For most people in London, Vauxhall is just one of the many stops on the Victoria line, or the quick pause that reminds them their train is only a few minutes away from Waterloo. It’s rarely discussed when areas to live in South London are the topic of conversation, but with the arrival of an American Embassy in the near future, modern housing springing up all over the place, great transport connections and a thriving gay village of underground clubs, it’s high time London started paying attention to Vauxhall.
The location, for one, is hard to beat - near the Thames, opposite the Tate Britain and in walking distance to Waterloo, it’s certainly in the busy, urban heart of the city. However it’s still not nearly as expensive as you’d expect for such a location, even with the rapid rise in prices over the last decade, which for many settling here makes the slightly rough-around-the edges ambience more than worth it.
Said residents are largely young professionals and students taking advantage of the easy commute, riverside location and nightclubs, while families tend to move further into South London for more green space and less city noise.
Saying that, Vauxhall isn’t completely devoid of greenery - Vauxhall Park is beloved by locals for it’s lavender garden, children’s playground and adorable model village, while the nearby Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens hosts events throughout the year, including the Winter Wonderland in December. In recent years the term ‘VoHo’ has been applied to Vauxhall as the regeneration of the area speeds up rapidly to compete with neighbouring Clapham. It looks like it won’t be long before Vauxhall emerges as a new South London hotspot.
On a map
Vauxhall is located in the borough of Lambeth in South London. It sits on the borders of Zone 1 and 2, and is surrounded by Lambeth to the north, Kennington to the east, Stockwell to the south, and the Thames to the west.
History of Vauxhall London
Vauxhall is probably most famous for having spawned the name of car manufacturer Vauxhall Motors, but its history goes far beyond this. The area was originally named after Falkes de Breauté, who was the head of King John’s mercenaries in the 1210s, and later developed into Foxhall, then Vauxhall. There are also some who believe it was named by a Russian dignitary who came to inspect the construction of the railway in the 1840s due to the Russian word вокзал [vokzal] which means central railways station.
It was a flat, marshy manor for hundreds of years after it was acquired by Falkes de Breauté, and development here didn’t begin until the mid 18th century, when the marshes were drained. The area also provided market garden produce for London during this time, hence the presence of the New Covent Garden market which still exists today. People began to visit the area after Westminster Bridge opened, and the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens became a huge attraction which also contributed to the later development of Vauxhall as a gay village. The arrival of the railways lines into Vauxhall and Waterloo during the Victorian period meant the area became absorbed into the sprawl of London, and it’s now considered to be a relatively inner-city area.
Transport from Vauxhall London
Aside from Waterloo and Clapham Junction, you’d be hard pressed to find an area in South London with better transport links than Vauxhall. Not only is the train station served by the National Rail and a tube station on the Victoria line, Vauxhall is also home to a huge bus station, so you’ll never have a problem getting home late at night. As for commuting times, the Victoria line from Vauxhall will get you to Oxford Circus in just 6 minutes, making its connection into the centre of London fairly unrivalled.
Cost of living in Vauxhall London
Vauxhall has a large amount of social housing, and as a result many of the available properties here are ex-authority apartments in tall apartment buildings. Terraced cottages, a remnant from the days when housing was built in the area for Victorian rail workers, can also be found on some quieter, more gentrified streets. In recent years many new contemporary residential buildings have begun to arrive in the area, offering chic modern apartments, and plenty more are scheduled to open as Vauxhall develops.
Compared to nearby areas, Vauxhall sits firmly in the middle in terms of pricing, with Stockwell and Kennington offering much lower rents, while Westminster and Pimlico are significantly higher. As of 2017, the average cost of a two bedroom apartment in Vauxhall is £2,080 per month, but properties can be found from £1350.
Restaurants in Vauxhall London
Every resident needs their trusty neighbourhood gastropub for relaxed pints and a solid Sunday roast, and for many Vauxhall locals the Canton Arms surpasses all the competition. The dark wood interiors lend a cosy air on a cold day, but it’s the concise British menu that people really come for, which currently includes confit rabbit leg, Cornish plaice, and slow roasted beef.
Address: 177 S Lambeth Rd, London SW8 1XP
Phone: 020 7582 8710
Vauxhall has a strong Portuguese community, many of them originating from Madeira, so you can expect the finest authentic Portuguese cuisine at this lively family-run restaurant. Serving up homemade tapas such as alentejo pork, Madeira beef skewers and grilled sardines alongside pizza and pasta, it’s a great spot for a relaxed meal with friends. Don't forget to try the delicious pastel de nata pastries for dessert too.
Address: 46A Albert Embankment, Lambeth, London SE1 7TL
Phone: 020 7735 0592
Curiously located in an old salvage shop, Brunswick House has received rave reviews from notoriously picky food critics across the capital for it’s quirky decor and Jackson Boxer’s excellent seasonal, British food. Dishes such as Jerusalem Artichoke with pear, chanterelle mushrooms with smoked egg and caramelised cow curd fill the menu along with artfully-made cocktails, so it’s not hard to see why foodies who would never normally visit Vauxhall are crossing the river in droves.
Address: Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Rd, London SW8 2LG
Phone : 020 7394 2100
A true sign that Vauxhall’s fortune’s are on the up if there ever was one, the Soho House-owned Dirty Burger recently opened a restaurant under the arches in Vauxhall serving up their signature greasy, delicious hamburgers in an industrial setting. Voted one of the best burger spots in the capital, we recommend the cheeseburger with crinkle cut fries for a true Dirty Burger experience.
Address: Arch 54, 6 S Lambeth Rd, London SW8 1SS
Phone: 020 7074 1444
Shops in Vauxhall London
Housed in the same building as Brunswick House restaurant, Lasso is the best place in London to find curiosities, salvage and architectural antiques. Stocking everything from historic floors and fixtures to old London prints and paintings, it’s an absolute treasure trove of historical pieces and one-off objects.
Address: Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Rd, London SW8 2LG
Phone : 020 7394 2100
In the market for something two-wheeled, but a with a bit more power than your average bicycle? Head to Metropolis Motorcyles under the arches in Vauxhall, where you’ll find an array of motorbikes from all the big brands including Ducati and Suzuki. They also sell used bikes and Vespas for those seeking something with added vintage style.
Address: 60-62 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP
Phone: 020 7793 9313
Take a break from the supermarket and broaden your palate (and recipe repertoire) with this brilliant Portuguese and Brazilian deli instead. With a great selection of produce that includes charcuteries, cheeses, sauces, confectionary and much more, it will be a long time before you run out of new things to try.
Address: 280 Wandsworth Rd, London SW8 2JR
Phone: 020 7622 9811
Things to do in Vauxhall London
Escape to the countryside without ever leaving Vauxhall with this petite city farm on Tyers Street. Home to sheep, pigs, rabbits and even a few alpacas, there are plenty of animals for children (and adults) to see, as well as a herb garden and a riding centre for those wishing to take horse riding lessons.
Address: 165 Tyers St, London SE11 5HS
Phone: 020 7582 4204
Take your pick of beautiful blooms at this historic flower market in Nine Elms, which is open six days a week and supplies wholesale flowers to venues all over London. Ideal for every occasion, from a small birthday bunch to decorating an event, it’s no wonder that 75% of London florists get their stock from here.
Address: New Covent Garden Market, London SW8
Phone: : 020 7720 2211
Undoubtedly one of London’s finest galleries, the Tate Britain is just across the bridge from Vauxhall, giving you no excuse not to visit frequently. As well as housing world-renowned artists such as William Blake, Sir John Everett Milais and Franciss Bacon within the walls of the former Millbank Prison, they also host regular art exhibitions and Tate Lates evenings for those wishing to visit after work.
Address: Millbank, London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom
Phone: 020 7887 8888
Yoga and meditation have long been a favourite form of relaxation for people, but over the last few years, floating has become more and more recognised as a way to unwind and lead a healthier lifestyle. Floating involves, you guessed it, floating in a pod or room that is designed for short-term sensory deprivation. It's been known to have several health and stress reduction benefits.
Address: 17b (Unit 20d), St George Wharf, London SW8 2LE
Phone:020 7357 0111
Main image credit: Duncan H