Living in Forest Hill
What is life like in Forest Hill
Suburbs such as Forest Hill still represent value for money benefitting from the gentrification from other more expensive and salubrious areas. Residents enjoy a slightly more affordable property prices with all the benefits that this area has to offer. This location retains excellent links to the City.
There is a sense of space thanks to the wide and leafy roads, the tall trees remnants of the former forest. Making for a pleasant and calming environment in which to enjoy, you don’t quiet realise how high up we are here some roads such as Canonbie Road and Sydenham Hill have the most panoramic views of the iconic London skyline (hence the ‘Hill’ part of the name Forest Hill). The high-quality and diverse housing stock adds a dimension offering something for everyone and from large detached villas to a purpose built studio apartments.
Every year over 100,000 visitors flock to Forest Hill to enjoy the world famous Horniman Museum, and gardens. With a packed events calendar this and wonderful exhibits the museum really puts Forest Hill on the Global map.
Since the arrival of the East London Overground Line, lovingly called the Ginger Line thanks to it being the Orange line on the tube map, adding to the existing rail network and in turn has doubled the connectivity of the area. Forest Hill is now a real hot spot for the City working professionals who are easily connected to the underground. Quick and easy connections to every corner of the capital are available, with London Bridge less than 15 minutes away.
As is the case with many areas of London away from the centre, Forest Hill was relatively small and sparsely populated until halfway through the 19th century. It was named in reference to Sydenham Hill, which originally stood within the Great North Wood.
The decision to move Prince Alberts lifework the Crystal Palace and the great Exhibition from Hyde Park to the area carved out a new suburb on the boarder of Forest Hill, a result of this many new and large homes were built to house the Victorian gentry.
Tea merchant Frederick Horniman lived in the area and made his great passion for traveling the world collecting exotic artefacts, in the early part of the 20th century he opened his house and his collection of artefacts to all who would come and see, and was hence the first Free Museum in England and Frederick Hornimans legacy lives on.
Lots of famous people have made Forest Hill their home over years, some of those names include Actor Timothy Spall (check out Stag & Bow on the high street owned by his son) Danny Baker (broadcaster), Kate Bush, singer/song-writer, James Callaghan, Labour Prime Minister Irish-born television, film and stage actor Michael Gambon, famous for portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movie lived at Forest Croft in Forest Hill in the early to mid-1960s. Gabrielle, singer/song-writer British film actor Leslie Howard was born in Forest Hill and then there was John Illsley, bassist from Dire Straits and footballer Ian Wright – just to mention a few.
Entertainment, sport and days out
There is so much to do and enjoy here with a real sense of community. Forest Hill Pools is a clever piece of modern architecture that sits seamlessly with the original Victorian façade of the Pool house and boasts top notch leisure facilities. The National Stadium in the Crystal Palace Park hosts Athletic and was the training ground for the Brazilians during the Olympics. The Library is Grade II you can enjoy a storytelling morning within this gloriously ornate building. Forest Hill Fashion week is a much loved local event hosted by the community. At the Hob Comedy Club you can check out headline acts before they play Edinburgh. Havelock Walk is famed for their Artist open house days where you can browse art.
Cox’s walk is a lovely woods that leads to Dulwich golf course – we will meet you at the 19th hole! One Tree Hill in Honor Oak which shares the SE23 postcode was named By Queen Elizabeth the 1st as she ‘honoured the Oak’ when resting there on a hot summers day. The views here and the blackberry picking are fab. Mayow Park, Baxterfields, Newlands Park and the recreation grounds are small compared to the Hornimans, Dulwich Park and or course Crystal Palace Park. The Dacres Wood Nature Reserve and the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve is little known green spot, so typical of what this area has to offer.
Eating, drinking & shopping
Forest Hill has a buzzing town centre with lots of independent shops and wonderful boutiques. Canvas and Cream is a real favourite for posh nosh and is also an art gallery. The Montage has lots of creative and fun event to partake in including Cinema evenings. St David’s coffee house is a quaint little place as is the Tea Pot both good for your caffeine fix. Agi’s Deli for Cheese and homemade chutneys, Sugar Mountain the retro sweet shop, Bunka for great fashion and B for off the wall gift cards. The area has its fair share of Gastro pubs including The Hill, Slyvan Post and Dartmouth Arms the meeting place for the trendy set! Sainsburys has the large shop covered.
Honor Oak also has some places to enjoy check out the award winning 'Barbour Indian' restaurant is not to be missed and you have lots of quirky little shops too, we like 'Jumping Bean' for wacky fun gifts and Sainsburys Local is on hand to grab something on the way home or dine out at the new Italian Med restaurant.
Schools & healthcare
The local schools are in hot demand and properties within catchment areas are hotly sought after. Primary schools such as Fairlawn, Elliot Bank, The Hornimans, Dalmain, Holy Trinity C.E. Kelvin Grove, St Barts, Admasrill and Kilmorie give the area a good supply of options as all – are rated as 'good' or better by Ofsted.
Secondary Schools include Forest Hill Boys, Sydenham Girls both doing well in the league tables. Private schools nearby include Sydenham High, St Dunstans, Jags and Dulwich College.
University Hospital Lewisham is the nearest major medical facility, positioned around two miles east of Forest Hill. Kings College Hospital is the alternative (made famous by the program 24 hours in A & E).
Forest Hill has excellent rail links. It lies less than 15 minutes away from London Bridge by train, providing an ideal route for all those who work in the City.
Drivers will also find they are able to move in and out of London with ease, as the A205 South Circular connects them to both the city centre and the M25 via the A2 or A20. Other major transport hubs such as Gatwick Airport and the international rail station at Ebbsfleet are also just a short drive away.
Within Forest Hill, residents can take advantage of the excellent and wide-reaching London bus network. The number 122 from Crystal Palace to Plumstead, the 176 from Penge to Tottenham Court Road, the 185 from Lewisham to Victoria and the 197 from Croydon to Peckham are just some of the routes that pass through the area.