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London Area Guides Area Guides   |   10/5/15 2:31 PM

Clapham London Guide

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As one of the trendier places to live in London, Clapham's lively vibe attracts social professionals from all over the world.

Clapham, South West London, has spread outwards over the years, and now straddles both the Lambeth and Wandsworth boroughs. It can broadly be divided into four areas - Clapham North, Clapham Old Town, Clapham South and Clapham Junction - and is one of the most popular places to live in London.

It's nearest neighbour is the trendy Brixton, so you won't be short of places to go for a night out close to home.

With a distance of two miles between North and Junction, these areas are reasonably distinct and can each be considered to have their own particular 'tribes'.

Famous faces such as JK Rowling, Piers Morgan and the Redgrave acting clan have all lived there at some point, so whichever area you choose, there's a high chance you will be in good company. 

On a map

Clapham is nestled in between Battersea and Brixton, in the post code SW4.

History

Clapham history
Photo credit: www.ideal-homes.org.uk

With records dating back over 1,000 years, Clapham has certainly had a long and interesting history. It was mentioned in the Domesday book as 'Clopeham', and grew from a small village in rural Surry to become an upper-class area in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During this time many social reformers moved into the area, including a group who came to be known as 'The Clapham Sect'. William Wilberforce was one of the more famous members, and actually led his campaign for the abolition of slavery from Clapham.

The arrival of the railway transformed the Clapham demographic, as the upper classes moved out and it became a commuter suburb for the working classes from around 1900 onwards. The area was badly bombed during the Second World War, and a number of air raid shelters can still be seen around Clapham.

In the 1980s a regeneration program began and the area has since become gentrified once more. Due to its location across the river from Knightsbridge and Chelsea, the middle classes started migrating south, and now Clapham is known for being affluent and middle class. However, neighbouring areas like Brixton and Stockwell keep the area multi-cultural and diverse.

Who lives here?

People relaxing on the grass at clapham common
Photo credit: www.standard.co.uk

When most Londoners think of Clapham stereotypes, there are two distinct groups that immediately come to mind: Australians, and City Boys. However, due to its size and proximity to very multi-cultural areas such as Brixton, you can find almost every kind of person here. While the Australians and young professionals dominate the High Street on a Saturday night, come Sunday morning the cafes and the Common are full of families and students enjoying brunch from one of the many local restaurants.

Old Town and Clapham South, as the pricier areas, are generally where the families settle while Clapham North and Clapham Junction have more of a student vibe, with lots of flat shares on offer and many nearby bars.

Renting in Clapham

The cost of renting in Clapham has risen steadily over the last few years. However, depending on which part of Clapham you choose, it's still possible to find a bargain. Council tax is also something to consider - with Clapham stretching over the boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth, you could find yourself paying double the amount on the Lambeth side (Clapham North, and some of Old Town and Clapham South) or enjoying some of the cheapest council tax in England on the Wandsworth side!

Average rent for a one-bed flat: £1,500 pcm

Average rent for a two-bed flat: £1,25 pcm

Average rent for a three-bed flat: £2,500 pcm

Find the latest Clapham rental properties

Transport from Clapham London

Image credit: Gareth Williams I
mage credit: Gareth Williams 

Another main draw of Clapham, particularly for the City workers, are the great transport links. From Clapham Junction station, you can get into London within 10 minutes by train. Not only this, but you can get as far away from London as possible too. Trains from Clapham Junction go to the likes of Hastings, Gatwick Airport, Portsmouth and much more.

Areas in Clapham

Clapham North

 

Clapham North outside the station
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org

While the majority of this area has already been gentrified, Clapham North is the last to receive such treatment. As a result it's considered to be the scruffier end, making it cheaper and popular with recent graduates and students who make the most of the nearby bars and clubs (Infernos, anyone?) of Clapham High Street. Clapham North also has its own tube station (Northern line) and an overground station, which makes it ideal for commuting.

Clapham South

Clapham South, red brick period buildings in Abbeville from Rightmovecouk
Photo credit: www.rightmove.co.uk

Also popular with families and the 'professional middle class', Clapham South is located between the eponymous tube station at the southern end of the Common, and Balham station further south. It also includes Abbeville Village, which runs adjacent to the common and is popular for its lovely gastropubs, farmers market and little antiques shops. The only downside of South is that depending on where you live, even though there is a Clapham South station stop on the Northern Line, it feels a little further out.

Clapham Old Town

Clapham Old Town, period property from jhomescouk
Photo credit: www.propertyjhomes.co.uk

With plenty of large Victorian and Georgian terrace houses, this part is popular with middle-class families who want to enjoy the short distance to Central London, while also having good schools and the expansive Clapham Common nearby. The nearest tube station is Clapham Common (Northern Line), located on the corner of the Common and the High Street.

Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction shops in a victorian building with a clocktower
Photo credit: www.geograph.org.uk

Despite the name, Clapham Junction is technically located in Battersea. With the best shopping and restaurant selection of all the four Clapham areas (check 15 great restaurants in Clapham Junction). It's obvious why many recent graduates and young professionals moving to London choose to settle here. Families, on the other hand, tend to find it a bit too hectic and stick to the Old Town and the South. As far as transport is concerned, you've got Clapham North tube station (Northern Line), Clapham High Street station (Overground and Southeastern) Clapham South (Northern Line) Clapham Junction (Overground making it easy to get out of London!).

Moving to Clapham

Great bars and restaurants, lively nightlife, excellent transport links and plenty of open spaces - and they're not all on top of each other. The words "something for everyone" are thrown around lightly, but they perfectly represent Clapham. No matter your tastes, the South West London town has you covered. 

If you're visiting Clapham Junction, we've just reviewed some of the best places to eat near Clapham Junction and 15 of the best things about the area.

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