts and chicken pie washed down with craft ales.
Address: 41 Jews Row, London SW18 1TB
Phone: 020 8870 9667
Forget Costa or Starbucks – if you want proper coffee in Putney, Grind Coffee is the best place to go. This Scandinavian-style contemporary cafe roasts their own coffee beans for epic espressos and other drinks, while also serving tasty snacks including pulled pork baps, and hummus & halloumi wraps. Come on the weekend for the blueberry pancakes at brunch.
Address: 79 Lower Richmond Rd, London SW15 1ET
Phone: 0845 862 9994
A beloved family-run Italian restaurant, Enoteca Turi has been around so long that even the most historic of residents can barely remember a time without it. Offering a stellar Italian wine cellar, a cheerful ambience, and traditional menu of regional cuisine such as spaghettini with fresh crab and roast partridge, this restaurant will doubtlessly be popular for another few decades yet.
Address: 28 Putney High St, London SW15 1SQ
Phone: 020 8785 4449
Another riverside gem (there are a fair few of these in Putney), the Boathouse has a chic terrace and balcony for watching life on the river as you tuck into the likes of Dorset lamb chops and charcuterie platters. The pub downstairs is also brilliant for a casual drink with friends, and they often show sports matches on the big screens if you want catch up on the rugby too.
Address: 32 Brewhouse Ln, London SW15 2JX
Phone: 020 8789 0476
Shops in Putney London
Famous among comic lovers across the globe, 30th Century Comics on Lower Richmond Road stocks a unique selection of British and American comics dating back to 1900. A fascinating place to visit even if you don’t consider yourself a comic fan!
Address: 18 Lower Richmond Rd, London SW15 1JP
Phone: 020 8788 2052
Pick up all the Italian specialities you could want at this deli and restaurant, which stocks everything from basil-infused extra virgin olive oil to decadent little biscotti biscuits. Their Christmas selection is particularly wonderful, so make sure to pop in around late November and December if you can.
Address: 75 Upper Richmond Rd, London SW15 2SR
Phone: 020 8877 9906
A bright, airy shopping centre in the heart of Putney, Putney Exchange has all the high street shops you could need under one roof. Everything from Waitrose to Waterstones is here, so you’ve no need to trek into Central London for a retail splurge.
Address: Putney High St, Putney, London SW15 1TW
Phone: 020 8780 1056
Bookworms will swiftly fall in love with this magical independent bookshop near Putney Bridge station, a wonderfully old-fashioned shop that’s been selling great literature and quirky paperbacks to South West London locals since the 1960s. True fans can also book an appointment to visit owner Ray’s enormous warehouse just a short walk away in Fulham too, where over a million books are stocked.
Address: 91 Fulham High Street, London SW6 3JS
Phone: o20 7736 4363
Things To Do in Putney London
Looking for a new painting for the living room, or just want to browse and pick up some presents? Putney Art Market is held on the embankment on the first Sunday of ever month and offers everything from oil paintings to jewellery from both emerging and established designers and artisans. Get down early for your pick of the products.
Address: Putney Pier, Embankment, London, SW15 1JW
Phone: 020 8871 8200
Not only is the Half Moon a lovely pub, it’s also a great live music venue with a range of concerts, tribute acts and club nights frequently held the upstairs room. With performances on nearly every night of the week, there’s something for every musical taste.
Address: 93 Lower Richmond Rd, London SW15 1EU
Phone: 020 8780 9383
On a sunny day it’s hard to beat an afternoon spent on Putney Heath, whether it’s walking the dog, playing cricket, exploring the woods, or having a picnic by the lake (with treats picked up from the local delis, naturally). Meanwhile if the weather turns, head straight to the Telegraph Pub in the heart of the heath for a warming meal.
Address: Putney, SW15
Museums too filled with tourists to enjoy? Make your own cultural adventure in Putney with the local sculpture trail, which features nine sculptures by British sculptor Alan Thornhill dotted around the area on either side of Putney Bridge.
Main image credit: Andrea Sartorati