Recently voted as one of the best places in the UK to live as a young professional, the area is full of affluent young professionals in their twenties and thirties working in industries such as finance and law, as well as families who have crossed the river in a bid to get more for their money as prices in Fulham rise rapidly. Once a rather boring backwater hugging the bank of the Thames, this South West London village situated across the river from Fulham now has a very similar profile to it's northern neighbour when it comes to residents and amenities.
However, that doesn't make Wandsworth a budget destination by any stretch of the imagination. There's plenty of money here, but it's not in the obvious, ostentatious way that's found in Mayfair and Chelsea - here its subtly been invested into property, fancy pubs, and high-end boutiques.
Aside from slightly lower prices compared to the equally family-friendly Fulham, it's not hard to see why so many families have come to Wandsworth that it's been nicknamed 'Nappy Valley' - there are plenty of excellent schools according to Ofstead reports, green spaces such as Wandsworth Common, large period houses, low crime rates and a friendly cafe community in the centre of town. Ever since the Huguenots sought refuge here in the 1500s there has been a French community here too, so you're likely to find yourself with some Gallic friends if you move to the area.
Wandsworth also boasts a mild culinary claim via the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce restaurant which arrived in the area in 1995, and since then a cafe culture has grown in the area with plenty of coffee shops, an independent butcher and even a dedicated craft beer boutique which goes some way to making up for the closed Ram Brewery which had been operating in some form since 1581. Great plans are now underway to transform the site of the brewery into a modern urban quarter for Wandsworth residents to enjoy, so there's never been a better time to consider making a move here.
On a map
Wandsworth is located in the Borough of Wandsworth, which is the largest borough in inner London. It sits on the southern bank of the Thames, with Fulham to the north (across the river), Battersea to the east, and Putney to the west. The Wandsworth postcode is SW18.
History of Wandsworth London
While Iron Age remains have been found in the Thames near Wandsworth and there was certainly a Roman settlement at nearby Putney, Wandsworth itself is mentioned for the first time in the Domesday book of 1086 as Waendlesorde, named after the river Wandle which flowed into the Thames. It grew to the size of a village during the Tudor period, and rose to prominence the late 1500 when many French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution following the Edict of Nantes in France, emigrated to London and settled in Wandsworth. They brought many skills with them, including silk weaving, which led to the creation of various industries and mills in the Wandsworth area which influenced how the town developed. The fascinating Huguenot burial ground can still be visited today.
During the English Civil War Puntey became more well-known as the headquarters of the Parliamentary army, and once more bridges were built over the Thames people began to flock to these riverside areas, which which became busier still one trains were introduced to Wandsworth during the late Victorian period.
Transport from Wandsworth London
Unfortunately, despite its many charms Wandsworth isn’t particularly well-served when it comes to transport - unless you’re commuting to Waterloo or Victoria. There’s no tube station here, so public transport to the area is provided by overland trains from Wandsworth Town and Wandsworth Common, with journeys to Waterloo and Victoria taking 14 minutes from their respective stations.
The nearest tube connection is at East Putney, which is on the District line, and Clapham Junction station which is around 1.5 miles from the centre of Wandsworth.
Cost of living in Wandsworth London
The types of property available in Wandsworth can be easily divided into the old and the new, with plenty of leafy streets offering Edwardian and Victorian houses, both detached and terraced, and shiny modern apartments on the banks of the river. As a rule families tend to stick to the larger-proportioned period houses, while young professionals are often drawn to the slick apartments with views over the Thames, although apartments can also be found in converted houses and mansion blocks closer to the town centre.
As you’d expect from the location Wandsworth isn’t particularly cheap, and on average rent here is more expensive than in neighbouring Putney and Battersea, although prices across the river in Fulham are even higher. As of 2015 the average rental price for a two bedroom apartment in Wandsworth is £2070 per month, although similar properties can be found from £1250.
Restaurants in Wandsworth London
Many argue that Chez Bruce put Wandsworth on the culinary map when it won a Michelin Star, and despite 20-odd years in the neighbourhood it’s still winning allocades, being awarded the esteemed title of ‘London’s favourite restaurant’ in 2014. All this luxury doesn’t come too cheap, but with beautiful French and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine is certainly worth trying to get a booking for a special occasion.
Address: 2 Bellevue Rd, Wandsworth Common, London SW17 7EG
Phone: 020 8672 0114
Perhaps named in a nod to the French film ‘Belleville Rendez-Vous’, there’s more than a hint of Paris in this intimate and chic restaurant on Trinity Road. The glass roof means it’s flooded with light even on the greyest of days, and utterly unbeatable during the summer, while the menu is packed with Gallic classics such as foie gras terrine, beef fillet with burnoose sauce, and a wickedly indulgent chocolate fondant.
Address: 218 Trinity Rd, London SW17 7HP
Paris: 020 8767 5810
Right in the heart of the beautiful Wandsworth Common, family-friendly Skylark Cafe provides the perfect refreshments to follow a hearty walk, a vigorous game of tennis, or even just to accompany a book on a sunny afternoon on the terrace. The healthy, seasonal menu has breakfast, lunch and snacks (think homemade granola for the former and Butternut squash and halloumi salad for the latter), so there’s something for every appetite - and the prices are very reasonable too.
Address: Wandsworth Common, Dorlcote Rd, London SW18 3RT
Phone: 020 8874 9386
Enter an enchanted cave of wonders at Doukan, a magical Morrocan restaurant in Wandsworth which comes highly rated not only by locals, but also by esteemed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay - it was featured in an episode of his show ‘The F Word’ a few years ago. Fortunately, they remain completely unchanged by this injection of fame and still serve up delicious Morrocan delicacies including mezze, lamb tagine and baklava for hungry Wandsworth residents.
Address: 350 Old York Rd, London SW18 1SS
Phone: 020 8870 8280
Shops in Wandsworth London
Sweet-toothed fans of biscuits, cookies, and all things sugary will love Biscuteers, where you can purchase treats and biscuit-related accessories, get a personalised edible gift or even learn to ice cakes properly in one of their renowned icing classes. They also sell made-to-order bespoke cakes for special occasions, be it a small birthday celebration or a lavish wedding.
Address: 13 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1NG
Phone:020 7924 5488
Hit all the high street brands under one roof at this shopping centre in the heart of Wandsworth, which has everything from fashion brands Topshop and Uniqlo to the practical Robert Dyas. There are also various restaurants, a Virgin Active gym and a large cinema here, making it the ideal place to hide from a rainy day.
Address: Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth SW18 4TF
Phone: 020 8870 2141
Wandsworth’s history with beer goes back to the 1500s, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about this new beer shop on Upper Richmond Road. Specialising in craft and rare beers, it’s an excellent place to browse for an unusual hop-based beverage, or pick up a beer-lovers gift - they sell beer books, gift packs and party kegs too.
Address: 134 Upper Richmond Rd, London SW15 2SP
Phone: 020 8780 3168
No affluent London area would be complete without a dedicated free range butcher, and in the case of Wandsworth it’s Cleavers, which offers both quality meats and farm shop products. Along with raw meats including homemade sausages and chorizo burgers alongside the usual suspects, they also prepare their own pies and scotch eggs should you want something quick to put in the oven for dinner. Add fresh vegetables from local farmers, a small wine selection and even ice cream, and you’ve got everything you need for an excellent meal under one roof.
Address: Old York Rd, London SW18 1TG
Phone: 020 8871 0775
Things to do in Wandsworth London
Formerly the home of Kenyan poet Khadambi Asalache, this unique Georgian house was transformed into a museum after his death in 2003 to showcase the beautiful Moorish interiors and 19th century metallic pottery that he collected over the years. Admission is via guided tour only, which needs to be booked in advance, but it’s certainly worth it to see such a fascinating and unusual property.
Address: 575 Wandsworth Rd, London SW8 3JD
Phone: 020 7720 9459
Interested in discovering the true history of Wandsworth, from Roman times to present day? Spend a day at the Wandsworth Museum, housed in a local Victorian mansion, and learn about the cultural and social history of the area through stories of residents who once lived there. Among the collection are quite a few rare items too, including an Iron Age shield which was recovered from the Thames.
Address: 38 West Hill, London SW18 1RX
Phone: 020 8870 6060
A beloved annual tradition, the Oxford and Cambridge boat race takes place in March every year, and actually begins on the river at Wandsworth making it easy for residents to cheer on the start of the race. It’s a close call every year and one of the oldest rowing races in the world, so best to start thinking now about which team you’ll be supporting!
Address: Wandsworth Embankment, SW18
Main image credit: Herry Lawford