It has been dashed in the past for being ‘grotty’ but Tooting in south London has been named as one of the world’s top ten neighbourhoods by travel experts at Lonely Planet.
Despite being best-known as the setting for the hit 1970s BBC sitcom Citizen Smith, the community, which was heavily bombed during WWII, is listed alongside New York City’s Sunset Park district and the picturesque Borgo San Frediano in Florence, among others.
Lonely Planet says Tooting, where the average price of a semi-detached house now tops more than £1million, ‘has developed into an uber-cool neighbourhood in recent years and lost none of its gritty charm in the process’.
Lonely Planet says Tooting, where the average price of a semi-detached house will now set you back more than £1million, ‘has developed into an uber-cool neighbourhood in recent years and lost none of its gritty charm in the process’
The area is famed for its mass of Indian takeaways and being home to the country’s biggest swimming pool.
Lonely Planet expert Will Jones explains the area’s allure, writing: ‘Rubbing shoulders with perfectly pleasant yet slightly square Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Balham, Tooting is a more captivating affair, revelling in multiculturalism and originality.
‘Its high street, which stretches between two Tube stations, is one of the best ‘curry corridors’ in the country, and contains some superb South Asian restaurants, like Dosa n Chutny and Apollo Banana Leaf.’
Jones also recommends going on a shopping spree inside the ‘eclectic’ Tooting Market.
Join creative types and party people in Rio de Janeiro’s up-and-coming Botafogo neighbourhood
Lonely Planet expert Hahna Yoon says Seongsu-dong in Seoul is an industrial hub full of hipsters. She recommends sipping on a cup of coffee and watching the ‘old and new combine to create something beautiful’ (above, Café Onion)
FACT BOX TITLE
1. Borgo San Frediano, Florence
2. Seongsu-dong, Seoul
3. The Triangle, Lisbon
4. Vesterbro, Copenhagen
5. Business Bay, Dubai
6. Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur
7. Sunset Park, New York City
8. Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro
9. Frelard, Seattle
10. Tooting, London
And after working up a thirst, visitors are advised to check out the range of ‘quirky’ bars and pubs, including The Castle, The Antelope and The Little Bar.
Despite being in London’s Zone 3 (out of six), Jones says Tooting is green and leafy with the commons creating more than 200 acres of green space between them.
Tooting is also known as the hometown of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was also MP for the area, and birthplace of snooker champion Jimmy White.
Lonely Planet’s full list of the world’s neighbourhoods includes Seongsu-dong in Seoul, The Triangle in Lisbon, Vesterbro in Copenhagen, Business Bay in Dubai, Damansara Heights in Kuala Lumpur, Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro and Frelard in Seattle.
There’s a buzz around Business Bay, which has been outed as Dubai’s latest hotspot
Bars like Mad Souls & Spirits have shaken up the Oltarno scene in Florence, Lonely Planet experts say
In Copenhagen, Lonely Planet expert Caroline Hadamitzky says hungry city trippers should explore Vesterbro’s meatpacking district
Fame: Tooting has been put on the map by Lonely Planet’s travel experts
The website said it asked ‘on-the-ground city experts’ from across the globe to feed back information before it compiled the list of areas.
Along with describing the scene, they included various points of interest from top coffee shops to colourful grocery stores.
Lonely Planet said some of the areas selected have been ‘steadily developing their street cred for years, while others are ‘in the midst of rapid transformation’.
However, it concludes ‘all are ripe for exploration right now’.
For the full version of Lonely Planet’s neighbourhood guide, visit www.lonelyplanet.com.
Lonely Planet expert Valerie Stimac recommends Frelard in Seattle as a great place to hang out