London offers plenty of small country-like towns within its postcodes, and Blackheath - in South East London - is another one to add to the list. If the idea of community, green spaces and a slightly quieter way of life appeals to you, it might be time to flutter your eyelids in the direction of SE3 and SE5.
If it’s your first time in the capital, and Blackheath is your first point of call, you would be forgiven for thinking that you have read misread the map and ended up outside of London.
Of course, Blackheath is very much in London, and local transport networks take you into the hustle and bustle of the city in less than 25 minutes. A beautiful heath acts as the centrepiece to the area, which is surrounded by Georgian houses, local restaurants and a smattering of bars.
It might just be time to live the village lifestyle in London’s sprawling metropolis.
On a map
Blackheath is located in South East London, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Lewisham. It’s no surprise to learn, then, that it neighbours both the towns of Lewisham and Greenwich. The area is 6.7 miles to Charing Cross.
First recorded in 1166 as Bleachedfeld, which means “dark coloured heathland” Blackheath referred to the open space that was a meeting place for the ancient hundred of Blackheath. By the 19th century, the name was applied to the developed Victorian suburb the town is known by today.
During the seventeenth century, Blackheath was an assembly point for English armies and, in 1673, the Blackheath Army was assembled to serve in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. The area is also known as the first place in England to feature the sport of golf.
In 1986, Blackheath passed from the Greater London Council to the boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich, where it remains to this day. It is currently one of the largest areas of common in Greater London (85.58 hectares).
Who Lives There?
In the 2011 census, the population of Blackheath was estimated to be 14,039 people, of which 52 percent accounted for females and 48 percent for males. The average age is 36, and the area attracts a mixture of single professionals and young families.
Renting in Blackheath
While there are a splattering of new developments on the outskirts of the area, the majority of properties are made up of period homes. A selection of these homes has been converted into apartments, though there is still a large clutch of houses, many of which come in the form of Georgian homes and Regency villas.
The Greenwich side of Blackheath features Victorian cottages and terraces, as well as converted flats. The nearby Kidbrooke Village development offers newer homes and on-site amenities in the form of shops and cafes.
Expect to pay just over £1,300 a month for a one-bedroom property, £1,600 for a two-bed home and just under £2,200 for a three-bedroom apartment/house. If you’re after a larger home of four or more bedrooms, prices start around £2,500.
Quieter areas in South London, such as Blackheath, don't provide a plethora of transport options when compared to other London postcodes. Especially with the lack of tube services available south of the river.
However, Blackheath train station does offer trains to Charing Cross in around 25 minutes, with London Bridge reachable in an even shorter amount of time. Waterloo is also available via direct links. Those working in Canary Wharf can change at nearby Lewisham and jump on the DLR. Blackheath is in Zone 3.
If you’re a resident of Blackheath, you can expect easy access to local restaurants, boutique shops and one of London’s favourite green spaces.
Locale has three restaurants in London (the other two in Fulham and Southbank) and offers a cosy restaurant and cocktail bar all in one. Food is freshly prepared, and the a la carte menu features lamb, duck, seafood and more.
Address: 1 Lawn Terrace, Blackheath, SE3 9LJ
If you enjoy hand-made food, you might as well have it from a place where the name does what it says on the tin. The food is cooked with seasonal produce from local farms and local bakers in Greenwich. There is even a shop - just in case you like to grub so much that you want to take it home.
Address: 40 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, SE3 0BD
British classics are in the spotlight at The Ivy Cafe Blackheath, where there is all-day dining: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and snacks - you name it. The elegant settings add to the overall aura for a relaxed dining experience.
Address: 43-45 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath, SE3 0TJ
Kite Flying at the Heath
Flying a kite on the heath at Blackheath is so popular that it has held its own festivals which have accommodated up to 15,000 people. The heath itself offers scenic surroundings that are perfect for an afternoon stroll, but many also flock there to partake in serious kite flying.
With Blackheath being the first area in the UK to feature golf, it’s only right that it has one of the finest golfing clubs in the country. Practice your par or birdie, and other such gold-related activities, knowing that you’re doing so in the original spot for hitting a tiny ball with a long stick.
The village is where you can indulge in the laid-back lifestyle. Do some window shopping at the fashion shops, stop for a coffee, and grab lunch at one of the sought-after restaurants. There is also a farmers’ market at the station car park on Sundays.
Moving to Blackheath
Blackheath is a popular postcode and has cross-appeal for families and younger professionals who want to get away from the noise of London, yet live close enough so that it’s in easy reach. You can live the chilled lifestyle at a more affordable price than other village areas like Hampstead and Dulwich. Residents of Blackheath tend to stay for the long haul, thanks to its active community and tranquil settings.
Main image credit: www.londonnewsonline.co.uk