Living in Brixton (SW9)

Brixton is lively, cosmopolitan and a true reflection of the mix of diversity that is London. Situated with zone 2 it is only a few miles from the west end and the city. By all accounts a great area to live in London, it is surrounded by parks and green spaces; Brockwell Park is spacious with a great view of the city on a clear day as well as the venue for open air festivals during the summer.

Community

Brixton has always been a hub of daytime and night time activity, SW9 is a heady mix of every culture you can think of, predominantly Jamaicans and those from the Caribbean, so if reggae music is your thing, Brixton is where you'll find it. There is a fairly large Irish community based there too and that is often seen in evidence with their own blend of live music and excellent pool players. More recently there has been an influx of South Americans, and there is a new Latino vibe around Brixton's famous market.

Housing

Housing options are varied, there has been plenty of new, young money arriving in Brixton for a number of years now, and property prices have risen accordingly. There are shared housing options, often in Victorian properties in which one would expect to share a fair sized house with kitchen facilities for around £100 per week on the private sector. The area is predominantly made up of Georgian and Victorian houses with a fair sprinkling of tower blocks and housing association properties. If you are of a foreign culture it may pay you to look into housing associations that specifically accommodate nationals from a certain country.

Shopping

Shopping In two words; Brixton Market. It's a bustling, busy, feast for the eyes where one can purchase fruits, fish and vegetables from every corner of the planet along the rows of stalls in Popes Road and Electric Avenue (as in the Eddy Grant song). Everything you need for the kitchen pot, including the pot can be bought in Brixton Market, and in the summer it beats to the tune of reggae as you shop. On the High Street you'll find all the usual brand names and a few exclusive department type stores too. But the market is where the bargains are, it's open Monday to Saturday and mornings on Wednesdays.

Eating Out

Choices once again, to cater for every palette that visits of resides in Brixton. Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tapas (c/o the Latino connection) the famous hot Jamaican Patties if you're on the go. East African diners cater for those who come from the Horn of Africa, as well as some interesting and cool cafes in the market where you can have a coffee and do some work or simply watch the Brixton life roll by. There are the more commonly known eating venues on the high street, but if you venture into the market area especially along Coldharbour Lane you'll find plenty of choices to suit any mood or preference.

Brixton Nightlife

Once again a winner, people travel from all over London and further afield to enjoy the Brixton nightlife. If you like your bars to be late opening, then this is the place for you. The Prince Albert has been a part of the Brixton scene for decades, with live bands and a selection of older and younger Brixtonians. Hootenanny on Effra Road is the place for live reggae and world music since a recent change of ownership. The Academy is a large venue that hosts the most famous bands regularly. Likewise, The Fridge next to the town hall and the Fridge Bar adjacent to it. Mass is for the bigger club goer and The Bug Bar below for the more intimate vibe. The Dogstar is an established bar and venue in the centre of SW9 on three floors. The 419 club next to the Prince Albert and also the Prince with cool lighting and DJ's at the weekend. The Ritzy Cinema boasts 5 cinemas and two bars showing an eclectic mix of films from every corner of the globe. Jamm on Brixton Road is open until the small hours at the weekend, as well as Plan B on the high street. There are also plenty of late bars dotted around the area, some catering for the professional type, and other 'old school' pubs that have pool tables, character and haven't had a lick of paint in decades. If you like to pop out for a quick drink at 11 o'clock without the 'last orders' rush, then Brixton is the place for you.

Transport in Brixton

As SW9 falls into zone 2, it is nearly what one would describe as 'central London' Brixton's newly refurbished Tube station delivers you straight onto the high street and is on the Victoria line, the fastest in London, you are 5 stops (10mins) from Victoria and only 7 from Oxford Street and the west end. Train services run from Victoria as well and you'll occasionally see The Orient Express passing overhead when in Brixton. You also have Clapham North quite near if you need the Northern Line and Stockwell is local too. The buses quite frankly will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go, west end, Victoria, Kings Cross, the city as well as plenty of choices to destinations surrounding Brixton. A typical 'non rush hour' journey from Brixton to Waterloo for instance will take around 15mins. In other words if you need to get anywhere in London you won't have a problem if your starting point is Brixton.

Safety in Brixton

Despite the riots back in the 80's, when Brixton was a bit of a tatty backwater, things have changed dramatically in the area with government intervention and plenty of money spent to enhance the area. CCTV is everywhere in Brixton and in many instances the place simply polices itself. One can feel safe at 4am in the morning because there are always plenty of people around, even at that hour.

Phill Gee