Hi guys, welcome to Tripsget! In this post, I will answer all the questions you might have about Southgate. Is Southgate a good place to live in London? Is Southgate safe? What are the best things to do in Southgate and the area? So… in this Southgate area guide, I will try to answer all these questions.
Just a little bit about us: we moved to London from Edinburgh just over 4 years ago and immediately started living in Elephant & Castle. We stayed there for a year, but I didn’t like the area much. You can find out about the reasons in my review of Elephant & Castle. Then we moved to East Finchley, which we absolutely loved. You can read our guide to living in East Finchley here. We actually didn’t want to move out of EF at all; however, it was impossible to buy a house there with our budget, so we decided to look a bit further – and that’s how we ended up in Southgate.
In this post, I wanted to share with you our impressions from living in the Southgate area in the last 10 months and tell you about all the pros and cons of Southgate.
Here’s what you can find in this post!
Where is Southgate in London?
Confusingly, Southgate is not in South London; it’s actually very high in the North of the city. Located in zone 4 of London on the Piccadilly Line, Southgate became a settlement in the middle of the 19th century. Why is it called Southgate? Well, Southgate used to be the Southern Gate of Enfield Chase, a Royal Hunting ground.
Southgate is located roughly 3.5 hours walking from central London or around 35-50 minutes by tube, which is not too bad for commuters.
Most of us have been working remotely for the last year; however, when life will hopefully go back to normal, commuting from Southgate would be convenient if you work anywhere on the Piccadilly line or on the Victoria Line (as there is a super easy and fast interchange at Finsbury park).
A short history of Southgate
When we started researching a bit more about the Southgate area, the only information I was able to find was provided by the local letting agency. As the letting agencies are very well known for praising every single place in London (even some of the worst areas), we decided to go and explore Southgate by ourselves and do thorough online research as well.
We found out that even though the first streets were laid out in Southgate around the end of the 19 century, most of the buildings were built when the underground station was established – around the 1930s.
The Southgate Village area, however, dates back to much older times. The famous Ye Olde Cherry Tree Pub was built at the end of the 17th century, so it’s been there for a while. You can see that really well because the architectural style of the buildings is a bit different in Southgate village when you compare it to the area of Southgate close to the Southgate underground station.
Is Southgate a safe area?
One of the things that were really important to us was whether Southgate is a safe area. As always, in London, the safety usually comes down to an individual street or a bunch of streets rather than the entire neighbourhood. However, overall, if you look at the crime rates according to EDT crime rate widget, Southgate has rather low rates. In fact, Southgate has much lower rates than East Finchley, where we used to live before, which we considered a very safe area because there was pretty much nothing happening in terms of crime, and most of the posts in local Facebook groups were about cats being stranded on the trees. As opposed to burglaries and assaults and which were mentioned in the Walthamstow group, which we entered when we almost bought a flat there back in 2019.
So yes, Southgate is pretty safe! I would say the only area to maybe avoid at night is the High Street that stretches from the underground station to Asda. Not that anything would happen there, but sometimes there is a crowd outside McDonald’s and KFC late in the evenings, and it’s not always the friendliest people.
Pros and cons of living in Southgate, London
Now let’s talk about the pros and cons of living in Southgate. As always, it’s worth mentioning that these pros and cons are based on my personal opinion and could be different to yours!
Let’s start with the pros:
Southgate has a lot of green spaces
One of my favourite things about living in Southgate is that he has a load of green spaces. There are four big parks (and not tiny parks but huge ones including woods just within 15 minutes walking from us). There are free tennis courts and great cycling routes and walks nearby.
If you like walking, you will love this area! However, most of the parks are not lit in the evenings, so the walks you can do after work during the winter months are a bit limited.
House prices aren’t exaggerate
Southgate is one of those few areas in London that is safe and quite nice and isn’t exaggeratedly expensive compared to a lot of other places in London. You can still buy a two-bedroom house in Southgate from 460 to 550K, which is much cheaper compared to most of the safe and family-friendly areas in London. That is actually one of the reasons we picked Southgate – it was the area where we could afford to buy our first home!
The countryside is just 30 minutes away.
Another great thing about Southgate is that you can reach the countryside in pretty much 30 minutes walking. There is Trent park, where you can take a horseriding lesson and just in general, you can walk to a few farm shops within circa 1.5 hours.
Despite being in zone 4, it’s actually only 35-50 minutes away from the city centre.
Another thing we love about Southgate is how close it is to the London city centre. Of course, when everything is closed, there isn’t much to do in the city; however, when life will be back to normal, you can definitely take advantage of being only 30-35 min away from King’s Cross and Holborn and only 40 minutes away from Covent Garden. You can also reach Knightsbridge without changing the line, and, well, pretty much all the most popular places in London are located either on the Piccadilly line or within walking distance from the stops on the Piccadilly line.
Piccadilly line isn’t the fastest and the most convenient line; however, there are plans to launch brand new trains (air-conditioned, finally!) on the line in a couple of years.
A diverse area with a lot of amazing Greek, Turkish and Cypriot places
Southgate is also a very diverse area with huge Greek, Cypriot and Turkish communities. As a consequence, there are some of London’s best Greek & Turkish restaurants in the area! Southgate also has 3 Cypriot bakeries, and they are absolutely amazing!
Some of my favourite Greek, Cypriot and Turkish restaurants in the area:
Going Greek in Winchmore Hill
Skewd Kitchen in Cockfosters
Amazing bakeries to try:
Plenty of restaurants and coffee spots in Southgate, Winchmore Hill and Palmers Green, including great brunch spots
Another great thing about living in Southgate is that there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes nearby or walking distance away.
Some of the best places I can recommend are :
- Delisino Brasserie for amazing brunches
- Claud Dennis – for pastries and amazing coffee
- Chi Chi’s near Winchmore Hill – great coffee and brunch, a very hipster and Instagrammable places
- Harris + Poole for great coffee and nice sandwiches
- Starfish in Palmers Green for Instagrammable brunches and good coffee
Good supermarkets nearby and many shops on the high streets
Another great thing about living in Southgate is that there are two large supermarkets in the area and one of them is working 24/7. There is ASDA and M&S Foodhall, which stock pretty much all the products you might need. However, a short drive away, you can also find a large Sainsbury’s and a medium-size Waitrose in Winchmore Hill.
It’s a family-friendly area with a lot of good schools.
And finally, if you have a family or are thinking of starting one, Southgate has a lot of good schools in the area (e.g. Ashmole Academy – it’s one of the outstanding schools). Southgate is a very family-friendly area; people usually move here to buy a house with the plans of starting a family in the future. Some others (usually older couples) move here to downsize and live a bit further away from the noisy central London.
Cons of living in Southgate (things we don’t like about Southgate that much)
The high street isn’t pretty.
One of my main personal cons is that the High Street is very far from being considered pretty. If you look at the old pictures of Southgate prior to the Second World War, it actually used to look much better; but for some reason, a lot of buildings were demolished and replaced with rather ugly ones. One of the ugliest buildings is perhaps the Southgate police station.
Right next to the tube station, there used to be a mansion and a park or something similar (based on the old photos we saw), but they were demolished and replaced with a massive block of flats.
As a consequence, Southgate doesn’t really have one architectural style: it’s a bit chaotic. It has some nice streets, for example, streets with cottages close to Asda and streets leading to Winchmore Hill. However, if you compare Winchmore Hill to Southgate, Winchmore Hill would be much more beautiful.
McDonald’s and KFC attract particular people at night.
That was a happening priority the lockdown, but KFC and McDonald’s are used to attract quite particular people at night. For example, groups of teenagers (often drunk) who are very loud and just litter on the streets.
Another issue is litter on the streets, and there is a lot of it. I’ve noticed that most of it is generated by delivery drivers that have lunch in groups, and then they just throw away the trash on the streets. Not sure why.
Cars are speeding up at night.
Another issue everybody in Southgate has noticed is the cars speeding up at night. Not only it is noisy, but it’s also dangerous for pedestrians, especially around the crossings, because these cars don’t stop at the zebra crossing is. And unfortunately, the drivers don’t care because most of them are coming from neighbouring Edmonton and Tottenham just to drive around in the areas without cameras.
Not convenient for commute if you work in West London or South London
Finally, if your work is in West London or South London, commuting from Southgate will take a while, so it makes sense to look for a property in other areas (even some commuter towns in the South or in the West would be more convenient).
There are no small delis, interior design shops and lovely small businesses on the high street.
And finally, another thing that I consider a downside; however, to be fair, it wouldn’t matter for most people. There are no small delis, interior design shops and other pretty small business shops on the high street of Southgate. Most of the stores are either chains (e.g. Boots, Tesco Express), pubs (there is a Wetherspoon) or pharmacies, clinics and badly-rated beauty salons. Unfortunately, very few of them see value in investing in beautiful logos and lovely storefronts, so the high street looks very hectic and very 1980s in some cases (and some logos look like they were designed in Paint back in 2004).
Winchmore Hill (below), on the other hand, has a few interior designs and decor shops, many nices beauty salons and pretty coffee shops.
Summary of living in Southgate
Overall, Southgate has everything you need for a comfortable life. Despite being in zone 4, Southgate is pretty close to Central London (about 30-45 minutes by tube), and it’s sitting on the Piccadilly line that goes through the most popular areas of London.
Southgate has good schools, a lot of green places and it’s one of the few areas with affordable houses. It also has a lot of restaurants (especially Greek and Turkish) and quite a few independent coffee shops. There are two large supermarkets (Asda and M&S) and also two gyms and countless shops on the high street, so you don’t always need to take a tube to do your shopping. Southgate is also pretty safe and very quiet.
Some of the things I’d like to see improve in the future is the quality and design of the shops on the high street!
Some of the other posts you might like:
Muswell Hill – is it one of the best areas to live in London
The best districts to live in London for families
Salary needed to live in London
We bought our first home in London
How much does it cost to refurbish a bathroom in London?