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Hotspot: Lewisham

Hotspot: Lewisham

With some great regeneration projects already underway and set to transform the busy town centre, this southeast London town with so much to offer is ready to make its big comeback

For many years, Lewisham in southeast London stood in the shadow of its neighbouring towns of Deptford, Brockley and New Cross. As these areas blossomed and attracted young, professional and creative residents, Lewisham was seen as a less attractive option. Today, however, Lewisham is hailed by property experts as one of London’s top up-and-coming areas – the next big thing for first time buyers. Its large town centre – home to some great shops and several excellent cafes and delis, but in need of a makeover – will benefit from a huge regeneration project, known as the Lewisham Gateway. Already underway, the Gateway will transform the centre of Lewisham, creating new road layouts, shops and restaurants, leisure facilities, homes and a riverside park and plaza.

Lewisham is a town with a great deal going for it; there are many beautiful homes, green spaces, strong communities, good schools and excellent transport links. The redevelopment and new homes will simply help elevate the town to the next, very attractive level.

Homes and residents
Lewisham is one of the most ethnically diverse parts of the country, with large Caribbean and African communities and over 170 mother-tongue languages spoken by pupils in its schools. This diverse population makes it a fascinating corner of the city, with many different cultures evident in the vast array of shops, restaurants and events that take place throughout the borough.
Property in the area is of equal variety. As the regeneration plans forge ahead, several newbuild developments have been created, providing thousands of new homes – many of them in the heart of the town. Head away from the town centre and you’ll find wide, tree-lined roads, filled with pretty period properties. There are some beautiful homes in the area and a good sense of community among the residents.

Out and about
The town’s newest addition, the Model Market, is home to 11 pop-up restaurants and five bars, hailed as a ‘night time food party’ and has been a huge hit with local residents. Open from April until the end of the summer, the outdoor event follows in the footsteps of the food markets that have kept Shoreditch and Brixton bustling.

There are plenty of other great eateries in the area. Pick up some wonderful Italian food at Gennaro delicatessen, which has a great pizzeria next door and was named as one of London’s top 20 Italian food shops. There are some excellent Turkish restaurants, too; Mezze Mangal on Lewisham Way is locally famous and, with amazing pide and a wonderful selection of authentic Turkish dishes, is a right of passage for all residents of the area.

Rox Burger on the high street is also well worth a visit. This trendy burger joint serves homemade, luxury burgers, which have been voted by restaurant goers as Trip Advisor’s number one burger – quite some feat given the number of ‘posh burger’ joints in London today.

Away from eating and drinking, there are also some great opportunities to get cultural. Lewisham Art House, on Lewisham Way, runs exhibitions, courses and workshops and is also home to artist studios.

You can catch plays and music at the Broadway Theatre in Catford. The beautiful Grade II-listed building has two auditoriums and is perfect for bigger and more intimate shows.

Lewisham is perfectly located for experiencing the great outdoors, in many shapes and forms. Travel the short distance to Greenwich and set out along the Thames walk, or to sprawling Greenwich Park, where you’ll see some of the finest views of the city skyline on offer in London. The town is also just a short drive from the county of Kent and some spectacular English countryside is within easy reach, by car or by train. Head to Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas, where you’ll find some very pretty towns and villages, great walks and some cosy country pubs.

There’s a great deal going on in Lewisham’s town centre, with a variety of shops and market stalls. Lewisham Market sits in front of the shopping centre and is perfect for picking up your fresh fruit and veg. The six-day-a-week market dates back to the early 1900s and is a big part of the town’s identity. The new Model Market has also brought great food and drink to the area.

Lewisham’s shopping centre is home to over 65 shops, with everything from H&M and M&S to stationers and chemists. It’s a popular, well-equipped mall and runs seasonal events throughout the year. Together with the high street, with plenty of independent stores, a huge Primark, banks and cafes, Lewisham should cater for all your shopping needs, but there are also some other good local options. Bromley and Croydon, both within easy reach, have excellent shopping facilities, while those looking for a bigger shopping experience can be at Westfield Stratford or Bluewater in around 30 minutes by car.

Lewisham has excellent transport connections to central London, Canary Wharf and the southeast. From Lewisham station, trains reach London Bridge in just 15 minutes and also run to Charing Cross, London Victoria and, in the other direction, to Kent. You can also pick up the DLR and be in Canary Wharf in 20 minutes.

Many bus routes originate in Lewisham, with frequent services to local areas as well as into central London, throughout the night, or towards Croydon and Bromley.

There are also plans by TFL to extend the Bakerloo line, which currently ends at Elephant and Castle, to the area. Though there is a rather long wait for the tube to arrive (completion is expected in 2030), the prospect is a positive one for southeast London and will provide a direct connection to the northwest of the city.

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