Seen as a genuine alternative to nearby trendy areas like Clapham, Balham and Brixton, Streatham, or St. Reatham, as it's cleverly known as by the locals, is a town in south east London that's just five miles away from Central London.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Streatham, though. A little over 10 years ago it was voted the worst town in London. Now, before you speed off faster than one of the many trains that goes through the area, its fortunes are vastly different than they were in 2005.
A busy high street, convenient transport links, green spaces, highly-rated local schools and modern apartments provide SW16 with a new lease of life. Millions of pounds have been spent regenerating the area, turning it into a popular town that is sought after by many.
On a Map
Streatham is located in south east London, forming part of the London Borough of Lambeth. It’s located five miles south of Charing Cross and is recognised as one of the 35 major centres of London by the London Plan.
The A23, which runs through Streatham, is one of London’s major A roads and goes as far as Brighton in Sussex. The road, initially known as The Roman Road, dates as far back as the Roman Times, and has been a prominent feature ever since. The road has shaped the area’s development.
In the 18th century, Streatham was known for its natural springs which were celebrated for their ability to give health. The spa’s reputation, along with improved roads, attracted many wealthy people from the City of London, who chose to build their country residents in the area. Many of these country-style homes still remain today.
Streatham’s popularity remained well past the First World War and was known as “the West End of South London”, thanks to its many amenities which included the Streatham Hill Theatre and the Streatham Ice Rink.
Unfortunately, the 1970s and 80s saw the area’s reputation take a dive. The A23 road caused many to move out of the area because it was deemed too busy with heavy traffic. A lack of redevelopment saw the SW16 postcode fail to keep up with nearby neighbours and it became less appealing for those looking for somewhere to live in south London.
Renting in Streatham
In 2011, Streatham was selected as on the areas to benefit from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund. It received significant funding for redevelopment that resulted in a surge in popularity. Part of the redevelopment included 200 new homes, many of which are available to rent.
There are also Victorian, Edwardian and interwar homes in the form of detached, semi-detached and terraced properties. Renters searching in SW16 are spoilt for choice when it comes to the type of property they want to call home.
A one-bedroom property in Streatham fetches around £1,150 per month, while a two-bed home averages just under £1,500. Three-bedroom houses cost in the region of £1,800 and four bedrooms and up range from £2,225 to £2,850.
Who Lives There
There is an eclectic mix of people in Streatham that includes many professionals. They prefer the cheaper rental prices than nearby Brixton, Clapham and Dulwich. 51 percent of the area’s population is female and 49 percent is male.
Streatham is devoid of a tube station, but that’s a recurring theme in south London. However, a lack of underground doesn’t stop the area from being well linked. Streatham Hill train station has trains to Victoria in just under 20 minutes, while Streatham station has services to London Bridge and St Pancras in around 30 minutes. All stations are in Zone 3
There are also bus routes aplenty, with 14 different buses going through the area. The various routes on offer include journeys to Westminster, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Liverpool Street and Kingston Upon Thames.
The A23 is convenient for drivers, and goes straight to Brighton and Gatwick.
Things To Do
While Streatham doesn’t quite hold up as the “West End of South London” anymore, there are still plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and parks to explore and enjoy.
Restaurants/Bars and Cafes
If you’re looking for your food to be served in colourful and “out there” settings, then get yourself down to Hood. The restaurant serves modern British food, as well as local beers and a selection of wines.
Address: 67 Streatham Hill, London SW2 4TX
Named after Pratts, the former art deco department store where the pub is now situated, and Cynthia Payne, the notorious “special party” thrower of the 70s, this landmark pub is a favourite amongst Streatham locals. You’ll find food, ales, board games, music and more on offer.
Address: 103 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 1HJ
Batch & Co offer ethically sourced coffee that has a turnaround time of 21 days, ensuring it always tastes fresh. Even if you’re not in the mood for a hot brew, there are snacks in the form of toasties, pastries and cakes.
Address: 54 Streatham Hill, London SW2 4RD
Looking for the only Olympic-sized ice rink in London? Look no further than Streatham, where there is also a multi-purpose leisure centre. Once you’ve finished performing blades of glory, visit the leisure centre for swimming, a state-of-the-art gym and fitness class studios.
Address: 390 Streatham High Rd, London SW16 6HX
Enjoy an ornamental pond, flower and herbaceous beds, and a rock garden with streams in this secret garden tucked away in Streatham Common. It offers a tranquil escape from what is often a busy area with lots going on.
Address: Covington Way, London SW16 3BX
The High Street
Streatham High Street claims to be the longest street in Europe, so it’s worth a stroll for that feat alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of independent and chain shops to stop by for some window shopping.
Moving to Streatham
Streatham has managed to shake its negativity to offer a thriving area that has affordable rental prices, a variety of properties and excellent transport links. It’s easy to see why so many are moving to the SW16 postcode. As far as towns south of the river go, Streatham is certainly a major player.
Cover photo credit: www.therookerycafe.co.uk