Balham Area Guide
Balham is a flourishing spot in south-west London, nestling between Clapham, Wandsworth and Streatham. It’s a prime area for anyone working in central London, thanks to its short commuting distance, and it’s chock-full of amenities including great shopping and a multitude of places to eat and drink. Balham is a top choice for families too, with high-achieving schools, lots of community spirit and plenty of open spaces.
Why buy in Balham?Balham has plenty going for it, including generally lower prices for homes than in neighbouring Clapham and Wandsworth. While Balham High Road is a busy, bustling thoroughfare, there’s a much calmer, quieter feel to the area’s side streets. Plenty of roads feature neat rows of Victorian and Edwardian terraces and semis, and are full of character and cosy charm. They are the legacy of Balham’s growth from the arrival of the railways in the mid-1800s.
Other types of homes in Balham range from art deco apartments and period mansion blocks to a smattering of new builds and larger detacheds. Prices are, like the rest of London, driven by fierce demand so finding an out-and-out bargain may be unlikely, but opportunities for ‘doer uppers’ still crop up. Given the dynamics of the London housing market, any investment you make here is as safe as anywhere.
Financial considerations aside, buying in Balham is a great move in terms of lifestyle. Proximity to central London and the City makes the area a top choice for younger professionals. There are reasons aplenty for young families to set up home here too, and join the thriving, diverse community. Balham is, by any measure, a great place to live.
Getting to BalhamBalham transport links are excellent, with a tube station on the High Road where you can catch very regular Northern line trains running to Waterloo, London Bridge and connect with the rest of the London-wide underground network. Nearby Clapham South and Tooting Bec inderground stations are also on hand. You have multiple bus options too, as well as being on the A24 for straightforward access to the A3 , M25 and the motorway network.
What are the best roads in Balham?At the top of the price ladder are Balham Park Road, Hillbury Road and Manville Road. The latter two are in the Heaver Estate conservation area and feature large detacheds, some with particularly generous accommodation including six bedrooms or even more.
The hottest spot for properties is made up of the streets of terraces, and a smattering of detacheds between Nightingale Lane and Balham High Road. Keep an eye out for Ramsden Road, Bellamy Street and the quiet backwaters of Pickles Street, Balham Grove and Denning Mews. Most locals would agree that Nightingale Square is the prime spot in the Nightingale Triangle.
On the south side of the High Road, the terraced housing between Thornton Road and Cavendish Road are enduringly popular. The choice of apartments in the High Road include the art deco Du Cane Court. When opened in 1937 the complex of over 600 flats was the largest in Europe, and the buildings retain plenty of their original features. It’s easy to imagine Poirot sleuthing here.
Throughout the area you can find flat conversions with prices at their highest in the Nightingale Triangle area, and more affordable on the High Road, which is where most new builds crop up on redeveloped sites such as the Tramyard. The good news is that wherever you opt for in Balham, the area’s attractions and transport links are never far away.
Balham for familiesBalham is a big draw for families of all ages, especially those with younger children. Anyone selling a flat in pricier parts of London are often able to move sideways to a family house with a garden in Balham.
A major part of the attraction of the area for families are the open spaces, the easy shopping for all family needs, and, perhaps most importantly of all, the sense of community which draws parents and children together.
Balham SchoolsTogether with family-friendly properties, Balham and the nearby areas offer a very decent choice of schools including nurseries, primaries and secondaries. Ofsted have given an outstanding rating to Balham Nursery and Henry Cavendish primary, with other highly regarded schools for the under 11s including Alderbrook, Trinity St Mary’s, Rutherford House and Telferscot.
Among secondary schools, Chestnut Grove Academy is recognised as good and getting better and La Retraite Girls’ School has a very sound reputation. Options in the surrounding areas include stellar private sector performers such as Emmanuel in Wandsworth, Putney High and Kings College and the Ursuline in Wimbledon.
As in so many aspects of life in Balham, parents have plenty of school choices on their doorstep, with plenty more options a short distance outside the area.
Balham restaurants and barsFrom breakfast to dinner, Balham caters for all comers very well. You can delve into choices ranging from refined dining to traditional pubs and family restaurants. We think the following top the bill.
- Award-winning Indian Room for top-rated, authentically spiced and char-grilled dishes
- Ciullõsteria for delicious pasta and pizza with a helping of laid-back southern Italian charm
- Daisy for a wholesome American diner-style breakfast or brunch
- For an exclusive gourmet experience from chef Josh Dallaway, No 9 Supper Club
- The Regent for a modern take on classic British dishes
- Lebanese Gardens Lounge for mezza and grills from the middle-east, shishas too
- The White Eagle Club for heart-warming Polish food
Pubs and Bars
- The Devonshire for a classic London pub atmosphere and great sharing plates
- Balham Bowls Club, not for bowls any more, but craft ales and a unique, clubby vibe
- The Nightingale a lovely rambling pub and a favourite for the local community
- The Grove for great pub grub including Sunday lunch and excellent beers
Theatres, activities and open spaces in BalhamBalham was once the home of the highly ornamental, copper-domed Hippodrome Theatre but it closed after being hit by a bomb in World War Two, and never reopened. Today, theatre-goers need to make a short trip to Battersea Arts Centre or Wimbledon Theatre, or else head into central London.
Cinema fans have The Exhibit on their doorstep where you can watch popular films on a pop-up screen and enjoy food and drink too. The venue is also a great place to catch stand-up comedy, poetry and karaoke too. More mainstream cinemas aren’t far away in Wandsworth, Wimbledon and the West End.
Balham residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to open spaces. Living here means being surrounded by Clapham, Wandsworth and Tooting Commons. That gives locals hundreds of acres of greenery for walking with or without a faithful hound, exercising and getting involved in organised sports and friendly kick arounds.
One of the highlights of the area is Tooting Bec Lido, the largest freshwater pool in the UK. Beautifully maintained and 91.5 metre long, the Lido welcomes swimmers of all abilities, with a large paddling pool on site for toddlers.
How much is council tax in Balham?The vast majority of Balham is within Wandsworth, which to date has always had one of the lowest council tax rates in London. Here you’ll be paying only 41% of the rates in London’s most expensive borough. However, a few parts of Balham come under Lambeth, and for these homes the rates will be nearly double the rate in the Wandsworth-controlled parts of the area.
Why choose Maalems for moving to Balham?We have always been proud to be experts on all types of property in our home patch of south-west London. Our base in Earlsfield is in the heart of the area, so we have our fingers firmly on the pulse of the property market close to us, including Balham.
Whether you are thinking about buying, selling, renting or letting in Balham, we’re on hand to help you every step of the way. With over 80 years’ experience in our team, we know that finding the right home is one of the most important steps anyone, or any family, ever takes. We’ll cover every aspect of your move, including any tricky bits that may arise.
Make sure your home move goes well – get in touch with Maalems now.