So, what’s it like living in Earlsfield, London? The self-proclaimed Earls Vegas?
I’ll not only share how I ended up living in this family-friendly haven of SW London but also 8 reasons why you should visit Earlsfield too.
Since moving back to the UK in 2015 I’ve made Southwest London my home. This city, divided by those who claim eternal loyalty to either living north or south of the river Thames, was a place I’d lived twice prior (2003, 2006) however this was my first venture living South. I’ll let you in on a little secret though, I absolutely love it. My loyalty to SW London now stands stronger than I ever imagined.
My first home was off of trendy Northcote Road in Clapham Junction. Whilst Clapham is coined “Nappy Valley” due to the abundance of affluent young families and strollers/buggies, it also has a reputation for its twenty-something party scene and abundance of Aussie, Kiwis and Saffas.
Clapham is technically split across 4 areas and transport links: Clapham High Street, Clapham North, Clapham South and Clapham Junction – each providing their own unique charm. My flat off of Northcote Road gave me access to a number of trendy boutiques (Oliver Bonas), mom and pop restaurants (Cafe Tamra, Made in Italy, Opa Opa, Dip & Flip) and some decent bars (Vagabond, The Old Bank, Northcote Records, Draft House) to keep me hopping along any night of the week, plus the transportation links are fantastic. I lived there for 2 and half years and loved it.
Next, my partner Jamie and I moved one neighbourhood over to Wandsworth Town. I dreaded the move initially, despite it being in walking distance to Clapham Junction Station. St. John’s Hill replaced our regular nights dining out and we ventured to new places such as Kao Sarn and Pizza Brixton, with flash cocktails always available late at night from Powder Keg. Even my local yoga studio Sadhana Yoga and Wellbeing was perfectly situated.
So for our most recent move, thanks to our landlord selling in a reflex reaction to Brexit, I shuddered at the thought of going even further afield to Earlsfield. From the perspective of some, I’m in proper suburbia. To others who actually live in suburbia, I’m still very central in London. Welcome to Earls Vegas!
Where is Earlsfield?
Earlsfield is a leafy suburb of Wandsworth Council, London, located between Clapham Junction and Wimbledon. With the greenery and transport links of Wandsworth Common, high street shops of Garratt Lane and appealing proximity to Central London, it provides a suburban feel with all of the urban amenities.
What I sacrificed for trendy Northcote Road I made up with outdoor space. I never would have dreamed it would become such a privilege, especially now as I type this during lockdown from COVID-19 (Coronavirus). I have a big outdoor yard which has been a lifesaver during the precious days of sun, with a garden patch full of rhubarb, thyme, bay and rosemary included – how lucky. Saturday afternoons spent playing outdoor games with a 6-year old and doing odd-jobs like power washing and deck staining have kept me busy whilst not working due to redundancy. Plus, I’m a sucker for a tan.
Why is Earlsfield called Earls Vegas?
Unsuspecting to the naked eye, many assume Earlsfield is only for young family units and retirees, yet leafy Earlsfield does have some nightlife. The Wandle, named after the local estuary the River Wandle, is renowned for its vast beer garden, a line-up of cover bands and summer BBQs to the beat of live sports. Graffiti Bar, a gimmicky cocktail bar offers an £80 bar tab when you complete their menu of cocktails (which, obviously we’re in the running for) and is open until 2 am. Then again, the Leather Bottle is known to have one of the best beer gardens in all of Southwest London, enlarged garden games and pastel-painted sheds included.
Here are 8 reasons to visit Earlsfield:
1. The Great Outdoors
Southwest London has a plethora of outdoor space. In Earlsfield specifically, you can spend time in the vast greenery of Wandsworth Common – whether it be for a run, a game of football (where Jamie’s 6-year old plays in a weekend league) or to have a few drinks with friends.
I’d also recommend a walk along the River Wandle. While some aspects require you to cut through various residential neighbourhoods, the Wandle passes through the South London Boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Merton, and Wandsworth to join the River Thames. The river is about 11 miles long.
2. Pubs in Earlsfield
Prior to moving to Earlsfield, we discovered what we like to call the ‘Garratt Lane Pub Crawl’. Starting on Garratt Lane near Southside in Wandsworth, you can easily hop along to about 10 pubs, from the Garratt Tavern at the start to the Leather Bottle to finish.
Our favourites include:
- Tir Na Nog – family-run Irish pub with free snacks daily
- Grosvenor Arms – amazing pizzas and a good selection of craft drafts
- The Earlsfield – try their rack of ribs, you won’t regret it
- Halfway House – close to the train station and outdoor seating for people watching
- Leather Bottle – amazing beer garden and decent Sunday roast
3. Brunch in Earlsfield
You can’t do a Saturday in London without a decent brunch. Earlsfield doesn’t fail to deliver either. Despite the sad closure of Bloody Ben’s (a sister restaurant to a favourite of ours on St. John’s Hill), there are plenty of options to keep you full of avocado toast.
Our favourites include:
- Hallowed Belly – each week they offer a discount to the local ‘street of the week’
- Bean and Hop – sister cafe to Northcote Road top-pick Cafe Tamra, delicious middle-eastern inspired breakfast, pizza in the evenings and craft beer
- Flotsam and Jetsam – all-day breakfast, fresh juices and amazing coffee. This is one to queue up for after a game on the Common.
4. Coffee in Earlsfield
While you have your fair share of big chains (Starbucks, Costa, Gails), it’s the independent guys that give Earlsfield a community feel. Especially during COVID-19, we love supporting them as they open up for take-aways and have turned themselves into mini-grocers.
Our favourites include:
- Belle Amie – Offering brunch options too, Belle Amie is somewhere you can enjoy a great bite of their unique Tarte Flambée with a sip of roasted Allpress coffee beans.
- Bonsai Espresso Room – Speciality coffee and cakes in a quirky cafe just across from the Common. They’ve mastered the art of no-contact take-away with installed plexiglass.
- Eclectic Collection – eclectic vibes and great coffee, they’ve stayed open during lockdown by serving the community with eggs, flour and takeaway brunch!
5. Craft Beer in SW London
We wouldn’t live in Southwest London if we couldn’t have our craft beer. Luckily there are many breweries within walking distance. We like supporting these guys when we can – even better, we can’t wait until they open again to enjoy their taprooms and have a beer at the picnic tables out front. All do local deliveries or pick-up service.
- By the Horns – Try Hopodelic
- Bellevue – Try Surf IPA
- Wimbledon Brewery – Try Wimbledon Pale
Fair enough, Earlsfield isn’t a shoppers paradise but there is enough to keep you entertained during a family walk on a Saturday afternoon. First up you have Southside shopping centre at the end of Garratt Lane – hop on the bus or stroll down if you really need a shop at the big Sainsburys, Waitrose, Sports Direct etc. But what gives Earlsfield it’s proper charm are the antique, charity and speciality shops. My favourite is Lark, independent clothing, accessory, and jewellery shop with 6 Southwest London sites.
I know, right? At first, I was saying, “oh no, not Earlsfield” and now I’m bragging about the location. It’s not so bad really. It’s a good sandwich to be in the middle of – you’ve got Tooting on one end only a 5-minute bus ride away with delicious curry houses and thriving markets, Northcote Road less than a 30-minute walk away with all my old favourites, Wimbledon Village just one more train stop with all the flash chains and then Wandsworth Town. Balham too is an achievable walk. In fact, I walk everywhere; and when in doubt there’s a bus, and when in doubt again there’s a train. If only the London Santander city bikes (aka Boris Bikes) were this ‘far’ out.
Yes, of course, the community! We say hi to our neighbours, we collaborate on the Earlsfield Facebook Group (otherwise nicknamed ‘The Chat’ due to the gossipy comments) and of course take great pride in clapping every Thursday evening at 8 pm for our amazing NHS. I love looking over and seeing the rest of the street participate too!
So that’s that – life in Earls Vegas. I have high hopes that all of the above and those who plan to open survive the upside of this COVID-19 lockdown. And if you do consider residing in this lovely corner of London, just be careful of those pesky foxes. They will have a field day in your garbage, snack at your garden and keep you up at night with their howls (more like grunts).