Southfields rises to the occasion for Wimbledon fortnight… flags flying, flowers blooming, pop-up stalls, the tangible buzz of excited tennis fans (me included!), it really comes alive! The effect may be somewhat muted this year, particularly without The Queue, but so glad the tournament is able to go ahead, feels like something approaching ‘normality’.
Much as I look forward to this time of year, it’s merely the icing on the cake. Southfields is a special place to live, all year round. Although I can’t say we knew this when we bought our first place together in 2006… yes, no idea where all those years have gone!
Like others before us, we found we couldn’t afford what we wanted in Clapham, where we were renting, so started looking further afield, and our focus fell on Earlsfield and Southfields. I can’t say we put a huge amount of thought into the area, beyond how well connected it was to the transport network and still being close to familiar territory… school catchments were not on our radar at this point!
We eventually found a first floor maisonette that suited us and after several months of the usual house buying shenanigans it was ours, and we started to turn it into our home. 18 months later, we were married and 18 months after that, we brought our baby girl home.
It was at this point we discovered, more by luck than judgement, we’d picked a pretty perfect place to bring up a family. Having a baby, spending so much more time pounding the local pavements and occupying park benches, opened my eyes to the strong sense of community here and just how much we have on our doorstep.
Southfields has a lovely village feel, still lots of independent shops, you can find just about everything you want within walking distance… green spaces, playgrounds, a huge variety of children’s activities, restaurants and takeaways, greengrocer, optician, gift shop, hairdresser, pub, dentist, florist, podiatrist, bakery, butcher, nail salon … and more coffee shops than you can shake a stick at. There’s now even a kid’s shoe shop on the Grid 😉
Jump on the train, on your bike or in the car and the list of places to visit, both inside and out, with or without the kids, goes on and on and on!
But it’s the people that make this such a special place to live, a community that genuinely cares. Over the years I’ve got to know so many wonderful people, through baby groups, nursery, church, school (fortunately many excellent local options), neighbours and running a business, all these strands have woven together to make us feel very much part of the fabric of this place.
Never is this sense of community stronger than when it comes together for initiatives, like Greening the Grid and Window Wanderland, when the streets come alive with colour, activity and families having fun.
The entrepreneurial spirit is also strong. Southfields and the surrounding areas are a treasure trove for fantastic small businesses, many hidden away behind front doors, but so worth seeking out. I’m not even going to try to start listing all the things they do, but if there’s something you’re looking for I’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
Southfields is no longer quite the hidden gem it was when we first bought here, demand for property is high. I often meet young families trying to buy locally, and know how frustrating they find the search, but I always say, don’t lose heart, I truly believing living here will be worth the wait!