Wednesday, 4 December 2013

London Lifestyle Part 1: South of the River

I'm not usually one for doing lifestyle posts, but after April over at Beautiface invited me to take part in her London Blog Project, I've come up with a few bits and pieces about my favourite spots around the capital, my local neighbourhood, and some venue reviews, starting with the area I live in.

Elephant and Castle is probably one of London’s most misunderstood areas, dividing Londoners in a marmite-like style into those that love it, and those that shudder at the thought of going there. Living just round the corner in Borough, I fall into the love-it camp and often head there for a night out in one of my favourite clubs, Corsica Studios. In addition to being an important transport hub south of the river, the whole area has a very strong sense of local community, which is a rare thing to find in central London.

Elephant and Castle namesake
E+C is currently undergoing a huge £1.5bn regeneration project, helping it transform into
a shopping, entertainment and cultural centre and, with any luck, improving its reputation to encourage more visitors to the area.

Even with its value on the up thanks to this project, it's still a great choice for anybody on the lower end of the income scale E+C, and you can find a wide range of property from ex-council and Victorian terraces to the high-end Strata building. It offers affordable accommodation within zone one, just ten minutes on the tube to Central London, and on your doorstep you'll find a number of markets as well as a couple of lovely parks, not mention cultural hotspots like the Imperial War Museum.

Heading down from the roundabout it's famous for towards London Bridge, and you'll find yourself in Borough, an area mostly known for its market. Along the high street there are several well known chains such as the Slug and Lettuce and Belushi's, but it's in it's lesser known pubs and restaurants that Borough really shines.

The George
It is home to one of Britain's oldest pubs; The George; just round the corner from the German
beer hall Katzenjammers (complete with staff in lederhosen), and some top notch culinary delights including local eateries such as Eliot's Cafe on Stoney Street and Applebee's, one of the best seafood joints I've ever been to.

It can be very easy to overlook or dismiss a lot of the neighbourhoods south of the river, but after several years living here I believe that anyone who thinks they have to head north to find good nightlife, food, or culture are missing a trick. Areas such as Elephant or Borough have as much to offer as their counterparts in north London, only with cheaper prices and less tourists!