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Clapham Common?

Hi all,

I'm a bit confused on the area of South London near Clapham Common. It doesn't look terribly far from the major city sites when I look at the map, but I'm reading it's a no-mans-land in terms of tube/bus access into London. Is that so? We have a potential opportunity for a home exchange in that area, and it says the home is a 2-minute walk to the Clapham Common station. Just trying to figure out what that means in terms of how long it will take to get into the center of London. Our other option is paying to stay at the Premier Inn County Hall, which we already have booked. Obviously I'd love to save money with a home exchange, but not if it's a hassle to get in/out of the city (traveling with kids).

Thanks!

Posted by
7719 posts

Clapham Common station is on the Northern Line, in Zone 2, so not bad from a cost standpoint since it is just the basic fare. To get from that station to Leicester Square, roughly central London, is 15 to 20 minutes, but can stretch to a half hour or more during rush.

The Northern line does confound some novice users, from where you might be, after a bit the line splits into two parallel lines, rejoining in North London, then immediately splitting into two separate paths, plus there is a spur line coming off it in the South as well. But, it is easy to figure out, just may need to consult a map more often to make sure the train your hopping on is going where you think it is.

Posted by
8872 posts

For first trip go with your County Hall PI reservation.

You’ll walk out front door and to your left is Westminster Bridge and across the Thames is Parliament with Elizabeth’s Tower with the iconic Big Ben inside. To your right will be the London Eye.

Posted by
6708 posts

From Clapham Common London Bus Routes 77, 87 and 88 take you into London- the 88 especially is the best route for tourists. Each of those routes is every 10 to 15 minutes. The tube, for historical reasons, has always been less comprehensive south of the Thames- but there is dense National Rail service south of the Thames.
So you have both the Tube (as above) and these bus routes.

I've no idea what the price difference is between PI and the home exchange, or whether your deep down preference would be home exchange. But if you are OK with a hotel, and want to be that bit closer into the city I'd stick with the PI.

Posted by
1179 posts

Clapham Common is a really nice area with some lovely houses. I think you’d enjoy a home exchange there. It has the Northern Line so it’s really quite easy to get into central London. It’s just that you only have that one line so it’s less well connected than North London which has multiple options. For the purposes of a tourist visit you will be absolutely fine.

You’ve also got Clapham High Street national rail station which makes it easy to take the train out to places like Kew, Richmond and Hampton Court.

With the saving on accommodation you can always get a taxi back if you’re out late for the theatre or just if everyone is tired.

Posted by
33327 posts

the home exchange sounds like a wonderful idea. With the Clapham Common tube so close you can get everywhere. The buses will get you, a bit slower, to even more (stuart mentions the 77 as well as the others - when I was a kid I used to rely on the 77A so good memories) places. And a short distance away is Clapham Junction, a major crossroads on the rail network from whence you can get just about anywhere in the country.

You will really get a feeling of being a temporary local - because you will be!!

Posted by
1221 posts

I've done home exchanges all over the world, including many in the USA (Brooklyn, New Mexico, San Francisco, Worcester MA, etc). In every case I've preferred it over staying in a hotel (including a couple of pretty upscales ones in Manhattan). You really get the sense of being a local. You can shop in local grocery stores and cook your own food, so don't have to eat out (spending $$$) every night. If the people you exchange with also have kids you'll likely find that your kids can play with the host's kids' toys etc so they will probably have a better experience than being in a hotel. Clapham Common is a nice area. You'll be fine! I'd go for it in a heartbeat.

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks all! Yes, we've done loads of home exchanges and absolutely love them. So nice to have that extra space -- and at no cost! As long as it's a good location, we're good with it. Sounds like the Northern Line will make things relatively easy. We also plan to go to Hampton Court one day, so sounds like it will make that easy as well. And great point about taking a taxi if we're feeling tired, given all the $$ we'd be saving! Sounds like it's worth reaching out to this home exchanger and seeing if we can make it work. Thanks again!

Posted by
45 posts

Okay, wellll the home exchanger said it would take about 40 minutes to get to Westminster or Tower of London. That might be a smidge too long/far.

Posted by
1179 posts

I would advise you download the Citymapper app and have a look. You’d need to allow 40 min to the Tower but it could be done in 27. From the PI County Hall Citymapper says 26 mins. There’s not going to be as much in it as you think. Entering the station and going through the ticket barriers then down all the escalators and then the same on the way out takes up a good proportion of the travelling time. 3 or 4 extra stops once you’re on the Tube is nothing.

Clapham Common is a small and not very deep station so you get to the platform very quickly. You can be walking for miles underground at Waterloo!

Posted by
7719 posts

47 minutes to Westminster seems a bit long, maybe door to door so to speak, (walk to the station, wait for train, the ride, a transfer, then up and out and walk to Westminster) but not the journey time on the train.

But being in town is not really that quick either. You have to accept that the sights in London are scattered around, so either lots of walking or navigating the underground (buses seem ideal, but notorious for being stationary platforms stuck in traffic).

I have stayed multiple times in Hammersmith, which is a similar distance from the city center, and it is not bad. No, you will not be popping back to the house for tea and potty breaks, but likely would not if staying in a hotel either. The trip is easy to do once or twice a day.

Posted by
903 posts

Trust the UK locals when they tell you Clapham isn't too far. Forty minutes to the Tower of London is definitely an off the cuff estimate on the high side. I'd tend to go more with Helen's figures if I were to guess it.

Anyway, what's 40 minutes? In real terms, when you're moving from place to place involving a public transport journey, there's very few places you can go in London in less than 30 or 40 minutes, unless it's somewhere properly close by.

It seems like a no-brainer to me. having the run of someone else's possibly multi-million pound house for free versus paying for a chain hotel? Clapham is a chic middle class enclave in south London, one of the poshest places to live if you're that side of The Thames. By taking lodgings there you also afford yourself of all the delights Clapham has to offer; The Common itself, nice shopping in independent and chain stores, decent pubs, restaurants, a McDonalds, a Starbucks etc etc.

ETA: You're also dead handy for the new mega-mall at the former Battersea Power Station, if that floats your boat. You can go and report back on it for us.

Posted by
45 posts

Awesome! All so great to know! You're all correct in that I have it in my head that when we walk out the door of the hotel, we'll be able to walk to all the sights in like 15 minutes. I am obviously delusional in that thinking. We will try to make this home exchange happen then! Thank you all so much yet again!

Posted by
903 posts

I have it in my head that when we walk out the door of the hotel, we'll be able to walk to all the sights in like 15 minutes.

Haha... you can sort of do that at Premier Inn County Hall! It's by Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament for a start.

I still think the really nice accomodation in Clapham for free far outweighs the benefits of that. Personally, I'm not keen on that little stretch around PI County Hall and Westminster Bridge as an area of London I'd want to spend any time in. I think you'll love Clapham if you have the chance to stay there, even with the short Northern Line hop to town.