London/South

South London is generally defined as any part of Greater London that is south of the river Thames. However, this guide will only cover the outer South London boroughs, and 'exclude' the inner South London boroughs namely; Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham & Greenwich.

Understand

Most areas of present South London were once towns and villages in the counties of Surrey, Kent & Middlesex outside London, which were assimilated by London as it expanded rapidly in the 19th & 20th centuries. Surrey and Kent are still used as part of the official postal addresses for some areas of south London.

Most of outer South London is residential suburbia, but this is punctuated by some sites of tourist interest. The main towns of outer south London are Kingston upon Thames, Wimbledon, Sutton, Croydon, Bromley & Bexleyheath. Each of these towns are major commercial centres with major transport interchanges, entertainment, cultural and shopping centres.

Kingston upon Thames would have to be considered the most interesting of the aforementioned towns for visitors. It is a former market town within the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. It is where many Saxon kings were crowned before the invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. It has a pleasant riverside location with views across the river to nearby Hampton Court Palace & Park , which is a Tudor royal palace, built by Cardinal Wolesley for King Henry VIII. It has extensive viewing areas with rooms from various historical periods. There is also a large formal garden and maze, as well as substantial adjacent parkland and river walks along the Thames. The gardens are home to the annual Hampton Court Flower Show.

Boroughs

South London consists of the following London boroughs:

  • Bexleyheath
  • Crayford
  • Erith
  • Sidcup
  • Thamesmead
  • Welling
  • Belvedere
  • Beckenham
  • Bromley
  • Orpington
  • Chislehurst
  • Biggin Hill
  • Croydon
  • Coulsdon
  • Norbury
  • Purley
  • Thornton Heath
  • Coulsdon
  • Old Coulsdon
  • Norwood
  • Norbury
  • Chessington
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • New Malden
  • Surbiton
  • Sutton
  • Carshalton
  • Wallington
  • Cheam
  • Worcester Park

Bromley

Bromley is a borough of London, situated in the south east of Greater London. Much of the borough was historically in the county of Kent, as is reflected by the presence of Kent County Cricket Club's second XI and Tewnty20 teams in Beckenham, and the fact that the postal county of Kent is sometimes still used for traditional reasons for much of the borough (though postal counties are no longer required in UK postal addresses). Beckenham and Crystal Palace Park use to host confusingly the London CCC, which has the famous WG Grace before it was disbanded. The London Borough of Bromley was created in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963 and officially incoporated into Greater London. HG Wells grew up in a house along the High St, which until recently had a sci-fi mural in tribute to him. Charles Darwin also lived further out, at Down House, which is in the greenbelt to the southern edge of the Borough. Here one can find Biggin Hill Airport a small private airfield, used mainly for civil aviation, an International Air Fair in June and also featured in the Da Vinci Code.

The borough is the largest in London by area and occupies 59 square miles (153 km²). The borough shares borders with Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley to the north, Southwark and Lambeth to the north west, Croydon to the west; and the counties of Surrey to the south and Kent to the south and east.

Croydon

Croydon Town Hall

Known to some as the "Dallas of the South" due to the density of shiny glass and steel high rise office blocks, including the Home Office government department. Wellesley Road runs north/south through Croydon and is home to the luxury Saffron Square apartment development, including an iconic 45 storey tower. The pedestrianised shopping precinct west of here is an attractive retail area. Croydon Town hall and the Clock Tower art centre are housed in an imposing Victorian building just to the south of the retail centre. A new major re-generation plan has been announced, called Croydon Vision 2020, which includes the new shopping centre and Croydon Gateway site (which includes a third Westfield for London, a park, offices and bars).

Croydon has a cross-section of British history: Among its famous residents were author Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, model Kate Moss, journalist Émile Zola, dubstep pioneer Benga, and punk rocker Captain Sensible of The Damned.

Sutton

Fountain in Manor Park, Sutton.

Sutton is a borough and the main town in that borough. The town is a vibrant place with a theatre, lots of public art ranging from murals to statues to an armillary (look it up!), a very large library and many restaurants and coffee houses. The centre has a lot of attractive period architecture, and there are four conservation areas to keep it that way. There is a lush little town centre park called Manor Park, complete with a fountain as its centrepiece. It is also the site of the town's war memorial. The town has a sizeable business sector and one of the biggest shopping areas in London, centred around Sutton High Street. It's not as big as Kingston or Croydon though, being a bit more compact. But you will find many well-known names, including a large Waterstones bookshop, complete with a nice coffee area upstairs.

Finally, being a pretty leafy sort of place, it may be reassuring to know that Sutton benefits from very low crime by London standards.

Get in

By tube or London Overground

The London Underground system does not cover South London as extensively as North London. The Northern Line (Black) terminates at Morden. The District Line (Green) terminates at Wimbledon.

Opened in Summer 2010, the London Overground now links West Croydon and Crystal Palace stations to East London, primarily at Whitechapel station, and North London at Dalston Junction station.

By train

South London is served by several train services from Central London stations. Check the London Transport maps for the correct station as the layout of the lines is rather confused in places.

As a rough guide, services run:

Bromley

By car

The M25 sits on the southern edge of the borough. Junction 4 (Bromley/Orpington) quickly connects with the A21, though for Chislehurst and areas it may be quicker to use Junction 3. The A21 is the main London to Hastings road and it runs through the borough before heading south to Sevenoaks and Tonbridge.

By train

The borough has 27 railway stations which cover much of the area and are served by three Central London stations; London Victoria, London Blackfriars and London Bridge (and, by extension, Cannon Street, Waterloo East and Charing Cross). The main transport hub in the borough is Bromley South, with regular fast trains to London Victoria and a network of buses that stop outside the station and go to all parts of the borough. Orpington is the major station for the east of the borough.

By air

Biggin Hill Airport is a former RAF airfield from which the Battle of Britain was coordinated and serves private jets. While the runway is usable by aircraft up to Boeing 737/Airbus A320 size, it is prohibited for airline operators to sell tickets for flights in and out of the airport, thus there are no scheduled or holiday charter flights from the airport. However, there is still a surprisingly large number of business flights.

Croydon

By Underground

Croydon is not served by the Underground network. However, the old East London Line has been integrated into the new London Overground network, linking West Croydon Station to Dalston Junction via New Cross, Docklands, and Whitechapel. This service, which started in June 2010, uses new rolling stock with longitudinal seating layouts similar to those used on Underground trains, allowing for more standing room. It is operated by Transport for London as part of the London Overground scheme.

By tram
An old tramlink tram bound for Croydon

Tramlink, opened in 2000, is the first modern tram system to operate in London. Trams at the moment have destinations at Beckenham, Wimbledon, Elmers End and New Addington with all lines travelling through Croydon, on the Croydon Loop. It can also be used to reach the Underground in Wimbledon.

By train

East Croydon station, is the second busiest station in London, and the main station for Croydon. Fast trains run into the centre of London terminating at Victoria or London Bridge stations in about 15–20 minutes.

There are direct service connections to London Gatwick & London Luton airports. Journey times from East Croydon to London Gatwick airport range from 15 to 36 minutes, with an average of 13 services per hour during the day. The journey time from East Croydon to London Luton airport is approximately 66 minutes, with an average of 4 services per hour during the day. The train service for London Luton airport also stops at London St Pancras (average journey time approximately 40 minutes), providing interconnections for Eurostar services to Lille, Paris & Brussels; as well as national services to the north of England & Scotland. There are no direct train services to London Heathrow airport. Typical fastest journey time would be approximately 90 minutes, and involve at least two changes.

It was announced in January 2013 that an upgrade to the Thameslink service meant there will be a new tunnel link from St Pancras providing a direct route from Croydon via Hitchin and Stevenage to Peterborough and Cambridge, although this is not expected until between 2014 and 2019.

All services from London Victoria that head to the South Coast stop here. Journey times from East Croydon to Brighton range from 36 to 60 minutes, with an average of 9 services per hour during the day.

Services are provided by Southern and First Capital Connect.

West Croydon stationwhich features in the famous story "Casting the Runes" by ghost story master M.R. Jamesis an interchange station for train, tram and bus. Trains run into the centre of London terminating at Victoria or London Bridge stations in about 20–40 minutes. Services leaving London generally terminate at Sutton but some continue to Guildford, Dorking and Epsom Downs.

By bus

Croydon is well served by the London bus network, with a major bus station at West Croydon and a new one opening on the eastern side of Croydon next to the Croydon clocktower and Park Place shopping centre soon. Bus services in the centre of Croydon include, but are not limited to:

Get around

Bromley

Transport for London (TFL) manages bus services in Bromley and these are operated by Selkent and Metrobus.

Croydon

Croydon is mostly pedestrian friendly, North End the main shopping parade was closed for traffic over 10 years ago and most places can be easily reached on foot.

By taxi

There is a large taxi stand, served by black cabs outside the main entrance to East Croydon Station.

By bus

Buses leave at West Croydon station, with most buses leaving Croydon stopping at the bus station next to West Croydon station. The other bus station is opposite East Croydon station on George street, although not all buses going past it stop.

See

Bexley

Bromley

Croydon

Because it was heavily bombed in WW2, Croydon features a patchwork of old and new architecture.

Croydon Airport, with the de Havilland DH 114 Heron alongside

Kingston

Sutton

Interior of All Saints Carshalton

Do

Bexley

Bromley

Croydon

Sport

The team plays its home matches at Selhurst Park, capacity 26,309 (all seated), where it has been based since 1924. Another popular south London side, with more of a family-feel is Charlton Athletic who play at The Valley, also 26,000 all seated capacity.

Most of London's sporting venues are within easy reach of Croydon, via public transport.

Take tram from Croydon to Wimbledon, then either use special bus service or short walk using directions provided on website. Typical journey time should be no more than 30-40 minutes.

Kingston

It is possible to also still see speedway and dog-racing at Wimbledon stadium, which is in the Borough of Merton.

Buy

Bromley

Each of the towns and villages in the borough has its own distinct high street but Bromley High St remains the main shopping centre and runs the length of the town. The northern section is mainly comprised of a cinema, specialist shops and restaurants. As the high street gets to the Market Square, there are a number of pubs. The central section of the High Street, between Market Square and Elmfield Rd, is pedestrianised.

Croydon

Croydon is one of the top 20 retail destinations in the United Kingdom, it has two large and a smaller shopping centers. All the major chain stores can be found in Croydon, along with most department stores.

Kingston

Kingston has the most extensive range of shops in the southeast of England outside central London, and is very popular, especially at weekends. Virtually all major chains have branches, as well as several independent shops and boutiques.

Eat

Bexley

Bromley

Croydon

Visitors are often surprised by the variety, quality and affordability of Croydon's restaurants. Whilst the pedestrianised centre is overflowing with chains, the High St and South End Rd (south of the flyover) has an excellent selection of independent places, which is (sadly) becoming a victim of its own success, and itself is beginning to be taken over by the chains.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Kingston

The area of Kingston of New Malden has a sizeable Korean population and there are a large number of restaurants along the High St. Korean barbecue, such as galbi or samgyeopsal is available in numerous places. Another option is bibimbap, a mixture of various vegetables, rice and chilli paste.

Sutton

A French restaurant in Sutton High Street

Sutton town centre's range of restaurants has expanded greatly in the last ten to fifteen years, and there are now culinary offerings of French, Spanish, British, Mexican, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Pakistani, Portuguese and Turkish cuisine, as well as the more longstanding presence of Italian, Indian and Chinese eateries. You can't miss them, as they are mainly concentrated in the area to either side of the mainline station. Cream of the crop for fine dining is undoubtedly Brasserie Vacherin, listed in both the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide.

Drink

Bromley

Borough-wide, Bromley's town centre drinking establishments are generally the sort of generic chain fayre you would find anywhere. However, away from the centres, there are good pubs, many in the traditional vein.

Croydon

Kingston

There are a large variety of pubs and bars from cheaper chain pubs such as Wetherspoons to the trendy riverside bars. The main club is Oceana which is always very popular and attracts a great number of people from surrounding areas. Oceana's popularity of late however has taken a nosedive due to a widely publicised murder, their close neighbours 'The Hippodrome' is now considered the place to be.

Sleep

Bromley

Croydon

There is a wide range of accommodation for visitors to the London Borough of Croydon. The Tourist Information Centre promotes establishments which are members of the National Quality Assurance Standards Scheme. Each establishment is inspected annually by trained assessors from the AA, RAC or English Tourism Council (ETC). Members of the Quality Assurance Scheme are graded according to quality, facilities and level of service. The grading is denoted by stars (H) or diamonds (¨). Any establishment which has no grading is not part of the Scheme, therefore quality cannot be assured. The AA, RAC and English Tourism Council (ETC) have joint grading schemes for hotels, guest accommodation and self-catering. Hotels are graded from one to five stars. These indicate the quality, facilities and level of service. The more stars the higher the quality, level of service and range of facilities offered. Guest accommodation includes guest houses, bed & breakfasts and some hotels. They are graded from one to five diamonds. All establishments must meet minimum standards for facilities and services. More diamonds are awarded for higher standards of quality and customer care.

Stay safe

Croydon

Go next

Routes through South

Leicester Square / The City Wimbledon  N  S  END
END  W  E  Southwark-Lewisham East End


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