One Movebubbler’s experience of living in Kennington London
A couple of years back I found myself looking for a calm and localised area in walking distance of my work in central London. I didn’t want to have to sacrifice everything I earned in return, and I was looking for a rare blend of calm, beauty and local feel. The smartest first step was to look south of the river, and the best place I’ve lived in London up to now would be the quiet back streets of north Kennington.
Kennington is unpretentious and diverse, and has a very distinct attractiveness brought to life by its green spaces and smart Georgian architecture. Despite being so close to the centre of London, it is not defined by major junctions or tube lines and retains the elusive charm of an area that actually looks and feels lived in. As you can tell, I was very proud to be resident and not-so-secretly want to move back.
Connectivity is one of my favourite benefits to living in Kennington, being so closely situated to London busiest railway station at Waterloo. It’s also close to the tube hub at Elephant and Castle, and to the major junctions at Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. Vauxhall station also acts as a major hub for bus connections, many of which also run down Kennington’s central artery, Kennington Road.
The cost of renting in Kennington
It’s not the cheapest area to rent in London but Kennington certainly represents some of the best value within Zone 1. The range of prices in Kennington can easily be found in Zones 2 or even 3, so for a 20 minute walk to the Southbank I think this is a great deal.
If you like the area, you’ll find a lot of variation between different streets and types of building so you should find good choice, though most of the housing stock is older with not too many new builds.
2 beds come in at around £1,500 to £2,200 on average
3 beds, you can get a whole house on a secluded square for around £2,500
Food and Drink
My favourite pub in London, The Ship deserves a regular visit for anyone living locally, or even far away. I still travel up to an hour just to relax in the large and comfortable wooden bar here, with excellent food served most of the day at reasonable prices. Much like Kennington itself, The Ship is unpretentious and genuine.
There are plenty of other great pubs in Kennington, including a cluster down at the Kennington Road / Kennington Lane junction, and with honourable mention to the rightly popular Prince of Wales on Cleaver Square. You’ll find punters playing boules on the square itself on a summer evening.
The best independent supermarket in London is nearby Greensmiths, found on The Cut, just below Waterloo station. The selection can only be described as reliable and quality food, with a concession granted to the highly respected Ginger Pig butchers. The proprietors pursue a firm passion for offering customers excellent, caring service alongside their commitment to caring about what you eat.
The weekly City and Country farmer’s market at St Mark’s Church is known for being one of the better food events in London. Certainly worth coming by on the weekends. Even if you’re not shopping for anything in particular it is one of the pillars of Kennington’s community feel.
Kennington is primarily residential, which is why it’s so great to value the many green spaces you’ll find. Kennington Park, Harmsworth Park and the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens give you plenty of rest from London’s busy life.
The Kia Oval cricket ground is one of the homes of the England cricket team, as well as the Surrey County Cricket club. You don’t need to be a fan of cricket to love it, a true spectator’s sport with friends if you don’t care for your seamers from your googlies!
The Imperial War Museum was a childhood favourite of mine, and it’s recently been through a major renovation, opening again in 2015 to the public. Like a lot of London’s museums it’s free entry, and the topics explored are well beyond any limited stereotypes of a war museum that might contain only ‘guns and battleships’. On my recent visit, the curation felt much more like a social history, relevant far beyond the military or war itself.
The Tate Britain, one of our finest collections of classic and modern British art, also houses many Turner paintings and a glorious cafe in a cavernous crypt. It’s one of my favourite places to while away extra hours. It’s not technically in Kennington but it’s only just over Vauxhall Bridge.