The Ultimate Neighbourhood Guide to South West London

There are many who actively refuse to venture south of the river, which really is a bit silly. There are a plethora of simply fantastic places to visit, stay or enjoy, and some of London’s most reasonably priced wellness services. In the neighbourhoods of Balham, Clapham, Wandsworth, Tooting and beyond, there is so much to explore. Hopefully this helpful guide will help newcomers to the area get a sense of the best places to eat, and best things to do to make that trip worthwhile.

Where to Stay:

South London’s most Glamorous Overnight Stay at art ‘otel London Battersea Power Station

South West London isn’t exactly known for its thriving hotel scene, with many visitors to London opting instead for the tourist trap areas. However, that all changed slightly last year with the introduction of Battersea Power Station – one of London’s most gorgeous shopping destinations. Within the complex, art’otel opened its first London destination hotel. A concept based on the artworks of its resident artist Jaime Hayon, this stunning Five Star hotel is an exhibition on every single level. With stunning pastel decor throughout, modern spacious rooms with fantastic spanning views of London, and perhaps London’s most stunning rooftop pool, you must book in a stay at art’otel Battersea Power Station. No visit would be complete without a pop into its beautiful restaurant JOIA – which served up the best lamb I have ever had in my entire life. / @artotellondonbattersea

Where to Eat:

Discover The Avalon’s Secret Garden in Clapham South

Nestled close by to Clapham South tube station, is the iconic Avalon. Many South London residents will have frequented this pub, known for its big crowds and buzzy vibrant atmosphere. The pub has just launched its stunning and timely Secret Garden for the summer. The ideal sun drenched spot, visitors can order from a range of delicious pub classics. I opted for a traditional Scotch Egg to start, followed by a delightfully fresh Salmon Salad with green beans and a zingy dressing. The Sticky Toffee Pudding is also to die for and there are a full range of summery cocktails to choose from. An absolute vibe. / @threecheerspubs

Enjoy an Incredible Roast Dinner at Spread Eagle in Wandsworth

Wandsworth may be a little off the beaten track, but there are fantastic things to do. From shopping to visiting the adult arcade, Gravity, but one of the ultimate things you can do, is visit the Spread Eagle for its epic Sunday Roast. First thing’s first, this has to be the best Bloody Mary, I have ever had! Then onto the mains. You’re served up gargantuan portions, from Beef and Belly Pork to deliciously tender Chicken. Each is served with a huge Yorkshire pudding, spring greens, carrots and crispy roasties. Be sure to order the side dish of Cauliflower Cheese too, you will not be disappointed. Washed down with a delightful glass of Malbec, there’s no finer place in South London to spend a lazy Sunday / @spreadeaglesw18

Grab a delicious lunch at Lockdown Bakehouse in Clapham South

Lockdown Bakehouse has a really beautiful origin story. The brand was founded to support and supply the local community, shops and the NHS during the lockdown. That success has proliferated to three standalone stores in Wandsworth, Barnes and the latest opening, Clapham South. Specialising is Aussie-inspired classics, freshly baked breads and artisan coffee, it’s also the ideal stop off for a mid-week lunch. It gets busy at the weekends too. The menu changes seasonally and I enjoyed a gargantuan Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich which was served in soft Turkish bread. It was absolutely delicious, especially accompanied with the seasonal Peach Salad. The Bloody Mary’s are ideal for lovers of spice and you shouldn’t leave without taking a coffee and one of their enormous fluffy and sugary doughnuts. I went for the pistachio, but the strawberry jam also looked to die for. / @lockdownbakehouselondon

Slurp Away at Bone Daddies in London Bridge

Bone Daddies needs no introduction really. A champion of the ramen scene, this restaurant boasts some of the best umami taste in the game. And naturally, it blesses the more Southern area of London with a fantastic restaurant in London Bridge. You cannot visit this place without ordering the Korean Chicken Wings. Not only are they gargantuan, but they give a flavour kick and pop that is well worth a visit. If you still have room after the meaty wings, be sure to indulge in one of their famous bowls of ramen. My personal favourite, the Pork Pork Chilli. This includes charred pork belly, pork mince, chilli, chilli oil, spring onion, bamboo, beansprouts and half a soy egg. This one packs a kick. / @bonedaddies

Munch Award Winning Pizza at Berbere, Clapham Common

Nothing tastes as good as award winning pizza. A Clapham institution, Berbere has been around since 2010! And it’s easy to see why. A friendly and welcoming team, cute, chic Italian-inspired interiors and robust cocktails. The alfresco terrace looks right onto Clapham’s cinema, offering up the most perfect date night. A must order is the Negroni which is smoky and delicious. For main, we highly recommend the Diavola Piccante. Crisp dough smothered in zingy tomato sauce and topped with spicy salami, ‘nduja (spicy sausage from Calabria), organic tomato and fiordilatte mozzarella from Napoli. This, paired with the hot honey crust dipper sauce, is a literal dream come true. / @berberepizzeria_ldn

Drink Epic Cocktails in Trophies at Little Orange Door Clapham Common

The Little Orange Door is nothing, if not a Clapham institution. If you live in the area, and you’ve been on a date, odds are, you’ve been there. Always bustling with people looking to have a good time, I think it’s the ultimate cocktail spot in the whole Clapham area. Not only are the team fun, vibrant and amazing, but they even have a cocktail that is served in a giant trophy. A must-order, the Chariots of Fire cocktail mixes El Jimador Tequila, Martini Ambrato, Green Chilli, Lychee and Cucumber for the perfect sweet and spicy concoction. It was supposed to serve up to seven, and we were three, so safe to say, we danced all night long. There’s a fantastic range of yummy canapes and a very fun and boozy brunch. Definitely a place you could spend a whole Saturday. / @thelittleorangedoor

Grab a Healthy Kebab at Olives + Meze Clapham Common or Tooting Market 

Olives + Meze takes pride of place on Clapham Common high street. Serving up a range of health-focused Turkish dishes, the format of the space is both restaurant and takeaway, giving guests the option to eat in if they prefer. The restaurant overlooks a huge kitchen, which is where they produce all the brand’s food fresh, daily, including their own kebabs. To get a true taste of everything, we went for the Mix Grill which was an enormous portion of Chicken Shish, Lamb Shish and Lamb Kofte Skewer served with rice, rainbow slaw, Greek salad and chips. All meat was tender and delicious, with no grease in sight. Situated next to PureGym and offering a discount for members, this is the ideal post-work out dinner, or in the summer grab a takeaway and enjoy on the Common. There is also a location in Tooting Market. | @olivesmeze

Brunch at Brickwood Balham or Clapham 

If you’re a South West London local, I would be amazed if you haven’t heard of Brickwood. Famed for its long queues on the weekend, as dreadfully hungover Balhamites queue for the famous Hash Nugs, the venue itself channels antipodean vibes. The brunch is iconic and served all day. Each dish has always wowed me to be honest, but the standout options include Corn Jalapeno Fritters which are served with a food porn-style poached egg, pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream, chilli jam and an optional add-on of halloumi. The classic fried breakfast is also incredible, with a strong veggie option and they have Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes as a nod to the great American brekkie. An impressive range of smoothies and shakes are available, but if you do have a bit of a sore head, you must go for their spicy Bloody Mary which is served with bacon and another of those famous Hash Nugs on the side. / @brickwoodldn

Try Classic Thai Dishes at Camile Clapham South 

Nestled on the beautiful Abbeville Road, is a neighbourhood restaurant with a real difference. If you’re a fan of Thai food, this is the place for you. Camile exists to bring authentic Thai cuisine, whilst catering for individuals of all dietary preferences. A family-owned and run business, this is the epitome of service with a smile, and the restaurant houses a warm open kitchen, with plenty of smiles shot your way as you dine. My recommendations definitely include the Thai Spring Rolls which are crunchy and delicious, as well as the Thai Red and Thai Green curries. Flavours are super authentic. You also must try some of their expertly mixed cocktails on your visit, including the Mai Thai! / @camileclapham 

Enjoy London’s Best Sushi Roll at Freak Scene in Balham

Freak Scene was developed by ex-Nobu Chef Scott Hallsworth. The vibe is very urban jungle and word on the street, he opened a concept in Balham as it’s close to his home – this is a very me thing to do also. The Freak Scene Special with Tempura Shrimp Sushi Roll, which is topped with Hamachi, has got to be the best piece of sushi I have ever had, in London and beyond. With expertly mixed cocktails, a wicked sake menu and absolutely fabulous staff, this is a neighbourhood haunt not to be missed. / @freaksceneldn

Clapham Common’s Most Fun Bottomless Brunch

Bubba Oasis is a blissfully tropical hub of glam and vibes. We visited on a buzzy Saturday and were blown away by the friendliness of the team. They instantly made us feel at home, and highly recommended the Bottomless Brunch. Not one to turn down endless bubbles and cocktails, we went for it, with delicious Smash Cheeseburgers to accompany. The burger was delicious, and you could really feel the farm-to-table ethos shine through. Drinks were regular and strong and we certainly left with a little spring in our step. In fact, we even came back for more cocktails, later that evening – a true sign of a good time. / @bubba.oasis

Enjoy Stellar Pub Grub at The Stonhouse in Clapham Common

Just a stone’s throw away from bustling Venn Street is a cute and quirky neighbourhood pub, The Stonhouse. The charming interiors give way to walls adorned with fun and vibrant artworks – creating the ideal space to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work, or at the weekend. When the sun has got its hat on, there’s no better place to soak up the rays with one of their yummy cocktails than its lovely garden. Making the best of seasonal produce, a must-order is the English Asparagus, and those with a large appetite should order the Fish and Chips. The portions are enormous and the golden batter is crisped to perfection. The dish is served with mushy peas and proper chips. For pud, be sure to order the Banoffee Pie which was larger than my own hand! /  @threecheerspubs

Grab a Tasty Meal at Brand New Pub The Red Setter in Clapham Junction

There’s a new kid on the block, and by block, I’m talking Northcote Road. Perhaps one of South West London’s busiest and boujeeist streets, this neighbourhood destination boasts great shopping and even better independent restaurants. Newest to the street is The Red Setter, the latest gem in the Urban Pubs & Bars collection. An ideal spot for casual get-togethers, special celebrations, or simply a relaxing meal out, we were blown away by the quality of the food and freshness of the ingredients. For a new space it was busy and buzzy, and we’ve since heard it may be serving up some of Clapham Junction’s best roast dinners. Don’t miss out and be sure to sample some of their speciality cocktails that are becoming famous fast. / @redsettersw11

Pasta and Charming Italian Vibes at Pintus in Clapham Junction

There’s nothing we love more than a slow leisurely stroll down to the local Italian Deli to stock up on goodies for the weekend. Pintus is the ideal location for this, offering up a full range of Italian delights, including incredible pastries. Alongside, the space is a charming Italian restaurant which is always packed full of people. The space is very classical Italian and transports you immediately to sunnier climates. A range of summery cocktails and great wines are available, alongside a menu of classic, hearty Italian dishes, served up with a smile. We highly recommend the Melon and Parma Ham which is fresh and delicious, and for main a classic Italian dish – Chicken Milanese,  a tender chicken escalope with breadcrumbs, parmesan and herbs, served with rocket and parmesan or Napoli pasta. / @pintuscaffe

Where to Nurture Wellness:

Repair Weak Nails and Offensive Nail Beds at Nails First in Clapham North 

You might miss this sweet little spot as it’s slightly tucked away, but you’d be missing out. Pay a visit to the lovely team at Nails First to restore and rejuvenate your nails. I had the weakest nails after years of visiting cheap, fast and careless nail salons. Here, the team takes there time, never drills too far and offers great Biab options to strengthen your nails. As well, they focus on nail health, attention to detail, nail art with a lot of colour options. Pay them a visit, you owe it to your nails! The space is cute and chic, and bonus points for the resident puppy. / @nailsfirstldn

Get the Ultimate Lamination Experience at &Browhaus in Balham

There’s a new brow spot in town, and this was inspired by expert threading techniques. Head up by the lovely Ella who is specially trained and dubbed ‘The Queen of Brows’ in South London, she has created a calming space drenched in neutral colours and refined touches. She’s spent many years refining her techniques across Europe, including Amsterdam and Germany – the latter inspiring the name of the salon. All of the treatments are very detail oriented. She’s a symmetry perfectionist when it comes to detail, and has an eye for shapes that suit each individual face. I opted for a brow lamination treatment, threading and a dark brown dye and left with the most perfect, fluffy brows. I have never had so many compliments following a treatment in my life. You must book in immediately! / @andbrowhaus

Get New Claws at Townhouse Clapham Junction

Everyone knows Townhouse. The epitome of a glamorous nail salon, and the hero of any major beauty influencer’s content. I’d never been before and was very impressed by the self check in and availability of Moth Cocktails to enjoy whilst you’re being filed and buffed to perfection. The iPad to decide on your nail colours was a gorgeous touch, and my nail tech was incredibly knowledgeable, recommending a length and shape that would suit the condition of my nails and strengthen them concurrently. The manicure was precise and beautiful, and lasted just over three weeks with a layer of Biab which was very impressive. No chips, my nails had simply grown out. I will 100% be back for more and understand the hype around Townhouse now! 
www./ / @mytownhouseuk

Things to do:

Play with cute Puppies Whilst Catching a Workout in Wandworth

Take a Paws is situated in the heart of Wandsworth. In recent years, some puppy yoga classes have got a bit of a bad rep, but this is a company that is wholeheartedly dedicated to the welfare of its little playmates. As well as putting on a rocking class with pups from the same litter, but they also donate 5% of their profits to local dog shelters. Spend the perfect afternoon, hanging upside down in downward dog, whilst an adorable little puppy plays contently with its siblings underneath. We had such a lovely experience and all of the puppies were super friendly, playful and content – one even snoozed through the entire class in the lap of a very happy yogi – he didn’t get much of a workout! / @take_a_paws_yoga

Catch a Rooftop Film Club Screening in Peckham

Who doesn’t love a rooftop cinema? Nostalgic movies, tasty popcorn and summer vibes. To be completely honest, the day we visited it absolutely lashed it down, but it didn’t spoil the fun. The friendly, vibrant team gave us ponchos and blankets and we nestled in to watch The Menu, enjoying the Great British Weather. The rooftop cinema in Peckham is situated in the iconic Bussey Building which has unparalleled sweeping views of the whole of London. A big shout out to the restaurant too, which serves up delicious pizzas that can be enjoyed during the movie, and wicked cocktails (big up the Palomas!) Also a special mention to Beef, the very, very cute resident pup, who enjoys chin scratches and hoovering up pizza crumbs. / @rooftopfilmclub

Get a Culture Fix at Studio Voltaire Clapham North

Situated in Clapham North, Studio Voltaire is one of the UK’s leading not-for-profit arts and education organisations. The space champions emerging and under-represented artists, commissions and produces exhibitions, collaborative projects, artist development programmes, live events and offsite projects. A wander around the gallery space is a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. If you get hungry, have no fear, the renowned restaurant Crispin has recently opened in Studio Voltaire and boasts classic, seasonal dishes showcasing the best produce of the British Isles. A one stop shop! / @studiovoltairelondon