Nestled to the south of the London Borough of Lewisham, Forest Hill has been somewhat of a hidden gem for years.
Other south Londoners get why it’s great, but north-of-the-river residents often confuse it with Forest Gate, or can only locate SE23 with reference to Dulwich and Peckham.
Little do they know of the wonders just a few stops south of the river on the ginger line.
It’s home to notable residents, including actor Timothy Spall and musician Andrew Ashong.
And there are plenty of reasons why Forest Hill has fast become one of south London’s most sought-after locations.
1. There sure are a lot of hills
It might seem obvious, given the area’s name, but SE23 boasts some of the steepest hills in London.
Just call it the San Fran of So Lo (that’s South London to the uninformed).
2. Spending Saturday afternoons with a walrus is totally possible
Climbing up the hill (see, I told you) to the Horniman Museum and Gardens is well worth the calf-strain.
Not only are there completely epic views across central London but you can hang out with London’s largest and best taxidermy walrus.
3. Pizza is the most eaten food in the area
The official statistics on this are still out.
4. The community spirit is what makes it such a great place to live
The local library is run by volunteers, who ran a campaign to save it from the clutches of evil developers.
There are constant, community-led events and a really useful forum at SE23.life.
Nip into any of the local businesses and you will get a sense of this community and realise that London really isn’t all that bad.
5. There are houses that spell out the name Ted Christmas
Not everyone knows this, but when they learn it, it becomes their new favourite fact.
Ted Christmas was a builder and architect in the early 20th century who built a row of houses along Perry Vale, each with intricate paneling and names that spell out ‘Ted Christmas’.
6. You can find an artists’ oasis down Havelock Walk
Just off bustling London Road, this cul-de-sac is a treasure trove of artists’ studios.
There are regular open days and events, especially during Artists Open House weekend and at Christmas.
7. It is home to the best Wetherspoons in London
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – you cannot beat The Capitol when it comes to a local Spoons.
Art deco cinema fittings: check.
Cheap drinks: check.
Random locals: check.
David Bowie artwork: check.
8. The burgeoning foodie scene includes London’s top Indian restaurant and exciting supperclubs
9. You can sip a pint inside a vault
Forest Hill long-timers will remember when quirky, post office-themed pub Sylvan Post was in fact a – you guessed it – post office.
It retains a lot of the original features, plus a dash of shabby chic – you can even sit inside the original vaults.
They also have tables and chairs for the more claustrophobic clientele.