When I lived in the Netherlands, I was already interested in the transition of so-called power districts and involved in some spatial projects that influenced the revitalization of such areas. Mostly unattractive back neighborhoods but with the potential to become an up-and-coming neighborhood for a wider audience on the long term. In England it has been alive for years, think of the popular artists’ district of Shoreditch and the bustling (in my opinion a little too touristy) Camden, but also neighborhoods such as Brighton, Hackney and Peckham are rapidly transforming into lively neighborhoods with nice bars, shops, galleries and in addition to renovated old buildings also new construction projects to live and work. The formula repeats continuely and you can see London’s hippest districts are growing fast of the ground. For example, the district of Tooting in South London, which we visited last week, can certainly be added to this list as well.
Tooting is a neighborhood in the London district of Wandsworth, in the Greater London region. Lonely Planet recently even voted it to one of the ten coolest neighborhoods in the world, next to the Sunset Park in New York and the Triangle in Lisbon. Maybe you don’t understand why if you only heard something once about the neighborhood or saw a picture somewhere. But when you spend a day in this neighborhood, you will soon discover that Tooting has a lot to offer. And a nice little fact: the mayor of London comes officially from here.
After we had parked our car outside the center of Tooting, where you can park for free on Sundays, we continued our way by following the Tooting Bec Road along the Tooting Bec Common Park. This big green field, surrounded by old houses, sketches a big contrast when you enter the lively center of Tooting. A long shopping street with food and home shops, hairdressers, curry houses, Islamic butchers, Asian supermarkets, you name it. It reminded me actually a bit of the atmosphere on the West Kruiskade in Rotterdam. But then occasionally between the permanent shops and eateries that have been here for years you’ll find also breweries, bistro’s, vintage shops and galleries.
When you walk down the streets of Tooting you experience a bustling environment, with different types of inhabitants, mixed cultures, young and old, hipsters, yuppies, whole families, students, artists, artisans and young bankers. They’re all around. There is a lot going on in Tooting and you can see that more and more residents of London are aware of this and are making the step to invest in a house in this ‘suburb‘ in South London. A hotspot in London that is still very easy to reach with the Northern Line or car.
Tooting may not be very big but is certainly identical and is subject to gentrification. If you have plans to spend a day in this district, then we would love to share some must visits with you:
Lahore Karahi – Curry house, with the best curry ever. We find so far. But there are undoubtedly several good curry houses in Tooting.
Tooting Market – Indoor market where you can have lunch and do shopping during the day and have drinks in the evening. The nice thing about this market is the diversity, new hip bars and restaurants are right next to the butchers, the Sari shop and hairdressers who already have been here for 25 years.
Graveney Gin – In a corner of the Tooting Market there is a nano bar that serves all Graveney Gin and other small artisanal gins from all over the world. A nice place to discover new gins.
Broadway Market – One of London’s oldest markets in the southern part. This indoor market has about 100 stalls, where you can go for food, clothing, groceries, electronics, household products and more.
Unwinded Bar – Started as a popup bar, has now found a permanent place in Tooting Market.
This wine bar offers besides wine also some little snacks that you can order separately. Wine tastings are also organized here.
Tota – We came here to enjoy a cocktail on the terrace, but if you want you can have lunch and dinner here as well. The kitchen serves a mix of dishes from all over the world.
Batemans Yard – A project to keep an eye on. A designed village square parallel to the highstreet where space is offered for various programs, such as: Farmer’s Markets, pop-up restaurants, open-air theater and film screenings. The layout of the square will be a selection of retail units and houses. If you want to stay up to date if this project than you can sign up for the newsletter here.
Tooting Bec Common – Extensive park, where you can have a picnic with friends, relax with a book or doing sport activities. You can also park your car here for free at the adjacent parking lot: Dr Johnson Ave Parking.
Tooting Bec Lido – Largest outdoor pool in London at the Tooting Bec Road near the same park as described above.
For more hotspots in Tooting, you can also take a look here.